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 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 a little pricier than it was originally, so is it still a good value option?
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 gives you full access to Shudder for seven days.
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. Previously, this was free to everyone. However, to get access to Shudder's on-demand content and originals and Shudder TV, you have to buy a paid subscription.
Shudder 60-second summary
When you sign up for Shudder, you get access to around 669 titles. Among these are 644 movie and 25 TV shows, as of this time of writing. There are also currently over 100 Shudder Originals, both movies and TV shows, which can only be streamed if you have a Shudder account or access to one.
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. But if you're also into top-notch horror content, Shudder is still a great option.
Shudder's original content is the real attraction. They feature high-quality production, recognizable actors (like Steven Yeun of The Walking Dead fame) and storylines 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 a YouTube TV / Amazon Prime Video add-on.
- Shudder TV is now only for Premium users
- The library still lacks many top-rated horror films
- You have to sign up for a free trial before you get the full pricing information
Shudder plans and pricing
Both of Shudder’s plans and pricing options are very reasonable. If you pay for an entire year of service upfront, you'll get a nice discount on the total cost. However, even the monthly subscription price is still excellent and one of the cheapest on the market for a niche on-demand streaming service.
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.
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.
Once you hit the big red “Start Your Free Trial” button, you can choose between the annual or monthly subscription plan. Note that if you sign up for the annual subscription, you are paying a higher one-time cost for the year and will likely not get a refund if you don't enjoy it.
The style of horror that Shudder peddles is definitely not for everyone. 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 Midsommar.
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.
Some of the top-rated Shudder Originals include the following:
“It is both nightmare and dream, a welcome stride away from the silly "true events" hook of the first film.” - Luke Thompson, Village Voice
The Advent Calendar
The Advent Calendar is a fantastic French horror following a young paraplegic woman named Eva who receives a mysterious advent calendar, filled with strange and terrifying gifts.
"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
"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
Hellbender was one of 2022's most popular films on Shudder. This Shudder Original features the story of a lonely teenage girl who lives in the wilderness with a strangely overprotective mother. According to RogertEbert.com's Brian Tallerico, "These folks make daring, confident genre films, and they're only getting better."
Shudder offers curated TV and 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
Shudder's 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 may be NSFW.
Horror Noire (2019)
Horror Noire is a fascinating documentary, based on the book of the same name by Dr. Robin R. Means Coleman. It looks at horror films throughout history and how they affected and embraced black creators and fans.
The Mortuary Collection
With close to 17 million views, The Mortuary Collection trailer is one of Shudder's most-viewed YouTube videos. It's the trailer for a film about a strange mortician, told in a Tales from the Crypt style.
The Cleansing Hour
The Cleansing Hour is another 2019 big hit from Shudder, following a live-stream exorcism that goes very wrong.
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 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.
Final comments on Shudder as an on-demand streaming service
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.
Alex Munkachy • Author
Alex Munkachy is a freelance writer, game developer and hobby robotics enthusiast.
Lisa Holden • Editor
Lisa Holden is an editor and creative based in Houston, TX. Lisa holds a BA in African-American Studies from Temple University and has spent her career working in news publications and magazines, even founding a magazine herself. She began working as an editor for Flixed in 2023. When she’s not editing or working on one of her many creative endeavors (whenever that is), she enjoys traveling to new places and biking on sunny days.