Navigating Netflix can be a daunting task. It is not for the faint of heart. There is nothing quite as satisfying as finding that wonderful gem of a movie or a great series that you can binge watch. On the flip side, you still have to wade through the muck to find those gems. I have found that as I get older if a movie, book, television show etc., does not immediately grab me, I will abandon it. Life is too short. That being said, here is a list in no particular order of some of the gems that Netflix has streaming currently.
Director: Mike Flanagan
Writers: Mike Flanagan & Jeff Howard
Cast: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Rory Cochrane, & Kate Sackhoff
Released in 2013, Produced by Blumhouse Productions
I came to this film very late. My friend Trey recommended this movie and loaned me the DVD, which unfortunately, sat on my shelf unwatched for many weeks before I returned it to him realizing that it was now available on Netflix. What I found when I sat down to finally watch it was a frightening character study that stayed with me long after I watched the film. This haunting tale did poorly at the box office, but has the staying power to become a sleeper hit.
Synopsis: Haunted by the violent demise of their parents 10 years earlier, adult siblings Kaylie (Karen Gillan) and Tim (Brenton Thwaites) are now struggling to rebuild their relationship. Kaylie suspects that their antique mirror, known as the Lasser Glass, is behind the tragedy. The seemingly harmless reflections contain a malevolent, supernatural force that infects the mind of anyone who gazes into it. As Kaylie gets closer to the truth, the siblings become caught in the mirror’s evil spell.
Directors: Karyn Kusama, St. Vincent, Roxanne Benjamin, & Jovanka Vuckovic
Writers: Jack Ketchum, Jovanka Vuckovic, Roxanne Benjamin, St. Vincent, & Karyn Kusama
Cast: Peyton Kennedy, Melanie Lynskey, Natalie Brown, Kyle Allen, Breeda Wool
Released in 2017, Produced by XYZ Films
A horror anthology directed and written by women? Sign me up! I’m a sucker for a good horror anthology movie. This one did not disappoint. Each story had a totally different aesthetic, but they all came together to form a cohesive unit. The framed stop-motion animated segments are creepy and beautiful. I always find stop-motion charming but also quite sinister. So if you’re a fan of anthology movies, this one is not to be missed. Yay women in horror!
Synopsis: Filmmakers Jovanka Vuckovic, Annie Clark, Roxanne Benjamin and Karyn Kusama present four horrific tales of terror. In “The Box,” a boy (Peter DaCunha) starts to display strange behavior after looking inside a mysterious gift box. In “The Birthday Party,” a woman (Melanie Lynskey) refuses to let an untimely death ruin her son’s bash. In “Don’t Fall,” an innocent camping trip turns deadly, and in “Her Only Living Son,” a mother (Christina Kirk) must deal with the child from hell.
- Gerald’s Game
Director: Mike Flanagan
Writers: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard adapted from the Stephen King novel
Cast: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Kate Siegel, Carel Struycken, & Henry Thomas
Released in 2017, Produced by Intrepid Pictures
I was over the moon (light man) to see that this was finally adapted into a film. I am a huge Stephen King fan. I know, huge shocker. The novel scared me tremendously the first time that I read it. The ending scene in particular stayed with me long after I put the book down. The cast of this Netflix film is stellar, particularly Carla Gugino as Jessie Burlingham and Carel Struycken (Lurch from the Addams Family movies) is perfect as the Moonlight Man. Mike Flanagan (making his second appearance on my list) is known for having a slow and haunting build up in his films, and this movie is no exception.
Synopsis: When a harmless game between a married couple in a remote retreat suddenly becomes a harrowing fight for survival, wife Jessie must confront long-buried demons within her own mind – and possibly lurking in the shadows of her seemingly empty house.
- The Lost Boys
Director: Joel Schumacher
Writers: James Jeremias, Janice Fischer, Jeffrey Boam
Cast: Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Dianne Wiest, Corey Feldman, & Kiefer Sutherland
Released in 1987, Produced by Warner Bros.
Ok, I know. It’s an old movie (31 years!!!). I am sure that many of you have seen it and you think that you do not need to watch it again. Recently I saw that it was streaming on Netflix and I thought “why not?” I am so glad that I watched it again because it made me remember why I have loved it since I was a teenager. Not only because of my sixteen year old self having a white hot crush on Kiefer Sutherland, but because this movie is not only wonderfully campy but genuinely creepy. Not to mention that it has an amazing 80’s soundtrack. So sit back and enjoy this classic again. Mullets FTW!
Synopsis: After moving to a new town, two brothers discover that the area is a haven for vampires. (Yeah, I know it is a lazy synopsis. Come on, you know what it is about!)
- The Babadook
Director: Jennifer Kent
Writer: Jennifer Kent
Cast: Essie Davis & Noah Wiseman
Released in 2014, Produced by Causeway Films
The Babadook is another film that stays with you long after the first viewing. I really did not know what to expect the first time that I watched it. What I found was a highly disturbing psychological horror film. I thought that I was going to get another “boogeyman in the closet” movie with many jump scares and a happy conclusion tacked on. This feature debut of writer-director Jennifer Kent is masterfully crafted and executed with care and grace to the final scene. If you have not seen it yet, do so tonight. With the lights out…in front of an open closet…I dare you.
Synopsis: A widowed mother, plagued by the violent death of her husband, battles with her son’s fear of a monster lurking in the house, but soon discovers a sinister presence all around her.