Hulking, scaly beasts. Mythical entities. Unseen creatures. Netflix is saturated with creepy features whose stories revolve around beastly villains making life very difficult for other characters around them. While it lacks many of the classic creature features from earlier decades, the streaming service carries some of the best monster movies from the 21st century.
Some of these films unfold from the perspective of the monster. Others follow protagonists as they fend off the beings pursuing them. Still, others blur the distinction between “bad” monsters and “good” victims. Combinings elements from sci-fi, fantasy, action, and classic literary sources, these flicks freak out audiences by playing into their expectations.
10 Bird Box (2018) – 63%
What’s so unique about Bird Box, a Netflix original production, is that audiences never actually see the monsters responsible for wreaking havoc on Earth. Based on the best-selling novel by Josh Malerman, stars Sandra Bullock as a woman trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by supernatural entities.
These monsters cause anyone who looks at them to go crazy and kill themselves, which prompts Bullock’s character Malorie to blindfold herself and her two remaining children. The three attempt to find safety with their ability to see.
9 Siren (2016) – 65%
Siren is a spin-off of “Amateur Night,” one of the shorts that comprise the 2012 anthology horror film V/H/S. In the feature-length film, a group of groomsmen crosses paths with a fabled predator who takes the form of an attractive woman working at a strip club.
While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, Siren is a solid monster movie featuring great performances from its ensemble cast, including Chase Williamson and Hannah Fierman. Siren maintains the lo-fi, underproduced aesthetics of its source material.
8 Wildling (2018) – 70%
In Wildling, the main character turns out to be both hero and monster. Bel Powley gives a harrowing performance as Anna, a teenager whose onset puberty coincides with other strange biological developments and transformations.
It turns out Anna is a Wildling, a creature that roams the woods and eats people. As her humanity gets away from her, the humans around Anna become divided over whether or not to help her or destroy her.
7 Beowulf (2007) – 71%
Based on the Old English epic poem about an ancient monster-hunting warrior in Scandinavia, Beowulf is a dazzling computer-animated feature from Robert Zemeckis. It tells the age-old story of Beowulf’s quest to slay the ogre-like Grendel and the creature’s powerful mother.
Beowulf includes human actors who are animated using motion capture technology. The cast includes Sean Bean, Crispin Glover, and Angelina Jolie.
6 The Ritual (2018) – 73%
What begins as a psychological drama quickly turns into a terrifying creature feature set in rural Sweden. The Ritual follows a group of British friends hiking and camping along the Kungsleden six months after one of them was killed in a robbery gone wrong.
After cutting through a forest to save time, the men find themselves hunted by a mysterious, towering behemoth. Beautifully shot, moody, and well-acted, The Ritual stars Rafe Spall.
5 Splice (2010) – 75%
Sci-fi vibes blend with monster movies tropes in Vincenzo Natali’s film about two genetic engineers whose obsession with successfully splicing human and animal DNA leads them down a dangerous path. Sarah Polley and Adrien Brody play the scientists in Splice, Elsa and Clive, are stunned by their test tube creation: Dren.
Dren evolves from a female-presenting baby into a winged humanoid, but her powers and desires soon clash with Elsa and Clive’s. Treating Dren like a prisoner, the pair soon find themselves in over their heads as Dren’s biological development takes a shocking turn.
4 The Monster (2016) – 81%
A throwback to classic creature features, Monster is a Canadian horror movie that imbues its narrative with more emotional depth and contemporary contexts than its predecessors. It stars Zoe Kazan as Kathy, a divorced alcoholic driving her daughter to a visitation with her father.
Kathy’s daughter Lizzy has had enough of her mother’s toxic dependencies and abusive habits. As Lizzy informs her mother she no longer wants to live with them, the pair suddenly find themselves hunted by a monster in the woods after hitting a wolf with their car.
3 The Golem (2018) – 86%
The Golem is based on the Jewish mythical character of the same name, a creature made of clay or mud made animate through a ceremonial ritual. Known as the “Jewish Frankenstein,” the Golem is both good and evil, and its actions are motivated by whoever brings it into being.
The 2018 film is set in 17th century Lithuania as a Jewish community is violented besieged by outsiders who blame them for a resurgence of the Black Death. In order to protect her people, one of the locals erects a Golem to keep the invaders at bay.
2 Sweetheart (2019) – 95%
A shipwrecked survivor is hounded by a malevolent force in Sweetheart, an effective thriller produced by Blumhouse. Kiersey Clemons plays Jennifer, a resourceful young woman who makes do after washing up on the shore of a small tropical island.
Unfortunately, Jennifer finds herself in the hunting ground of a large, aqueous creature that wouldn’t mind making a meal out of her. What ensues is a story of survival at all costs.
1 Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) – 95%
Equal parts fabled and historical, Pan’s Labyrinth is one of Guillermo del Toro’s Spanish-language masterpieces. Dark fantasy meets horror in the film, which centers around a young girl in Spain during the summer of 1944, five years after the events of the Spanish Civil War.
As the girl, Ofelia, deals with the early years of Francisco Franco’s fascist regime, she develops an intricate fantasy world to entertain herself. Eventually, the creatures are made manifest after Ofelia stumbles upon an overgrown labyrinth near her home.
NEXT: 10 Monster Characters That Were Actually Good Guys
Halloween: 5 Things Rob Zombie’s Remake Kept From The Original (& 5 It Changed)
About The Author