All alone tonight? Sit in the dark and watch these strange, anti-love gems on Netflix
WILD THINGS, JOHN MCNAUGHTON (1998)
Two school girls and their counsellor conspire to receive millions in a court settlement. When the authorities suspect a scam, the intrigue continues. Satisfying all the school-girl fantasies that Britney alluded to, Wild Things delivers the visuals wrapped in a multi-layered thriller. Denise Richard’s famous car wash scene leaves her dripping as she enters her teacher’s house with a sultry look in her eyes. This marks only the beginning of an evil plan, and we’re not sure who’s in charge.
SHAUN OF THE DEAD, EDGAR WRIGHT (2004)
Up for a pint before chasing the zombies? In Crouch End, unhappy electronics salesman Shaun has to have all his wits about him to save himself and his friends from a zombie invasion. They fight their way through the back garden, on to Shaun’s mother’s house, pick up other flatmates, then it’s on to their local pub to escape certain death. Unusual for a zombie film, this one’s not all about killing but offers a less tragic perspective on the apocalypse.
FIGHT CLUB, DAVID FINCHER (1999)
Utterly unique in its genre, Fight Club delivers alternative views on society. “You have to give up” is the motto. Or as Tyler Durden puts it, “Self improvement is masturbation, self destruction on the other hand… ” We’re not meant to worry about which set of tableware reflects our personality or whether or not we overshare in a conversation. Here, men fit in by day and get real at night. Their idea of life is purely physical, loud and orgasmic. You might end up wondering how badly you need that manicure.
THE LIGHTHOUSE, ROBERT EGGERS (2019)
Set in the 1890s, two men are stuck together in a lighthouse, which leads to one of them becoming lonely and sexually frustrated. Haunting visions of a mermaid provide both distress and relief while cold, harsh realities engulf them like the brutal waves crashing against the lighthouse. Excruciating work worsens the isolation while their psychological struggle is reflected in the chaotic atmosphere. The use of symbolism adds to the surreal and abstract style of the film, underlining an increasing sense of insanity.
HALLOWEEN, JOHN CARPENTER (1978)
You’re expected to suspend belief when watching most horror films, in order to enjoy and stop the cynicism. Michael, the mute, masked killer in work attire seems to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Look once, he’s outside your window, look twice and pouf! Like a genie back in its bottle. His omnipresence is a classic horror trait and tortures young babysitter Laurie. If you really get into it, there are also parts two, three, four and five to keep you up all night.
BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, DANIEL MYRICK, EDUARDO SÁNCHEZ (1999)
A mysterious forest that harbours many secrets attracts three curious students, traps them in the wilderness. Once they realise they have been walking around in circles, strange things are happening. The advertising campaign was supposed to trick people into believing the three characters were missing, fuelling the narrative of the lost victims. One of the most successful low budget films of all times, BWP masters the sub genre of the “recovered tape” which prompted the making of similar horror films such as Paranormal Activity.
DEATH BECOMES HER, ROBERT ZEMECKIS (1992)
Two ageing women in California fight for the love of an exhausted plastic surgeon. Although it isn’t exactly love what drives them. When they get a chance to drink from the fountain of youth, there is a special price to pay. Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn make an iconic pair while Isabella Rossellini represents the illusion of beauty. Looking like a young gazelle, her real age is 71. Special effects from the early 90s add to the grotesque subject matter which is all too relevant in a Kardashian world.
PANIC ROOM, DAVID FINCHER (2002)
Recently divorced Meg and her diabetic daughter (a young Kristen Stewart) move into a townhouse in Manhattan where they suffer the turmoil of intruders the very first night. In typical David Fincher manner, the camera flies drone like through spaces, providing new perspectives in this concealed and video surveilled environment. In conclusion; If you have a high tech room in your house dedicated to protect you in case someone breaks in, expect to use it.
The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, JOE BERLINGER (2021)
This eerie documentary explores the enigma surrounding the vanishing of young blogger Elisa Lam, who stopped at the Cecil Hotel in L.A.’s skid row whilst travelling the country. What was once known as an “affordable stay” has now an entire Wikipedia list dedicated to all the killings, suicides and disappearances connected to that building. Lam’s case garnered a lot of interest during the investigation particularly because of some widely publicised and unusual elevator footage.
THE TALENTED MR RIPLEY, ANTHONY MINGHELLA (1999)
Patricia Highsmith’s novel has previously been adapted for the big screen by René Clément with a devious Alain Delon. The Hollywood film delivers a more emotional version of the lifestyle obsessed killer, trying to steal his friend’s money and privilege. Shot in Italy, the art of intrigue and impersonation is set against a historic backdrop of antique buildings and classic decor. As hard as he tries to hold on to his new found crown, the use of mirrors seems to keep asking: Who is Mr Ripley?
SCARY MOVIE, KEENEN IVORY WAYANS (2000)
If you can’t decide which one to watch, Scary Movie is your mashup comedy horror splatter spoof. You don’t have to know all the references to get it, but it helps. The phone rings, a young girl alone at home picks up and off we go. Taking the Mickey out of some of the above, the effectiveness lies in spoofing classics and provocative teenage humour. Perhaps not the most sophisticated, it remains an original. It would take at least another five instant contemporary horror hits to make another Scary Movie.