It didn’t take long for monsters to break into movies. By the 1910s, they had stomped their way onto film, and by the middle of the 20th century, genre giants like King King and Godzilla had staked their place in popular culture. If monster movies tell us anything, it’s that these horrors are difficult to lose. The past decade has shown that creature features, including kaiju movies – showcasing the gigantic monsters made famous by Japanese cinema since the 1950s – are as popular as ever.
Leading the charge is Legendary’s MonsterVerse, which has brought classic kaiju renewed box office success. By tapping into moviegoers’ appetite for monsters, it’s the only shared cinematic universe that roars anywhere near as loud as Marvel’s.
Unsurprisingly, many monster movies have made it into movie theaters and onto streaming services.
Netflix is full of monsters of all sizes, terrorizing humans in original and exclusive features. As this list shows, you’ll discover familiar franchises and under-watched gems on the streaming service, but one thing every film on this list has in common is a monster. Sometimes more than one.
If you’re in the mood, you’ll find the creature feature that suits you – from kaiju to parasites, aliens to homegrown horrors, and r-rated horror to family-friendly adventures. Buckle up – here are the monster movies you can catch on Netflix right now.
Monster Movies Currently On Netflix
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
The second movie of Legendary’s MonsterVerse has one job – introduce King Kong. Wisely, it doesn’t take the serious, if visually stunning, approach of 2014’s Godzilla. Instead, it pulls the action back to the 1970s, mixing Vietnam war films with kaiju mystery. It also packs its mysterious island with charismatic turns, including Tom Hiddleston’s hunter, Samuel L. Jackson Colonel, John Goodman’s monster-believer, and Brie Larson’s anti-war photographer. Those characters nod to past Kong films, but Skull Island also adds enough to rejuvenate the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Produced by horror legend Sam Raimi, Crawl is a horror film that chucks nature’s worst at a dysfunctional family in Florida. When a hurricane floods Coral Lake, Kaya Scodelario’s Hayley and her estranged father, along with dog Sugar, are pursued by alligators through their old family home. It’s a fast-paced film that powers through its old-fashioned concept. It went down well with audiences, critics, and Quentin Tarantino, who named it one of his favorite films of 2019.
Black Water: Abyss (2020)
This belated sequel to 2007’s Black Water extends the original’s ‘true story’ to pit five explorers against rising waters and the beast: a giant saltwater crocodile. It doesn’t use the same genre-defying tricks as its predecessor, but there’s an appeal in its simplicity. It’s a good watch if you’re after a simple dose of b-movie monster.
The Devil Below (2021)
The Devil Below certainly isn’t the best-reviewed film on this list, but it might be the film for you if you’re after a claustrophobic monster experience. It throws a pretty standard mix of scientists and explorers into an Appalachian mine to confront an urban legend. To no one’s surprise, they find it. Unfortunately, the creature’s threat doesn’t mean much when the characters have little going for them. As its title suggests, a lot rests on the subterranean monster they uncover.
The Silence (2019)
This Netflix original adapts Tim Lebbon’s 2015 horror novel and answers a question we’ve all asked: What if a nest of pterosaurs attacked the world. These creatures are “Vesps,” named after the Spanish for wasps, but crucially attracted to noise rather than sandwiches. A strong cast, led by Stanley Tucci, is let down by the concept, which never quite hits its potential. In one of those monstrous cinematic coincidences, it also suffered compared to 2018’s A Quiet Place.
Monster Run (2020)
This fresh Chinese take on monsters is adapted from A. Lee Martinez’s American Young Adult novel Monster. It follows a young woman recently released from a psychiatric hospital whose ability to see creatures that others can’t leads her to form an unlikely partnership with a monster hunter. Once the pair have hunted them down, they use charms to return the monsters to their correct dimension. A good shout if you’re in the mood for a film that hits all the expected YA beats.
This tongue-in-cheek film is probably the most famous movie about a giant snake. It was critically panned on release but achieved cult status, and its impressive box office ensured a franchise. If you’re after a starry cast – including Jennifer Lopez, Owen Wilson, and Ice Cube – or just the fun of a film crew running into trouble (and sometimes laughable effects) in the Amazon, this could be the movie for you.
The first American Godzilla film had expanded on the 1954 Japanese original. When Hollywood tried again, it missed its chance to kick off a new cycle of kaiju films, and it’s easy to see why. For one, Patrick Tatopoulos’s monster design was impressive, but this sleek, reptilian powerhouse is a far cry from the stomping metaphor that’s made Godzilla a powerhouse of cinema.
The monster movie that helped create the Hollywood blockbuster. It’s less about the famous shark than the three unlikely colleagues thrown together to find it – the fresh but responsible police chief, cocky, methodical oceanographer, and seasoned, obsessed shark hunter. You won’t find many monster films with this depth or shots like the famous dolly zoom at the climax. Not just one of the greatest monster movies of all time, Jaws is an all-time classic film.
This Cold War-set Russian sci-fi horror has earned plaudits for its alternative take on monster horror. Set in 1983, it follows Oksana Akinshina’s young doctor as she attempts to understand an alien parasite that a cosmonaut has brought to Earth. Not an easy task when the creature can leave his body and stalk the military base at night but is inseparable during the day. Sputnik sits on the space alien side of the genre, adding a philosophical dimension, great visuals, and a strong female lead.
Love and Monsters (2020)
The title says it all. A lighter take on the monster genre, led by a likable turn from Dylan O’Brien as Joel Dawson, an ordinary sometimes chef on a quest to find his girlfriend in a world overrun by mutant monsters. Expect a monster deluge, including giant toads, monstrous centipedes, and kaiju crabs, all mutated by extraterrestrial chemicals. Crucially, this is family-friendly monster action.
The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
Cloverfield served up a modern dose of kaiju city-smashing in 2008, but the anthology franchise it launched is now best known for its unconventional release schedule. When Netflix announced its surprise release during Super Bowl LII, even the cast had only found out a few hours before. This third installment takes the action to space in a sci-fi horror that nods to films like Alien and Event Horizon. It was adapted from a spec script, but the monster movie element and links to the previous two films are there if you can wait.
This Japanese CGI anime, adapted from the Gantz manga series, features a host of monsters that human fighters are forced to fight in rounds of games. It plays like a mix between Squid Game and Pacific Rim. What’s lost in character development during its lean run-time is made up for by fantastic monster designs.
An all-time monster movie classic. Tremors works for several reasons. To begin with, it’s a western monster movie. Add to that a superb blend of scares and comedy and a likable cast led by Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward’s handymen. It’s a fun throwback to 50s b-movies and far more than Jaws on land.