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Shudder Review 2020

Even with a smaller library, Shudder is a blood-soaked horror buffet for $5.99 a month.

Excellent exclusive and original content

Price: $4.75–$5.99/mo.

Live channels: 3

Editorial star rating: 4/5

What is Shudder?

Shudder is a (mostly) on-demand streaming TV app offering a blend of classic and contemporary horror movies, shows, and podcasts—many of them exclusive or original. It also has Shudder TV, a live channel with three themed streams.

Is Shudder good?

You bet your chainsaw Shudder’s good. Curated by horror fans, the app offers chills, thrills, and power drills in a cool, vivid, grindhouse-esque design reminiscent of the VHS-rental palaces that once were our temples.

That feeling, coupled with the all-you-can-eat buffet aspect of it, is easily worth six bucks a month—as long as you’re using the Shudder app itself and not its Prime Video Channel (more on that later).

Shudder Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Low price
  • Good mix of classic, contemporary, and cult horror
  • Excellent exclusive and original content
  • No contract
  • Fun user experience
  • 3 live channels

Cons

  • Smaller library
  • Few new titles added each month
  • Reports of billing and customer support issues
  • Weak experience via Amazon Prime Video Channels

Shudder deals and free trial

Shudder has no deals aside from a free seven-day trial. You can, however, save 17% with an annual subscription, which drops your payment from $5.99 to $4.75 a month.

But, keep an eye out for Amazon to put Prime Channels on sale. That’s how I first signed up for Shudder—at half off for the first three months. It’s a good way to sample the Shudder library on the cheap, but the Shudder app is a richer experience.

Shudder vs. the competition

How does Shudder stack up to its rival blood-streamers?

Price
Free trial
Live channels
Streams
User profiles
Offline viewing/downloads
Compatible devices
Shudder Screambox Full Moon Features

$4.75–$5.99/mo.

$2.99–$4.99/mo.

$4.99–$6.99/mo.

7 days

7 days

7 days

3

1

1

1

1

1

1

9

9

9

*Data effective as of 9/24/2020. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

In this table, Shudder and its rivals appear evenly matched. What you don’t see, however, is Shudder’s superior library, design, and value. We’ll discuss that more later in this review.

Shudder plans and pricing

One plan served three ways.

Month-to-month
Annual subscription (saves 17%)
Best overall
Shudder
Shudder Prime Video Channel Shudder YouTube TV add-on

$5.99/mo.

$5.99/mo.

$5.00/mo.

View plan

$4.75/mo. ($56.99/yr.)

n/a

n/a

View plan

Data effective as of 9/24/2020. 

Shudder app

The best way to experience Shudder is through the Shudder app. It has the most features, a fun—but not perfect—interface and user experience, and it’s the cheapest way to subscribe if you go with the annual subscription (you save $1.24 a month). Also, it’s compatible with many devices. So whether your streaming box of choice is a Roku or an Amazon Fire TV Stick, you’ll have easy access to the app, too.

Try Shudder now

Shudder through Amazon

Amazon Fire TV devices support the Shudder app, or you can subscribe to Shudder through Amazon’s Prime Video Channels. It’s the same price ($5.99 a month), but with some key differences:

  • There’s no annual subscription option (so no 17% savings like in the app).
  • You have to watch Prime Video Channels with the Prime Video app or your web browser.
  • No Shudder live channel—but it’s free for anyone to watch online at Shudder.tv
  • You’ll have 3 simultaneous streams instead of one.

So, if you gotta watch Cannibal Holocaust through Amazon, do it via the Shudder app, not the Prime Video Channel. That way, you can enjoy the fun and full functionality of the Shudder app on your preferred device and still have access to the cheaper annual subscription.

But if you can live with Prime Video’s frustrating user experience, you can share Shudder with two of your people. That’s something you can’t do in the Shudder app since it gives you only one stream. But you can also get three streams with our last option, YouTube TV.

Try Shudder on Amazon Prime Video

Shudder through YouTube TV

Besides also offering three streams, YouTube TV charges only $5 a month for its Shudder add-on. That’s almost as good a deal as the Shudder annual subscription—but with the freedom of month-to-month billing.

Unfortunately, as with Prime Video Channels, you have to use YouTube TV’s app to watch Shudder, and you can’t get Shudder TV, the live channel. Still, the YouTube TV option should appeal to the livestreaming service’s current customers and rookie cord-cutters.

Try Shudder on YouTube TV

Shudder movies and shows

While small, Shudder’s library beats those of rival horror streaming services like Screambox and Full Moon Features in both quality and quantity.

