Remy and I like instant gratification just as much as the next guy - how could you not? Drive thrus and insta-apps have made life so simple and easy, it’s almost disgusting. In many ways, we have become parodies of ourselves, refusing to move until we melt into the furniture of our bedrooms like a scene from Videodrome. So, of course, the idea of instantly accessing an entire database of films at your beckoning call is some sort of heaven, moving us one step closer to our human forms from Wall-E.
Streaming Netflix movies have only made this self-gratifying sloth like indulgence worse for us, which is why we love it. Click a movie and get to watch it? That’s some Willy Wonka levels of magic there, except all you need to do is press a button instead of sit through a song sang by little orange midgets.
But just because you CAN watch something, doesn’t mean you should. The last few Wrong Turn movies should have already proven that to everyone. The Netflix Watch Instantly database is a tricky maze to navigate, filled with perils and dangers waiting to put a damper on your movie night with abysmal quality. Have you ever seen a film titled Thankskilling? That’s just one of the god-awful titles that await your selection to stream instantly, seeming like something that looks like some B-Movie fun, but instead plays out like some faulty student film.
“But Matt, Remy, how am I supposed to know what to watch this Halloween?! There are so many titles to choose from, and some of the cover art looks so pretty!”
First off, here are a few simple rules to follow for the best watching experience:
Nato and Remy’s Netflix Watch Instantly Rules To Live By:
1) Pick a film and stick with it!
We can’t tell you how many hours we’ve spent scrolling through titles, seeing one and going “alright, maybe that one,” and then seeing another and going “well, wait, what about this?” If you fall into said trap, kiss the next 30 minutes goodbye. Don’t get overwhelmed by the titles! Go in with a set plan (genre, director, actor, ect.)! Nine times out of ten, you’ll end up picking the first film you glanced at anyway, making you look like a real dingus. Be strong, be confident, and don’t drown in titles!
2) Don’t be fooled by pretty cover art!
Ok, this isn’t everyone, but some people have the attention span of a kitten with a shiny object, picking films based upon a funny or well placed cover poster. This is bad, this is very bad. Too many films on Netflix are complete bombs, being added to the instant catalogue because no one is renting the DVDs anyway. The chances of finding one of these stinkers is all too great when picking blindly, and we highly encourage at least YouTubing a trailer for any poster you may find appealing. Be smart here people.
3) Rate everything you watch!
Now, at first, we were those people who watched a film and never bothered to give it a star rating. We scoffed at the idea some generated formula could calculate what films we might find appealing, partly because we don’t want to believe computers are that smart. Well, I hate to say it, but they are. Time and time again we pick one of the recommended shows/movies for ourselves, and time and time again we find another winner. Honestly, I (Nato) never would have known about The IT Crowd, or it certainly would have taken longer for me to find out, if Netflix didn’t mention it to me as something I was probably going to love. Trust in the system, utilize its power, because once the computers revolt, we’ll be back to finding movies the old-fashioned way, or be dead.
See, now isn’t that simple? You’re all little Netflix Watch Instantly wizards now!
But, Remy and I are still the masters, and this is our column, so now it’s time to listen to us. We watch all this garbage for you, so maybe a little thank you is in order once this is all over? Remy and I have picked a few titles which will surely spook up your Halloween festivities, so now let’s get to the good stuff.
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Nato – Slither
What do you get when you mix fanboy acting god Nathan Fillion, a before her time Elizabeth Banks, and Troma-raised writer/director James Gunn? Well, you get this delightful little creature feature which is part backwoods horror comedy, part torture flick, as Michael Rooker creepily infects a slew of unsuspecting bumpkins.
Now, did I purposely suggest writing a Netflix Watch Instantly recommendation themed column this week just to re-watch Slither again? No, but hot damn if I’m not enjoying me some solid alien horror comedy goodness as I write. Gunn channels everything he learned while working on Troma sets in his cinematic infancy, comes up with his own creative story and clear vision, and birthed a phenomenal B-Movie horror mash-up for all to enjoy.
Lead by a colorful cast of stereotypical locals, Gunn’s actors give Slither some down home Southern charm, but its leads all meld right in with the atmosphere as well. Fillion and Banks both put on their best country-fried drawl, with Fillion bringing his typical cocky yet confident performance, like a deer hunting Malcolm Reynolds. Mayor Jack MacReady (Gregg Henry) plays along perfectly with the local motif as well, playing a notably hilarious town leader, obviously trying to explaining why a “giant squid” is killing livestock.
