Are you looking to scratch that horror itch by subscribing to a streaming service dedicated to horror movies? Then Shudder and Screambox are both vying for your attention.
And to help you decide which one is best, we have compared the two on price, catalog, and UI. Read onto find out which wins…
What Does Shudder Offer?
Shudder offers an uncut and ad-free viewing experience for horror, suspense, and thriller titles. It hosts movies and series, and offers curated channel streams (Shudder TV) of its content.
For fans looking for exclusive and original content, Shudder provides over 100 titles between the two content types. This is on top of an already massive library, so Shudder strikes a sweet spot between horror classics and new titles to enjoy.
In terms of genre, Shudder touches on about every corner of the horror spectrum. So you can go from watching a psychological independent foreign film to a classic American slasher just as easily.
How Much Does Shudder Cost?
Shudder offers two pricing options: monthly or annually.
You can either pay $5.99/month or opt into the discounted yearly membership for $56.99 ($4.75/month). For new users, Shudder also offers a seven-day free trial.
Shudder opts for a very clean and overall minimalistic design on each of its pages. As a result, it tries to maximize the effectiveness of all of its visual elements.
For instance, all of the navigation bar’s gray text “shudders” when you hover over with your mouse cursor. On the main page, you’re greeted by a small slideshow of recommended original or exclusive titles to play or add to your watchlist.
Underneath this, Newly Added, Continue Watching, and My List makes up the first three categories. After these, Shudder offers a handful of themed recommendations alongside its original and exclusive category. With both arrangements, Shudder tries to make it so you can drop-in and watch easily but not overload you with recommendations.
When hovering over a title, there’s the standard options to either play it or add it to your list.
However, Shudder also provides a nicely detailed description page. On these pages, the streaming service provides a strong visual, a trailer (if available), a condensed textbox of all the essential information, and a rating from Shudder’s userbase. So if you’re looking to discover a title, Shudder makes it easy to glean information.
The only time Shudder really falters is with its account page. It’s designed to be as minimalistic as possible; it comes across as lazily designed. You can edit your email, password, username, and some degree of your membership settings.
You can change your payment method or cancel your subscription. However, you can’t change your membership type from there.
Navigating Shudder’s Collection
Like Shudder’s homepage, the collection’s page tries to give an effective recommendation spread without being too much. It’s broken up across seven categories:
- Featured Collections
- Horror 101
- Tales of the Supernatural
- Thrill Me
- Guest Spotlight
Each broad category breaks down into several sublists. After clicking one, you get a representative visual, a brief list description, and the included titles represented by their promotional poster.
These collections serve as nice jumping points if you’re looking to host your own horror movie night. If that interests you, you can share Shudder via some of the same ways to host a Hulu watch party.
When playing anything on Shudder, it features a relatively minimalistic video player. There’s no option to adjust the video quality manually, disable subtitles, and there’s minimal keyboard integration. You can pause and enter/exit fullscreen, but you can’t use popular shortcuts such as your left/right keys to go forward or backward during playback.
Also once a show or movie ends, there’s no continuous autoplay. You can either choose to press the replay button at the end or pick something else manually.
What Does Screambox Offer?
Unlike Shudder, Screambox focuses exclusively on horror titles alone. It also offers ad-free and uncut content like its rival. Screambox seems to particularly love B-movie horror films, so if you enjoy that subgenre you’ll be in your element.
However, it falls short when it comes to its exclusive content. Screambox offers less than half the amount of exclusive content that Shudder does.
As compensation for this, Screambox does offer you the option to drop-in and browse through everything they have without an account. So you can make your judgment by reading descriptions and watching trailers (when available). Screambox also offers some free exclusives to watch as well.
How Much Does Screambox Cost?
Screambox offers two pricing options: monthly and annually.
You can either pay $4.99/month or opt into the discounted yearly membership for $35.88 ($2.99/month). For new users, Screambox also offers a seven-day free trial.
Screambox features a pretty barebones user interface overall.
More than that, the design choices are a little confusing. Clicking the Screambox logo takes you to the promotional page trying to sell you on the service regardless of whether or not you’re a member. Shudder, in comparison, lets its logo operate as the browse button does here.
Browse seems to solely exist so that search isn’t alone on the navigation bar. Plus, despite the ability to add titles to your list, there’s no button space dedicated to My List. Instead, you exclusively access your list via the one browse page.
Similarly, when you do click on a title to bring up its description, everything provided is fairly minimal. You do get the option to share a particular title via social media, but it’s the only incentive besides watching a trailer. As such, you’re better off viewing descriptions via mouse hover on the browse page.
On a positive note, Screambox does let you manage your subscription properly from its site. So if you want to swap between monthly and yearly, you can do so.
Navigating Screambox’s Collection
Since Screambox doesn’t feature any other pages, the equivalent of Shudder’s collection feature is forced onto your homepage. It seems like Screambox did this to make it look like it has more content than it does, so it comes across as hodgepodge.
With that said, Screambox does feature an overarching five categories which have their own content lists. When you do access one of these content lists, it’s similarly barebones with a brief list description and the titles.
Overall, if you’re looking for a rival for Shudder, you might want to check out the best horror series to watch on Netflix instead.
Screambox’s video player features a lot of what Shudder lacks. You can change video quality, enable/disable subtitles, and use your keyboard more with the video.
Also, when reaching the end of a video, Screambox will automatically replay a movie. Sadly, there’s no option to go on to the next title.
Shudder vs. Screambox: Which Is Best?
Overall, Shudder wins out for its lengthy amount of original and exclusive content. It tries to keep you engaged and help you discover things to watch. Despite some minor issues, it provides a better overall horror experience.
While cheaper, Screambox flubs in a lot of ways. Unless you’re going after one of its exclusives, it simply cannot compete with Shudder.
Let me start this post with a fair warning—if you have a weak stomach get out while you can. We are going to enter the realms of the best gore sites on the web.
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