Top Ten Offbeat Horror on Streaming Netflix

Netflix has so many wonderful horror movies nestled amid a flood of dreck. Here are ten you should watch right now.

Haunter

 

Haunter (2013) – Not Rated

Putting a new spin on spooky, the haunted soul in this film — 15-year-old Lisa — is long dead, and the ghost she senses is a flesh-and-blood teen.”

Oculus

 

Oculus (2013) – Rated R

Now young adults, sibs Tim and Kaylie are still trying to recover from — and get to the bottom of — their parents’ deaths more than a decade ago.”

Horns

 

Horns (2013) – Rated R

Accused of murder, Ig Perish wakes up one day to find he’s grown a set of horns — compelling people to confess their sins to him.”

Dead Snow 2

 

Dead Snow (2009) – Not Rated

A group of friends gets the scariest history lesson of their lives during a weekend getaway, where the party is interrupted by Nazi zombies.”

Dead Snow 2 (2014) – Rated R

After medical student Martin escapes from Nazi zombies, he gathers an army to face off against the bloodthirsty, undead battalion.

You're Next

 

You’re Next (2011) – Rated R

“A shy girl goes to her new boyfriend’s family reunion and must join their bloody fight for survival when a gang of masked hooligans invades the party.”

We Are What We Are

 

We Are What We Are (2013) – Rated R

Following a family tragedy, two teenage sisters are forced by their domineering father to keep their cannibalistic clan’s macabre traditions alive.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

 

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010) – Rated R

Expecting to relax at their “vacation” cabin, two backwoods boys see their trip turn into a nightmare when they’re accused of being psychotic killers.

American Mary

 

American Mary (2012) – Rated R

A medical student who’s piling up debt jumps at the chance when she’s offered a lucrative opportunity to perform extreme body-modification surgeries.

John Dies at the End

 

John Dies at the End (2012) – Rated R

Promising a trip that transcends time and space, a drug called Soy Sauce is sweeping the landscape — and quietly robbing users of their humanity.”

Happy Halloween! Watch These on Netflix

Okay, you parents are probably out tonight trick-or-treating with your young’uns. I know I will be taking my adorable granddaughter Dorothy out and about. Those without children may be attending parties, especially with it being a Friday.

Dracula Untold

For the rest of you, there are slim pickings at the theater. Since there is no new Saw movie, they are re-releasing the original for one week only. New horror movies would be Horns, Ouija, Annabelle, and Dracula Untold. Ouija and Annabelle have very bad reviews and are watered down PG-13 ratings anyway. Dracula Untold wasn’t good but was at least passably entertaining.

Netflix only has two Halloween films and they are definitely bottom of the barrel. Halloween Resurrection was based on the thought of hey, why go out on a high note with a definite ending like Halloween H20? Why not pit kung fu fighting Busta Rhymes against Michael Myers? At least the other one (Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers) gave Paul Rudd his start in films.

You're Next

Still Netflix has plenty of wonderful horror films you might have missed. Try Cabin in the Woods, You’re Next, Evil Dead 2, World War Z, American Mary, Event Horizon, and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil and I doubt you will be disappointed.

ActionFest 2010 at Home on Netflix

I’ll be at ActionFest Thursday through Sunday (and my wife will be diligently posting updates). If you aren’t joining me there, then you can catch up on the films from the first ActionFest. 14 of the ActionFest 2010 films are currently available on instant Netflix:

Centurion (2010) – Rated R

“In 2nd-century Britain, Roman fighter Quintas Dias (Michael Fassbender) is the lone survivor of a Pictish attack on a Roman frontier post. Eager for revenge, he joins the Ninth Legion — under General Virilus (Dominic West) — and journeys north on a mission to destroy the Picts. Writer-director Neil Marshall’s rousing sword-and-sandals adventure also stars Olga Kurylenko as the beautiful Pict warrior Etain.”

This was the opening film of ActionFest 2010 and did a good job of setting the mood for the Fest. I found this to be much better than the following year’s very similarly themed The Eagle.

