The Netflix Instant universe is vast, and full of many delights from all corners of cinema. Chances are, if you're in the mood for a certain genre, there's at least 11 movies that'll scratch the itch. Which is why, on a weekly basis, we here at Cinema Blend will bring you the 11 most interesting offerings in a genre, all of which are available for streaming through your Netflix account.
This week's theme is Horror, that scary and creepy delight that makes us all look over our shoulders and keep the bathroom light on all night. In that spirit, we have 11 films that are known to be frightening, and sometimes funny, but always entertaining. From the psychological to the supernatural, and all points in-between, there's something for everyone on this list. Get your popcorn ready, because we're off!
Grief is a beast that resides in us all, threatening to unbalance everything in our lives and rob us of our happiness. The Babadook seizes this conceit and runs with it to a supernatural end, turning grief into a physical monster that resides in a children's book. After losing her husband, Amelia and her son, Sam, are stalked by this monster, as it starts to torture the child's nighttime slumbers. The Babadook is a supremely effective horror film, that crosses over into the genre of psychological drama, as it examines a mother and son who are grieving, and the nightmare that arises from their mourning.
Hellraiser is a horror classic that needs to be seen by all. Based off of Clive Barker's short story, The Hellbound Heart, the film begins the legend of famed bogeyman Pinhead. But what the film also does is weave a tale of supernatural obsession, blood, and torture -- all in the name of resurrecting a loved one. Barker himself adapted and directed the film himself, which makes Hellraiser one of those rare occasions where the author is involved in every step of the production. It shows in the final product, as each frame screams of Barker's signature sense of horror.
We'll admit that not everyone likes their scares to be hardcore fright fests. Sometimes you want a lighter, but creepy thriller that manages to thrill. Odd Thomas is the lightest entry on our list, and it's also a tribute to the late, great Anton Yelchin, who stars as the titular psychic investigator from Dean Koontz's literary canon. With his special gift, Odd must use every weapon and ally in his arsenal to prevent the gates of Hell from swinging open, leaving our world vulnerable to attack. It's a fitting tribute to a lasting talent, taken before his time.
Anthology horror is a genre that's found new life both on the big and small screen. Part of the former resurrection is in thanks to the indie horror hit, V/H/S, which tells six different tales of terror, one of which frames the rest as vignettes housed in a private collector's VHS collection. Haunted houses, aliens, and even a killer glitch all haunt these stories, and one by one they unfold in a darkened house that holds a killer secret of its own. If you're into the thriving indie horror scene, or if you just like a cool gimmick, V/H/S is worth a rent.
Another classic entry on our list, The Exorcist is a horror movie that never set out to even be recognized as a horror movie. This is probably why director William Friedkin's cinematic masterpiece is seen as one of the best films of all time, not to mention one of the scariest. Based on a true story, The Exorcist sees the forces of good and purity fighting those who seek to corrupt all we know, with the soul of a young girl hanging in the balance. Thanks to its inclusion on Netflix, you can see just how the film earned its horror stripes.
From Dusk Till Dawn
Robert Rodriguez isn't chiefly known for his horror films, but when he decides to let the monsters out of the box, he does so with as much adrenaline filled glee as he does with his action based pictures. Case in point, the heist film turned castle siege / survival story From Dusk Till Dawn, which pits George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino, and a group of fellow hostages against an evil force disguised as a seedy strip club. If you haven't seen this already, and you don't know the basic story outside of what we've given you, don't read or look at anything else! Just jump into this one as cold as possible, and thank us later.
"Hell is only a word. The reality is much, much worse." If you had to boil down Event Horizon's mission statement into one, convenient, Sam Neill spoken line, then this would have to be the one you bring up at your next cocktail party. After being lost in space during its initial journey, the titular ship reappears... and it's brought something very special back with it. Earning its place as one of Paul W.S. Anderson's better, if not best, films in his canon, Event Horizon takes the "haunted house in space" premise of Alien, and switches extraterrestrials for Lovecraftian horror. It works as wonderfully as it sounds, and it's definitely worth your time, and the potential lack of sleep.
Let Us Prey
You already know actor Liam Cunningham, thanks to his role as Davos Seaworth on HBO's Game of Thrones, so watching him work his magic in Let Us Prey is going to be a bit of a shock. We say that because the film sees Cunningham play a rather sinister figure of unknown origin that seems to be terrorizing a select group of people in a sleepy village. He doesn't have to touch you, and he doesn't have to raise his voice too much. But if you're a sinner of the right kind, he can make your life a living hell. Let Us Prey is horror at its most meticulous and freaky, leading to a finale that will leave a twisted smile on your face.
James Wan knows horror, and he's proven it yet again with The Conjuring 2's runaway success. Yet there's one film in his canon that doesn't get nearly enough love: the creepy puppet thriller Dead Silence. Telling the tale of a family curse that involves a vendetta between a murdered ventriloquist and the men that did the deed, Wan's supernatural prowess makes this dummy filled nightmare play like a grown-up episode of Are You Afraid Of The Dark. Though if you choose to watch this film, we have one piece of advice: whatever you do, don't scream.
Wes Craven's New Nightmare
"Meta" narratives can either be brilliant or utter nonsense. Thankfully, a good eight years before Charlie Kaufman used such a device to a satisfying end in his film Adaptation, Wes Craven set the table for success with Wes Craven's New Nightmare, the seventh and final Nightmare on Elm Street film. Yet as cute and self-promoting the title sounds, it's actually an important clue to the film's overall plot, as Craven's dreams have become plagued with everyone's favorite son of a thousand maniacs. The only person that can stop him is the woman who kicked his ass in the movies, Heather Langenkamp. If she fails, 3D is going to take on a whole new meaning. Wes Craven's New Nightmare is probably the best Nightmare film, and we welcome you to see for yourself and make a case for or against our assumption.
We're not here to leave you without a good couple of laughs, as you can see with the inclusion of From Dusk Till Dawn. And while Dead Snow is still a suspenseful horror movie at heart, it's still a pretty funny homage to the 80's zombie flicks we love so much. With a group of students searching for a cache of Nazi gold in what is revealed to be a secret Norwegian base if operations, things go from comedic romp to full on gore fest in record time. If you enjoy this flick, then you can get a second immediate helping, as Dead Snow 2: Red vs Dead is also available for streaming consumption.