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Shudder is not just for horror

When it comes to horror, fans know exactly where they can go to stream some of the best in the genre: Shudder. However, the self-described “world’s best horror and thriller steaming service” added that extra category to its slogan for a reason. In addition to its countless terrifying titles, Shudder has a plentiful collection of non-horror movies available.

Discounting the majority of Shudder’s feature-length non-fiction pieces and docuseries (since those usually comes with close ties to the genre in question), the service’s library includes a relatively strong selection of films that may not have the same tone and traditional inner workings of horror classics like The Exorcist or Halloween. However, in the eyes of its curators, they are just as essential.

Ranging from grounded crime dramas to intense mysteries and even laugh-out-loud satire, these are the best movies available on Shudder that your easily scared might be able to handle. By some miracle, I was actually able to find more than ten of them.

Min-Sik Choi in Oldboy

Oldboy (2003)

Some mystery tales are remembered for the motivation of their protagonists, others for the indelibility of their imagery, and many for having an unforgettably shocking conclusion. South Korean auteur Chan-wook Park’s masterful modern classic, Oldboy, is the rare kind of thriller admired for all three, telling the harrowing story of Dae-su Oh (Min-Sik Choi), a man who, after being held captive for 15 years, is released and tasked to figure out the identity of his captor, why he kidnapped him, and why he let him go. If Dae-su could never imagine a worse nightmare than his 15 years of imprisonment, solving this mystery will prove otherwise.

Stream it on Shudder here

Roland Møller and Lola Le Lann in A Bluebird in my Heart

A Bluebird In My Heart (2018)

French filmmaker Jérémie Guez is known for penning many films of an eclectic variety, but almost equal intensity - perhaps, most notably the acclaimed Paris-set zombie flick The Night Eats the World. His feature-length directorial debut, however, is a Shudder exclusive of an unusually more earnest and realistic nature, yet still appropriately bleak. Based on the novel by Dannie M. Martin, A Bluebird in my Heart stars Roland Møller (whom you might recognize from Skyscraper) as Danny, an ex-con seeking redemption while on parole in Belgium, until the teenage girl he recently befriends is assaulted, reawakening his violent tendencies.

Stream it on Shudder here

Kurt Russell in Escape From New York

Escape From New York (1981)

Kurt Russell is one the most beloved action stars of his generation, but he certainly did not achieve that reputation as a staple of goofy Disney movies throughout the 1960s and ‘70s. He kicked off that phase in his career by playing Snake Plissken, an unsympathetic war-hero turned criminal, forced to enter the maximum security penitentiary that was once New York City to retrieve the President, held hostage by prisoners, within 24 hours in John Carpenter’s politically charged, dystopian cult classic. Whenever you are not in the mood for one of Carpenter’s signature classics chillers available on Shudder (i.e. Halloween), the futuristic, urban western thrills of Escape from New York should be enough to hold you captive.

Stream it on Shudder here

Aggeliki Papoulia in Dogtooth

Dogtooth (2009)

If you have ever seen a movie by The Favourite director Yorgos Lanthimos, you know that the filmmaker’s work can be quite bizarre, in either a shocking or laughable manner (or even a mix of both), but always thought-provokingly clever, nonetheless. In that regard, the Oscar-nominated filmmaker’s most defining effort must be this Greek-language family drama, which follows three siblings nearing adulthood who have been kept in lifelong isolation from the outside world (and the mere basis of reality in general) by their parents, who give the phrase “overly protective” a new, infuriatingly devout meaning. Having seen Lanthimos’ twisted 2016 rom-com The Lobster, I still cannot claim to have to have witnessed a more brutally honest, suffocatingly grim, and yet, oddly funny social satire in my life than the brilliance, otherworldly absurdity that is Dogtooth.

Stream it on Shudder here

Kim Bodnia in Pusher

Pusher (1996)

Best known for the stylish, Ryan Gosling-led neo noir thriller Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn is a filmmaker who has also dabbled in horror with The Neon Demon and 2009’s period quasi-fantasy Valhalla Rising (if you want to count that), and claims that Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was instrumental to his chosen career path. Yet, his debut was the first of many titles in his filmography to focus on violent men struggling to survive a very real and very cruel world they have dug themselves into. The Danish-language drama Pusher, the first in an acclaimed trilogy available for a limited time on Shudder, stars Kim Bodnia as a drug mover desperate to pay his debt to a ruthless crime lord after a deal goes horribly wrong.

