I Watched All of Netflix’s Original Horror Movies So You Don’t Have To
Horror movies are not my thing. At all. Which makes it especially weird that I decided to do this. My reasoning was that it’s Halloween, and spooky season requires spooky movies. To save you the trouble of weeding through them, I’ve done all the legwork for you.
P.S I also did this with all of Netflix’s original rom-coms, so if horror isn’t your scene, go check that one out instead.
The Perfection - 9/10
Yikes, this was very dark. On the plus side, if you’re looking for horror, this fits that. On the downside, it takes so many disturbing turns you will feel a bit sick.
The film follows two girls, both of whom are cello prodigies from the same school. They meet for the first time, both adults now, and have an instant attraction. Then, you guessed it, things are not as they seem and everything starts to go wrong. Starring Allison Williams (The daughter in Get Out) and Logan Browning (Sam in Dear White People), the performances are incredible.
This is the only movie that had me struggling to sleep afterwards, not because I was keeping an eye out for ghosts, but because I just couldn’t stop thinking about what the hell I’d just seen. Thankfully a friend watched it with me, so I had someone to share all my confused fear with. Honestly, it’s a great movie, with an unpredictable plot and some very good (if extremely messed up) visuals. It’s definitely more ‘psychological horror’, but it left me thinking about it for a good couple of days.
Wounds - 6/10
I have very ambivalent feelings towards this movie. Similarly to Apostle and The Open House, it introduces loads of scary elements and then seems to just chuck them away. Arnie Hammer (Call Me by Your Name) plays a bartender who’s caught up in a love triangle. A group of teens forget their phone at the bar, and he begins to receive odd messages and photos. I almost wish it wasn’t a horror movie because the romantic and dramatic subplots are so much more compelling than the scary ones. There are tense moments that seem to lead up to something, and then: nada. I think I need to coin the phrase horror-blue-balled, because it’s a running theme in lots of these movies.
It’s a decent movie, with good acting, and yet the plot meanders around, getting in as many creepy moments as possible before simmering away into nothing. Nothing is ever actually explored, just left a confusing mess of vague horror tropes.
Apostle - 6/10
We all love Michael Sheen, so seeing him play the prophet of an evil cult is already unsettling. The movie itself is, odd, to say the least. In what seems to be becoming a Netflix pattern, the typical horror narrative of ‘something evil causes problems and must be defeated’ is turned into a very confusing web of different subplots, and backstories, and 10 different antagonists. A brother goes to a cult island to look for his kidnapped sister, and in true horror fashion, discovers that things are not as they seem.
Maybe I’m just a sucker for having to know everything, but any loose ends drive me insane. There are lots of moments in the film that seemed to be brushed upon and then just put away, without ever really being explored. It’s a shame because most of these moments are actually pretty interesting, but it seems to be a case of cramming too much into one movie and then not having the time to actually take it anywhere. There’s a chance that I just didn’t understand what was going on because I spent a good chunk of this movie hiding behind my hands, not wanting to look at the gore. Either way, it’s probably worth a watch if you’re a big ‘folk horror’ genre fan, but it’s not Netflix’s best work.
Little Evil - 7/10
This was incredibly bizarre but actually kind of fun. Adam Scott plays a new husband, who only discovers after the marriage that his new stepson is actually the Antichrist. He joins a stepfather’s support group, determined to bond for the sake of his wife, but trying to raise a demonic child is no easy feat. It’s one of those trashy horror-comedies that you could easily make into a Halloween tradition. Adam Scott always works as the ‘sweet dork’ character, and this is no exception. It’s not very scary, but it’s easy to watch, and at least it has a coherent plot.
In the Tall Grass - 4/10
Where to even begin here. I was honestly surprised that this had had some positive reviews because I could barely make it all the way through. Once again Netflix seems to have decided that the key to any good horror movie is confusion. They throw in as many time loops, plot twists and betrayals as possible in a last-ditch effort to make it in any way interesting, but nothing can save this movie from being inescapably boring.
I found that I couldn’t care less about any of the characters, which is frankly a feat for a movie that contains both an innocent child and a pregnant woman facing mortal danger. It’s a Groundhog Day level of repetitive, but without any of the enjoyment of watching Groundhog Day.
