Shudder – Netflix for horror fans
Shudder is a relatively new streaming service to launch, and it claims to be the largest selection of horror, thrillers and paranormal films available online. Now, that might be true, but being the only horror streaming service, it’s not necessarily a difficult feat. We were given a free trial to check out Shudder in beta, here’s what we thought…
At first glance Shudder looks like a nice site. It’s clean, and we love the way the menu items ‘shudder’ when you hover over them. The homepage offers up some of their new and exclusive films, as well as their Shudder TV, which we’ll go into later.
There are two main ways in which you can hunt for a film in Shudder. Either through collections, or browsing.
Collections groups the available titles into themes, such as Weird Science, Gross Anatomy, Zombie Jamboree and Alien Intruders. Some films may fit into more than one category, so it’s not great if you just want an overview of what’s available, but it’s excellent when you have an inkling for a specific subsection of the horror genre.
Browse does exactly what it says on the tin, it lists all available titles for you to browse through. Unfortunately, there are only two ways of sorting the films, alphabetically, or by just released (just released on Shudder, not newly released). This isn’t the most efficient way for most people to browse, especially when you have a lot to get through. As of the end of November, Shudder has 234 titles, and that can be a lot to get through. While the collections might be an easier way of whittling the library down, it’s a real shame that Shudder doesn’t allow films to be sorted by rating, which would be our preferred method.
Another way of sorting the films is to apply a filter to the whole library. This can be done by subgenre, such as Documentary, Killers, or Psychological Thrillers, or Monsters, such as Aliens, Ghosts or Vampires. This helps, but it is really different enough to the collections already on offer?
There’s a decent mix of titles currently available. For us, there’s a bit too much of the old stuff and not enough titles from the last 20 years, but that’s because we personally prefer more modern films. Looking at the films currently available, here are our top picks;
- Battle Royale
- Dead Snow
- Dark Skies
- Let the right one in
- The Battery
- Machine Girl
- The Human Centipede
There are a few niggles on there, such as listing sequels without the original, but you shouldn’t have any trouble finding something suitable to watch, whatever your taste in horror.
If you find a film you think you might like, the next step is to look at the synopsis. This screen in Shudder is very good, you can see a description of the film, it’s rating, and watch the trailer. Underneath, you can even read reviews from other members, but as we’ve already mentioned, it would be nice if this rating could be a sorting option for the library.
Ok, so now we move onto the one thing I really don’t like about Shudder. If you’re using Google chrome, or Firefox, like any sane person would be, then the media player controls are cut off the bottom of the screen. When you first launch a film, it plays it in a pop out screen on top of the current webpage. To go full screen, you would need to click the fullscreen icon on the player controls, but if the controls are appearing below your current view, and you have no way of scrolling down, it just doesn’t work! We ended up working around this by putting our browser full screen, which then allows the controls to come into view, and the player itself can be full screen, but it’s not ideal, and this really needs addressing!
Another interesting feature of Shudder is Shudder TV, and endless stream of screams… Shudder TV contains a constant stream of selected films in the Shudder library, so if you’re not sure what you want to watch, you can just head over and see what’s currently on. It’s a nice touch, but not one we’ve found ourselves using.
Currently Shudder costs $4.99 per month, which is about £4 due to current exchange rates, and half the price of Netflix. Netflix is currently listing 268 titles under the horror genre, which in actual fact, beats Shudder, and gives you a whole load more for your money. So is Shudder worth it? At the moment, we’re going to have to say no. It might claim to be the largest selection of horror, thrillers and paranormal films available online, but it’s not, and personally, we prefer the selection available on Netflix.Thanks for reading!
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