Some people want to counter all the darkness in the world and the stress in their lives by watching light-hearted comedies, and some want to… just watch more dark, stressful things. Hey, to each their own. And if you are looking for some dark shows and movies to watch, Netflix has you covered. (Netflix also has you covered in the light-hearted comedy area, of course. Streaming Friends over and over again is very acceptable.)
When it comes to "dark" shows and movies, that’s actually a pretty broad description. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is dark, but so is Seven — and those are very different movies. Also, are all horror movies "dark"? Are all thrillers? What makes sci-fi "dark" or not? None of these questions have very straightforward answers, so there’s a variety of genres included here.
There’s also the matter of a lot of dark movies and series being documentaries. Netflix has a ton of documentaries available about depressing topics — the ones about murderers are enough to make a lengthy list on their own — so for this dark movies and TV shows roundup, we’ll stick to just fictional stories or dramatized films and shows that are based on true events.
Here are 22 dark shows and movies currently available on Netflix. And remember, The Office is always there to stream afterward if you need it.
Starting off with one that is very much based on a true story, Zodiac is about the unsolved case of the Zodiac killer. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., and Mark Ruffalo.
2. No Country For Old Men
This thriller from the Coen brothers won four Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor (Javier Bardem). It also features a very memorable haircut.
3. A Most Violent Year
A Most Violent Year, starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, is a crime movie about corruption in New York City involving a heating oil company. It’s set in 1981, which actually was a most violent year in NYC history.
4. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil And Vile
This recently released film stars Zac Efron as Ted Bundy, and is adapted from the book The Phantom Prince: My Life with Ted Bundy written by one of Bundy’s ex-girlfriends, Elizabeth Kendall.
5. The Dark Knight
Hello! It has "dark" right there in the title! Really, though, the second of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies is very dark and won Heath Ledger a posthumous Academy Award for his role as the Joker. (By the way, Batman Begins is also on Netflix, but The Dark Knight Rises isn’t available.)
Heathers is the first dark comedy of the list. And it’s a very dark one considering it involves Winona Ryder and Christian Slater’s high school characters killing a bunch of people.
7. Spring Breakers
Speaking of characters suddenly turning to murder… Spring Breakers is about a group of girls who go on spring break and turn to a (short-lived) life of crime.
8. Bonnie And Clyde
This classic from 1967 tells the story of real criminals Bonnie Parker (Faye Dunaway) and Clyde Barrow (Warren Beatty). Netflix isn’t known for having a ton of old movies, so now is a good opportunity to catch this one if you’re a subscriber.
9. Ex Machina
Sci-fi movies can be very dark and disturbing, too, and this one definitely is. A humanoid robot might be manipulating everyone — it’s freaky!
Snowpiercer is another science fiction movie, and this one’s about a future where the Earth’s remaining humans escape an ice age by living on a train that circles the planet. The problem (well, one of them, anyway) is that everyone is separated by class with the poorest among them living in the hellscape that’s the back cars of the train.
11. A Clockwork Orange
Last up for movies, we have another oldie. This 1971 Stanley Kubrick film is one of the darkest of all, and is about a "ultra violent" man, who undergoes experimental therapy in an attempt to fix him.
12. Breaking Bad
You know of Breaking Bad, and you probably know that it won a ton of awards, including four Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Emmy wins for Bryan Cranston. If you missed it, all five seasons of the AMC show are on Netflix.
13. Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina
This series is dark in a very different way as it’s about the supernatural. The Riverdale spinoff is a Netflix Original series and stars Kiernan Shipka as the famous witch.
14. The Sinner
The Sinner is a crime series, with each season being an investigation into a different crime. (If you’re interested in the Jessica Biel one, that’s the first season.)
Dan Humphrey is back! Only this time Penn Badgley is playing a stalker in this Lifetime thriller-turned-Netflix hit.
16. Black Mirror
If you’re scared of things like, say, technology changing the entirety of the human condition, then Black Mirror isn’t for you. If that isn’t too terrifying and you like dark sci-fi, go for it.
17. Stranger Things
Stranger Things might be about kids, but it is dark. For one, it’s spooky as hell. For two, there’s monsters. And for three, it involves even more sinister things like tests being done on children in a secret government laboratory.
Dexter is an eight-season-long series about a serial killer, who — twist! — kills murderers and other awful criminals.
This Netflix Original is about a family with a dark past. And a dark present, for that matter.
20. & 21. Narcos & Narcos: Mexico
Narcos, another Netflix Original, is about the life and death of Pablo Escobar. There is also a spin-off, Narcos: Mexico, which is focused on drug trafficking in Mexico rather than in Columbia like the original.
22. Twin Peaks
Netflix is streaming the original Twin Peaks, which aired for two seasons. The series is based around a mystery involving the murder of a popular high school girl in a small town.
Enjoy! But just not too much at once, please. Being well informed on dark entertainment isn’t worth being bummed out for days.
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