As a horror, thriller, and suspense fan, I have a love-hate relationship with Netflix and other popular streaming services. The biggest issue is that I’ll spend an hour or more looking for a movie to watch, settle on something, and discover nothing but disappointment (mostly because it sucks). It honestly feels like most streaming services have an influx of sub-par content. Couple that with the fact that Netflix is losing licenses left and right, I'm left wanting to watch something that I can't find. Sometimes, a girl just wants to watch Halloween, okay?
Enter the streaming service Shudder.
Shudder is a streaming service that’s dedicated to horror, thrillers, and suspense. That checks all my boxes, so I was more than happy to check it out. After a few days, I was already hooked. This will be a streaming service I regularly frequent for a few reasons. Why? Let’s get into it.
Naturally, the content is the most important thing for any streaming service. Shudder is new. It released in 2016, so I didn’t expect it to have a wide variety. Boy, was I wrong. What I love most about this streaming service is the mixture of content. It has comedy horror, the classics, horror noir, TV series, psychological thrillers, sci-fi, cult, supernatural, and so much more.
One distinction to mention is that Shudder has foreign content, and that was really important to me. Along with films from Korea, Sweden, and England, it has one of the best horror series out there: Jordskott. This is a Swedish series about a woman who returns to her hometown to investigate her father’s suicide and a boy’s disappearance.
For classics, you can watch a remastered version of Phantasm, Halloween, Hellraiser, Re-Animator, and more. It also has more popular horror films like The Awakening, The Others, Sleepy Hollow, Resident Evil, Ichi the Killer, and Ong Bak.
Like every other streaming service, the catalog updates regularly. That’s how Shudder gets around the expensive licensing costs. By licensing it for a short amount of time, it can offer better content than competitors. However, that means you have to watch what you add to the list. The other side of the coin is that there’s constant new content from classics to new releases. Shudder also has exclusive content you can’t find anywhere else.
Shudder isn’t free. Every streaming service costs something, but the cost of this service is pretty low. You can pay for a year up front and pay $56.99 for the full year, or you can pay $5.99 per month. Before you commit, you can get a free seven-day trial. Your card won’t be charged, and you can cancel before the period is over to avoid being charged.
For this price, you get ad-free content. This isn’t like Hulu where you pay a small amount and see commercials every 10 to 15 minutes. Whether you’re watching a movie or television series, you won’t see a single ad. Awesome, right?
Watch in a Variety of Ways
If you’re not the person who watches things on the computer, you’ll be happy to know that you can watch Shudder pretty much anywhere and on anything. The website is a great place to start, but you can also download the Shudder app on your smartphone or tablet. If you prefer the television, I easily downloaded the app through Roku on my smart TV. The apps and websites are all easy to navigate.
One of the things I hate most about Netflix is that it rates content based on whether it thinks you’d like the film or series. This sucks because one movie may be in the same genre, but it could be total trash. Thankfully, Shudder put an end to that.
Movies are rated on a one-to-five “skull” scale. After watching the film, users have the opportunity to rate what they watched and add a little comment. Almost all (if not all) of the content has at least one rating to let you know if its hot garbage or not.
Another thing that’s worth noting about Shudder is the “Shudder TV” section. If you aren’t sure what to watch, Shudder TV will be playing a movie from its catalog. The progress bar will let you know how far in you are, and you always have the option to go back to the beginning of the film. This takes the guesswork out of trying to figure out what to watch for the night.
Shudder also gives you the chance to browse “Collections.” Collections are a group of movies that have been curated based on a theme like “Vengeance is Hers.” This collection is one that can only be described as “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
Then there are guest curators where Shudder collects everything about an actor’s or director’s film and adds in movies they love. Currently, Rob Zombie is a guest curator due to his film 31. Naturally, it features 31, bonus features for the movie, and some of the titles he loves.
What’s Not So Great
I’m not here to say that the streaming service is perfect. It has its cons, although I felt like I started digging for stuff to dislike about it. The first thing I don’t like is that the content doesn’t stay for a year at a time. I’m the kind of person to add something to my list and never watch it.
Next, I want a foreign category while searching through movies. Hopefully, this will be added later on as Shudder grows. Alternatively, it can be added as a “collection.” Basically, I want to watch Korean and Japanese horror non-stop because it’s the stuff that really freaks me out.
Finally, it bugs me that you don’t have the option to go to the next episode in a series when you’ve completed an episode. After I finished the first episode of A Discovery of Witches, I had to back out to the main series page, click “more episodes” and navigate to the newer episode. A small gripe, but it’s a quality-of-life thing.
Pros and Cons
For a quick summary, let's go over the pros and cons:
- Actual User Ratings
- Lots of Classics
- Apps on Various Devices
- No Commercials
- Low Price
- Shudder TV
- Doesn’t Go to Next Episode Automatically
- Titles Don’t Remain Long
- No Foreign Category
Would I Stay Subscribed?
That’s an easy answer: heck, yeah. It’s been hard to pull myself away from this streaming service. There’s such a variety of films and series that I’m excited to keep watching. My list is getting larger as I find more and more stuff to watch. Even then, it feels like I haven’t even scratched the surface. Plus, for $5.99 per month, it’s a fraction of the cost that I currently pay for any other streaming service. It’s hard to find a reason not to try Shudder out.
Give Shudder a shot, and you won't be disappointed!