Science fiction anthology series Black Mirror has captivated viewers with its episodes that focus on our relationship with technologies and dark consequences that could arise if we take things too far. While some of the scenarios are totally far-fetched, others aren’t entirely out of the realm of possibility, which makes them even more frightening.
As a sci-fi series, Black Mirror is scary more so in the way that it makes you cringe as you think about what society could be like if technology took over. What if we really were judged for everything based on merits others award us (an extreme representation of our obsession with things like social media attention)? Or if we could replay every single moment in our lives through tiny chips implanted behind our ears that record everything?
That said, some episodes are scarier than others, making them perfect to watch on Halloween when you’re looking for something next-level spooky beyond the bumps-in-the-night-type frights you might get from a traditional Halloween-themed movie or series. Here are 10 worth watching (or re-watching if you're already a fan).
Updated on May 20, 2020 by Colin McCormick: Fans who have been waiting for some new Black Mirror episodes got some bad news recently as the series creator Charlie Booker said no plans were in place for a new season right now. Luckily, there are still plenty of great episodes that fans can revisit. And if you are in the mood for a good scare, we've added some more terrifying episodes to this list. It may be a while until Halloween, but you can enjoy a good scare at any time of the year.
15 The Waldo Moment (Season 2, Episode 3)
"The Waldo Moment" does not feature the usual kind of scares that you might expect from a Black Mirror episode but it still most certainly does the job. The episode follows a vulgar and popular cartoon character who becomes an unexpected favorite candidate in an upcoming political election.
The episode is often looked at as one of the show's weaker offerings with many fans thinking it felt too silly. However, in the years that followed, it proved to have predicted a lot about the kind of personalities that would defy expectations and rise to power in modern politics.
14 The Entire History Of You (Season 1, Episode 3)
Black Mirror has a unique ability to present an amazing concept for technology that, at first glance, seems like it would be so useful. However, the show that proves why relying on such technology would be a nightmare.
"The Entire History of You" introduces a device that records every moment of your life so that you can go back and revisit them. The main character uses this technology to pick apart and obsess over moments in his life, failing to live in the present until it's too late.
13 The National Anthem (Season 1, Episode 1)
With its very first episode, Black Mirror showed that it would not be holding back in its bold and dark stories. "The National Anthem" is set in a modern era where a member of the royal family has been kidnapped. In order to save the royal's life, the Prime Minister is acted to perform an unspeakable act.
The episode is a tense ticking clock thriller counting down to whether or not the Prime Minister will go through with this horrific act. Once you see this episode, it's hard to shake it from your mind.
12 Shut Up And Dance (Season 3, Episode 3)
"Shut Up and Dance" is probably the most non-stop and relentless of all the Black Mirror episodes. It starts with a young man receiving a message from an unknown source who threatens to expose his embarrassing online activity unless he complies with a series of tasks.
What follows is an intense marathon of torment as the young man jumps through the increasingly dangerous hoops for this mystery troll. Along the way, he meets several others who are victims which hint at a much larger web of blackmail. There is also a gut-punch ending that makes you reevaluate the whole thing.
11 Crocodile (Season 4, Episode 3)
Many episodes of Black Mirror find people sinking deeper and deeper into bad situations with often deadly consequences. No episode depicts this kind of descent in a more disturbing way than "Crocodile".
The story follows a woman who does something terrible to cover up her dark past, but that one act soon spirals out of control. Part of what makes the episode so disturbing is how this woman seems to have terrible remorse yet continues to spill blood to keep her secret safe. It builds and builds in horrific ways until the dark conclusion.
10 Be Right Back (Series 2, Episode 1)
One of the best episodes of the series to date, this one is a terrifyingly real account of loss. When a young woman loses her husband in a car accident, she gets caught up in a new technology that can simulate him over the phone, including his voice, memories, and even personality, using data collected over the years through his social media profiles.
The obsession escalates and, without revealing any spoilers, the woman grapples with her realization that as great as AI can be, it can’t replace a real person.
9 White Bear (Series 2, Episode 2)
You’ll have chills running up and down your spine as you watch this episode that begins with a woman who wakes up in a house and can’t remember who she is or how she got there. Soon, she finds herself running for her life from masked men presumably trying to kill her. She must try and find a transmitter that will shut down the signal and stop their pursuit.