Our last count revealed Shudder offers 356 movies (96 exclusive or original), 40 series (19 exclusive or original), and 7 podcasts (1 original)—in many flavors:

  • Gory chunk-blowers
  • Psychological thrillers
  • Creature features
  • Horror comedies
  • Supernatural tales
  • Body horror
  • J-horror
  • K-horror
  • Giallo
  • Apocalypse flicks
  • Cult/midnight movies
  • Exploitation films
  • Documentaries
  • Zombies

Shudder on-demand shows and movies

Netflix and Prime Video subscribers may notice a lot of overlapping content with Shudder. That’s no surprise. But the point of a service like Shudder is to consolidate great horror content in one place to avoid the waking nightmare of endless browsing.

Movies

    • The Beyond (1981)
    • Halloween (1978)
    • Audition (1999)
    • Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
    • Re-Animator (1985)
    • Angst (1983)
    • Tourist Trap (1979)
    • Deep Red (1975)
    • Terrified / Aterrados (2017)
    • Deadbeat at Dawn (1988)
    • The Wailing (2016)
    • Society (1989)
    • Ichi the Killer (2001)
    • Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988)
    • Turbo Kid (2015)
    • Hellraiser (1987)
    • Ginger Snaps (2000)
    • The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
    • Liquid Sky (1982)

Series

  • Channel Zero
  • Todd & the Book of Pure Evil
  • NOS4A2
  • Holliston
  • Dario Argento’s Door Into Darkness
  • Eli Roth’s History of Horror

Podcasts

    • Deadly Manners
    • Congeria
    • Darkest Night

Shudder original and exclusive shows and movies

Shudder shines in its exclusive and original content—34% of its library is either exclusively licensed to, or created by, Shudder. And it’s great stuff, as you’ll see below.

Movies

  • Color Out of Space (2020)
  • Kuso (2017)
  • Phantasm: Remastered (1979)
  • Summer of 84 (2018)
  • Horror Noire (2019)
  • Scream, Queen! My Nightmare on Elm Street (2020)
  • Revenge (2018)

Series

  • Creepshow
  • The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs
  • The Dead Lands
  • Wolf Creek
  • Deadwax

Podcasts

  • Horror Noire Uncut
  • She Kills
  • The Narrow Caves
  • Video Palace

Shudder live TV

Shudder’s titles stream live 24/7, and ad-free, on the app’s Shudder TV tab. You can choose from three different channels: It Came from Shudder (exclusives and originals), Psychological Thrillers (tense mind-scramblers), and Slashics (slasher movies).

Unfortunately, on some devices—like our Android phone, you can’t change channels. Shudder TV plays whichever feed you last watched on the last device you used to watch the service. (So, if you were watching Slashics, you can’t switch to Psychological Thrillers.)

Try Shudder now

Shudder specs and features

As streaming service features go, Shudder is a mixed bag. Aesthetically, it’s superb, blending nostalgia with modern design. Functionally, it’s smooth—but not as intuitive in some areas (like watchlist location). But we wish it had offline viewing, more user profiles, and more streams.

Shudder (direct)
Shudder (Prime Video Channel)
Shudder (YouTube add-on)
Streams User profiles Price

1

1

Included View plan

3

6

Included View plan

3

6

Included View plan

Unfortunately, Shudder doesn’t support multiple simultaneous streams—every account  gets only one stream and one personal profile.

But, again, subscribing through Prime Video or YouTube TV will get you three streams, as well as six user profiles. But you still won’t get to use the swanky Shudder app.

Offline viewing

Does Shudder let you download shows to watch offline?

Shudder does not support downloading titles for offline viewing. Gaaaaaaahhh. Screambox does, but we prefer Shudder’s content and user experience.

Compatible devices

Is your device compatible with Shudder?

Amazon Fire TV devices
Android phones and tablets
Apple TV devices
Google Chromecast
iPhones and iPads
Roku devices
Xbox One
Web browsers
Shudder Screambox Full Moon Features

As you can see, there is no shortage of device options with Shudder—ditto for its rivals. You probably already own at least one of these Shudder-compatible devices.

Streaming quality and interface

We tested the Shudder app on a Windows 10 laptop, a Samsung Galaxy S8, and the Xbox One through a 55” LG smart TV. We also tested Shudder’s Prime Video Channel through the Prime Video app on Xbox One.

