Hidden gems on Netflix

Graphic by Jaime Mere

When you open your computer or turn on your TV and fire up Netflix, you are instantly presented with hundreds of options on what to watch. You’ll usually scroll through the ‘trending’ section, see all the recently added Netflix original content, or that nostalgic movie you’ve just been excitedly waiting for them to add. Or maybe they’ve added a popular movie from last year that was playing in theatres that you never got the opportunity to see. You likely won’t be considering the movies that are in the background of the grand Netflix stage. They could be good but then again who knows? Well, let it be known that there are many hidden gems on our favourite media service provider. There are lesser-known movies worth checking out which have been overshadowed the over saturation of other movies and shows. Here are a few that are definitely worth your time:

Mid90s, Drama

Written and directed by Jonah Hill
Starring: Sunny Suljic, Olan Prenatt, Na-Kel Smith

Mid90s is Jonah Hill’s Directorial Debut on the big screen. While Jonah himself is mostly known for comedies, this film certainly is far from falling under than banner. That’s not to say that this movie has no comedic elements because there are plenty of genuinely funny moments, but this film carries out more of a dramatic tone. Taking place in the mid 90s (shockingly) we follow Stevie (played by Sunny Suljic), a young boy who has just moved into a new town. With loneliness and a tough home life, Stevie goes out, joining a group of older skateboarding teenagers who are a poor influence on the child, introducing him to drugs, alcohol, stupid decisions, etc. We follow Stevie’s highs and lows in the group as well as the lengths he takes in order to maintain his social standing. The film’s setting attempts to create an authentic 90’s experience for the audience, even going as far as to film the movie using more classic techniques and equipment to give a better 90s feel in the visual presentation. The vast majority of the movie is stared in by children and teen skateboarders with very little acting backgrounds between them, making their great performances all the more impressive. Check this movie out if you want a grounded drama with touching/ relatable themes.

The Witch, Horror

Written and Directed by Robert Eggers
Starring: Anya Taylor- Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie

The Witch (stylised as The vvitch) is a movie that stands out from the already oversaturated horror genre. It accomplishes this by going into a unique setting, and creating not just a scary movie, but an interesting story as well. The setting is a 1630s Salem farm, where a family of pilgrims resides. The youngest child of the family disappears while he was being watched by the oldest sibling, Tomasin. The family falls into a depression and Tomasin is blamed for the disappearance by many of her relatives. Further events lead the family to believe that they are being tormented by a witch and mistrust runs rampant through the farm. This film is beautifully shot with some very frightening scenes, without having to rely on cheap horror movie cliches (jump scares, unintelligent characters, etc.). If you’re a fan of horror, this is a much-watch.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Comedy and Adventure 

Written and Directed by Taika Waititi
Starring: Julian Dennison, Sam Neill

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is one of the lesser-known films made by Taika Waititi. Waititi is also known for co-directing What we do in the Shadows and for more recently directing Thor: Ragnarok. This New Zealand film follows a newly adopted young teenage orphan, Ricky Baker (played by Julian Dennison) and his unwilling new foster guardian Uncle Hec (played by Sam Neill). After the death of Hec’s wife and Ricky’s new foster mother, he runs away into the forest (known as ‘the bush’). He is found byUncle Hec who plans on taking him home and putting him back in the orphanage, however, they cannot navigate back once Uncle Hec accidentally breaks his ankle.What follows is wild multiple month-long adventure which leads to Uncle Hec being labeled as a fugitive, the duo becoming minor celebrities and the police launching a full-scale assault to capture them. Over the experience, the two become closer and begin something akin to a father-son relationship. This movie has comedy, action, drama and much more. I highly recommend this movie if you just want to lay back and have a good time during a screening.

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