With a twist ending you’ll never see coming, you’ll be shooing the trick or treaters away as you stay glued to the couch watching every intense moment.
8 White Christmas (2014 Special)
Starring Jon Hamm (Mad Men), this Christmas special episode is a scary look at a society where artificial copies of peoples’ consciousness are stored in bean-sized chips called cookies (hmm, like the cookies of information that are stored on your computer as you surf the web?) And these copies are used as personal assistants that are doomed to run smart houses.
Meanwhile, people can “block” others so that they only appear as pixelated blurs. Talk about a bad breakup! As a man Joe tries to figure out what he’s doing in a remote cabin with a man named Matt (Hamm) who works with these cookies, a terrifying truth unfolds.
7 Playtest (Series 3, Episode 2)
This episode is perfect if you’re looking for something with a haunted theme. A man named Cooper participates in an augmented reality video game where he hears lifelike sounds and sees lifelike images thanks to an implant in his neck that also probes his brain to discover what he’s most scared of to create them.
As he walks through a scary mansion, he encounters things that spook him out to the point that he endures severe pain, physically and mentally. But what happens next, you’ll never see coming.
6 Men Against Fire (Series 3, Episode 5)
“Roaches” are invading a foreign country and soldiers are tasked with eliminating them at every turn. A neural implant called MASS helps in the process, enhancing their senses so they can receive instant information via augmented reality.
But who are these “roaches?” It’s an episode themed more around social commentary than anything else, but it has some really scary scenes as the soldiers track down roaches and they attempt to frantically evade capture. And when one soldier discovers the truth, he’ll be forever changed.
5 Hated in the Nation (Series 3, Episode 6)
Killer bees is the theme of this episode, as a company has developed robotic bees with the intention of using them to prevent a continuous and inevitable drop in the bee population. But like any horror movie where robots turn against humanity, the bees have other things in mind. And they seem to be following the orders of a seemingly innocent social media hashtag that has turned sinister.
With terrifying deaths, hackers, and people frantically trying to escape the hoards of robotic killer pests, it’s a great watch for Halloween night.
4 USS Callister (Series 4, Episode 1)
Considered to be one of the best episodes of the series (it even won an Emmy), a reclusive and gifted programmer and co-founder of a popular online video game creates a virtual world within a dark underbelly of his game where he forces people he dislikes to play along with him as sentient digital clones working under his tyrannical command.
When the real people discover what’s going on in the virtual world, what will they do? It’s a sight to behold, not to mention a must-see if you love Star Trek thanks to homage it pays to the series and movies.
3 Arkangel (Series 4, Episode 2)
Imagine if a tablet could be used to track every detail about someone you love, including not only their vitals, activity, and weight like you can do today with a basic fitness tracker, but also your health and emotional state. Oh, and it can also be used as an extreme measure of parental control, allowing parents to literally block violent or inappropriate images from their childrens' view in the real world. A fight breaks out in front of you? All you see is pixels. A pornographic image appears on TV? It will instantly be blocked from your view, though others can still see it.
When a mom takes this idea of parental control way too far, the consequences are dire.
2 Metalhead (Series 4, Episode 5)
With really intense chase scenes, this episode will have you gripping the sides of your chair and binging Halloween candies as you wait to see what happens next. Robotic guard dogs have, as is a common theme in the horror genre, turned against humans. In an apocalyptic world, only a few survive and must spend their lives evading these killer “dogs.”
Watch as the dogs shoot trackers at humans so they can follow them, dig their robotic arms into flesh, and simply recharge themselves if they run out of power or get injured. There’s no escape, just constant panic.
1 Black Museum (Series 4, Episode 6)
Enter this creepy museum that contains artifacts related to illicit and failed technology. Many of them you’ll recognize from previous episodes of the series. The owner Rolo gives a young woman Nish who happens upon the place, the full tour, telling her terrifying after terrifying tale about its origins. Each story gets creepier than the next.
But nothing matches the star attraction, a tortuous scene that will have you in empathetic agony as Nish realizes that her visit wasn’t happenstance.
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