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9 Must-Watch Movies About Cults on Netflix (And Documentaries) To Check Out

movies about cults on Netflix

Are you the curious kind or do you just enjoy watching eerie and shocking stories? If you’re into secret societies and cults, we have curated a list of shows, documentaries and movies about cults on Netflix.

Netflix has a bit of everything on its platform and the content that sticks out the most is of the unconventional kind. Something one would want to rewind and rewatch the last 10 minutes, so they reassure themselves on what a crazy story they just watched.  This list of cult movies, shows and documentaries on Netflix will perfectly encapsulate this shocking feeling and at the same time bring you face-to-face with the unfathomable realities of life. 

It is important to note that most of the following documentaries in the list are speculative and their contents must not be taken as absolute facts.

List of Movies, Shows and Documentaries about Cults on Netflix 

  1. Midsommar 
  2. Wild Wild Country
  3. Tiger King
  4. Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator
  5. Holy Hell
  6. The Family 
  7. (Un) Well
  8. American Horror Story
  9. Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey

1. Midsommar  (2019)

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Florence Pugh, Will Poulter and, Jack Reynor

Director: Ari Aster

The film Midsommar is a folk horror film that explores a cult practising Scandinavian paganism. The movie follows a psychology student Dani Ardor coping with her sister’s murder-suicide that also killed her parents. This incident further strains Dani’s relationship with her boyfriend, Christian Hughes, a cultural anthropology student.

They decide to go to an ancestral Hårla commune celebration in Sweden, only to discover that they find themselves in the clutches of a sinister cult. 

The terrifying situations the protagonist finds herself in bring out a kind of horror that no ghost or a person in a scary mask could ever have. The daylight setting of decorated flowers and feasts manages to be quite agoraphobic. Midsommar received positive reviews from critics, with high praise for Aster’s direction and Pugh’s performance in particular. You can watch Midsommar if you wish to watch movies about cults on Netflix.

2. Wild Wild Country (2018)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Directors: Maclain Way, Chapman Way
The Netflix documentary series Wild Wild Country explores the controversial Indian Guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), his personal assistant Ma Anand Sheela and their followers in the Rajneeshpuram community in Wasco County, Oregon, US. The documentary chalks out a unique and fascinating story that connects to a speculated bioterror attack. 

Shocking as this documentary may be, various articles addressed a lack of information on important issues in relation to the story. Despite some criticism, Wild Wild Country was widely popular and received a nomination for a Primetime Emmy Award. Wild Wild Country good weekend watch if you want to see documentaries about cults on Netflix. 

3. Tiger King (2020)

IMDB ratings: 7.5/10

Director:  Eric Goode, Rebecca Chaiklin

Tiger King is the biggest hit on Netflix, mainly because it was released in COVID-19, but this documentary is so bizarre that you are sure to be entertained thoroughly. Tiger King introduces us to strange names in the tiger industry in America, like Doc Bhagavan Antle. He becomes one of the most intriguing figures we encounter in the documentary both because of his trade and the lifestyle he leads.

The 7-part docuseries exposes us to a different side of the truth behind T.I.G.E.R.S., Antle’s wildlife institute, revealing his cult-like organisation. The documentary also focuses on the small but deeply interconnected society of big cat conservationists such as Carole Baskin, owner of Big Cat Rescue, and collectors such as Joe Exotic. This is one of the easiest recommendations if you want to see documentaries/movies about cults on Netflix.

4. Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator (2019)

IMDB ratings: 6.7/10

Cast: Larissa Anderson, Francesca Asumah and Sarah Baughn

Director: Eva Orner

Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator is a documentary film by Eva Orner on how Bikram Choudhary built his Yoga business. This film is not the first to catalogue Bikram’s abuse or record victims; in the podcast BIKRAM, reporter Julia Lowrie Henderson delves into the same story. Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator showcases years of archival footage and filmed court depositions.

Bikram’s narcissistic and sexually abusive behaviour is protected from the consequences of his own inflated cult personality, wealth and professional power. So it’s astonishing how Bikram used Indian cliches to convince westerners that he would be their saviour if they surrendered to him. Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator is one of the most eye-opening cult movies on Netflix; check it out. 

