The next 23rd of February, popular Video on Demand platform Netflix is adding to its catalog of Netflix Originals two of the most awaited genre titles of the year: Duncan Jones’ Mute (2018) and Alex Garland’s Annihilation (2018). So having this date so close, perhaps this is time to make a little retrospective and make a Top 10 list of the best Netflix Originals films.
Note that this list only contains feature films. Netflix is pretty popular for having a very attractive catalog of TV series, but that list will come another day. Also, this list only includes the titles under the category of Netflix Originals, the ones that Netflix has achieved the rights of distribution in exclusive or have been the main producers of the film.
So, without more ado, let’s go on with the list!
1. The Bad Batch (2016)
Written and directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, popular for her debut film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), this is a movie that has more layers than it first looks like. Due to its theme, it might be a movie that one could not be in the mood to watch at first. But, honestly, and despite the not very positive reviews it has collected, for me, it is the most interesting title currently in the Netflix Originals catalog. A movie that indeed stays with you in your head and you think about it for days. Starring young Suki Waterhouse, it has epic appearances of popular actors like Jason Momoa, Keanu Reeves, Jim Carrey and Giovanni Ribisi. A must-watch!
My rate: 7/10
2. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)
With a title like this, one could already spect this movie is going to be something different and special. And, although at moments it drifted a little bit, the whole feeling during its running time is that we are watching a comedy mixed with crime thriller, but with an aura of desperation. The main character wonderfully played by Melanie Lynskey says nothing but a bunch of truths that might sound like a joke. But they are not. The world we are living is crazy, and anyone who feels like at home in it has a real problem. Oh, and we learn something else from this one, Elijah Wood is the lousy sidekick anyone would want by the side when you are going against the world.
My rate: 7/10
3. Creep 2 (2017)
This is a direct sequel to Creep (2014), a small independent low budget film that became a sensation in the world of horror a few years ago due to its simplicity and tension. To be honest, I never liked Creep (2014). As an exercise of improvisation and simplicity to build a story it is okay and one can accept it is interesting enough. But as a feature film I am sorry but it doesn’t work. The acting was good enough and the passion actor Mark Duplass and director Patrick Brice put in the project was patent along the whole running time, but it all couldn’t pass of being merely a film experiment (and not an experimental film). Well, the case with Creep 2 (2017) is different. The premise is the same. In fact, for Creep 2 (2017) to impress you as it should, you better have seen the first movie. Every limitation Creep (2014) had is solved and mastered in the sequel. The improvisation in the original that so many blanks and redundant moments left has been changed by an extremely solid script, a very smart plot that keeps the tension flowing along its entire running time. The domain of the situations and scenarios of director Patrick Brice is masterful. Actor Mark Duplass reprises his character but this time the performance is armored, bulletproof, solid as a rock. And the addition of Desiree Akhavan’s character is delicious, followed by her astonishing performance. The idea and simplicity remains from the original, but the filmmakers learned from their mistakes and weaknesses in Creep (2014) to make Creep 2 (2017) perhaps the best found-footage movie I’ve ever seen. With the permission of the first 2 REC movies, of course.
My rate: 7/10
4. The Babysitter (2017)
Director McG proves again he knows how to deal with the terms of entertainment. The typical story about a sexy crazy babysitter and a loner bullied kid turns into a blood and violence rollercoaster that, although it constantly makes use of several of the cliches in the teenage horror subgenre, still has some good moments and surprises. Pure entertainment, perfect for one of those nights you don’t know what to watch and you feel like disconnecting your brain from your daily stuff. If you wanna read more about it, check out our full review here.
My rate: 6/10
5. Wheelman (2017)
Do you remember Locke (2013), that Tom Hardy film where pretty much features him driving his car during the entire running time and builds the story via several telephone calls? Well, Wheelman (2017) takes this premise and turns it into a high octane action flick where Frank Grillo is him against all in a gangsters war. A driver called simply Wheelman has to solve a crime fuckup in order to protect his wife and daughter. A very entertaining movie, straight and direct, very well written, directed and performed. You don’t have to be a junkie for car chases and explosions to like this film.
My rate: 7/10
6. iBoy (2017)
I have to admit when I first started watching iBoy (2017), I thought it was a joke. The premise is so ridiculous that I thought this wasn’t serious, that this could work only as a comedy. But although plenty of silly things happen in this movie, at the end it is some sort of low-class urban superhero flick that manages to connect with the audiences. Like always happen with this kind of movies, perhaps iBoy (2017) ends up turning into another superhero franchise. I think that idea should be scratched out, I don’t see how iBoy (2017) sequels would work without turning into some strange Matrix (1999)-style nonsense. Silly but entertaining. Like any other superhero movies, right? Or do you think the plot for Spiderman is plausible? Yeah, that is a good overview, iBoy (2017) is a cockney urban cyber-Spiderman.
