We’ve browsed Netflix’s horror collection and have picked ten films that you need to watch, from South Korean vampire tales to found footage zombie flicks. Turn off the lights, turn up the volume, move in closer and experience some of the best horror films the streaming giant has to offer.
NOTE: We’re focusing on Netflix Australia here.
In no particular order…
The Descent (2005)
English director Neil Marshall followed his fantastic feature debut Dog Soldiers with this tense-as-hell horror film. The Descent follows a woman who loses her husband and daughter in a tragic accident. A year later, she heads on a trip with her girlfriends, which of course doesn’t go according to plan. The group become trapped in what seem like a never-ending series of interconnected underground caves, which is clearly bad enough, but why not add bloodthirsty creatures to the mix as well? Suspense and gore in an oh-so claustrophobic setting.
The Host (2006)
The first of two South Korean pictures on this list comes from director Bong Joon-Ho, whose credits also include the masterful thriller Mother and the brilliant sci-fi picture Snowpiercer. The Host tells of what goes down when a monster emerges from Seoul’s Han River and begins attacking people. When this creature takes a little girl back to its lair, it’s up to her dysfunctional family to try and work together to get her back. It’s a fun, layered monster flick, with heart, scares and humour in equal measure.
Although the horror genre sees way, way too many mediocre found footage films being released, there are a handful that are worth adding to that Netflix ‘My List.’ Rec was quite a big hit for a small, low-budget Spanish horror film, going on to spawn three sequels (so far) and a U.S. remake in the form of 2008’s Quarantine. We follow a television reporter and emergency workers into a dark apartment building, which happens to be filled with terrifying zombies. Turn the lights off and get up close to this one.
The Mist (2007)
Just because this one comes from The Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont, do not expect to have any emotions resembling warmth and hope by the time credits roll on this one. This adaptation of Stephen King’s novel finds Thomas Jane playing David Drayton, a man who finds himself trapped in a small-town supermarket with his son and a group of terrified citizens after a freak storm unleashes an array of nightmare-inducing creatures. It’s a fun, freaky ride, with an ending that’s not to be forgotten.
Let the Right One In (2008)
This Swedish masterpiece boasts stylish direction, gorgeous cinematography, fantastic performances and atmosphere to burn. Let the Right One In tells the story of Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant), an overlooked and bullied young boy who sparks up a friendship with Eli, a girl who can’t step into the sun, who needs to be invited into a room before she steps in, and who might like food of the blood variety. This is a potent, effective and touching horror-drama, and one that surprisingly has a remake that you should also check out. It may not be on the list, but after you check out the original Swedish version, we suggest you check out the Chloë Grace Moretz-starring remake Let Me In – also on Netflix.
Creepy kids, they’re a horror trope that have been pushed to death throughout cinema history, but they can nevertheless be downright terrifying when done right. Orphan, from Run All Night and The Shallows helmer Jaume Collet-Serra, tells of a husband and wife who, after losing their baby, decided to adopt a nine year-old girl. It doesn’t take long before the girl’s dark side begins to show, all while she ensures her adoptive mother’s claims fall on deaf ears. It’s a nerve-wracking, twisted film, topped off with a great finale. Be sure to check this one out.
It Follows (2014)
This confidently directed horror film from writer-director David Robert Mitchell earned wide acclaim throughout 2014, and it’s easy to see why. It Follows is, for the most part, a decidedly creepy, unsettling picture, holding more than a few spine-tingling scenes to keep you awake at night. The plot follows a young woman (Maika Monroe) who finds herself being followed by an unknown supernatural force after having sex. Yep, it’s about sexually-transmitted hauntings, and it’s scary stuff.
The Loved Ones (2009)
Boys, be careful whom you turn down. When Brent (Xavier Samuel) declines Lola’s (Robin McLeavy) invitation to the school dance, well, she doesn’t take it too kindly. Before he can say “high school proms are overrated,” Brent finds himself kidnapped and given the unenviable honour of being Lola’s date at her own twisted prom. This Aussie horror flick racks up the tension and dark humour in a small setting, while nicely ramping up energy with surprise reveals and twisted plot turns. The Loved Ones is an entertaining little film that benefits from a tight running time, a good amount of wit and a dash of torture porn.
Our second horror film from South Korea is Thirst, a horror-romance-drama from Oldboy director Park Chan-wook. This beautifully shot, truly macabre vampire film tells of Sang-hyun, a priest who is stricken with a deadly virus. Vampire blood saves him from death, but leaves him with a newfound desire and need for flesh. That’s the basic synopsis, but layers abound in a picture that is as bonkers as it is creepy, amusing and ultimately touching. It’s a great take on the vampire story, and a necessary antidote to the eye-rolling descent cinematic vampire tales have experienced in recent years.
Eden Lake (2008)
Prior to being a two-time Academy Award nominee and starring in big Hollywood fare such as the X-Men franchise, Prometheus and the upcoming Assassin’s Creed, Michael Fassbender had put in a great turn in this hard-hitting British horror film. It’s a familiar type of horror plot: a likeable couple heads to the woods, and everything goes to hell. Done. That being said, this is a gritty, relentless exercise in brutality that will leave you exhausted and defeated. The film also boasts fantastic performances from Kelly Reilly and a young Jack O’Connell, who’s infuriating and downright detestable as the leader of a gang of loutish youths. It’s not easy viewing, but if you’re keen for a bleak, tense outing that offers no easy way out, Eden Lake is one for you.