With so many titles to choose from, Netflix Instant's library can be overwhelming. So we bring you this biweekly column as a tool to cut through the clutter by highlighting some now streaming titles that pair nicely with the latest theatrical releases.
Looking to Evil Dead, Trance, and Scary Movie 5 for inspiration, we've pulled together a selection of gory horror flicks, unreliable narrator tales, and wonderfully wild parodies.
This reboot of the 1981 cult classic follows five friends into a isolated cabin where they're relentlessly attacked by a sinister force. Tree rape, mutilation, amputations and chainsaw-centric carnage will follow. Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, and Lou Taylor Pucci co-star; Fede Alvarez directs.
With a time-tested premise, Alvarez takes tales of the undead into a gruesome and grotesque terrain. For more tales of evil filled with gore both ghoulish and giddy, check out a landmark original, a buzzworthy sequel and a sidesplitting parody that are sure to give you nightmares.
The Evil Dead (1981) This gorefest that started a sensation also launched the careers of writer-director Sam Raimi and big-chinned B-movie megastar Bruce Campbell. Five friends' trip to a cabin in the woods becomes a living nightmare when a devilish supernatural spirit takes possession of them one by one. Can Ash (Campbell) save his friends? Or at the very least survive the night? Campbell stars; Raimi directs.
[Rec] 3: Genesis (2012) In the third installment of this infected persons franchise, Koldo and Clara are prepared for the day that is meant to be the happiest in their lives. But their wedding festivities are derailed when their guests breakout with a bizarre illness that transforms them into murderous maniacs. Leticia Dolera and Diego Martin co-star; Paco Plaza directs.
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010) Having fun with the tropes of the "cabin in the woods" and "evil redneck" subgenres, this horror-comedy centers on two well-meaning but bumbling backwood hicks who come across a group of weekending teens with hysterically catastrophic results. Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, and Katrina Bowden co-star; Eli Craig directs.
Danny Boyle's first film since helming the Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 London Olympics centers on Simon, an art auctioneer turned thief whose life is threatened by his criminal cohorts when he can't remember where he stashed the loot. When he seeks a hypnotherapist to uncover the memory, he begins a chain reaction that rattles his reality. James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson, and Vincent Cassel co-star; Danny Boyle directs.
With Simon suffering from amnesia, Trance is a mystery guided by an unreliable narrator, making each twist dramatic and mind-bending. In a story told from a questionable source, audiences are offered a chance to decipher a code to uncover what really happened between the lines. Whether the tale of a justifying junkie, a musing musician, or a seemingly sweet schoolboy each of the features below forces you to question everything you see.
Trainspotting (1996) Another film directed by Danny Boyle and penned by recurring collaborator John Hodge, this kinetic crime drama is based on the cult-adored novel by Irvine Welsh. Ewan McGregor stars as Mark Renton, a heroin addict on a quest of self-discovery and search for happiness. But on the way his loops in and out of sobriety make this trip one that involves sexual misadventures, a harebrained heist, and some harrowing hallucinations. Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller, Ewen Bremner, and Kelly MacDonald co-star; Danny Boyle directs.
Detour (1945) On its surface, this noir classic born from the unlikely slate of "poverty row" productions appears to be about a piano player (Tom Neal) who has found nothing but bad luck as he hitchhikes across America. But there's something suspicious and outlandish about his hard luck story that makes you wonder if he's not some innocent, frightful stooge, but rather a duplicitous serial killer. Edmund MacDonald and Ann Savage co-star; Edgar G. Ulmer directs.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) This iconic silent classic unfolds a terrifying story about a sinister shrink Dr. Caligari, who wields a terrible control over a sleepwalker, urging him into nocturnal murders. Terrifying and strikingly told in the German Expressionistic style, its conclusion throws everything before into question when some new information on its narrator lures its audience to reconsider its source. Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt and Fredrich Feher star. Robert Wiene directs.
Scary Movie 5
The fifth in the Scary Movie franchise centers on a couple who experiences a bunch of bizarre events after they bring their newborn son home. Following standard contemporary horror tropes (and mocking them) they set up surveillance cameras and call in experts to get a handle on this paranormal activity. Simon Rex, Ashley Tisdale, Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan star; Malcolm D. Lee directs.
Combining a clear knowledge of the clichés its skewering with an irreverence about their intent, the Scary Movie flicks have thrived. But they're not alone. Whether parodying the cop dramas, gay rehab retreats, or 1980s action features, these titles score laughs while skewering their subject matter with a silly yet thoughtful strategy.
The Naked Gun (1988) Based on the short-lived but unforgettable ABC procedural spoof Police Squad!, this kooky cop comedy stars Leslie Nielsen as Detective Frank Drebin, following the dopey dick's quest to stop an assassination attempt on Queen Elizabeth. The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear and Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult are also now streaming. George Kennedy, Leslie Nielsen, and Priscilla Presley co-star; David Zucker directs.
But I'm a Cheerleader (1999) This sassy satire centers on the coming-of-age story of a cheerleader who is positively perplexed when her parents confront her with an intervention, declaring her a closeted lesbian. Sent away to a retreat aimed at reassigning her sexual orientation, she meets other conflicted gay teens, including a smirking tomboy who helps her come out and into her own. Natasha Lyonne and Clea DuVall star, while Michelle Williams, Dante Basco, Mink Stole, Bud Cort, RuPaul (in a rare out of drag movie role), Cathy Moriarty, and Julie Delpy make appearances. Jamie Babbit directs.
The FP (2011) Brothers Brandon and Jason Trost co-wrote and directed this wild, raunchy and thoroughly funny gang story. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where gangs do battle by facing off in the dance video game Beat Beat Revolution, JTRO must avenge the death of his brother and take down his enemies by bringing his A-game to the dancepad. With more four-letter words, nudity, and over-the-top violence than you're likely to find in any mainstream pic, this indie is deliciously demented. Jason Trost, Lee Valmassy, and Art Hsu star; the Trost Bros direct.
For even more selections, peruse our Now Streaming archive.
Staff writer at CinemaBlend.
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