For homes interested in expanding their access to horror movies and shows, Shudder is a great streaming service to sign up to. However, due to its very narrow focus on horror and related content, it is less likely to be as worthwhile to homes that aren’t really in need of year-round access to a terror-filled library.
Shudder is more than just a horror service with a subscription also providing access to thriller and supernatural movies and series as well, but the selection of horror content is going to be the main reason to consider this service. If primarily interested in watching thriller movies, for example, then Shudder is probably not going to be the best use of the monthly subscription fee.
Shudder $5.99 p/m
- Device Support
Shudder is not going to be a streaming service for everyone. It might not even be the right streaming service for all horror fans, either. However, for those that do find the mixture of new originals and cult/classic horror movies appealing, it is a very good streaming service, and at a reasonable price.
Plenty to watch
No LG or Vizio app
Not for new horror movies
Limited to 720p quality
A standard Shudder subscription costs $5.99 per month and there is also the option to sign up for an annual plan through the Shudder website. Priced at $56.99 per year, the annual subscription reduces the average monthly cost down to around $4.75. Shudder movies and shows, along with additional content from AMC, IFC Films Unlimited, and Sundance Now, can also be accessed by signing up for an AMC Plus subscription.
If considering signing up to Shudder on its own, and especially for those thinking more longer term than just Halloween, this is one of those services that should be tested first before paying to ensure a subscription is actually worth the money. To help with making that decision, here’s a closer look at what you can expect after paying for Shudder.
What you get with Shudder (and don’t get)
Shudder is a service that very firmly focuses on horror content. That said, even for some horror fans, a subscription might not be quite what they are looking for, and the reason for this is Shudder’s tendency to focus on cult and classic horror movies.
In truth, this is one of those services that’s best suited to those looking for obscure horror titles that they’ve never seen before, or cult favorites that they’ve seen multiple times before. If looking for a streaming service that provides access to all of the latest horror and thriller movies as they become available to stream, Shudder isn’t the answer.
That’s not to say Shudder doesn’t have new movies and shows. It does. It is just that its collection of new titles tends to primarily consist of its own movies and shows. Similar to pretty much every other streaming service these days, Shudder has its own Originals and as these titles can only be found on Shudder, they are where the real value with a subscription is seen.
The service does tend to offer significantly more original and exclusive movies than series, but there are still some series available. In fact, Shudder also offers non-movie/show content which many horror fans will appreciate. This added-value content includes roundups, reviews, and commentary shows. There is also a number of exclusive podcasts (usually with a visual element) for subscribers to listen to as well.
Another added-value element is Shudder TV. As the name suggests, this is Shudder’s take on live TV with subscribers gaining access to a few horror-themed channels. Or, as Shudder describes them, “a constant stream of killer content.” There are three curated live channels for subscribers to watch at any given time with each one typically focused on a specific topic.
The one consistent channel that’s always available is the It Came From Shudder channel, which, in spite of the name, plays more than just the service’s own movies and shows.
These channels are not necessarily going to be worth a subscription on their own, but they are a nice addition to have access to, and offer a way to quickly jump in and start watching a horror movie when not really in the mood to search the library or make decisions. As the channels are only available through the service’s website and platform apps, they are also one of the main reasons to consider a direct subscription instead of getting access to Shudder through a third-party subscription like AMC Plus.
Overall, Shudder does offer a lot of content for subscribers to watch at any given time. While the library is not filled with the newest or most talked-about horror movies of the day, the collection of originals, cult classics, podcasts, and other added-value videos makes a subscription worthwhile at the content level – so long as you know that’s what you are getting.
Shudder’s apps and user experience
Generally speaking, Shudder is pretty well supported at the device level, so households should not find it too difficult to find a device to watch on. For example, a dedicated Shudder app can be downloaded on Amazon Fire TV devices and Roku Players, as well as Samsung and Vizio smart TVs. There is also the option to download from the App Store on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV players, and on Android mobile and Android TV devices via the Google Play Store. Where consumers may run into specific support issues is when trying to watch on other devices. For example, Shudder has yet to become available on LG smart TVs or PlayStation consoles.
Availability aside, the various platform and device apps are pretty straightforward and easy to use, although some may find some of the design choices a little annoying. Personally, the most annoying aspect of the TV app is that it automatically launches into the Shudder TV section.
The live TV element is pretty limited, so to have this as the default arrival section is frustrating, as it then requires the viewer to manually navigate to the more typical streaming service home screen. This default use of Shudder TV is only in effect when using the TV apps as the Shudder website launches a more usual home screen experience after logging in.
The same is also true when accessing Shudder on a smartphone, with the mobile app also launching a more typical landing experience.
Once on the home screen, the experience suddenly becomes very familiar thanks to a Netflix-like tile design made up of videos that are grouped together based on a related topic. Examples of some of the home screen topics include Scariest On Shudder, Possessions, and Slashers. Users are also able to further narrow down the choices by using the top menu which mainly consists of Collections, Movies, Series, Shudder TV, and My List (or Featured, Shudder TV, Collections, and Browse when using the mobile app).
The My List section is where a user will find any movies, shows, or podcasts that they’ve bookmarked to watch at a later time.
Arguably, this is one of the more important sections of any streaming app, and while available on Shudder, it is not the most intuitive. For example, My List automatically lists videos in reverse chronological order (those added most recently are shown first) and there’s no option to sort in any other way. As a result, it is often just a case of having to work through the list to find a specific title again, unless you happen to remember exactly when you added the title to begin with.
The implementation of both Shudder TV and My List are examples of how the app and user experience could be improved in small ways. In general, however, Shudder offers a more than usable and functional experience. For those already familiar with streaming apps, Shudder won’t feel too different or difficult to navigate, even though the experience does feel a little clumsy at times.
Shudder review: summary
Shudder is a good streaming service and one that’s worth the subscription cost. However, and this is a very big however, it is only going to appeal to horror fans. Even then, some horror fans may find that the service doesn’t offer enough of what they want or might expect from a horror-themed subscription in 2022. Put simply, Shudder is a great solution for those looking for a mixture of cult/classic horror and newer original movies and shows. Alternatively, for those that are specifically looking for additional horror-related content, such as podcasts.
At just $6 per month, Shudder is also an affordable subscription and that’s important at a time when there are already too many streaming services to choose from. For those in need of more horror content each month, it is hard to argue with the value on offer. In fact, it may even be priced just cheap enough to appeal to homes that are not necessarily horror-first but are looking to expand their streaming library and interests in general.
Overall, whether a die-hard horror fan or just looking for a new streaming service, Shudder is one that should be tried for free before committing to a paid subscription. Luckily, Shudder does offer a 7-day free trial, so there’s no harm in testing the horror-filled waters before diving in and finding out what lurks beneath the subscription cost.