9 Horror Movies Based on Real Life on Netflix (April 2024)

While it does provide a unique sense of thrill to know that the horror movie we are watching is based on true events, it goes without saying that a lot of dramatization/fiction is added to make it visually thrilling. These two thrills are entirely different from each other. And what makes for an actual story-inspired horror film is how effectively the makers bring these two thrills together without making it feel unreal. In this article, we bring you such horror movies based on real-life news available on Netflix.

9. Run Rabbit Run (2023)

Directed by Daina Reid, this Australian film follows Sarah (Sarah Snook) and her seven-year-old daughter Mia (Lily LaTorre), who claims that she is her mother’s sister Alice, who went missing at age seven. She even inhabits the behavioral patterns of Alice while Sarah begins to have hallucinations and nightmares, almost mistaking her Mia for Alice. The film ends on a painful note, but only after getting the audience wondering what the truth is. Has Mia been possessed? Or is Sarah? Or does Mia have the ability to establish contact with the dead? Or is it a case of mistaken identity? It’s upto us to ponder upon.

Writer Hannah Kent, an author, based the screenplay on reports of kids speaking about stuff that can be addressed as proof of either possession or reincarnation. She told Australia’s In Review about a documentary wherein a little boy described his past life in great detail, including his home. All his details turned out to be true. Kent used this and wrote a story from the POV of a parent dealing with a child who misses someone else and not her. To get a better idea, you can watch ‘Run Rabbit Run’ here.

8. Unspeakable Acts (1990)

This biographical drama is directed by Linda Otto. It is based on the eponymous 1986 book by Jan Hollingsworth, who speaks about the harrowing real case of child abuse at a Miami daycare in 1984. The film follows child psychologists Laurie (Jill Clayburgh) and Joseph Braga (Brad Davis) [their real names have been used] as they try to decipher the words coming out of the mouths of the victims, who can barely speak owing to their young ages, about how Frank (Gregory Sierra) and Ileana Fuster (Bess Meyer) [real names] abused them at the couple’s Country Walk daycare in Miami, Florida. And yes, it includes sexual abuse. You can watch the film here to find out whether the culprits were brought to justice.

7. The Haunting in Connecticut (2009)

Directed by Peter Cornwell, ‘The Haunting in Connecticut’ follows the Campbell family that has just moved into a house they rented, which is close to the hospital wherein Matt Campbell (Kyle Gallner), son of Sara (Virginia Madsen) and Peter (Martin Donovan), is undergoing treatment for cancer. Matt soon begins to have visions and nightmares that get worse with time and start affecting the other family members as well. The catch? Their house was previously a funeral home with a dark past.

The actual events that the film is apparently based on concern the Snedeker family of Southington, Connecticut. The family rented the house in 1986 and moved in (Allen and Carmen Snedeker, their three sons, and a daughter). They started experiencing supernatural events and even seeing hosts. They reached out to demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren, who told them that their house was home to demons. The Warrens then hired Ray Garton to speak to the Snedeker family and write a book based on their experiences. It was published in 1992 and titled ‘In a Dark Place: The Story of a True Haunting.’ However, what’s interesting is that there is no proof of supernatural occurrences in the Snedeker house.

Moreover, Garton himself revealed during an interview with “Horror Bound” magazine that he was told by Ed Warren to make the book scary with whatever he could find out from the Snedekers. You too are entitled to your opinions. As for the film, you can stream it here.

6. Annabelle (2014)

If you haven’t already seen this movie, in which case you should see it immediately, ‘Annabelle’ tells the story of the now-infamous Raggedy Ann doll named Anabelle that brought world-famous paranormal activists Ed and Lorraine Warren face to face with one of the most potent forces of evil they had ever encountered in their careers. Directed by John R. Leonetti, this film is a spin-off/prequel to ‘The Conjuring’ (2013), which is also based on another case of the Warrens. While the events in the film aren’t actual, the doll and the stories surrounding it very much are. In the movie, we follow a married couple, John (Ward Horton) and Mia (Annabelle Wallis), who are expecting their first child. John brings home a doll (the Annabella doll) as a gift for their child. Unfortunately, things take a dark turn after they are attacked by a woman named Annabella and her boyfriend, both of whom are later revealed to be members of a sinister cult. While the cops apprehend the attackers, the demon they summoned follows John, Mia, and their newborn daughter Leah to their new apartment to claim Mia’s soul and makes its way inside the doll, setting off a chain of paranormal events that the family has no idea how to deal with.

The Anabelle doll first made its appearance in ‘The Conjuring’ and then received its personal series, including ‘Anabelle’ (2014), Annabelle: Creation (2017), and Annabelle Comes Home (2019). As per the Warrens, the spirit of a dead girl named Anabelle had latched itself onto the doll that then started behaving, which itself is scary, strangely. They came across the doll in 1970 and, after realizing that a demonic entity indeed possessed it, locked it in their personal museum in Monroe, Connecticut. To understand things better, you can start by watching ‘Annabelle’ here.

5. Veronica (2017)

Directed by Paco Plaza, this Spanish horror flick follows 15-year-old Veronica (Sandra Escacena), whose interest in carrying out a séance using an Ouija board to talk to her dead father’s spirit takes a sinister turn. She ends up summoning a demonic entity that possesses her, posing a threat to the lives of her three very young siblings. Her supernatural state was observed by a police officer who then mentioned his experience in a 1996 police report.