When I think Halloween movie watching, I think hanging out with your friends and enjoying a fun watch. When I think of those parameters, I most definitely think Slither.
Great, now I have to somehow will myself to keep writing this article instead of watching the rest. I mean, zombie deer?! Get on this right now.
Remy – The Gate
Okay, why is it I have never talked about how much I love this movie? Listen, this has everything awesome about the eighties, all in one horror film: Bad clothes, heavy metal music, bitchy older sisters, and opening a gate to Hell.
Seriously, the movie is about some kids who play a metal album backwards, and it opens a gate to Hell in their backyard. Little, badass demons pour out, and a bunch of crazy shit begins to happen, and it’s all eighties, and all amazing. Why you are reading this and not streaming the movie RIGHT NOW is beyond me, but I will explain my favorite shot in the movie, a shot I am shocked hasn’t been stolen and used over and over again in other horror films.
Some big zombie guy comes into room, falls down, and breaks into a bunch of little demons that scatter all around the room – that’s it.
It may sound simple, but the effect was outstanding at the time, and put a fear of heavy metal in me I have never gotten over. Actually, I finally faced that fear last year when I formed the metal band, Crypt Dick. It’s a play off the word cryptic. You need to be dark and tortured to understand us. You should check out our Myspace page. We have 56 fans. I feel like I need to use a sarcasm font here.
I would turn that font off again and tell you one more time to watch The Gate, though. It is fun horror, which I don’t get to recommend enough. I know I normally recommend truly messed up cinema, but I’ll save that for my next pick.
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Nato – Tucker and Dale vs Evil
Keeping with the idea of “films which are so much better when watched with a whole group,” I give you Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. If you consider yourself a horror fan and haven’t seen Eli Craig’s game changing horror comedy, then you really need to step your own game up. Intelligent screenwriting is at a premium here, poking fun at contemporary horror and twisting events to create clichéd horror moments in reverse. What does that mean? Why please, read on!
Playing off the typical “pretty college co-eds are hunted by grizzly mountain folk and slashed apart,” Craig turns the typical scenario upside down by making main characters Tucker and Dale the “victims” of an unfortunate series of accidents that see each stupid kid kill him/herself off. Of course, to the partiers, it looks like Tucker and Dale are slowly picking them off one by one, but to the poor backwoods vacationers, it seems like some cultists are offing themselves on by one on their newly acquired property.
Stars Alan Tudyk (Tucker) and Tyler Labine (Dale) display best bud type chemistry, achieving the same type of lovable bumpkin charm Slither sports. I’ve loved Tudyk ever since his roles in Death at a Funeral (not the embarrassing Chris Rock version) and Firefly, and Labine was a riot in Reaper, so it’s no surprise these two work astonishingly well together. The real surprise is that they win crowds over while portraying dim-witted hillbillies, an out of character experience for both.
Oh yeah, Katrina Bowden (30 Rock/Sex Drive) has a scene wearing nothing but a bra and panties. I’ll just assume every guy jumped up and fired up whatever device they use to stream Netflix.
Remy – Lovely Molly
I know a good deal of reviewers didn’t like Lovely Molly, and honestly, outside of the (barely forgivable) ending, I have no idea what there is not to like, besides the fact that the movie is genuinely disturbing.
Lovely Molly is about a woman who gets married and moves back into her childhood home, but in the process seems to awaken some demons from her past that she may not have worked out. You really have no idea where the movie is going, but the whole time, you TRULY BELIEVE this woman is spiraling into madness, and you are never quite sure if it is self-induced or caused by external forces. Molly has a questionable past with drug usage, and she also suffered some childhood traumas, and these issues present themselves in such a way that the viewer is not quite sure, up to the very end of the film (when it is SOMEWHAT all justified) what is happening to Molly.
The thing that stuck with me about this movie was the staggering performance of Gretchen Lodge, who plays Molly in the film. She goes to places so dark, and yet at no point did I feel like I was watching a performance. I felt like I was watching someone descend into madness, and I felt guilty and powerless for not being able to help her, yet not being able to look away, either.
Another noteworthy thing about the film is the tragic death of actor Johnny Lewis, who played Tim in the film, and Kip in Sons of Anarchy. The rumors surrounding his final moments seem to oddly mirror those events that Molly goes through in the film, with drug use potentially being a catalyst to murder and madness. I talk about it a bit more in-depth at Unreality this week for anyone interested.