District 13: Ultimatum (2009) – Rated R

“Set two years after the action in Pierre Morel and Luc Besson’s District 13, this French-language sequel follows Capt. Damien Tomaso (Cyril Raffaelli) and Leito (David Belle) on their quest to clean up crime and corruption in the city. With the territory divided into five distinct neighborhoods created along ethnic lines, they have their work cut out for them. But they’ve also got a secret weapon: a will to defy the odds.”

This is fun but not as good as the first film, District B13 so make sure to watch that first.

Harry Brown (2009) – Rated R

“When a crew of drug-dealing gang members takes the life of his only friend, a retired Marine and widower decides to take the law into his own hands — but his old-school training might be overmatched.”

How can you not enjoy watching elderly Michael Caine kick butt? This is actually a somewhat slow-moving thriller but very enjoyable just the same.

Mandrill (2009) – Rated R

“Years after his mother is murdered, young hit man Mandrill (martial arts master Marko Zaror) embarks on a bloody and unyielding revenge mission, vowing to bring deadly justice to the killer in this gripping Chilean action thriller. Director Ernesto Díaz Espinoza reteams with leading man Zaror for the pulse-pounding film, also starring Celine Reymond as Dominic, Alejandro Castillo as Tio Chone and Luis Alarcón as Don Mario.”

This one just showed up on instant Netflix and I haven’t had a chance to catch it. I missed it at ActionFest even though I got to meet Marko Zaror.

Merantau (2009) – Rated R

“As part of a rite of passage known as “merantau,” young Yuda (Iko Uwais) leaves his tiny farming village for Jakarta. But he ends up saving orphan Astri (Sisca Jessica) from a human-trafficking ring ruled by the evil Ratger (Mads Koudal). With vengeful villains hot on their trail, Yuda must keep Astri and her little brother, Adit (Yusuf Aulia), safe in the pimp- and mob-ridden streets of the city in this fast-paced Indonesian thriller.”

This film won best picture at the first ActionFest but I have not yet caught it.

Ong Bak 2: The Beginning (2008) – Rated R

“Tien (Tony Jaa), the son of Lord Sihadecho — a tragically murdered nobleman — goes under the wing of Chernang (Sorapong Chatree), a renowned warrior and leader of the Pha Beek Krut who teaches Tien a variety of deadly fighting styles. Now a master of weapons and combat, Tien seeks out those who slayed his family. Jaa also directs and Sarunyu Wongkrachang co-stars in this martial arts thriller set in 15th-century Thailand.”

This one is a bit incoherent and has a very disappointing ending but all three Ong Bak movies are available on instant Netflix if you want a Tony Jaa marathon. Even if the films aren’t very good, the stunts and martial arts are awesome.

Power Kids (2009) – Not rated

“When little Wun needs a heart transplant, his friends race to save him. But the donor heart he needs is at a hospital that’s been captured by terrorists, so it’s up to the remaining Power Kids to liberate it.”

Martial arts for kids? I’m afraid I missed this one.

Raging Phoenix (2009) – Rated R

“After she’s rescued from a gang of Thai thugs who specialize in the trafficking of women, sexy Deu endures a grueling regimen of drunken-style, break dancing-inspired combat training and sets out to get her revenge.”

Again the Philippines produces some really nifty martial arts films but they are pretty incoherent plot-wise.

RoboGeisha (2009) – Netflix shows this as being rated TV-MA but I’m not sure that’s correct.

“Director Noboru Iguchi and gore master Yoshihiro Nishimura team up for this hyper-violent and hilariously grotesque depiction of a very angry army of butt sword-wielding geisha robots with enough strength to embed tempura shrimp in villains’ eyes. Special effects in Iguchi’s (Machine Girl) over-the-top, feminist melodrama include chainsaw lips, blood-spouting buildings, geisha transformers, machine gun bras and some basic decapitations.”

I think you have to be in the right mood to enjoy this. It is wildly over the top and was a fun break from the rest of the ActionFest titles but I would never go so far as to call this a good film.

