This article is in continuation to our ‘Best Scary Movies on Netflix‘ series.
1. The Returned (2013)
Manuel Carbello’s The Returned is set in a post-zombie apocalypse world, where the deadly virus is gradually contained. The infected are given the chance to lead normal lives by taking a injection. This drug known as ‘return protein,’ however, is dangerously running out of stock. Director Carbello efficiently revives some of the stale elements of zombie horror sub-genre. Its atmosphere of dread and panic seems to be a good, low-budget realization of Cuaron’s Children of Men. If you’re done with routine zombie movies, this one might be worth checking out.
2. Under the Shadow (2016)
Faltering societal values and stressed psyche of female protagonist are the terrifying forces in Farsi language horror Under the Shadow. A folklore creature called ‘Djinn’ is also thrown into the mix. The story takes us to 1988 Iran, a volatile period in Khomeini’s Islamic revolution. Amidst the political upheaval, a mother and her little daughter are stuck in an apartment, plagued by evil spirit. Director Babak Anvari elegantly balances political context with traditional scary stuff. The performances, particularly child actor Avin, are exceptionally good.
3. Gremlins (1984)
A teenager named Billy receives a cute creature, Gizmo as his Christmas present. The father instructs his son in handling the creature, which resembles a cuddly fur ball. Unfortunately, Gizmo is exposed to water and spawns baby gizmos, which definitely aren’t cuddly fur balls. Director Joe Dante perfectly leaps between humor and horror. It takes the sentimental small-town portrayal witnessed in Spielberg or Capra’s films as the central stage for carnage. Some of the 80s critics viewed it as an enjoyable social critique of US government’s fear-mongering.
4. The Tall Man (2012)
Pascal Laugier’s Tall Man is a lot conventional and less bloody feature than the director’s disturbing first film Martyrs. Nevertheless, Laugier designs a wonderful bleak setting and novel, psychological scares for Tall Man. It revolves around a single mother Julia, living in an impoverished small town named Cold Rock in Washington. The town is infamous for numerous child-abduction cases. The local people blame it on urban legend: a mysterious figure called Tall Man. Julia’s life becomes frenzied as her only son goes missing. The frantic search makes her to grapple with the town’s mysteries. The film lacks a dramatic urgency, but fairly unpredictable than an average horror film.
5. The Thing (2011)
The alleged prequel to John Carpenter’s horror/sci-fi chiller doesn’t come close in building paranoia and dread experienced in the 1982 film. But it has enough scares to keep the new audiences occupied. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays the role of a paleontologist, who joins an expedition team in Antarctica. The team has just unearthed a frozen spaceship and its only occupant. The creature happens to be a deadly, shape-shifting monster. Some gross-out scenes are well-staged without employing CGI.
6. The Paranormal Activity (2007)
This $15,000-budget, haunted house film with a post-modern twist went on to earn $193 million. The set up is very simple. A young couple is disturbed by an unseen force in their house and the guy decides to film it. Static shots make up half the film, camera mounted on a tripod. Things gradually becomes eerie as the odd moments in the couple’s bedroom escalate the unease. And we’re left to examine the shadows spread through the static camera shot. The Paranormal Activity has hokey emotions like most found-footage films and a cartoonish closure. But, it’s a fright fest for most part.
7. Daybreakers (2009)
In Spierig brothers’ Daybreakers, vampires happen to be highly functioning creatures on Earth by the year 2019. Protected by labyrinthine of tunnels and ‘sun-proof’ glass, they are nearly indestructible. The only problem is that their food source – humans – is close to extinction. The conflict between corporate vampires and renegade humans make up for a political satire. However, the sluggish pacing lets down the film. The dialogues and characters are also a bit dull. But the film is definitely watchable for its energetic direction and fairly good production values.
8. ARQ (2016)
Netflix original ARQ takes us to a dystopian future where the world succumbs to a totalitarian corporate rule. The central plot reminds us of Groundhog Day, coated with a scary twist. The action takes place in a house and among a handful characters. There are quite a few plot holes. But there’s a sense of urgency that keeps us engrossed first frame onwards. Viewers who enjoy compact, scary sci-fi with taut performances could check this out.
By Arun Kumar
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