Stream it on Shudder here

Winona Ryder and Christian Slater in Heathers

Heathers (1989)

Veronica (Stranger Things’ Winona Ryder) is a typical good girl simply trying to navigate the Darwinian social jungle that is high school, if not for her “friends” (a clique of snobbish, upper class, high-profile prisses who all happen to be named “Heather”) exacerbating her attempt. She finds a potential solution to her struggle when she crosses paths with a rebellious sociopath named JD (Christian Slater), who convinces her that things might be easier if she just killed them. If 2004’s Mean Girls was just not mean enough for you, director Michael Lehmann’s razor-sharp lampooning of high school culture is profoundly wicked.

Stream it on Shudder here

An accident captured in The Road Movie

The Road Movie (2016)

For purposes of safety and monitoring one’s surroundings, the majority of drivers in Russia have taken the liberty of installing dashboard cameras in their vehicles, as if it was a national requirement. As a result, there is an endless amount of footage you can find online capturing a plethora of bizarre, uproarious, and sometimes quite frightening activity, the most amusing of which Dmitrii Kalashnikov has compiled into this 67-minute documentary. We know we said that this list is meant to focus on non-horror films, but the disturbing realities presented in The Road Movie probably make it the one closest to the contrary.

Stream it on Shudder here

Kristy Swanson in Flowers in the Attic

Flowers In The Attic (1987)

Before there was the over-protective isolation of the unnamed family from Yorgos Lanthimos’ aforementioned Dogtooth, there was the Dollanganger children, four siblings who spent a good portion of their youth holed up in a bedroom and attic of their crazy grandmother’s mansion. In the first adaptation of V.C. Andrews’ shocking bestseller, Jeb Stuart Adams and Scream Queen Kristy Swanson play Chris and Cathy, the elder brother and sister whose captivity in Grandmother’s (Louise Fletcher) attic gives them a case of cabin fever bad enough to unlock some forbidden desires within, which is as far as I will go in detailing that. Some may call Lifetime’s 2014 remake a better adaptation of Flowers in the Attic, but the 1987 version has its fans for a reason, that being its scandalous, memorably disturbing subject matter.

Stream it on Shudder here

Pat Healy and Ethan Embry in Cheap Thrills

Cheap Thrills (2013)

If you are like me, you like your black comedies dark enough that a mere giggle at the hellish circumstances you are witnessing makes you question own morality and the shockingly absurd (or, is it absurdly shocking) directorial debut of E.L. Katz is one such film. A family man (Pat Healy) and his old friend (Ethan Embry), both of which are financially strapped, are approached one night in an empty bar by a mysterious couple (David Koechner and Sara Paxton) offering monetary compensation for participating in a their odd little game of dares. At first, it seems like an easy and innocent way to make a quick couple of bucks, until the stakes of these increasingly depraved challenges raise higher and higher, convincing our protagonists that these titular Cheap Thrills are more costly than the men may have initially realized.

Stream it on Shudder here

Stephen Rea in Stuck

Stuck (2007)

Stuart Gordon, the late, legendary cult filmmaking icon behind such classics as the Shudder available Re-Animator and Castle Freak, turned away from his Lovecraftian obsessions for an equally macabre and mischievous take on of this hard-to-believe true story. Mena Suvari plays Brandi Boski, a young nurse who accidentally hits recently homeless deadbeat Thomas Bardo (Stephen Rea) with her car, but instead of killing him, his still-breathing body becomes lodged in Brandi’s car windshield, putting her on a desperate quest to maintain her moral code and her freedom. As his last feature-length film before his death in March 2020, Stuck sees Gordon go out with one more darkly humorous, devilish grim bang.

Stream it on Shudder here

Suzee Slater in Chopping Mall

Chopping Mall (1986)

This cult favorite produced by B-movie monarch Roger Korman may commonly be associated with the slasher genre, “uniquely” crossed with science fiction. However, I have a hard time calling this piece of ludicrous, ‘80s-tastic trash anything more than a comedy because there is not a damn thing in this movie that will scare you, but more than enough to make you laugh. Chopping Mall, about a group of clueless teens trapped in a shopping center and stalked by its army of killer security robots (yep, that’s the plot), is a definitive staple of "so bad it’s good" cinema... I mean, I'd say it's certainly more "bad" than "good" but still...

Stream it on Shudder here

What do you think? Are these non-horror flicks available on Shudder just as good as the streaming services scariest offerings, or is it called Shudder for a reason and should stay that way? Let us know in the comment and be sure to check back with more streaming recommendations here on CinemaBlend.