It was tragic and somehow makes the subsequent viewings of the film even more unsettling. Not to tie fiction to reality, but I think someone tied those strings together, already. I am just pointing it out.
By the way, you may want to stream The Gate second, so you’re not left with such a sour taste in your mouth. You know, the bitter taste of nihilist-fueled hopelessness?
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Nato – Insidious
Look at me, going for only positives this week! I just want to make sure all you readers out there have a decent selection to choose from, not giving you a reason to have to avoid anything. Plus, Remy has a no-no lined up for you, so I’ll let him throw some words of caution. But hell, I’m wasting your time. Here’s yet another newer pick to scare your pants off!
Insidious was so surprisingly good, I almost forgave director James Wan completely for Dead Silence. Key word: almost.
Up until Cabin in the Woods actually, Insidious was my favorite horror film in recent memory, proving that James Wan is much more than a one-hit-wonder.
Wan nailed the haunted house feel and showed a true understanding of tense, spooky, chilling horror. There were no cheap jump scares or buckets of gore to distract viewers, just properly drawn out scenes of uncomfortable imagery which is seared into your mind. Wan is a freakin’ master of atmosphere with Insidious, taking such harmless things like Tiny Tim’s “Tiptoe Through The Tulips” and utilizing it for some super haunting scenes which barrage your senses and leave you helpless.
The villain looks like a demon lovechild of Darth Maul and Freddy Kruger, the two paranormal investigators (writer Leigh Whannell and actor Angus Sampson) were actually funny instead of cheesy, and it was one of the most fun theater watches in a few years.
Another more mainstream pick, but if you somehow missed this, trust me in saying my faith in mass appeal horror was lifted by James Wan.
Splendid to hear his new film Conjuring is receiving equally high praise as well!
Remy – Apartment 143
Fact: I don’t normally take pleasure from telling people what NOT to watch. I have genuine love for the whole horror genre, and even in cases of a movie taking a misstep, I appreciate anyone trying to further it or add to it at all.
Having said that, whatever you do, do NOT waste a second of your time watching Apartment 143. Seriously. Even if it’s in Netflix Watch Instantly’s database, you are FAR better off watching an old horror classic you love than giving any of your time to this movie.
Why? Well, for me there are two main reasons for that, the first being my main complaint about certain horror films. Everyone in the movie FELT like they were acting to me. I know undermining a young girl’s performance is kind of an asshole move, but when you need to play a disaffected, pissed-off teen girl, and you feel like you are playing pretend to me, I cannot get into the movie. Truthfully, I had issues with every performance in this movie, especially the daughter and Father’s portrayal of the “strained relationship as the result of trauma”.
My second issue with Apartment 143 was the rational of the movie.
Story is this - mother dies, leaving behind a son, daughter, and her husband. After she dies, weird, supernatural crap starts happening to them. They get specialists in (the most mismatched group of actors I have ever seen) and then, what the specialists actually SEE, and then what they rationalize it to be, is beyond stupid. Spoiler alert: A girl is floating, her eyes turning solid white, she is speaking in different voices, and the researchers say that is the psychic materialization of trauma, and it is the sign of an onset schizophrenic disorder in the daughter.
Um, sorry, but do your f*cking research, movie. Signs of schizophrenia in young woman do not often even BEGIN to show themselves until the early twenties. If you are going to try to take a huge scientific dump on “horror”, at least don’t sound moronic doing it.
Oh, and then you throw it all away with a HUGE Paranormal Activity ripoff final frame. For shame.
That movie was so terrible, it made me hate movies for the ninety minutes I watched it.
But wait, there’s more!
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With so many movies, this article could go on for days, but keeping your time in mind, you can find a list of other Nato and Remy Certified films found streaming on Netflix!
-An American Werewolf In London
-Dream Home (no, it’s not the crappy Daniel Craig horror flick you’re thinking of)
-From Dusk Till Dawn
-Let The Right One In
-I Saw The Devil
-Killer Klowns From Outer Space
-The House Of The Devil
Here’s just a smattering of films to pick from, ranging from classics to the downright absurd. That should keep you ghouls and ghoulettes busy for a while, no?
Now it’s your turn! Feel free to let Remy and I know how we did with our recommendations, and let us know if we missed any gems dear to your own heart!
*A special thanks to Remy for stepping in to guest write! Feel free to follow either of us on Twitter for even more insanity and updates:
Matt Donato Follow @DoNatoBomb
Remy Carreiro Follow @RemyCarreiro