10 Scariest TV Shows, According To Reddit – Screen Rant

Redditors have identified a number of TV series that they believe are the scariest. Which shows deliver the most scares?
The new series, 1889, streaming now on Netflix, is a chilling and unsettling series, immersing viewers in a story that is both chilling and deeply mysterious. Of course, it is but one of many such series that taps into the deep unconscious fears and desires of the public.
Redditors, unsurprisingly, have been very eloquent in outlining just which shows they think are the scariest on the small screen. While some of these are of recent vintage, there are a number of more established and older series that remain as deeply unsettling as they were when they first premiered.
American Horror Story remains one of Ryan Murphy’s most notable projects, and each season succeeds by tapping into some potent cultural fear, whether in the present or the past.
One Reddit user praises the first season, in particular, writing, “American Horror Story season 1 is one of those rare horror comedies that's actually funny and scary. A definite classic of the genre.” The series often excels the most when it manages to combine both the sublimely ridiculous with the genuinely frightening, and this remains its central and most important mark of genius.
Them is a potent horror series, and it has already established itself as one of the best on Prime Video. In large part, the scariness stems from the fact that it is drawing on the very real racist violence that was, and is, such an element of American society and culture.
Redditor VileBill writes that the series was the “First thing in a loooooong time that made me uncomfortable in a scared way.” Though it does occasionally lean into more explicitly bloody types of horror, the series’ true genius lies in its ability to force the white viewer to look at their own assumptions about the way the world works.
The Terror, particularly in its first season, established itself as one of the best AMC original series. Its story, about a ship that gets stranded in the ice and has to contend with a malevolent demon, is rich in atmosphere, and the entire affair is grounded by the performances of its cast.
Redditor Rtodd23 writes that the series was “quite horrifying. Not to be missed!” The series is something of a slow burn, but this is precisely what makes it so terrifying. Rather than rushing to reveal the monster, it instead allows the viewer to experience the same sense of claustrophobia as the characters, thus increasing the sense of dread.
The Haunting Of Hill House is notable as one of the best Netflix series. It manages to breathe new life into the horror staple of the haunted house, while also exploring various weighty philosophical issues, including the nature of grief and familial trauma.
Ok-Corner-8027 writes that it is “ Spooky and sad.” Like the best horror series, it manages to tap into something real, and it is its ability to move seamlessly between its central human drama and the more straightforward horror elements helps elevate it into the realm of truly great horror series.
Though there have been many notable television series that take on vampires as their subject, few have done it with quite the style of The Strain. The series shows many of the hallmarks of Guillermo del Toro (who co-wrote the books on which it is based), including the viscerally unsettling appearance of the creatures themselves.
JavierLoustaunau praises the show this way: “Most shows slowly die… this one kept getting bigger and scarier until the end.” The most terrifying thing about the vampires of this world is just how utterly alien they are, as well as how successful they are at bringing the world under their dominion.
Even though it is not a horror show in the typical sense of the word, there is still something quite terrifying about the great HBO series, Chernobyl. As its title suggests, it focuses on the infamous nuclear disaster, including what led up to it and what followed. It paints an unsettling portrait of the destructive nature of nuclear power, as well as the perils of inept governance.
MisterMovember aptly observes: “The way the reactor was portrayed almost like a living thing/entity was perfection.” The fact that it is based on a very real event and that nuclear energy remains a very major part of the world’s energy grid, makes this series all the more unsettling.
Like many of Mike Flanagan’s other notable projects, Midnight Mass uses the vernacular of horror to explore other issues, particularly those having to do with trauma, guilt, religious zealotry, and aging. In this case, the horror stems from a vampire’s invasion of an isolated island community, where it is believed to be an angel sent from God.
Known_Yesterday_1408 writes that the series is “an extreme slow burn and the horror aspect is not necessarily front and center, but the human evil in the show and its commentary on hyper-religion is great.” Because it takes its time to introduce the viewer to this world and these characters, its eventual revelation of the true horror is all the more effective.
True Detective is another series that, while not explicitly horror, nevertheless manages to be truly terrifying. This is particularly true of its first season, which manages to keep the viewer guessing throughout its run, even as it seems to creep under the skin.
Mmmmmmmmm29 describes it this way: “Not necessarily horror but every time this question comes up I give the same answer. Season 1 of True Detective. Possibly the greatest single season of tv ever AND incredibly creepy.” With its evocation of the Southern gothic tradition, True Detective manages to bring out the things that are most chilling and terrifying in the American imagination.
Though many of the scariest series are dramas, Redditors have also pointed out how chilling Unsolved Mysteries was in its original run of the 1980s and 1990s. With its iconic music and the somber hosting of Robert Stack, it was the stuff of nightmares for children growing up in the era.
Thisgirlnamedbree writes, “I'm putting it here because that show was nightmare fuel thanks to scary reenactments and the creepy music that played during segments.” The fact that, as the title implies, so many of the series’ cases remained unsolved at the time of an episode’s airing just made it that much more unsettling.
This documentary series combines interviews with re-enactments to explore various incidents that have happened in wooded areas throughout the U.S. Because it is, at least putatively, based on reality, there is a frisson of fear that runs through it.
In fact, as Redditor j50wells remarks, “If you live out in the woods you may have nightmares. Fair warning on that.” It is, in fact, the type of series that is designed to make the viewer more than a little afraid of going into the woods, and in that regard, it succeeds.
MORE: 10 Best Ever Horror TV Shows According To Ranker
Thomas J. West III earned a PhD in film and screen studies from Syracuse University in 2018. His writing on film, TV, and popular culture has appeared in Screenology, FanFare, Primetimer, Cinemania, and in a number of scholarly journals and edited collections. He co-hosts the Queens of the B’s podcast with Mark Muster and writes a regular newsletter, Omnivorous, on Substack.


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