10 Best Religious Horror Movies You Can Stream For Free

Some of the scariest movies of all time (hello The Exorcist) fall under the category of religious horror.

Whether it’s bizarre symbols, creepy cults, or repressed guilt, there’s something about various elements of religion and lore that seem ripe for terror – and many, many movies have played on that.

From the incredibly sinister of Ross Glass Sainte Maud to the terrifying Taiwanese trend setter TikTok Incantationwe’ve scoured the streaming sites to find the best religious horror movies you can watch for free right now…

17th century New England at its scariest.
Credit: A24

Writer/director Robert Eggers’ haunting chill, which stars Anya Taylor-Joy, follows a family living in 1630s New England in religious exile following the disappearance of one of the clan’s children.

“What really sets this film apart from its horror peers […] is its sheer beauty,” wrote Yohana Desta in her review for Mashable. “Each scene is meticulously styled. The costumes have a quiet beauty. Each frame could be a painting or a gruesome Vogue editorial. The score (and the scenes that lack it) is a perfect accompaniment, rattling and haunting.” — Sam Haysom, Deputy UK Editor

How to watch: The witch is now streaming on Netflix.


Scream time: 20 best horror movies on Netflix

2. The queen of black magic

A person with a curved blade walks towards a woman, shouting.

Well, that doesn’t look good.
Credit: thrill

Rarely does a remake surpass the original. However, Kimo Stamboel horrible offer 2019 does just that by upping the ante on body horror with chillingly realistic gore. Deep in rural Indonesia, a humble orphanage is meant to be the place of a warm reunion between three friends (Ario Bayu, Tanta Gintin and Miller Khan), who spent their childhood there long ago. But in the past and in this place they buried a terrible secret. Now something horrible has arisen to take revenge on them and their families. With creeping terror, stomach-churning scares, and unforgiving supernatural twists, this one isn’t for the faint of heart.* – Kristy Puchko, Associate Entertainment Editor

How to watch: The queen of black magic(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Shudder.

A woman stands in front of a cross and looks in the direction of the camera.

Morfydd Clark in disturbing form.
Credit: A24

The sinister and unnerving debut of Rose Glass, Sainte Maud will get under your skin, and we really mean it. This psychological, erotic and truly chilling horror is directed by the terrifyingly talented Morfydd Clark, who brings a dark and disturbing level of care to her role as deeply pious nurse Maud.

A maddeningly precise masterpiece of sound and lighting editing – Glass wields chiaroscuro and close framing with the same level of suffocating, sensuous control as his protagonist – Sainte Maud is relentlessly menacing as Maud takes her role as her patient’s “savior” to horrific lengths. We’re already living in a constant state of unease this year, and Glass’s brilliant film, with haunting music by Adam Janota Bzowski, will pull you deeper into it.* — Shannon Connellan, UK editor

How to watch: Sainte Maud(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Prime Video.

4. Conspiracy

A man with a cross around his neck stands next to a woman in a basement, looking scared.

Whatever they just saw is probably not good.
Credit: New Line/Kobal/Shutterstock

Conspiracy Director James Wan took John Carpenter’s art of false jump scares to a new level in this 2013 supernatural horror hit. Upon release, Wan had already Seen and Insidious under its belt, but raised its horror game with the film which would launch its own Conjuring universe with two sequels, the annabelle movies, the nun, and more. The original film, written by Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes, scared pajamas the world over, dancing like a cursed music box in your nightmares immediately after watching. Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga play real-life paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren, investigating the chilling events of the Perron family in Rhode Island in 1971. You’ll never look at cabinets the same way again. — SC

How to watch: Conspiracy(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on HBO Max.

5. the omen

A woman holding a small child looks terrified.

