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Forget Netflix and chill: This is the best streaming service for binge watching on weekends

Jonah Ray peers out a doorway in Destroy All Neighbors.

Netflix was at the forefront of the streaming boom, so it’s only natural that it has become most consumers’ go-to streaming service. While Netflix has built a film and TV pipeline over the years that has resulted in a near-constant stream of new originals, its brand identity has only grown increasingly diluted. Its output has become so wide-ranging and uneven that, although it may still be the most popular streaming service, whether or not it holds the title of the best is less clear. The non-curated nature of its new releases and its loss of most of the legacy titles that brought so many subscribers to its platform in the first place have made Netflix a less dependable source for your weekend entertainment than it once was.

So where should you go when you want something new to watch from the comfort of your own home on a quiet Friday or Saturday night — or even a lazy Sunday afternoon? Max, Peacock, Paramount+, and Hulu all have better libraries of classic movies and TV shows than Netflix. However, if you’re looking for something new, this writer would argue that the best streaming platform for fresh and reliable weekend entertainment is none other than Shudder.

What you see is what you get (and that’s a good thing)

Freya Allan scrambles across the floor in Baghead.

A streaming service that’s owned and run by AMC Networks, Shudder has been around for a few years, and it’s steadily built up a loyal subscriber base in that time. That’s partly due to its output; Shudder is a horror-first streaming platform that spotlights and distributes horror movies and TV shows from around the world. As anyone familiar with the genre will know, horror fans are about as passionate and dedicated as they come, and Shudder has not only spent the past several years appealing to them. but also offering them the kind of curated horror experience that’s hard to come by these days.

On the one hand, all this has made Shudder a more niche service than many of its streaming competitors. On the other, it’s allowed the service to craft a far more specific and refined brand identity than Netflix, Max, and even Hulu. When you log on to Shudder, you know exactly what you’re going to get, which means you don’t have to spend nearly as much time wading through confusing, algorithm-based categories before finding something you actually want to watch. The platform is easy to navigate. Its legacy titles are only a few clicks away, and its newest releases are always visibly spotlighted on its homepage.

It has a winning batting average when it comes to original content

The hit rate of Shudder’s original and exclusive releases is also, frankly, higher than Netflix’s at this point. This year alone, Shudder has released Destroy All Neighbors, You’ll Never Find Me, Baghead, History of Evil, and Suitable Flesh, horror movies that are more fun, memorable, and distinctive than most of the original films that Netflix unveils on a weekly basis these days. That says nothing of Shudder’s output in 2022 and 2023, which included home runs like Mad God, Speak No Evil, She Will, Skinamarink, Influencer, Perpetrator, and When Evil Lurks. Over the past few years, the service has quietly established a better track record as a streaming distributor than almost all of its competitors.

Brendan Rock holds a lantern in You'll Never Find Me.
Ian Routledge / Shudder

Shudder’s horror niche may prevent it from ever achieving the same level of widespread popularity that Netflix has built, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be in the conversation for the best, highest-quality streaming service on the market right now. (Its $7/month price tag, notably, makes it cheaper than Netflix, Max, Disney+, etc.) The platform has become a haven for both obscure and mainstream horror classics, as well as a delivery system for new, low-budget genre gems that are well worth their viewers’ time.

More often than not, you’ll have a better experience watching a new release on Shudder than you will on any other streaming service, and that’s something more important nowadays as the cost of streaming increases while the quality of the content seemingly decreases. It may be a bit of a surprise, but if you want to sit down and spend 90 minutes of your weekend escaping into a film or TV show, chances are, you’ll be more satisfied by logging onto Shudder than just about any streamer on the market right now.

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Alex Welch
Alex is a TV and movies writer based out of Los Angeles. In addition to Digital Trends, his work has been published by…
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