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Shudder is a streaming service focused entirely on horror films and series.
Its affordable $6/month price is attractive, but the app’s interface and video quality are mediocre.
Though true horror buffs will find a lot to like, fans looking for newer hits will have to look elsewhere.
Shudder is a subscription streaming service that specializes in all things horror, from campy classics to new releases. Plans start at only $4.75 a month, and the service can also be accessed as part of an AMC Plus membership.
The idea of an entertainment platform catered exclusively to scary movies and shows sounds like it could be a horror buff’s dream come true, but with so many other streaming services littering the market, is Shudder really worth it?
After spending some quality time with the service, we think it’s a solid option for true horror aficionados, but its appeal to more mainstream fans is limited by a few key drawbacks.
One of the most attractive features of Shudder is its reasonable price. A monthly subscription only runs you $6. You can even save more with a yearly membership for $57, which equates to just $4.75 a month. You can sign up for Shudder directly through the Shudder app or site, or as an add-in channel to Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV.
Shudder is also available as part of an AMC Plus membership. The cable channel’s streaming service includes access to everything on Shudder along with Sundance Now and IFC Films Unlimited. At only $9 a month, AMC Plus might be a better option than subscribing to Shudder alone, especially if you watch shows like “Better Call Saul” or “The Walking Dead.”
Shudder movie and series selection
For hardcore and classic horror fans, Shudder’s library is vast and packed with hours of scary content, old and new. The service has an especially noteworthy selection of indie and cult-classic content. However, if you’re mostly interested in newer box office hits, you may find the library lacking.
For example, Shudder is home to a selection of classics from director John Carpenter, like “Halloween,” but you won’t find recent horror hits like Jordan Peele’s “Us” or Ari Aster’s “Hereditary.”
On the plus side, the service is home to exclusive content that you won’t find on other subscription platforms, like “Mandy” starring Nicolas Cage. However, you can get access to these titles, and pretty much everything else on Shudder, by buying or renting them separately from digital retailers like Amazon.
Some notable films on Shudder as of August 2022 include:
“Await Further Instructions” (2018)”Carrie” (1976)”Color Out of Space” (2020)”Halloween” (1978)”Hellraiser” (1987)”Little Shop of Horrors” (1986)”Mandy” (2018)”One Missed Call” (2004)”Psycho Gore Man” (2020)”Ring” (1998)”The Babadook” (2014)”The Crazies” (1973)”The Taking of Barbara Logan” (2014)”The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (1974)”The Wailing” (2016)
Some notable series on Shudder as of August 2022 include:
“Behind the Monsters””Channel Zero””Creepshow””Eli Roth’s History of Horror””Hammer House of Horror””Slasher: Flesh and Blood””The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs””The Walking Dead: World Beyond””Trickster””Visitations with Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah”
In addition to its on-demand library, Shudder lets members jump into “live” streaming channels that continually play movies from its catalog. Channels are separated into genres like Folk Horror and Slashics (classic slashers). These channels are good for subscribers who are looking for something new to check out and don’t mind tuning into something random.
Though the lack of newer studio releases might put off some subscribers, the service’s selection is perfect for horror fans looking for content they haven’t seen before, all in one place and for one low price. With so many originals and indie films, it’s unlikely you’ll run out of new scary movies to watch.
Shudder’s user interface gets the job done, but it’s not the best. Compared to other mainstream services, Shudder’s app and website lack polish.
Transitions are less smooth, images are lower resolution, and the overall design is rather basic when stacked up against the competition. In other words, it just looks kind of cheap.
But despite its lackluster style, Shudder does make it simple to find stuff to watch. The home page is very similar to that of Netflix or Hulu, with fresh recommendations served right to you. It’s also simple to jump into different sections for movies, series, and collections.
The best part about using Shudder is that you can sort the films by horror subgenre. Not all horror is the same, and not all horror fans like the same stuff, so being able to narrow it down to just your favorites makes browsing easy.
You can jump straight to supernatural, psychological, sci-fi, and many other types of horror. Streaming services like HBO Max typically just give you a huge alphabetical list of all horror lumped together, so this is a nice way to find more specialized titles.
One filter Shudder is missing, though, is a “Sort by popularity” or a “Trending now” option. Instead you can only browse by latest additions or alphabetically, making it a bit of an endeavor to find a movie well-rated by other viewers unless you click into each title.
Video and audio quality
Shudder’s website says it only offers video playback in up to 720p high definition, with some older films limited to 480p standard definition. When testing on a Roku Ultra, we found the service’s audio playback to be limited to 2.0 channel stereo.
This is a step down from other, more mainstream services. The industry standard is generally 1080p (full high definition) with surround sound options, and many services even offer select titles in up to 4K Ultra HD with high dynamic range (HDR).
When watching on a 65-inch TV, Shudder’s movies look a bit soft and show more visible compression than we typically see on other apps. If you’re streaming on a smaller screen this limitation won’t be as noticeable, but it’s still a bit disappointing.
The bottom line
Shudder succeeds in its goal of catering to big horror fans for an affordable price, but aspects of its design and performance definitely make it feel like a budget streaming service. For $6 a month, you get access to a wide variety of horror, including cult-classic, international, and indie movies — but the browsing and viewing experiences are lacking compared to mainstream competitors.
Ultimately, this is a service that’s made to appeal to true horror aficionados who aren’t satisfied by the selection of scary titles on Netflix, HBO Max, and other services of that type. Despite its flaws, if you’re a real hardcore horror fan, we think Shudder is worth the price for its hours of available content.
If you’re only after the latest horror releases from major studios, however, you should just stick with a mainstream streaming service.
Pros: Affordable price, several exclusives and originals, vast library of horror classics, subgenre sorting, available with AMC Plus
Cons: Lower resolution video playback, unpolished browsing experience, app isn’t available on all smart TVs, lacks new major horror releases, limited to stereo sound