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 well with the latest theatrical releases.
Looking to The World’s End, Getaway, and You’re Next for inspiration, we've pulled together a selection of devotedly dark comedies, chilling crime thrillers, and slapstick-studded slasher flicks.
The World’s End
Writer-director Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost reunite for the final installment of their Cornetto Trilogy. Pegg stars as a overgrown screwup whose convinced he can get his life on track if he can just reunite his boyhood mates and complete The Golden Mile pub crawl they attempted 20 years before. Nothing will stop him…including an apparent alien invasion that might mean the end of mankind. Rosamund Pike, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine, and Eddie Marsan co-star. Read our full review here.
Leave it to Wright and company to make the apocalypse hilarious. If you like your comedy with a deeply dark edge, then you’ll laugh hard at these funny features that make light of murder, war and the end of the world.
South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999) The foul-mouthed kids of South Park, Colorado took to big screen with a big flashy musical that took on censorship, parenthood and a war that could give Satan the toehold he needs to return to Earth and wreak havoc. Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and Cartman are ecstatic to see Asses of Fire the new movie from Canadian comedians Terrence and Phillip, but when the new curse words they learn upset the adults of South Park, an anti-Canada conflict begins to brew that could bring on the world’s end.
It's a Disaster (2012) This outrageous comedy imagines what would happen if a terrorist attack forced a pack of frenemies to spend their last hours trapped together in a Sunday brunch from hell. It’s a sharp concept with a whip-smart script that proves downright hysterical thanks to a cutup cast that includes Julia Stiles, David Cross, America Ferrerra, Erinn Hayes, Jeff Grace, Rachel Bolston, Kevin M. Brennan, and Blaise Miller. Todd Berger directs.
A Shock to the System (1990) You’ve probably never heard of this lesser-known comedy that stars Michael Caine as an advertising executive who feels undervalued at work, where his colleagues think he lacks a cutthroat mentality, and at home, where his wife endlessly nags him about the lack of money he makes. But it’s pretty spectacular. One day, after he is lightly electrocuted on a frayed lighting fixture, something snaps. Soon, he begins to wonder if murder isn’t the solution to just about all his problems. Caine is perfection in this twisted comedy. Elizabeth McGovern, Peter Riegert, and Swoosie Kurtz co-star. Jan Egleson directs.
Ethan Hawke fronts this action-thriller that places him behind the wheel of a car at the command of a mysterious man who has abducted his wife. Selena Gomez co-stars; Courtney Solomon directs. Read our full review here.
Movies would have us believe there is a wide array of troubles for which the cops just can’t be called. For three such examples that are sure to give you chills, check out these three thrillers about lying litter girls, brothers bonded by blood and quest, and a battle of wits between headhunters of different sorts.
The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976) A young Jodie Foster stars as a thirteen-year-old girl who lives in a lovely townhouse in a Long Island seaside town…but where are her parents? She claims her father is ever in the other room, writing. He’s a poet, but when a local pedophile—shockingly played by Martin Sheen—starts snooping around, this girl’s secrets will be forced out of the shadows. She can’t have that. Alexis Smith and Scott Jacoby co-star; Nicolas Gessner directs.
The Boondock Saints (1999) Boston is plagued by crime, and twin brothers named Conner and Murphy (Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus) have had enough of it. Deciding to take matters into their own hands, these Irish badasses decide against joining the police force, believing God has destined them for vigilantism. Billy Connolly and Willem Dafoe co-star; Troy Duffy directs.
Headhunters (2011) In this Norwegian thriller, Aksel Hennie plays one Roger Brown, a headhunter in the way of corporate recruiter. But obsessed with luxury, Brown is drowning in debt, so he moonlights as an art thief. But he bites off more than he can chew when he steals from a dangerous man whose a headhunter of a different sort. Aksel Hennie and Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau co-star; Morten Tyldum directs.
The slasher horror effort that cut up the Toronto International Film Festival in 2011 has finally made its way to theaters. Sharni Vinson stars as a girlfriend eager to meet her beau’s family over a reunion weekend in their remote vacation home. But her anxieties about meeting the parents gets shoved aside when the house comes under assault by a mysterious band of masked murderers. Joe Swanberg and AJ Bowen co-star; Adam Wingard directs. Read our full review here.
You’re Next has received a wide swath of praise for its blend of grotesque violence and cutting comedy. If you like your slashers with a slice of humor, you’ll appreciate these sharp stories that take the slasher genre into strange and sensational directions.
Scream (1996) Wes Craven’s meta-comedy offered a turning point in the genre, reminding mainstream audiences how smart horror could be. The sleepy bliss of the suburban town Woodsboro is abruptly shattered when a pair of local teens are brutally murdered with no apparent motive. This sends Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) and her friends into a frenzy of speculation, where everyone they know becomes suspect. David Arquette, Rose McGowan, Courteney Cox, Matthew Lillard and Skeet Ulrich co-star; Craven directs. Plus, you can make your own marathon as Scream 2, Scream 3 and Scream 4 are also streaming.
The Cabin in the Woods (2011) A horror movie that won over fans of the genre as well as those who typically avoid it, this self-aware story took Craven’s model to the next level, playing on convention then demanding the audience consider why these tropes exist. While there’s a lot of clever commentary laced within Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard’s script, this slasher also functions on the base level of being fulluy frightening and satisfyingly funny. Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz and Jesse Williams co-star; Goddard directs.
Severance (2006) You think your job is bad? In English writer-director Christopher Smith’s follow-up to the subway-set thriller Creep, the typical slasher in the woods tale gets a sly twist. Rather than sex-crazed co-eds, Smith centers his story on a batch of barely friendly office workers who’ve been forced into the forest for the dreaded team-building retreat. But trust falls are soon the least of their worries when then cross paths with some killer commandos hell-bent on cutting down the entire department. Toby Stephens, Laura Harris and Danny Dyer star; Smith directs.