Also Read: Movies like Coherence

5. Holy Hell (2016)

IMDB ratings: 7/10

Director: William Francesco Allen

Holy Hell follows a documented story by Will Allen about his experiences as a member of the Buddhafield cult for 22 years. Here Will recalls claims his leader, Michel abused his followers for years. The manipulation and the mind control are shocking. 

As a filmmaker, Will asks himself whether enduring the personal nightmare of gathering footage for Holy Hell was worth it, it’s certainly rewarding for the viewers. The instances in the documentary are creepy yet compelling. No one can ever expect what happens by the end when they first start watching Holy Hell. Keep in mind; there’s a good chance Holy Hell may not be on Netflix as you read this article.

6. The Family (2019)

IMDB ratings: 6.4/10

Cast: James Cromwell, David Rysdahl and Ben Rosenfield

Director: Trails Scott
The Family is a 5-part series that delves into a religious group with long-standing political ties to Washington. This shadowy religious organisation is highly nefarious and active in American Politics. The series is largely based on a 2008 book by Jeff Sharlet of the same name. The Family casts the importance of religious organisation’s presence by mapping out a line from the Fellowship to President Trump in the quest for global domination.

The Family tries to expose this institution who has been secretly infiltrating by delving into ties with some of the world’s nastiest autocrats. It’s absolutely fascinating and disturbing to see how a group of men are so easily convinced that they are God’s chosen ones. Suppose you are interested in American Politics and want to watch shows and movies about cults on Netflix. In that case, you should enjoy The Family.

7. (Un) Well  (2020)

IMDB ratings: 6.4/10

The series (Un) Well is not necessarily one that explores a dysfunctional cult but rather unsupported cult-like trends. The episodic documentary series sets out to debunk shady Wellness claims like essential oils, bee sting therapy and more. However, this Netflix series doesn’t shy away from putting forth the dark side of these treatments.

(Un) Well shows a laudable sensitivity towards its subjects but struggles to take a strong side. Instead of giving conclusive information on whether the wellness products are authentic to their claims; the series proves how difficult it is to point fingers at these deeply rooted practices. (Un) Well uncovers that the choice of these products over Western medicine is to do more with the economic and racial issues and not whether they work. If you are bored and looking for shows and movies about cults on Netflix to watch then you might be interested in this one.

8. American Horror Story (2011)

IMDB ratings: 8/10

Cast: Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe

Director: Ryan Murphy

American Horror Story is an anthology horror television series. Think of the show as Black Mirror, only a lot gory and darker. Many of the show’s actors return to play new characters in a new and different story. Evan Peters, Sarah Paulson and Lily Rabe are the show’s most returning actors with being part of all 10 seasons. As I mentioned, every season takes on a new story and the 7th season, called Cult, takes place in Michigan.

The story of the season centres on a cult that terrorises the residents after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Cult expresses the idea that no government system is perfect. Even though society fights for the better political party to an intense extent, the show reveals that in reality, no politician is a perfect politician. The fans often rank this season at the top of the show and with a brilliant storyline and excellent characters, American Horror Story is surely worth a watch if you’re into shows and movies about cults on Netflix.

Also Read: Movies like Donnie Darko

9. Keep Sweet Pray and Obey (2022)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Director: Rachel Dretzin

Yet another insane documentary on this list, Keep Sweet Pray and Obey is a 4 part true crime that examines the rise of Warren Jeffs. This is a horrifying story that looks at how Warren and The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day saints. Warren abuses his position as a leader, performs underage marriages, sexually abuses girls, and more. 

Keep Sweet Pray and Obey is quite disturbing to watch. This polygamist Mormon domination leads to unthinkable crimes. If you are interested in cult documentaries on true religious crime, Keep Sweet Pray and Obey is one of the most intense movies about cults on Netflix to watch. 

Honourable Mentions 

Here are a few films about cults on Netflix that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Aquarius
  2. Children of God
  3. The Perfection

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.


The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island.

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake

The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66.

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created.

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan

The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world.

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward
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