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5 Unsettling Horror Series You Should Watch

Written By Vanessa Maki

Vanessa Maki is a queer Blerd and artist. She has written for a variety of publications including The Pink Advocate, The Gay Gaze, Dread Central, Horror Movie Blog and many more. She is weirder than you realize.

There’s something unsettling about watching characters struggle to deal with their reality and what is and isn’t real. Naturally, people flock to psychological horror to elicit that feeling. But sometimes other horror sub-genres, or occasionally psychological thrillers, will evoke that feeling. I’m personally always down for a weird time one way or another. There’s nothing wrong with a sprinkle of mystery, disturbing events, and creepy characters.

I’ve compiled a mini list of horror and one psychological thriller series that will trip you out one way or another. Whether it be because of the psychological or sheer mystery, I’ve got you covered.

Sharp Objects (2018; HBO)

When shows are grounded in what we, the audience, perceive as reality, it can be a hard pill to swallow. Sharp Objects is a miniseries that follows Camille Preaker (Amy Adams), an alcoholic reporter who has a past she’s forced to face when she returns to her hometown to investigate unsettling murders.

The show is based on a book of the same name by Gillian Flynn, and it’s an uncomfortable journey that involves dysfunctional families, small town secrets, the murders of young girls, Southern Gothic flavor, and more. There are moments throughout the show that’ll have you jumping in and out of different points in time with flashbacks that fold into the present day so neatly. It might not be traditional horror, but it damn sure is creepy enough to satisfy any horror lover.

From (2022; Epix/MGM+)

Being trapped in any place, without any promise of being able to escape, is an awful thing to think about. From follows a bunch of people that are stuck in a Middle American small town while trying to survive every night when creepy creatures come out with the intention to kill.

There’s still so much mystery wrapped up in the show, and the third season will likely answer some more questions. For now, it’s a show with a blend of characters that you’ll either like or you won’t. As well as a solid mystery, creepy as hell moments, violence, and some tremendous performances (especially from Harold Perrineau). Saying much else would spoil key points in the show. So the only thing I’ll say is that you should check it out.

Archive 81 (2022; Netflix)

The number of shows that Netflix has canceled before they could be wrapped up properly is astounding. Archive 81 is based on a podcast of the same name, and it follows a man named Dan (Mamoudou Athie) who is hired to restore video footage that sends him down a spiral of uncovering a mystery of a cult and demons.

A good portion of the series is analog horror, and it makes the tapes feel so real (something that’s incredibly effective about found footage). Overall, the characters come across as real people and there’s a genuine sense of conflict.

The series isn’t perfect because we’re left with more questions than answers thanks to the cancellation. But it gets the job done as far as being unsettling, especially when the walls start to close in on Dan. Not to mention, anything involving cults is eerie because we have plenty of those in our regular life.

Chambers (2019; Netflix)

People are free to say what they want, but Chambers has plenty of twists and turns, and it deserved to be wrapped up properly.

The series follows a Native American teen named Sasha (Sivan Alyra Rose) who receives a heart transplant from a girl who died under mysterious circumstances. Sasha becomes burdened with startling visions that lead her down a path of mystery.

It’s not every day where a horror series has a Native American character at the forefront. There are no ancient burial grounds that bring people back from the dead or harmful stereotypes. And it’s actually well shot, the cast is good, plus the mystery isn’t what folks might expect. If you love psychological horror and representation, you might like this series.

Brand New Cherry Flavor (2021; Netflix)

You can’t go wrong with complicated and/or shitty characters and a lot of body horror. Brand New Cherry Flavor is a limited series based on a novel of the same name.

It follows a young filmmaker named Lisa (Rosa Salazar) who gets screwed over by a horrible man, and she takes her revenge with the help of a witchy tattoo artist. The series is hard to explain without spoiling the best parts, and it’s certainly not a show for the faint of heart.

An important aspect to it that doesn’t give too much away is that predatory men in the film industry are a huge component to the show. Also, Lisa isn’t as likable of a person, but she’s the character we’re following for the most part. And she goes through the wringer, complete with body horror that you’ve likely never seen before. It’s a series worth watching at least once.