As you're no doubt aware, Netflix is chockablock with pretty much every kind of genre and movie for you to enjoy.
But, as with anything, there's the good stuff and the bad stuff - and that's where we come in. We're plucking gems from the Netflix library in a specific genre. This time around, we're looking at horror.
After all, it is Friday the 13th.
So we're kicking things off with...
'Hush' follows a deaf and mute writer who retreats into the woods to live a solitary life with her cat. She must fight for her life in silence when a masked killer appears at her window. Made on a $1 million budget, it stars Kate Siegel, who Netflix horror fans should recognise from 'The Haunting of Hill House' (same director, by the way, in Mike Flanagan, who Siegel is married to). 'Hush' is one of those high concept, low budget horrors that's done really well.
Blumhouse have developed quite a rep for producing low budget horrors with high returns. One of its more successful series are the 'Insidious' films and another is 'Sinister'. Starring Ethan Hawke - who also is the lead is another of our recommendations, 'The Purge' - it portrays a true-crime who discovers a box of home movies depicting grisly murders in the attic of his new house. Then scary sh** goes down.
It's kind of extraordinary to think that 'Us' is only Jordan Peele's second feature after the groundbreaking horror 'Get Out'. In case you're unfamiliar, 'Us' follows a wife and mother-of-two (Lupita Nyong'o) on holiday with her family in Santa Cruz. The beach vacation turns horrific when a family of doppelgängers begins to terrorise them. Written as well as directed by Peele, 'Us' inspired nationwide discussions as to its many layers and meanings.
Not only a brilliant horror but just a brilliant movie in and of itself. From the twisted mind of Ari Aster, is one of 2018's most warped movies, starring Toni Collette and Gabriel Byrne, and one of production company A24's most profitable creations. When the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter Annie (Collette) and her family (Byrne, Milly Shapiro and Alex Wolff) begins to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry. If you feel like a double bill from the director, 'Midsommar' is also on Netflix now.
‘Veronica’ has gotten much praise for its scare factor, even being deemed ‘the scariest horror film ever’ by one critic. Set in early 90s Madrid, it relates the tale of its titular character, played by Sandra Escacena in her on-screen debut, who has to raise her younger siblings as her mother is always working and her father has died. She happens upon a ouija board during a solar eclipse and decides to mess about with it with her friends. The film is supposedly based on a true story taken from Madrid's police files.
'Gerald's Game' is a truly haunting horror that gets stuck in your head for days after watching it. Based on a Stephen King novel, it stars Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood as a married couple whose trip away to a remote lake house goes horribly wrong. Directed by Mike Flanagan (also the man behind 'The Haunting of Hill House' and the aforementioned 'Hush'), it's powerful but dark and graphic. The scariest parts are not what you'd expect.
The Cabin in the Woods
Something of a comedy as well as a horror, 'The Cabin in the Woods' was written by Drew Goddard, who also directed it, and Joss Whedon. They'd collaborated previously on 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' so that gives you an idea of the degree of horror we're looking at. Five friends - including Chris Hemsworth and 'Grey's Anatomy' star Jesse Williams - go for a break at a remote cabin. They get much more than they bargained for.
'The Queen's Gambit' star Anya Taylor Joy plays one of three teenage girls who gets abducted by a man with 24 different personalities (James McAvoy in possibly his career best). It's the best project M. Night Shyamalan has produced in years in line and recalls much of his earlier work - clean, unfiltered, and without any of his lofty ideas or faux-intellectualism. It's genuinely thrilling.
Before James Wan took on 'Aquaman' and before 'Furious 7', his bread and butter was horror. 'Insidious' was the second of his horror franchises, the others being 'Saw' and 'The Conjuring', and possibly his best. Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne are two parents who are struggling to understand their children's issues. Soon they realise it's much more than just imagination - it's demons. Far less gory than 'Saw', 'Insidious' works more on horror and scares being just out of frame. Which, as we know, is more terrifying than seeing something head on.
Over forty years later, 'Jaws' is still a go-to horror and movie classic in many households. Helmed by the legendary Steven Spielberg, it portrays a summer resort town which is being terrified by a man-eating great white shark. Its terrific ensemble includes Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Roy Scheider and Murray Hamilton. For the knock-off inferior version, '47 Metres Down' is on Netflix too, if it takes your fancy.
This second film from director Alex Garland, renowned for his debut ‘Ex Machina’, is as beautiful as it is haunting. With an exquisite cast that includes Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson and Oscar Isaac, the film follows a group of military scientists who explore what lies beyond "the Shimmer", a mysterious, iridescent, electromagnetic field that only one person has returned alive from. Recalling ‘Alien’ and ‘Under the Skin’, ‘Annihilation’ won’t be for everyone, but you can’t deny its ambition and scope.
Carolyn (Lili Taylor), Roger (Ron Livingston) and their five daughters have just moved into a new farm house, and it's not long before their plagued by paranormal activities. They call in Lorraine (Vera Farminga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson), a couple who specialize in these types of investigations; she's a powerful psychic, he's the only non-priest demonologist recognized by the Catholic Church. They need to find physical evidence of a possession within the house before the Vatican will approve an exorcism of their home, and boy, do they find some evidence.
'The Blair Witch Project'
Everyone remembers 'The Blair Witch Project', right? That 1999 horror movie recorded on a video camera that scared the living hell out of people because we all believed it was real for a while, and barely had the internet to tell us otherwise. Hard times. In fairness, the found footage horror still works exquisitely and really gets under your skin thanks to those excellent performances, effective pacing, and ominous use of light and sound.