There's no question that Netflix is fast becoming a major player in the movie world – and while it may not have the firepower to rival the big studios just yet, its ongoing dominance in the world of visual streaming and its commitment to making 'Originals' in both series-form and movie-form mean that it's only going to get bigger.
However, it also means that some gems can fall through the cracks amidst the big titles like Okja, The Cloverfield Paradox, Annihilation et al. Below, we've chosen five 'Netflix Originals' - films that may have hitherto escaped your attention, and come highly recommended.
Based on a novella by Stephen King, this horror film superbly balances drama with gore, tension and a serious dose of creepiness. After enlisting his teenage son as an accomplice in the killing of his wife for her inheritance, Wilf (played by the always-underrated Thomas Jane) finds that the act of murder has more consequences – both real and imagined – than he may have expected. A word of warning: if you're seriously squeamish about rats, be prepared to duck behind the sofa.
The Defiant Ones
Netflix has been killing it when it comes to music documentaries in recent years, but this may just be the best of them. Whether you're a fan of hip-hop or not, this four-part mini-series is a fascinating examination of the relationship between record label mogul Jimmy Iovine (co-founder of Def Jam) and rapper Dr. Dre, as well as their respective careers – and how they both transformed the game. With contributions from everyone from Springsteen to Bono to Kendrick Lamar and Puff Daddy, it's well worth a watch.
Another Stephen King adaptation, Gerald's Game admittedly takes time to get going – but one you're hooked in, tea or toilet breaks are out the window. When a couple plan a romantic retreat to rekindle their failing relationship at a remote cabin, you can guess what happens next... or can you? Let's just put it like this: if your worst nightmare is being helplessly handcuffed to a bed with the dead body of your spouse in the room, no one around to help for miles, a ravenous dog on the prowl and hallucinations and dehydration quickly setting in... well, that's a seriously specific worst nightmare. But it also means that you also won't be sleeping after watching this.
I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
Admittedly, we were latecomers to this indie gem but we've been evangelising about it to anyone who'll listen ever since it came up on our radar earlier this year. Released on Netflix in 2017, it's part-thriller, part-comedy and completely entertaining as it follows Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) and her 'quirky' neighbour Tony (Elijah Wood) as they get more than they bargained for as they attempt to track down Ruth's stolen laptop. There's some seriously dark humour at play here, but it zips along in 93 engrossing and enjoyable minutes.
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
The 'haunted house' trope has been done to death, but this 2016 film puts an interesting spin on the genre. Bear in mind that this is a slow-burning, tension-building affair – so if you're looking for Paranormal Activity -style jumps and scares, you won't find many of them here. Instead, the story of live-in nurse Lily (Ruth Wilson) as she cares for dementia-stricken horror author Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss) is all about foreboding atmosphere. As you may imagine, it soon becomes apparent that something is not quite right in Blum's creepy-as-all-hell house – but the build-up to the inevitably grim climax is thoroughly satisfying and certainly worth sticking with.