The film is loosely based on the 1991 Vallecas case, considered one of Spain’s most infamous cases of paranormal activity. As per the story, Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro (1973–1991), hailing from Vallecas, Madrid, participated in an Ouija board ritual at school. A teacher broke the board, but those present noticed smoke making its way inside Estefania through her nose. The following six months were filled with hallucinations, seizures, visions, and other paranormal stuff, and she was found dead in her bedroom on July 14, 1991. It is also said that the evil spirit that had gotten hold of Estefania was that of her grandfather, who promised to make living impossible for the entire family, even from his grave. To add to all this, we have the police reports of three officers who made it very clear that they, too, were subjected to paranormal activities during their investigation, including weird noises, doors swinging open, and stains appearing in different places all over the house. While Estefania’s family experienced supernatural phenomena even after her death, they stopped after the family moved to a different place. You can watch ‘Veronica’ here.

4. Things Heard & Seen (2021)

Based on the novel ‘All Things Cease to Appear’ by Elizabeth Brundage, ‘Things Heard & Seen’ is directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini and stars Amanda Seyfried and James Norton. It follows Catherine (Seyfried), who moves into her new farmhouse in upstate New York with her husband George (Norton) and daughter Franny. However, the house seems to hide a dark secret that makes her feel ill at ease, especially after she comes across a Bible carrying the names of the previous owners of the house, some of which have been scratched out and marked as “damned.” Slowly, her marriage, too, begins to fall apart while the feeling of a negative presence grows stronger and stronger. Catherine ends up dead but not. Perplexed?

Brundage based her novel on her own experiences while living in an old home in upstate New York. Her two daughters, aged three and six, told her stories about ghosts in their house, including those of three girls who were killed in a fire, providing details that they had no way of knowing and weren’t old enough to make up. One night, she saw her youngest daughter laughing at something that was moving around the room. She was inspired by the 1982 murder of Cathleen Krauseneck, a 29-year-old mother whose lifeless body was found in her house in Brighton, Rochester, New York, on February 19, with her 3-year-old daughter Sara left all alone in another room. Cathleen had an axe lodged in her head. Her husband, Jim Krauseneck, was indicted for her murder on November 1, 2019, more than 37 years after he killed his wife. You can watch ‘Things Heard & Seen’ here.

3. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

Extremely Wicked

Directed by Joe Berlinger, ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ tells the story of one of the world’s most dangerous serial killers, Ted Bundy (Zac Efron), from the POV of his former girlfriend Elizabeth Kendall (Lily Collins). She started dating Bundy in 1969, and the news reports of kidnapping and murders began spreading in 1974. Despite multiple convictions, escapes, murders, and arrests, Ted denied his involvement in the crimes to Elizabeth till she showed him a photograph of one of his victims whom he beheaded.

The film is based on Elixabeth’s memoir ‘The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy.’ It shows how Elizabeth’s struggle to cope with the fact that the man who was helping her raise her daughter was the one who had been kidnapping, torturing, and killing so many just like her. If you want to know Ted Bundy from a new angle, you can watch ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile’ right here.

2. The Good Nurse (2022)

Directed by Tobias Lindholm, this film stars Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne as nurses Amy Loughren and Charles Cullen, respectively, at the Parkfield Memorial Hospital in New Jersey. When one patient after another starts dying mysteriously at the hospital, the detectives are contacted. They find out that Charles has a criminal history, and upon further investigation, Charles is revealed to have killed the patients by administering them with high doses of insulin. Amy agrees to talk to Charles and make him confess and does so successfully.

The film is based on Charles Graeber’s 2013 true-crime book of the same name. In reality, both Amy Loughren and Charles Cullen worked together in the ICU at Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, New Jersey. From 1988 to 2003, Cullen killed numerous patients across multiple medical centers in New Jersey. Only after realizing that something was wrong as patients kept dying due to improbable causes was the New Jersey State Police alerted. The police, who had already harbored doubts about Cullen, put a wire on Loughren and asked her to talk to him and see if he knew anything. Eventually, Cullen confessed his acts to Loughren. He was arrested on December 12, 2003, and confessed to killing 40 people, although researchers state that the number can go up to 400. Cullen was given 18 life sentences. You can watch ‘The Good Nurse’ here.

1. The Ritual (2017)

Directed by David Bruckner, this British horror flick follows a group of four college friends who set off on a hiking trip in a Swedish forest to honor the memory of their friend who was killed during a robbery. In the endeavor, they come across a sinister tribe that intends to sacrifice them to a jötunn (a negative supernatural entity in German mythology) named Moder in return for immortality. The cast includes Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, and Sam Troughton. The film is based on Adam Nevill’s 2011 novel of the same name.

This scary film is based on an even more frightening and spooky true story that dates back to 1978. Named the case of the Yuba County Five, the story involves five men (hailing from Yuba County, California), four of whom had intellectual disabilities, and the fifth one had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia after his service in the army. All of them were aged 24-32 and went to see a college basketball tournament at the California State University, Chico, on the night of February 24, 1978. The next day, they had their own basketball qualifier for the Paralympics as a part of the Gateway Gators, a disabled team supported by the locals. Unfortunately, the five guys never returned from Chico. Several months after their abandoned yet perfectly working car was found in the Plumas National Forest in California, search and rescue efforts led to the discovery of 4 of their corpses that had turned to bones.

They were found near a trailer camp around 20 miles from their car. All the food and heating paraphernalia in the trailer had been left untouched, and it seemed as if the guys deliberately starved to death unless someone or something killed them. The body of the paranoid schizophrenia-diagnosed guy was never found. A witness even stated that he saw the abandoned car on the night of February 24, along with the people in it, as well as a woman with a baby. To this day, there is no proper explanation of why the five guys went to the woods and how they died. You can watch ‘The Ritual’ here.

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