Shudder broadcasts in full HD, and everything we watched—on both the app and Prime Video Channel—looked great on our devices. Also, we had no connection issues. So Shudder has reliable streaming quality.

A scene from The Screengrab of the Last Drive-In
A scene from The Last Drive-In with Joe Bob Briggs as viewed on a 55” LG smart TV through the Xbox One.

Interface and playback features

Pause
Rewind
Fast-forward
10-second jump
Onscreen volume control
Subtitles
Commercials
Live On-Demand
N Y
N Y
N Y
N Y (backwards-only on PC)
Y Y
Y Y
N N

Across all of our devices, Shudder’s interface is about the same—easy to browse and watch, with the standard playback features. The exception, as noted previously, is watching Shudder on Prime Video Channels and its frustrating Prime Video app.

The Shudder app really stands out on Xbox One, though. It’s easy to browse—similar to Netflix—and search. And when you click on a title, Shudder flashes a fullscreen version of the thumbnail art, which triggers some of that video-store browsing nostalgia.

Shudder Menu
The Shudder home page as viewed on a 55” LG smart TV via Xbox One.

Final take: Is Shudder worth it?

To borrow a favorite phrase from the late horror film critic Chas Balun, Shudder really “delivers the gross-eries.” And, while its library is smaller, there’s enough content to keep you busy for some time, so it’s worth $5.99 a month.

But to ensure the best experience and value, subscribe to Shudder directly so that you can use the mobile app. Avoid going through Prime Video Channels or YouTube TV.

Try Shudder now

Shudder FAQ

Is Shudder worth getting?

Shudder is absolutely worth its $5.99-a-month price tag. It has the largest catalog of any horror streaming service, top-notch exclusive and original content, and a devilishly fun user experience. To see for yourself, sign up for a free 7-day trial.

Is Shudder free with Prime?

Shudder is not free with Amazon Prime, but you can subscribe to Shudder through Amazon Prime Video Channels for the same price ($5.99 a month). You’ll also get the same 7-day free trial and three simultaneous streams (Shudder allows only one).

That said, the best Shudder experience is through its mobile app, which supports Amazon Fire TV devices. We highly recommend it over Shudder’s Prime Video Channel.

Which is better: Shudder or Screambox?

Shudder is better than Screambox in terms of quality, quantity, and user experience. Screambox, however, does allow downloading some of its content for offline viewing. You can compare the two by signing up for free 7-day trials of each service (use the links above).

Is it easy to cancel Shudder?

It’s pretty easy to cancel your Shudder subscription. If you subscribed through Shudder, click on My Account while signed into the Shudder app. Then, under Membership Settings, click Cancel Membership.

If you subscribe to Shudder through a third party (Amazon, the Apple Store, Google Play, iTunes, Roku, or YouTube TV), you’ll have to have to go through them instead of Shudder. But the steps are similar.

How many devices can use Shudder?

Shudder supports Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku devices, as well as Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, Google Chromecast, and Xbox One. For more on device compatibility, see this section.

Can I watch Shudder on multiple devices simultaneously?

If you subscribe to Shudder through Prime Video Channels or YouTube TV, you can stream to three devices at a time. The Shudder app allows only one stream, but it’s a far better way to experience Shudder.

What makes Shudder different from cable?

Shudder, like any other streaming service, differs from cable TV in that the service costs less, has no contracts, and comes to you over the internet instead of a cable connection. And, as a predominantly on-demand service, Shudder has only three live channels.

How does Shudder work?

Shudder works like any other streaming service. Just sign up directly through Shudder (or add Shudder to your Amazon Prime Video Channels or YouTube TV subscription), download the app on your chosen device, and watch the heads roll.

What makes Shudder different from cable?

Shudder, like any other streaming service, differs from cable TV in that the service costs less, has no contracts, and comes to you over the internet instead of a cable connection. And, as a predominantly on-demand service, Shudder has only three live channels.

Is Shudder free?

Nothing worth having is entirely free—but you can try Shudder free for seven days. After that, it’s $5.99 a month or $56.99 a year for an annual subscription (a 17% discount, dropping your payment to $4.75 a month).

How can you get Shudder?

We recommend subscribing to Shudder directly. Then you can use the Shudder app—the best way to experience the service—on a variety of devices.

Shudder is also available as an add-on through Amazon Prime Video Channels or YouTube TV, but you won’t be able to use the Shudder mobile app.

All methods include a free 7-day trial.

Is there a Shudder gift card?

No, but you can sign up for an account in your friend or relative’s name, then give them the username and password.

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