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 Stoker, Snitch, and The Last Exorcism Part II for inspiration, we've pulled together a selection of vengeance-fueled thrillers, crime dramas based on true tales, and devil-centered horror stories.
Mia Wasikowska stars as India Stoker, a high schooler reeling from the abrupt death of her father. She finds some solace in meeting her long-lost uncle Charlie. But as the two grow closer, India discovers the sickening secrets of Charlie's past and uncovers dark desires of her own. Nicole Kidman and Matthew Goode co-star; Chan-wook Park directs.
Stoker marks Chan-wook Park's English-language debut. If you want to know why that has critics so excited, do yourself a favor and indulge in his deeply disturbing but totally thrilling Vengeance Trilogy. Each of these films from the South Korean director offers a crime tale so twisted they'll linger long, long after the final credits unfurl. A thematic trilogy over one that follows the same characters, you can watch them in any order you like.
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (opens in new tab) (2002) In desperate need of money to pay for a life-saving operation for his beloved sister, recently fired factory worker Ryu and his anarchist girlfriend devise an unconventional fundraising plan. They decide to kidnap the young daughter of his old boss and hold her for ransom. But when their criminal fantasies become a reality, things unravel fast. Kang-ho Song, Ha-kyun Shin, and Doona Bae star; Chan-wook Park directs.
Oldboy (opens in new tab) (2003) The most popular of Park's films to date, this chilling thriller centers on a kidnap victim. After 15 years of being confined without explanation, he is just as mysteriously released. Fueled by revenge, he seeks to discover who was behind his torment, and finds help from an affable waitress. Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, and Hye-jeong Kang co-star; Chan-wook Park directs.
Lady Vengeance (opens in new tab) (2005) My personal favorite of the Vengeance Trilogy, this thriller—also known as Sympathy for Lady Vengeance—follows the quest of a convicted child murderer as she seeks out the man who betrayed her. Finally freed from a long prison sentence, she searches for her long lost child, and of course a brutal revenge. Beautiful, bold, and at times hard to watch, Lady Vengeance is an exhilarating and horrifying exploration of vengeance and justice. Yeong-ae Lee, Min-sik Choi, and Shi-hoo Kim; Chan-wook Park directs.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars as a dedicated father who goes undercover for the DEA to save his son from a life-threatening prison sentence. Susan Sarandon, Barry Pepper and Jon Benthal co-star; Ric Roman Waugh directs.
At the start of Snitch, the screen is overtaken with that jarring warning: based on a true story. Of course, movie makeovers tend to gussy up the "truth" of these stories, but all in the aim of creating a pulse-pounding narrative. So get a blend of fact and fiction with these crime dramas that are based on real—and really wild—stories.
The Snowtown Murders (opens in new tab) (2011) This thriller from Australia unfolds the sickening story of that nation's most notorious serial killer, John Bunting. He was the heinous man responsible for the Bodies-in-Barrels murders, in which the corpses of 8 victims were found in barrels of acid in 1999. Who were these people and how did they come to such a gruesome end? This challenging drama explores these questions by following the downward spiral of Bunting's young friend, 16-year-old Jamie Viassakis. Lucas Pittaway and Daniel Henshall co-star; Justin Kurzel directs.
The Devil's Double (opens in new tab) (2011) A twisted but true version of 'The Prince and the Pauper,' this biopic centers on Latif Ahmed, a young man who had the misfortune of closely resembling Saddam Hussein's Uday. Forced to serve as his double—or else his family will pay the price—he is sucked into a world of decadence, violence, unchecked power, and the ever-present threat of his own death. Dominic Cooper stars; Lee Tamahori directs.
This Is England (opens in new tab) (2006) 12-year-old John is fatherless, bullied, poor, and furious. So when he meets a gang who accepts him, he is more than eager to stay with them whatever the cost. The trouble is, these men are skinheads, angry and gearing up for a violent revolution. Inspired by the people writer-director Shane Meadows knew growing up, this BAFTA-winning drama is as harrowing as it is haunting. Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, and Jo Hartley co-star.
The Last Exorcism Part II
As a teen, farm girl Nell Sweetzer was plagued by possession. Years later, she's working to build a new life, but the hold of the devil is not so easy to shake. Ashley Bell, Julia Garner, and Spencer Treat Clark co-star; Ed Gass-Donnelly directs.
Perhaps the world's oldest villain, Satan has been at the core of some fully frightening and entirely entertaining films. Whether he's testing the faith of a skeptical man of God, reigning havoc on Earth to prove God a fool, or inspiring seemingly lovely neighbors to commit horrific rituals, he's lurking and looking for the perfect angle to torment and terrify us.
The Last Exorcism (opens in new tab) (2010) Reverend Cotton Marcus is a celebrated exorcist, but he's confessing he's a fraud. To prove it, he takes a camera crew along with him on what will be his last exorcism. He hopes to show the problems that plague young Nell Sweetzer are just mental illness manifested or a purposeful hoax. But this crew witnesses such strange things, that even Marcus is forced to reconsider his beliefs. Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell star; Daniel Stamm directs.
The Prophecy (opens in new tab) (1995) Unbeknownst to humans, a war has been raging in heaven over the eternal fate of mankind. Dark angels hate humans, and revolt against God's decision to allow them into heaven. Seeking to turn the tide in this battle, the dark angel Gabriel (Christopher Walken) travels to Earth to find the key to mankind's expulsion from heaven. Christopher Walken, Elias Koteas, Virginia Madsen, Eric Stoltz, and Adam Goldberg star; Gregory Widen directs.
The House of the Devil (opens in new tab) (2009) An homage to the horror movies of the 1980s, Ti West's devilish offering follows a college co-ed in need of cash who takes on an unusual babysitting job in a big, isolated house during a full lunar eclipse. Little does she know, this eccentric family is hiding an evil secret that will throw everything she knows into spin, and put her life at risk. Jocelin Donahue, Greta Gerwig, Tom Noonan, and Mary Woronov co-star; Ti West directs.
It's been a moody couple of weeks in theatrical releases, so if you're looking for something lighter, peruse our Now Streaming archive, where you can find suggestions for a wide array of comedies, kid-friendly flicks, and more!
Staff writer at CinemaBlend.
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