5 Must-Watch Horror Movies Streaming on HBO Max!

HBO Max has an ever-shifting library of fantastic horror films. Here are 5 must-watch movies available on the platform right now!

HBO Max is definitely a default platform whenever you’re looking for an awesome new horror movie to watch. It used to be home to classic franchises like A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but even though they have moved to different streaming services, there are plenty of gems left! Here are 5 horror films on HBO Max you should watch next.


Directed by contemporary horror legend James Wan (the mind behind The Conjuring Universe and Saw), Malignant (2021) is a campy treat inspired by old-school Italian giallo crime films. The film follows Madison (played by Annabelle Wallace), a woman with a troubled past who begins having visions of grisly murders. She grapples with her complicated medical and familial past as the killer’s identity and motives come to light in a way you absolutely don’t want spoiled.

The twist is jaw-dropping, the fight choreography and special effects are exquisite, and the acting is over-the-top in the best way. Don’t expect this film to be a grim and serious piece like some of Wan’s previous work. Just enjoy the wild ride!

Malignant is leaving HBO Max on April 27, so don’t miss out!

The Menu

The Menu (2022) is a satirical look at the service industry and its pretentious clientele. The film follows a dozen high class guests (from food critics to tech bros) dining at Hawthorn, an exclusive restaurant experience masterminded by the famous Chef Slowik (played spectacularly by Ralph Fiennes) and his cult-like crew of dedicated cooks. The meal is segmented into several meticulous courses, each designed behind-the-scenes by Chef Dominique Crenn, the first woman to receive three Michelin stars. The patrons quickly realize the fatal consequences of their attendance, and beautifully orchestrated chaos and expertly crafted humor and horror ensue.

The Menu is gorgeous to look at, cathartic and twisted to laugh at, and nail-biting to sit through. It explores burnout, mistreatment of service industry workers, toxic and sexist workplace culture, and the ignorance of the wealthy. Don’t worry (and be warned); it’s all a part of the menu!


Barbarian (2022) is further proof that comedians make the best horror writers. This film follows a woman visiting Detroit for a job interview who finds her AirBnB already occupied by an awkward and intimidating (albeit handsome) man. Barbarian comments on how men and women navigate danger differently, from simple interactions to extreme trauma.

There is a massive twist one-third of the way in that completely shifts the film’s lens and narrative, so all I can recommend is to watch it! Well-acted, funny, and disturbingly real, Barbarian is a good fright and an even better retrospective on the patriarchy.
I want to give a content warning for discussions and implications of sexual violence, but unlike many films in the genre, there are no explicit depictions.

The Witch

The Witch (2015) is a period drama following a Puritan family banished from their colony in pre-Independence America. This film is Anya Taylor Joy’s feature film debut; she plays Thomasin, the eldest daughter who is often dismissed and mistrusted by her parents. A cruel winter and the kidnapping of their newborn push the family down a path full of worldly sin, betrayal, and suspicions of witchcraft.

The Witch is a stunning 95-minute meditation on clinging to God in a seemingly godless world. In the directorial feature film debut of Robert Eggers (who went on to create more period horror gems like The Lighthouse (2019) and The Northman (2022)), all scenes were lit only by candlelight or natural light, and the dialogue was taken straight from writings of the time; this film oozes eerie authenticity at every turn. Get ready for some real discomfort.


Speaking of discomfort, it hardly gets worse than this. Hereditary (2018) is the feature film debut of Ari Aster, a director already marking the genre with his devastating explorations of grief and relationships. This film follows a family after the death of their grandmother as they steadily discover sinister truths about their matriarch with disastrous consequences. Toni Collette was robbed of an Oscar nomination for her performance as Annie, a steadily unraveling mother grappling with grief and blame. Her co-stars Alex Wolff (who played her emotionally wasted son, Peter), Gabriel Byrne (her encouraging husband, Steve), and Milly Shapiro (her quiet and unsettling daughter, Charlie) round out the family; the acting in this film is something to behold.
Along with realistically horrifying looks at what death does to a family, Hereditary has some of the scariest visuals I’ve seen in a while. I won’t spoil anything but know that I slept with the lights on for two weeks after watching and couldn’t look into dark corners for a long while. The discomfort during this film is relentless!

HBO Max has a high batting average when it comes to stellar horror picks. I can’t wait to see what they bring to the platform next!

About the Author

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Christopher Ikonomou

Christopher Ikonomou is a 4th year at the University of California, Los Angeles pursuing Communication and Disability Studies. He has a particular interest in the entertainment industry and representation of marginalized people in film and TV. On campus, he is the Editor-in-Chief at OutWrite Newsmagazine, the oldest queer college publication in the United States, and an activist with the Disabled Student Union. He’s a horror superfan and has been featured by Buzzfeed, UCLA College, Bored Panda, and Teen Vogue for his vocal involvement in the fight for better representation of the disabled community on screen and in the genre, particularly those with Marfan syndrome like himself.