And yet I haven't added any of those to this list. Netflix is starting to produce more original content at this time, and while some of it has good ratings ... I haven't watched them yet. They are on my ever-growing list of things selected to watch later, but all I ever seem to do is add more to it and never actually watch.
This is also the year I moved away from Blu-Rays and started buying many movies digitally when I simply wanted to watch them and not the special features. I am always slow to adopt new technology and ways of doing things. I'm surprised I don't still have a flip phone.
Now while one movie was a critical darling, and a kick-ass movie as well, I am going with a surprise at #1.
My #1 for this year is a surprise to me. When I saw the trailer for Happy Death Day the first time I scoffed. "How ridiculous," I thought and probably said out loud, but on an HBO free-view weekend, I noticed it was playing and I recorded it to view whenever. It took a bit, but when I finally did watch it, I was blown away. The movie is a great horror-comedy.
At the time, I didn't realize that the director is the guy who gave us The Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. Another interesting note, the writer Scott Lobdell is the guy who had to follow Chris Claremont after he was forced from the X-Men books in the 90s. But don't worry, this is actually good. You'll have to rent/buy to stream this one but it might pop up on HBO at some time.
Blurb - A college student must relive the day of her murder over and over again, in a loop that will end only when she discovers her killer's identity.
So Get Out could have been #1, but this movie didn't surprise me at all. I expected it to be fantastic and it delivered. I took my son and his friend to it on opening night, and it did not fail to entertain. Jordan Peele pivoted from comedy and wrote & directed this amazing movie. Stream it with FXNow.
Blurb - A young African-American visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness about their reception of him eventually reaches a boiling point.
So let's talk about It. The stuff dealing with the kids (most of the book & both movie versions) is so much better than anything with the adults. The first movie focuses on the kids, so it is really good. I also don't want to take away from Bill Skarsgard's take on the Pennywise character. Word of advice, stream this on HBO but hunt down the original TV mini-series if you want to see how the whole thing should have been presented.
Blurb - In the summer of 1989, a group of bullied kids band together to destroy a shape-shifting monster, which disguises itself as a clown and preys on the children of Derry, their small Maine town.
The Director of Wolf Creek teamed up with writer James Gunn(Guardians of the Galaxy & Slither) to give us a terrifying what-if scenario with The Belko Experiment. If you like Gunn's work, you will love this movie. If you hate Gunn, you still might like it since the director put his stamp on the project. Either way, it's way better than It Part 2. Stream it on tubi to find out.
Blurb - In a twisted social experiment, eighty Americans are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogotá, Colombia, and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company's intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed.
For some reason, people seem to love to hate Director Gore Verbinski but he's one of my favorites. So, I was super excited to check this out when it came out, but like most movies, at this time I ended up waiting to get it on VOD. By that time all the hate had been released and I really didn't know what to expect.
Now I'm not a huge fan of Dane DeHanne but he does a well enough job in this film playing off of Jason Isaacs. The movie hits all the right notes, and the cinematography is great. Check it out on tubi.
Blurb - An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company's CEO from an idyllic but mysterious "wellness center" at a remote location in the Swiss Alps, but soon suspects that the spa's treatments are not what they seem.
I've always liked the idea that this movie is the introduction of the Venom symbiote but either way, Life is full of scary what-ifs. Daniel Espinosa (Child 44, Safe House) directs this with an all-star cast that should have had Ryan Reynolds as the star, but his schedule forced him into a supporting role. This allowed Jake Gyllenhaal to slide in. The movie is inspired by the classic Alien and was Skydance's first R-rated film. You can stream it on Pluto-TV.
Blurb - A team of scientists aboard the International Space Station discover a rapidly evolving life form that caused extinction on Mars and now threatens all life on Earth.
I'm a sucker for a shark movie, and I thought 47 Meters Down is very entertaining. Not much to it so if you go into panic attacks at the thought of being trapped at the bottom of the ocean with a bunch of sharks, you may want to pass. Check it out on HULU.
Blurb - Two sisters vacationing in Mexico are trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean. With less than an hour of oxygen left and great white sharks circling nearby, they must fight to survive.
Originally set to come out in 2014, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter was delayed when Milla Jovovich became pregnant. While this movie was made 4 years after Retribution, it takes place just weeks later. Many of the characters from that movie don't make it to the Final Chapter and it is assumed they were killed. If you want more info on their exact fates, you can read them in the novelization. They, of course, rebooted the series but there's nothing like Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich action zombie flicks. Stream it on Pluto TV.
Blurb - Alice returns to where the nightmare began: The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.
I'm a big Joel Edgerton fan and I found It Comes at Night another standout performance. Check it out on Showtime.
Blurb - Secure within a desolate home as an unnatural threat terrorizes the world, a man has established a tenuous domestic order with his wife and son. Then a desperate young family arrives seeking refuge.
Last up is Alien Covenant. Listen, if they make an Alien movie it's got a 99% chance of making it on my list. Now I know many hate Scott coming back to his baby and doing all these prequel films, but I found each one fascinating. There's supposed to be a 3rd (& possibly 4th) to get us closer to Alien in the timeline but Disney bought Fox and the film is now in limbo. You can stream it with FXnow.
Blurb - The crew of a colony ship, bound for a remote planet, discover an uncharted paradise with a threat beyond their imagination, and must attempt a harrowing escape.