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Shudder Review: Is It the Best Streaming Service for Horror Fans?

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Do you like scary movies? Especially if you’re a fan of arthouse, indie, low-budget, or cult favorite horror, Shudder could quickly become your new favorite streaming addiction.

Shudder’s per-month price is low, but is it worth yet another monthly subscription? Read on, if you dare.

ProsCons
✔ Large & varied selection❌ Little mainstream content
✔ Low subscription price❌ No offline viewing
✔ Great user interface❌ Single account profile

Shudder Overview

Shudder is a subscription-based, ad-free, (mostly) on-demand service from AMC Networks. It exclusively features content of the horror genre. Shudder prides itself on having the largest human-curated collection of suspense, thrillers, and gorefests around.

The price is low, $5.99/mo or $56.99/yr after a seven-day free trial. Unlike some services (Amazon Prime Video, we’re looking at you), the service is truly ad-free. You aren’t subjected to any ads on even the live content, nor are there ads for other Shudder content before your selection starts playing.

The ratings and reviews on each title are from other users and largely (unusually for user reviews) high-quality and informative.

Shudder Movies
Shudder is always adding new movies.

Shudder Content

Shudder’s library — its centerpiece — includes both spine-tingling classics and terrifying originals. These include films and series. Plus there are exclusives like the original Phantasm remastered in 4K and the previously unreleased uncut version of The Devils.

Movies can be filtered by genre, which include Supernatural, Killers, Creature Features, Psychological Thriller, Exclusive & Original, Paranormal, International, Documentary, Comedy, Crime & Mystery, Revenge, Sci-Fi, Cult, and Shorts.

In addition to the spookily impressive on-demand selection, subscribers can access the “Shudder TV” feature. You can choose between live fright-streams “It Came From Shudder,” “Slashics,” and the newer “Folk Horror Collection” if you don’t want to have to decide what to watch.

Some critics have noted that Shudder does not carry a number of the more recognizable big box office horror titles: Alien, Child’s Play, Jaws, Psycho (or any other Hitchcock movies), Rosemary’s Baby, Saw, Army of Darkness, The Exorcist (but does carry the widely higher-regarded The Exorcist III), The Fly, The Thing, Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street, or any adaptation of a Stephen King novel.

Having acknowledged that, there’s still a solid collection of mainstream slashers: the first five Halloween movies, The Fog, The Evil Dead (both I and II), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the original, restored), The Hills Have Eyes (the original), Day of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, and many more.

Shudder Originals

Shudder produces a truly shocking number of new films, most highly acclaimed from critics and audiences alike. A few recently added original titles are:

  • The Seed: Three friends in the Mojave Desert for a meteor shower are terrorized by an alien body-snatcher.
  • Hellbender: From the family that brought you The Deeper You Dig, comes a film about a teenage girl isolated by her mother who discovers she’s descended from powerful witches.
  • They Live in the Grey: A psychic social worker uses her powers to aid a family from the malevolent entities haunting them.
  • All the Moons: A young wounded war orphan in late-1800s Spain is rescued by a woman who transforms her into a child-vampire.

The service also has its own original series, such as Etheria (supernatural anthology of women-directed shorts), The Boulet Brothers Dragula (monster drag artist competition), and The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs featuring the titular long-time popular movie reviewer.

Finally, there is a selection of podcasts that are also available on regular apps in addition to listening (and viewing) through the Shudder app. 

Shudder User Experience

Shudder provides an excellent user experience that is aesthetically pleasing as well as easy to use.

Shudder Supported Devices

The Shudder app is available for the following devices:

  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Android mobile
  • Android TV
  • Apple TV
  • iOS
  • Roku
  • Samsung Smart TV
  • Xbox.

† Not available in New Zealand.

You can also always stream Shudder in a web browser through its website on a desktop or laptop browser. And you can use Chromecast to cast to your TV from the website or the mobile app.

Features

The Shudder app has a killer interface that’s well-designed and easy to use. Performance is generally solid. Playback is smooth and resolution goes up to 4K where available.

