If Netflix and other mainstream on-demand movie services leave you feeling dead inside (or perhaps not dead enough), you may want to check out Shudder – a new boutique streaming service that caters to horror connoisseurs.
Thanks to its greatly improved app support and growing collection of high quality originals, Shudder is even better than it was when it debuted in 2015. However, it’s also $1 pricier and its content library has shrunk down from around 500 titles to about 330.
Continue on (if you dare) to get a taste of what Shudder’s originals are like, learn how much it costs to subscribe to Shudder and find out how to watch Shudder’s free TV channel.
What is Shudder?
Shudder is a horror-oriented on-demand streaming service. It’s available as a standalone over-the-top app, but you can also purchase an add-on version of Shudder through YouTube TV or Amazon Prime Video. A trial period lets gives you full access to Shudder for seven days.
On Reddit, several Shudder subscribers have pointed out that the content catalog seems to change depending on how you subscribe. In addition, you can’t tune into watch Joe Bob Briggs live streams if you subscribe to the add-on version of Shudder.
Free 7-day TrialSubscribe Now
In addition to the paid subscription service, Shudder offers a live feed called Shudder TV. It plays an endless stream of randomly selected Shudder-owned content that anyone can watch for free via the Shudder website. However, to get access to Shudder’s on-demand content and originals, you have to buy a subscription.
Shudder 60-second Summary
When you sign up for Shudder, you get access to around 330 horror titles. Around 44 of those titles are Shudder originals and they will never disappear. However, other movies and TV shows will rotate out unless Shudder renews their licenses.
To help you sort through Shudder content, the service lets you sort its collection by micro-genre. If you’re specifically interested in movies about demonic possession, there’s a Shudder micro-genre for that. Lost classics, smart vampires and Euro-trash are some other examples of micro-genres that you can explore.
Shudder has been all about curation from its inception. In an interview with Den of Geek, Shudder curators Colin Geddes and Sam Zimmerman revealed some of the criteria they use to determine whether or not a horror movie is “good” or not. To make it into the Shudder vault, a horror movie has to be both “wildly atmospheric” and communicate an “awe of the fantastic.”
If you’re into underrated cult movies and B-movies that fall into the “so bad they’re good” category, you’ll likely find a lot to like when you browse Shudder. Shudder’s original content is the real attraction. They feature high quality production, recognizable actors (like Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead fame) and story lines that are designed to glue you to your screen.
Shudder Pros and Cons
- A growing assortment of compelling horror originals.
- Curated lists created by horror celebrities.
- Inexpensive and affordable.
- Apps for all the most popular TV devices.
- Available as an YouTube TV / Amazon Prime Video add-on.
- Costs $1 more than it did at launch.
- The vault lacks many mainstream horror classics.
- Catalog shrank from 500+ titles down to around 330.
- No longer available through VRV.
- No way to download content to watch offline.
Shudder Plans and Pricing
Both of Shudder’s subscription payment options are very reasonable. If you pay for an entire year of service up front and get the annual plan, your monthly costs drops from $6 to just $4.75 a month.
When you subscribe, you get full access to the full, ad-free access to the Shudder on-demand vault. There are no upsells or paywalls– and even without a subscription, you can enjoy an unlimited feed of Shudder TV for free via the Shudder website.
7-Day Free Trial
$5.99 / month
1 simultaneous stream
Shudder gives you full access to its entire catalog for free for 7 days by default – but you may be able to extend your trial if you can dig up a Shudder promo code. (I was able to extend my trial to 30 days by using the DAILYDEAD promo code, which I found on Reddit.)
Once you hit the big red “Start Your Free Trial” button, you can choose between two different subscription payment plans: a $57 annual plan and a $6 monthly subscription.
Since the monthly plan adds up to $72 over the span of the year, if you’re a horror fanatic then it makes sense to go for the upgrade and save $15.
On the other hand, the style of horror that Shudder peddles is definitely not for everyone – so you may want to go with the monthly for a while to get a feel for it. You can always switch your subscription later if you decide that you want to pay for a full year.