My rate: 6/10
7.- Spectral (2016)
This science fiction thriller is much better than it might look in the beginning. It is entertaining and it has some intense and effective action sequences. It could have surely worked as a theatrical release since it’s clearly superior to many other movies running nowadays. In the times of a futuristic global war, the enemy seems to be in possession of a supernatural new weapon. A group of US Forces, led by a citizen scientist, is sent in to discover the source of this new menace and neutralize it. But the mission is not as simple as it first looked like, and and the soldiers will have to face an enemy that walks between reality and the most horrific demonical spirit.
My rate: 6/10
8. The Ritual (2017)
A recent addition to the Netflix Originals catalog, this movie raised some good reviews in last year’s film festivals circuit. Simple but intense, this film shows how a group of college friends with a dark past reunite for a trip to the forest. Each one of them has lived a different life in the past years, so the getting together won’t be as smooth as they first planned. Especially when deep in the woods they find themselves troubled by a series of supernatural events. A nightmare in where once you wake up one doesn’t know if it was real or it all was a bad fantasy trip. I had the pleasure to watch this movie at the past Sitges Film Festival and I would say it was one of my favorite ones. So it’s a joy that now it is on Netflix, people.
My rate: 6/10
9. Lucid Dream (2017)
There can’t be a list of best movies without a Korean title. It is true that Netflix Originals have plenty of foreign language films, but they are mostly dramas. Still, one can find a little scifi Asian film called Lucid Dream (2017) after digging a little. Besides being written and directed by a debutant, Kim Joon-Sung, Lucid Dream (2017) has nothing to envy to any American science fiction blockbuster. Let’s make it easy saying the movie works as a crossover of Inception (2010) with a detective flick. Dae-ho, an investigative journalist, seeks to track down the whereabouts of his son who was abducted three years ago. With the help of a detective and a psychiatrist friend, he will retrace his memory of the incident through the use of lucid dreaming techniques. Lots of plot twists, imaginative technology and exploitation of the power of dreams is what one can find in Lucid Dream (2017). Another promising debut and very good eyes from Netflix executives, since this marks only the second time they bought in advance the global copyright for a film before its finishing.
My rate: 6/10
10. The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
After all has been said from this movie, for good or for bad, I couldn’t leave it out of this list. It is true that it is better to watch The Cloverfield Paradox (2018) with no high expectations, but still, it’s a recommendable watch. Probably it won’t give you all the answers you are waiting for, and the direction is chaotic enough to easily get lost if it wasn’t because we already know what we are watching, but I still had a decent time with it. I can understand all the people who hated this movie because it’s not the best-done science fiction title of the year for sure, but again hating is very easy and I prefer to use my imagination to fill up the empty gaps. A group of international astronauts must solve a global energy crisis that has brought mankind to the verge of a catastrophic world war. But the experiments don’t work as planned, and a portal to other dimensions is open. Don’t only worry about how you got into that portal, also care what went out of it! Surely the weakest of the three Cloverfield movies already out there but, come on, it’s not thaaaaaaat bad.
My rate: 6/10
11. Bright (2017)
The most expensive Netflix production to date, David Ayer’s Bright (2017), is a forgettable fantasy buddy-cop flick with some moments of brightness –no pun intended–. Will Smith is a grumpy human cop, Joel Edgerton is a dull Ork cop, and Noomi Rapace is the evil sorceress who wants to possess a magic wand that would bring back to life the Dark Lord. If we put all these ingredients together and we mix them with Ayer’s sense of action and the urge of a blockbuster, this is the resulting cocktail. As happens with the previously mentioned The Cloverfield Paradox (2018), I can see how many people hate this movie. It’s not a very good one, but it’s neither that bad. It has its moments and although it will never become anyone’s favorite film, it’s not very fair to absolutely condemn it. If you wanna read more about it, check out our full review here.
My rate: 5,5/10
These are the most interesting titles in the Netflix Original movies in the catalog. But there are more, many many more. Some like Death Note (2017) should be avoided at all cost. But also there are some titles that, although didn’t make it to our Top 11, they still deserve a watch if you have the interest in horror, science fiction and thrillers.
- I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016) (Director: Osgood Perkins. With Ruth Wilson, Paula Prentiss and Bob Balaban)
- ARQ (2016) (Director: Tony Elliott. With Robbie Amell, Rachael Taylor and Shaun Benson)
- 1922 (2017) (Director: Zak Hilditch. With Thomas Jane, Molly Parker and Dylan Schmid)
- Small Crimes (2017) (Director: Evan Katz. With Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Robert Forster and Jacki Weaver)
- Gerald’s Game (2017) (Director: Mike Flanagan. With Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood and Carel Struycken)
- Girlfriend’s Day (2017) (Director: Michael Stephenson. With Bob Odenkirk, Amber Tamblyn and Stacy Keach)
- Little Evil (2017) (Director: Eli Craig. With Evangeline Lilly, Owen Atlas and Adam Scott)