Some very old films get a bit grainy on today’s HD TVs, but not everything can be remastered. The only really major flaw for individual users is that the service does not allow downloads for offline viewing.

There are no parental controls. Shudder’s content in general is not geared toward children. This is something to keep in mind if you have an older child in your household who likes horror. There’s no way to filter the content for individual users, and in fact, no ability to create separate profiles.

The service is a little coy about how many devices you’re actually allowed to stream at a time on the same account. We have tested up to three different devices showing different films on multiple occasions without problem.

This result only applies to subscribers who have direct Shudder subscriptions and use its app. If you subscribe through Amazon, Sling TV, or YouTube TV, their device streaming limits apply instead.

Shudder Series
Shudder offers original series and podcasts.

How to Get Shudder

Shudder is a popular streaming service with over a million subscribers. So it isn’t surprising that it is available from a number of different providers.

Direct Subscription

The best way to experience Shudder is through its own website or app. This gives you Shudder’s own interface and offers the full range of Shudder’s features.

Unfortunately, it also offers the full range of Shudder’s limitations, such as limited simultaneous devices and no profiles. It’s definitely a trade-off, but how many times are you seriously going to want to, say, put on Sleepaway Camp on the bus or airplane while traveling?

Shudder offers one plan but there are two ways to buy it:

  • Monthly: $5.99/mo
  • Yearly: $56.99/yr ($4.75/mo).

AMC+

AMC+ is AMC’s streaming service that bundles AMC content (like The Walking Dead and Mad Men) with on-demand services Shudder, Sundance Now, and IFC Films Unlimited to create a cinephilic heaven.

If you’re into arthouse, indie-type movies of all genres, you should absolutely take a look. It has lots of exclusive and original content you can’t get anywhere else: series Ragdoll, Anne Boleyn, and La Fortuna and films No Man of God, South of Heaven, and Survive the Game. Best part?

At $8.99/mo, it’s only a couple of dollars more than Shudder. And it is 83.88/yr, which is just $6.99/mo. A fantastic deal, but note that it doesn’t support Xbox or Samsung TVs the way Shudder does.

See our complete AMC+ review for more information.

Sling TV

Sling TV is a cable-replacement service that offers live channels, but one of their Extra add-ons is an AMC+ package for $7/mo in addition to the base package cost of $35.00/mo. You can also subscribe to just Shudder as an a la carte premium for $6/mo.

Save 50% on Sling TV

YouTube TV

Like Sling TV, YouTube TV is a live TV service meant to replace cable. It’s more like traditional cable than Sling. It has one large base package of 85+ channels for $64.99/mo. Also like Sling, it offers a large selection of premium channel add-ons, though not as many as Sling. Both AMC+ and Shudder are options.

Amazon Prime Video

Much like how Amazon.com branched out from books over twenty years ago by partnering with brick-and-mortar stores like Target and Toys R Us, its Prime Video service is branching out from Amazon’s already very respectable library by offering subscriptions to other services through Prime Video Channels. Both Shudder and AMC+ are available at their regular prices ($5.99/mo and $8.99/mo, respectively.)

Shudder Alternatives

Shudder Android
Shudder runs on many devices including Android phones.

There is no service quite like Shudder but there are a number that will appeal to horror fans.

Freebies

These websites/apps all have free, ad-supported content.