Shudder Content Library
Though Shudder does offer access to some truly good recent horror flicks (2008’s Let the Right One In was once available) the Shudder catalog suffers from the exclusion of other critically acclaimed gems like It Follows and The Babadook.
However, if Shudder manages to keep rolling out original shows that are as good as Wolf Creek, it will likely be able to continue staking out a niche for itself among horror genre fans.
Wolf Creek (2016)
“It is both nightmare and dream, a welcome stride away from the silly “true events” hook of the first film.” – Luke Thompson, Village Voice
“Not only is “Mayhem” a brutal, visceral gut punch at a time of the year when we typically drown in awards bait, but it feels like a movie designed to tap into a vein of frustration and anger at a corrupt system.” – Brian Tallerico, RogerEbert.com
“My favorite Shudder Exclusive thus far is Prevenge, the most sublime slasher to strike in quite some time. Alice Lowe’s murderous mommy-to-be only kills because her fetus telepathically orders her to, like a pregnant Son of Sam scenario.” – Matt Donato, Slashfilm
Neil Gaiman’s Likely Stories (2016)
“Every entry in Likely Stories invites you to pull up a chair and stay awhile. It’s about spending time in these nooks and crannies of a cafe, or pub, or loner’s apartment and stewing in a state of general unease.” – Scott Beggs, Nerdist
Let Me Make You A Martyr (2016)
“By the end of Let Me Make You A Martyr, viewers will be antsy for the drawn-out story to finish so that they can leave this suffocating, vapid world.” – Alex Arabian, Film Inquiry
Can’t Take It Back (2017)
“Having watched “Smiley”, had I realised that this was a social media horror starring a you tube vblogger I would have avoided. But I didn’t realise and therefore wasted 90 minutes of my life.” – Andy Collier, IMDb user
Found Footage 3D (2016)
“By repeatedly drawing attention to the hackneyed nature of his film’s many tropes while still giving each of them a fresh spin, DeGennaro gets to have his cake and shoot it too. The results are smart, funny, and ultimately frightening…” – Anton Bitel, Projected Figures
Seoul Station (2016)
“At times it is oppressively morose, but it has a nice dusting of social realism to go with the violence, and reaches an agreeably nasty conclusion.” Gwilym Mumford, The Guardian
“It’s a smart, distinctive documentary, complete with a dry sense of humour underlined by the Kiwi accents and incongruous tableaus captured by the camera that match the extreme to the everyday.” – Craig Mathieson, The Sunday Age
The Core (2017)
Shudder’s The Core is a talk show about “the onscreen techniques and real-life psychologies that strike fear into our very core.”
Curated TV/Movie Playlists
Shudder’s curated horror guides will lead you through the maze of Shudder’s enormous collection of movie titles. Here are a few of their most intriguing playlists:
- Autumn Winds Blow
- Bad Genes and Killer Kids
- Comedy of Terrors
- Cult Masters: Eurohorror
- The End is Nigh
- Flesh Eating Frenzy
- Gross Anatomy
- Hexes and Ooohs
- Identity Crisis
- Not Your Ordinary Bloodsucker
- Possessions: The Devil Made Me Do It
- Romantic Blood Suckers
- Smart Slashers
- Sometimes They Come Back
- Spectral Encounters
- Terror Transgressive
- The Unblinking Eye: Terror Documentaries
- The Unraveling Mind
- Urban Decay
- Winter Chill
- Zombie Jamboree
Coming soon in 2020
- As-yet-untitled queer horror documentary
- The Marshes
- The Deadlands
Celebrity guest curators
Ever wonder what Elijah Wood of Lord of the Rings fame and Metallica’s lead guitarist Kirk Hammett think about horror? You can get a sense of their scary movie preferences by checking out some of their favorite flicks on Shudder.
Cult horror icons Larry Fessenden (Habit, I Sell the Dead), Barbara Crampton (Chopping Mall, From Beyond, Castle Freak) and Alice Lowe (Garth Marenghi) appear as guest curators on Shudder. There are also playlists from director Alexandre Aja (High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes, Piranha 3D), musician Alan Palomo (Neon Indian) and standup comedian Kumail Nanjiani.