The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008) – Rated R

“On a train crossing the Manchurian desert, an unlikely trio — good bounty hunter Park Do-won (Woo-sung Jung), bad gangster Park Chang-yi (Byung-hun Lee) and weird train robber Yoon Tae-goo (Kang-ho Song) — unite to find a treasure map’s promised loot. Racing through the unforgiving landscape, they stay one step ahead of rivals and the Japanese army. Ji-woon Kim directs this Sergio Leone-inspired adventure.”

I’ve recently covered this but it is a very fun ride.

The Square (2008) – Rated R

“Bored with married life, middle-aged Ray devises a dangerous scheme to steal a large sum of money and run away with his beautiful young mistress, Carla, in this neo-noir thriller set in a decrepit section of Sydney. It looks as if the plot involving Carla’s unscrupulous husband and a career arsonist is a success — until an anonymous blackmailer threatens to expose the truth. Director Nash Edgerton also helmed the award-winning short “Spider.””

This was a very slow-burn thriller that, in my opinion, was a little overrated. The short, Spider, is also available on instant Netflix. Spider is only nine minutes long and I found it to be hilarious.

Tucker & Dale vs Evil (2010) – Rated R

“Expecting to enjoy a relaxing vacation at their rundown mountain cabin, backwoods boys Tucker and Dale see their peaceful trip turn into a nightmare when college kids camping nearby accuse the duo of being psychotic killers.”

Hands-down my favorite film of the first ActionFest. This is a hilarious sendup of the hillbilly killers horror subgenre.

Valhalla Rising (2009) – Not rated

“After years of slavery, Viking warrior One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen) escapes from his captors and seeks refuge on a Norse ship bound for his homeland. When a storm throws them off course, the crew lands at a mysterious realm inhabited by invisible demons. As the bloodthirsty creatures claim one sailor after another, One-Eye rediscovers his fighting spirit but begins to wonder if they have arrived in Jerusalem or someplace much more sinister.”

Hands-down the worst film I saw at the first ActionFest. Many viewers walked out of this one. I didn’t see anyone walk out of any of the other features. On the other hand, I’ve seen many reviewers like this film. Apparently you either hate it or love it. I hated it.

One could literally edit Valhalla Rising down to a 30 minute running time without losing any action, dialogue, or meaning. Take all the worst parts of European cinema of the last half century (unnecessarily lengthy scenes, scenes where people just stare at each other, completely pointless dream sequences, severe closeups) and apply to them to a viking epic.

Vengeance (2009) – Not rated

Today, Costello (French music and film icon Johnny Hallyday) is a skilled chef. Twenty years ago, he was a cold-blooded killer working for the mob. But when a horrific tragedy befalls the family of his daughter (Sylvie Testud), Costello returns to his old ways. Journeying from France to Hong Kong, our culinary hero prepares to serve up revenge on a host of bad guys in this bloody tale from acclaimed action director Johnnie To.”

If you’ve seen a Johnnie To film then you know what to expect from this one. It is good but not as good as some of his other Chinese crime films.

 

 

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Pardon this reposting but ever since I saw Tucker & Dale vs. Evil at the first ActionFest, I’ve been waiting patiently for it to show up anywhere. Finally it is available on instant Netflix and you should watch it now.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010) – Rated R

Expecting to enjoy a relaxing vacation at their rundown mountain cabin, backwoods boys Tucker and Dale see their peaceful trip turn into a nightmare when college kids camping nearby accuse the duo of being psychotic killers.

Wow. I do not want to give away too many details about this movie but it is an absolutely hilarious reversal of standard slasher tropes.

Eli Craig and Morgan Jurgenson have written a masterpiece here. This is the first writing credit for Morgan and only the second for Eli (he also wrote the short The Tao of Pong). Most blurbs I have seen compare this movie to Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead. In tone it is quite like Shaun, Tucker & Dale is a very good-hearted comedy.

In form though it comes across more like Scream. Tucker & Dale takes the standard hillbillies killing off wayward teens in the woods story and turns it on its ear.

The direction is also by Eli Craig and for a first-time feature film director, he does an excellent job. The stunts and (practical) special effects are quite good. He keeps the action hopping at a brisk pace – there are plenty of gory deaths and lots of laughs.