  • Shout Factory TV: Has all kinds of stuff, much more than just horror. And its horror selection tends more toward the less serious, more cheesy, campy flicks. A great complement to Shudder’s generally more serious collection. A few titles: The Brain, Gargoyles, and Night of the Demons. Bonus: Shout Factory also owns MST3K.
  • TubiTV: Offers a phantasmagorical catalog of older classic horror that you can really sink your teeth into, plus (unusual for a free service) a few originals such as Unborn, War of the Worlds: Annihilation, and Harland Manor. On the downside, the video quality isn’t always the greatest.
  • Crackle: Another multi-genre service, it provides a decent horror section, including the recently added King of Devil’s Island, Frankenfish, and Anacondas: Trail of Blood.
  • Peacock: NBCUniversal’s streaming service is the exclusive home of Alfred Hitchcock’s best, including Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, Vertigo, and more. Plus, for the past few years in the fall, the Universal Classic Monsters pop up, just in time for Halloween. Titles include Bela Legosi as Dracula, Boris Karloff as the Monster in Frankenstein, Elsa Lanchester as Bride of Frankenstein, and Claude Rains as The Invisible Man. Plus it has lots of fun sequels and crossovers like Dracula’s Daughter and Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman. Watch them free with ads, or subscribe for an ad-free viewing experience.

Subscriptions

If you are willing to spend a bit, you can do even better.

  • Screambox: Probably Shudder’s closest competitor in terms of target demographic, Screambox is slightly cheaper ($4.99/mo or $35.88/yr — $2.99/mo), but also has a very meh interface, a smaller library, and, as of this past fall, only 12 exclusive titles. Look for its content to increase now that it’s been acquired by Cinedigm and Bloody Disgusting.
  • Full Moon Features: The home of the Puppet Master franchise, Full Moon runs more toward campy horror like The Gingerdead Man, Evil Bong, Head of the Family, and the Demonic Toys movies. Subscriptions are $6.99/mo or $59.99/yr ($4.99/mo).
  • Netflix: Of course the King of Streaming has a ton of horror; exclusives include: Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2022), the British Choose or Die, Army of the Dead, The Babysitter, The Silence, and the limited series Midnight Mass. Subscriptions start at $9.99/mo.
  • Hulu: Hulu also has a number of original horror movies mixed in with classics and newer mainstream titles, though not as many as Netflix: Fresh, Bad Hair, Little Monsters, Wounds, Tentacles, and False Positive are just a few. Sign up starting at $6.99/mo or $69.99/yr ($5.83/mo).
  • Amazon Prime Video: Known for low-budget oddballs, some films included with Prime Video are: The VelociPastor, The Cleaning Lady, Black Box, and SX_Tape. Prime Video membership is $8.99/mo, or $12.99/mo to get all the Amazon Prime benefits (including Prime Video).
  • Monsters and Nightmares: Magnolia Pictures’ collection of horror, suspense, and dark sci-fi. Featured titles: The Guilty, Dead Bodies, Shrooms, Tucker & Dale vs Evil, The Wave, Tiger House, and Last Shift. It’s only $2.99/mo, probably because the vast majority of the content can be found on other streaming services.

Wrapping Up

Shudder bills itself as a service for “both casual and super fans.” But unless you’re the kind of horror connoisseur who is excited about a 4K version of the 1979 Phantasm, Shudder’s probably going to be more of a seasonal thing for you than a regular addition to your streaming entertainment pool. Still, if you enjoy, say, a weekly scary movie night, it’s probably more worth your while than Screambox. And if you find the sillier slashers more fun, Full Moon Features or Shout Factory TV might be more up your alley. 

They all have free trials, so shop around, and remember, you can ax any of these services any time you want. So if you can’t choose, chop up the year and take turns with all your favorite fright factories. Don’t forget your hockey mask and machete!

FAQ

Isn’t AMC+ a better deal than Shudder? 

That depends on what kind of movie fan you are. If you are zeroed in on horror and not particularly interested in avant-garde filmmaking or the latest indie darling, there’s no reason to spend the extra money for AMC+. (It adds up!) If you’re a multi-faceted cinephile who’s down for offbeat romances, dark comedies, and original drama, then AMC+ is definitely the way to go.

Does Shudder come with Amazon Prime? 

Shudder is not included with Amazon Prime. But it is available through Amazon Prime Video Channels as an add-on, for the same price as it is as a stand-alone subscription: $5.99/mo. The only advantage to going through Amazon is consolidating your billing and user interface for your various streaming services. It also allows you to take advantage of Prime Video’s features like user profiles and streaming on multiple devices.

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Alanna Baker
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