For centuries, tales of lingering dead spirits have spooked, thrilled and terrorized us — from your typical ghost story whispered around a campfire to mythical folklore passed down from generation to generation. And of course, some of the best stories about ghosts have been depicted on our screens, too. Luckily, if you’re in the mood for a haunting watch, we’ve rounded up the best ghost movies of all time, including ones you can stream right now on Netflix.
Whether you’re looking for something scary, funny — or yes — even romantic, our ultimate list of the top ghost movies has something for everyone. There are, of course, plenty of classic horror movies and bone-chilling psychological thrillers that will keep you up all night (and even get you in the spirit for Halloween!). But for those who can’t handle their horror, there are also some lighter picks that feature poltergeists and phantoms — like comedy movies, supernatural dramas and even kid-friendly scary movies that keep the frights a little more PG. The good news is: Whichever ghost flick you pick, you’ll be in for a truly great watch featuring all the best specters and spirits around.
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The Shining (1980)
Often considered one of the greatest horror films of all time, Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s novel — about an aspiring writer named Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) who becomes the caretaker at an isolated hotel — delivers on all the psychological horror and ghostly terror.
A Ghost Story (2017)
For those looking for a more offbeat, unconventional ghost tale, this acclaimed A24 film centers around a recently deceased man who returns as a ghost (yes, white sheet and all) to the house he shares with his widowed wife. It’s a poignant film about loss, grief and time that you won’t forget.
Strange occurrences start to happen to a young family living in a California suburban home, as 5-year-old Carol Anne begins to communicate with ghosts through a television set. Be prepared for plenty of unnerving suspense from this Steven Spielberg horror-thriller.
The Conjuring (2013)
Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016)
Of course, after watching the original Ghostbusters, you’ll also have to watch the 2016 reboot — a hilarious take on the classic — starring Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones as New York City’s four ghost-hunters.
The Devil’s Backbone (2001)
Because who doesn’t love a ghost romance? If you haven’t yet watched this ’90s movie about the ghost of a murdered banker who teams up with a psychic to save his lover, you’ve probably at least seen that iconic scene with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore cozying up at the pottery wheel.
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
The Sixth Sense (1999)
Considered one of M. Night Shyamalan’s greatest works (it even earned a Best Picture nomination, a rare occurrence for a horror film!), The Sixth Sense is a chilling thriller about a child psychologist (Bruce Willis) who discovers a young boy’s dark secret: He can talk to the dead.
A horror film that also examines issues of race and social class, Candyman follows a Chicago graduate student researching the urban legend of a murderous ghost summoned by those daring to repeat his name five times into a mirror. Plus, if you enjoy this one, you can also watch the 2021 sequel by Jordan Peele afterward.
Personal Shopper (2016)
If you’re looking for a haunting ghost story that perfectly mixes horror with drama, try this critically acclaimed thriller which stars Kristen Stewart as a personal shopper in Paris who tries to communicate with her dead brother and starts to receive mysterious messages from an unknown source.
The Haunting (1963)
Sure, it may not be what you immediately think of when you hear “ghost movie,” but this popular Pixar movie does center around a boy who finds himself transported to the Land of the Dead, where he meets the spirits of his ancestors. Who says ghost stories can’t be cute and heartwarming?
The Changeling (1980)
In this terrifying psychological horror flick that’s often considered one of the best horror films of all time, a composer who recently lost his wife and daughter to a tragic accident retires to a secluded mansion only to experience supernatural occurrences.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
Known for its found-footage horror scenes, the first of the Paranormal Activity franchise follows a couple who moves into a suburban home and sets up video cameras in the house after becoming disturbed by what appears to be a supernatural presence.
Field of Dreams (1989)
The Others (2001)
Nicole Kidman stars in this gothic supernatural film set in the 1940s about a mother who moves with her two children to the English coast during World War II. She begins to suspect their secluded mansion is being occupied by mysterious “others.”
The Frighteners (1996)
Be prepared for both laughs and scares in this supernatural comedy horror flick from director Peter Jackson, best known for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, that follows an architect (Michael J. Fox) with the ability to communicate with ghosts after his wife’s death.
Doctor Sleep (2019)
If you liked The Shining, you’ll have to follow it up with Doctor Sleep, the sequel set several decades after the events of original movie. It follows Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor), the son of The Shining‘s protagonist Jack Torrance, as he grapples with childhood trauma from the events at the Outlook Hotel.
Spirited Away (2001)
The Innocents (1961)
An adaptation of Henry James’ “Turn of the Screw,” this eerie 1961 horror film follows an English governess who suspects that the children she’s raising are being possessed by ghosts who are haunting the estate.
Just Like Heaven (2007)
Tired of all the scares and craving a light romance instead? This charming 2000’s rom-com fantasy stars Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo in a ghostly love story about a recently widowed man who moves into a new apartment haunted by a woman’s ghost.