The Top 3 Shudder Trailers on YouTube
WARNING: Some of the thumbnails on these trailers are definitely NSFW.
The 3 most popular trailers on Shudder’s YouTube channel showcase two of the weirdest, wildest horror flicks in the Shudder vault – and one brainy meditation on morality starring Willem Dafoe.
Class of Nuke ‘Em High (1986)
“By Troma standards, this qualifies as a “classic.” It isn’t by anyone else’s, though there are some good moments.” – Luke Thompson, New Times
“It’s like a twisted balloon animal filled with blood and guts, waiting to burst.” Nigel Floyd, Time Out
- IMDb: 6.6/10
“Antichrist is a boldly personal film, tossing all von Trier’s ideas about faith, fear, and human nature into an unfettered phantasmagoria, full of repulsive visions and fierce scorn.” – Noel Murray, AV Club
Shudder stream quality
When I tried out Shudder, the newer movies I played looked good – but some of the older flicks were pretty grainy because they were shot a long time ago and nobody bothered to remaster them. That’s not Shudder’s fault, but it’s something to consider before you join.
On the other hand, Shudder does provide some remastered content. Inside Shudder’s on-demand archive you’ll find a 4k edition of Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm.
Shudder Device Support
You can find the Shudder app lurking in five different app ecosystems: iTunes, Roku’s Channel Store, Microsoft’s app store, Google Play and Amazon’s app store.
In 2017, bugs and spontaneous crashes caused many of Shudder’s apps to receive low ratings. Many of these bugs seem to have been ironed out over the past two years.
Shudder on Android
In 2017, Shudder’s Google Play app had a mediocre three-out-of-five star rating. Since then, that rating has risen to 4.5 stars. To install, visit Google Play and search for Shudder.
Shudder on Apple TV
Shudder’s Apple app had four-out-of-five stars in 2017, but it now has 4.7 stars. To get started, go to the Apple App Store and type “Shudder” into the search bar.
Shudder on iPhones and iPads
The process for installing Shudder on one of Apple’s mobile devices is the same as what you need to do to install Shudder on Apple TV. Just go to the Apple App Store and search for Shudder by name.
Shudder on Roku
The rating of Shudder’s Roku app’s rose from 3.5 to 3.7 stars in two years. To install Shudder for Roku, just download the Shudder app from the Roku app store.
Shudder on Xbox One
Only 47 people reviewed Shudder’s Xbox One app. It only has a three-out-of-four star rating. The most recent review was written in September of 2018. To install Shudder for Xbox One, scroll all the way to the right on your Xbox home screen and then search for “Shudder” in the store. You will need to type out our full name with your controller.
Shudder on Amazon Fire TV
To find the Amazon Fire TV version of Shudder, go to the Amazon’s Appstore and type in “Shudder.”
Shudder Customer Support
Shudder doesn’t offer live support, but you can get in touch with Shudder’s support staff by opening up a ticket. There aren’t many complaints about Shudder’s customer support around the web.
How to Cancel Shudder
It’s fairly easy to cancel Shudder, but there’s a small catch: you have to use the same platform you used to sign up to cancel.
Shudder Refund Policy
Like most streaming services, Shudder won’t give you your money back after you cancel. However, you can continue accessing your account until the next billing cycle arrives.
Shudder is one of the most important indie horror streaming services out there right now. It’s got more low budget and arthouse flicks than anyone should ever watch in one lifetime, plus a growing collection of original films and shows.
In addition to the sheer size of its video vault, Shudder’s curated playlists are another one of Shudder’s best features. To help you make your way through the movie vault with your sanity intact, Shudder’s masterminds have produced expertly crafted playlists to guide you along as you browse.
Perhaps the best thing about Shudder is its original content. Creators like Stan Lee and Neil Gaiman have contributed to it, as have many talented but lesser-known indie directors and writers.