Scary alert for children.
Credit: 20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock

by director Richard Donner the omen is a classic case where a franchise’s original film is far better than any sequel or remake to follow it. Starring classic Hollywood icon Gregory Peck, this story of alleged possession follows a troubled father and son through a chilling encounter with demonic forces. Harvey Stephens’ role as creepy kid Damien Thorn deservedly earned him a Golden Globe nod and a permanent place in horror history. Everyone should see it once.* — Alison Foreman, former entertainment journalist

How to watch: the omen(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on HBO Max.

6. Rosemary’s baby

A man and a woman are sitting on the floor of a new apartment.

A new start.
Credit: Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock

Helplessness is a key element of many horror movies, and classics Rosemary’s baby hits this from a few different angles (if you watch it, know it’s a Roman Polanski movie and all that). When young couple Guy and Rosemary Woodhouse move into an apartment building in New York, their lives quickly begin to change in unusual ways. They decide to have a baby, and that’s when things really start to get weird. It turns out that the residents of the building are all members of a satanic cult seeking to bring the Antichrist into the world using Rosemary’s womb as a host. This film escalates the terror as it goes, and is widely considered one of the best in the genre.*

How to watch: Rosemary’s baby(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Prime Video.

seven. God told me to

A man in a suit speaks into a microphone.

Disturbing reasons.
Credit: New World Images

Larry Cohen is one of the most iconoclastic exploitation filmmakers of all time, a guy who followed his impulses to create all-time cult classics. His 1976 masterpiece God told me to is a claustrophobic, panic-stricken story of a Catholic NYPD detective who uncovers a murder spree where each perpetrator claims God ordered them to slaughter innocent people. Things get weirder and weirder from there – and once the movie starts coming Chariots of the Gods-style ancient aliens it’s probably a bit silly, but the gritty intensity carries it through.*

How to watch: God told me to(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Pluto.

8. Incantation

A woman closes her eyes in the dark and puts her fingers together.

The movie that terrified TikTok.
Credit: Netflix

Kevin Ko’s Taiwanese horror scared people so much that it even launched a TikTok challenge and managed to become the highest-grossing horror film of all time in Taiwan. “When imagining horror movies, it’s nearly impossible not to associate them with creepy jumps, monsters, or slashers,” Rizwana Zafer wrote for Mashable. “Incantation doesn’t rely on any of those typical horror movie factors, so it’s not really “scary” in the traditional sense. Instead, Ko manages to terrify us using suspense and dread, built on the heroine’s intimacy and psychological terror. It plays on our deepest fears to scare us, incorporating elements of gore, trypophobia and the weirdness of the unknown, that something evil always lurks in the background.” —SH

How to watch: Incantation(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Netflix.

9. The sacrament

A man hiding under a bed presses his finger to his lips.

Found images afraid.
Credit: Magnolia Pictures

Ti West is one of our favorite modern horror directors, and his 2013 found footage movie The sacrament turns the lens on the cult lifestyle. Two journalists accompany a man as he travels to the Eden Parish community to visit his sister. When they get there, they quickly find that things are spiraling out of control as the leader of the group, known only as Father, has let his paranoia take over. With strong parallels with the 1978 The Jonestown Massacrethis one moves a little slow but really cuts through what makes people trust cults, and Gene Jones gives a great, confrontational performance as the Father.*

How to watch: The sacrament(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Pluto.

ten. Martyrs

A woman with blood on her face runs looking over her shoulder.

Don’t enter this one lightly.
Credit: Canal Horizons/Canal+/Kobal/Shutterstock

Pascal Laugier’s 2008 horror film uses the many church abuse scandals as a springboard for a deeply disturbing tale of revenge. Lucie Jurin is a young girl who was horribly and systematically tortured by a group of people seeking to find out what happens after death by pushing the “martyrs” beyond the limits of their endurance. When she escapes, it kicks off one of the most intense New Wave horror films of recent years. This one isn’t for the faint of heart or the faint of stomach, as it contains vicious bloody sequences leading up to the unsettling climax. Don’t bother with the 2015 US remake.*

How to watch: Martyrs(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Prime Video.

*This blurb was on a previous Mashable listing.

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