Part of the magic in the film is definitely the casting.

Tyler Labine, an underrated actor most known for playing “Sock” in the TV series Reaper, plays Dale one of the leads. He plays Dale to lovable perfection as a self-esteem challenged hillbilly.

Alan Tudyk is the other lead and is a wonderful actor. He is best known for playing “Wash” on the TV series Firefly and the movie Serenity. Both are currently available on instant Netflix so why have you not watched them? Here he plays the hapless Tucker who just wants to fix up his vacation home.

Katrina Bowden is our resident damsel in distress. She is also from a TV background, playing Cerie on 30 Rock. Besides being gorgeous (sorry I am still a boy lolz), she has a very nice touch with comedy.

There are so many scenes that I would love to discuss but I prefer to leave them as surprises for you.

Tucker & Dale vs Evil is currently playing the festival circuit looking for a distributor. I find it difficult to understand why no one has snatched up this wonderful comedy but you can put it in your Netflix queue right now and you should.

I highly recommend this film. I was laughing most of the way through the movie as were most of the audience members.

People Watch: Sasha Craig who briefly plays a reporter here is married to Eli Craig. Prior to getting married she was Sasha Williams and played Kelsey Winslow aka Yellow Lightspeed Ranger on the Power Rangers series.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil – Actionfest week

This is Actionfest week where I am reviewing some of the films I saw at the wonderful Actionfest. I will return to reviewing instant Netflix movies next week. I saw Tucker & Dale vs. Evil at a midnight showing.

WATCH: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2009) – NR – This movie is not rated but contains plenty of gore.

“Backwoods boys Tucker (Alan Tudyk) and Dale (Tyler Labine) expect a relaxing vacation at their rundown mountain cabin, but when college kids camping nearby accuse them of being psychotic killers, their peaceful trip turns into a nightmare in this indie horror comedy. The problems begin when the duo saves beautiful student Allisons (Katrina Bowden) life. Soon, numerous misunderstandings cause things to spiral into a grisly situation.”

Wow. I do not want to give away too many details about this movie but it is an absolutely hilarious reversal of standard slasher tropes.

Eli Craig and Morgan Jurgenson have written a masterpiece here. This is the first writing credit for Morgan and only the second for Eli (he also wrote the short The Tao of Pong). Most blurbs I have seen compare this movie to Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead. In tone it is quite like Shaun, Tucker & Dale is a very good-hearted comedy.

In form though it comes across more like Scream. Tucker & Dale takes the standard hillbillies killing off wayward teens in the woods story and turns it on its ear.

The direction is also by Eli Craig and for a first-time feature film director, he does an excellent job. The stunts and (practical) special effects are quite good. He keeps the action hopping at a brisk pace – there are plenty of gory deaths and lots of laughs.

Part of the magic in the film is definitely the casting.

Tyler Labine, an underrated actor most known for playing “Sock” in the TV series Reaper, plays Dale one of the leads. He plays Dale to lovable perfection as a self-esteem challenged hillbilly.

Alan Tudyk is the other lead and is a wonderful actor. He is best known for playing “Wash” on the TV series Firefly and the movie Serenity. Both are currently available on instant Netflix so why have you not watched them? Here he plays the hapless Tucker who just wants to fix up his vacation home.

Katrina Bowden is our resident damsel in distress. She is also from a TV background, playing Cerie on 30 Rock. Besides being gorgeous (sorry I am still a boy lolz), she has a very nice touch with comedy.

There are so many scenes that I would love to discuss but I prefer to leave them as surprises for you.

Tucker & Dale vs Evil is currently playing the festival circuit looking for a distributor. I find it difficult to understand why no one has snatched up this wonderful comedy but you can put it in your Netflix queue right now and you should.

I highly recommend this film. I was laughing most of the way through the movie as were most of the audience members.

People Watch: Sasha Craig who briefly plays a reporter here is married to Eli Craig. Prior to getting married she was Sasha Williams and played Kelsey Winslow aka Yellow Lightspeed Ranger on the Power Rangers series.