The Ring (2002)
A remake of a 1998 Japanese horror film, this terrifying horror classic — which centers around a journalist investigating a cursed videotape of a ghostly young girl — will most definitely have your skin crawling (and is certainly not for the faint of heart).
His House (2020)
The Oculus (2013)
An evil cursed mirror is at the center of The Oculus’ story, which follows two siblings who suspect that the mirror is behind the violent deaths of their parents 10 years ago. They attempt to uncover the truth.
A modern retelling of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol, this fantasy comedy stars Bill Murray as Frank Cross, a successful but selfish television executive who is visited by ghosts on Christmas Eve who try to help him gain his holiday spirit.
The Orphanage (2007)
Be prepared for a suspenseful watch with this acclaimed horror flick, praised for delivering bone-chilling fear without any gore or cheap scares. A woman named Laura brings her family back to her childhood home, an orphanage — where her son starts communicating with an “invisible friend” and mysteriously disappears.
The Woman in Black (2012)
Based on a 1983 novel of the same name by Susan Hill, The Woman In Black stars Daniel Radcliffe as a widowed lawyer who discovers his late client’s house in a remote village is haunted by the vengeful spirit of a scorned woman.
Crimson Peak (2015)
Another gripping film from director Guillermo del Toro, Crimson Peak tells the story of a young Edith (Mia Wasikowska) who tries to uncover the mystery behind the ghostly visions that haunt the gothic mansion she recently moved into after marrying a British aristocrat.
Craving another animated adventure film? This stop-motion dark fantasy comedy horror movie follows a misunderstood boy with the ability to talk to the dead. He must use his paranormal talent to save his fellow townspeople from a witch’s curse.
Based on Stephen King’s short story of the same name, 1408 stars John Cusack as an author who investigates haunted houses. After renting room 1408 at a New York City hotel, he soon becomes trapped in the room and experiences bizarre paranormal events.
Carnival of Souls (1962)
The Fog (1980)
A strange and ominous fog rolls into a small coastal town in California, bringing vengeful ghosts of mariners who were killed in a mysterious shipwreck, in this thrilling supernatural horror film directed by John Carpenter.
Lake Mungo (2008)
You’ll definitely get chills watching this psychological horror, which uses mockumentary-style storytelling in a tragic tale about a family mourning their drowned 16-year-old daughter — and the investigation that unveils her dark secrets.
Ghosts of Girlfriends’ Past (2009)
For those who can’t resist a cheesy rom-com, this 2009 flick — also inspired by A Christmas Carol — stars Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner in a funny, charming story about a womanizer who becomes haunted by the ghosts of his past girlfriends.
House on Haunted Hill (1959)
This supernatural horror film from the 1950s certainly has a plot that will intrigue you: An eccentric millionaire and his wife invite five people to a haunted house with the proposal that if they survive a night, they’ll earn $10,000 each.
The Amityville Horror (1979)
The first of several films based on the modern folk story about a mass murder in Amityville, New York, this supernatural horror movie follows a young couple (James Brolin and Margot Kidder) who purchases a home haunted by supernatural spirits.
This Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, adapted from Daphne du Maurier’s novel of the same name, tells the eerie story of a young woman who marries a widower only to be haunted by his first wife’s spectral presence.
The Blair Witch Project (1999)
Another bone-chilling movie that uses found-footage storytelling, The Blair Witch Project follows three student filmmakers who disappear on a hike while recording a documentary about a local legend known as the Blair Witch.
Monster House (2006)
Session 9 (2001)
Prepare to be spooked by this cult horror film with tons of suspense and tension, about a group of asbestos removal workers who work in an abandoned insane asylum and uncover its horrifying past.
The Curse of La Llorona (2019)
Not for the faint of heart, this terrifying horror is based on the Latin American folklore of a ghost called La Llorona and follows a mom in 1970s Los Angeles who tries to save her children from the sinister spirit.
In this chilling tale, two young girls who were abandoned in a forest cabin are taken in by their uncle and aunt (played by Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Jessica Chastain) — but the couple discovers that a supernatural force named “Mama” has followed them.
The Grudge (2020)
If you thought the 2004 Grudge was frightening, just wait until you see the 2020 version. Starring Andrea Riseborough, John Cho and Demián Bichir, this fourth film in the Grudge franchise (all films are based on Takashi Shimizu’s 2002 film Ju-On: The Grudge) centers around a police officer who investigates several murders all linked to one mysterious house.
A thought-provoking, lighthearted film about the true meaning of life, Soul stars Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey on a whirlwind adventure. When a pianist named Joe (Foxx) soul gets separated from his body, he must figure out a way to reunite the two before it’s too late.
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