1922 - 5/10
Netflix seems to have a crush on Stephen King, because here we have: another adaptation! In an effort to make the next ‘It’, all they’ve managed to make is yet another ‘This Ain’t It, Chief’ (please forgive me, that was bad, even for me). A man and his son live on a little middle American farm and decide to turn on their wife/mother when she wants to move to the city. The problem with this movie is that I just wasn’t scared, at all. I’m pathetic with horror movies, so if I wasn’t scared, nobody over the age of 5 would be. It’s a boring dredge through a couple of miserable hours, watching depressing things happen with no fear factor whatsoever. I love 1920s fashion, so on the bright side I enjoyed the costumes, but that’s pretty much the only positive I can take away from this.
The Open House - 6/10
Moving away from Stephen King adaptations and bizarre plotless movies, Netflix makes its foray into the ‘creepy isolated house’ genre. It stars Dylan Minnette, ‘that kid from 13 Reasons Why’ (a series that’s true horror, and it baffles me that Netflix ever got away with making it).
It’s chock full of cliches (weird phone calls, bumps from the basement, doors that close themselves, all the classics) but I think that’s kind of what Netflix needs. It’s a good classic jumpscare horror, which doesn’t try and overcomplicate itself. The huge letdown is the ending. I don’t want to spoil anything but it just falls totally flat and makes the whole film feel a bit pointless.
Before I Wake - 7/10
I watched this a while back and it was until I went to write this post that I realised it was a Netflix original. Before I Wake has to be one of the best on this list. The film centers around Cody (played by Jacob Tremblay), a little boy who has been recently adopted by a new family. They quickly discover that Cody is far from an ordinary child, and that his dreams (and nightmares) come alive whilst he sleeps.
Before I Wake does the classic creepy kid genre well, with some moments that are surprisingly sweet and profound amongst the horror. Maybe it’s just personal preference but I always like my horror movies with a side order of feelings (take ‘A Quiet Place’ for example) and this manages to hit that mark. The visuals are both beautiful and creepy at times, and the acting is generally pretty good. I doubt it’ll ever be a cult horror classic to rewatch over and over, but it’s a good creepy movie.
Fractured — 8/10
I’m not sure this one can technically be classified as a horror, it’s more of a gory/dark thriller, but I’ll include it nonetheless. The premise of the movie is a dad has his family taken from him in a strange hospital, and he has to try and find them amidst a conspiracy by the staff to pretend that they were never admitted. Unlike lots of the other movies on this list, I actually gave a damn about the characters and was rooting for them to escape. It’s gripping, unpredictable, and tense. Rather than just relying on cheap gore and jump scares, it invests time in making you care about the characters, so that you’re actually scared when you seem them in danger.
I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives in the House — 1/10
Watching this movie is like wading through mud. My god, it’s the most drawn-out and tedious experience I’ve had in a while. I will confess that I got so bored that I didn’t even finish watching and just read the plot summary.
The movie centres around a nurse, Lily, who is providing live-in care to a writer with dementia. Lily has to be one of the most unlikeable characters I’ve ever come across, to the extent that you feel no sympathy for whatever haunting she goes through because at least she’ll stop talking. She speaks in pretentious riddles that make the dialogue and narration such a hassle to follow that I just gave up. If you really need to know what happens just go read the Wikipedia summary, it’ll take you about 30 seconds because (spoiler alert) this film has the world’s most boring plot. Life is too short to watch pretentious shit movies, so go do literally anything else instead.
Sidenote: I was deeply upset to find out that this film’s director is Oz Perkins, who played David (Elle’s dorky tall classmate) in Legally Blonde. The fact that these two movies are in any way tied to each other is a crime against humanity.
I’ll be real with you, I’m not sure that this is actually all of Netflix’s original horrors, but give me a break. I swear if I watch anyone else get decapitated/mutilated/traumatised this week, I’m going to fully lose my marbles. People who regularly watch horror movies for fun: you’re freaks. I’m off to go spend my Halloween crying and watching comedies to try and regain some level of happiness. Wear your warmest coat, put on a hair mask, call someone you love. Until next time, take care of yourself. x