Shudder: Horrifying or Horrible?

Lindsey Becker

lmbecker@lc.edu

 

’Tis the season for frights, spooks and scares—and if you are looking for something to send that extra shiver down your spine, Shudder might be the streaming service for you. Available on Apple, Android, FireTV, Roku, Xbox and Chromecast, this platform caters exclusively to fans of horror, sci-fi and thriller titles. 

The service is owned and operated by AMC Networks. Starting as an invite-only, beta tested platform in 2015 and released fully in October 2016, the platform boasts that it has “the largest human-curated selection of high-quality, spine-tingling and provocative films, TV series and originals.” 

In my experience, the selection of horror films across platforms like Netflix and Hulu is not always quality or all-encompassing, and with Halloween looming closer, I opted to give the 7-day free trial of Shudder a whirl. Originally, I downloaded the app to view a Shudder original production, Host—a film set in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic where a group of friends participates in a seance over a Zoom call. 

Since I had six more free days with it, I decided to get as much out of it as I could before my trial ran out. Just browsing through the content, it is easy to see the service has a vast amount of titles available. From classics like Nosferatu, Night of the Living Dead and Halloween—to contemporary films and platform exclusives like Mandy, Mayhem and Terrified, there is something for every horror fan here. Slasher flicks, supernatural scares, international titles, horror comedies and even documentaries are scattered throughout the service. 

One thing I was impressed with was the quality of the Shudder originals. Some left something to be desired, but titles like Host, Spiral and The Witch of the Window I found to be more than worth the watch. Many films such as Haunt, One Cut of the Dead and Noroi: the Curse, are also exclusive to Shudder, meaning you can only find them streaming there. With curated collections and sub-genre filters, the platform makes it easy to browse the library and find content to your specific tastes. 

If I have one criticism of the streaming service, it is that the app itself can be a little clunky at times. I have been viewing the app on FireTV, and more than once I have had it freeze while searching and browsing, causing me to force-quit and restart it. Like most other streaming services, the platform allows you to create a list of content you are interested in watching, but it lacks a “watch again,” section that lists all the films you have already viewed—which can be somewhat frustrating if you are like me and want to refer back to what you have already seen.

Overall, if you are a year-round horror fan or just want some extra October scares, I think Shudder is well worth the $5.99 per month, and if you are still wary, the 7-day free trial is a convenient way to test the waters. Serve up the popcorn, shut off the lights and get ready to Shudder—if you dare.

 

Featured image by Lindsey Becker

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