Summer is officially underway, which means that you no longer have to stressfully binge Netflix original movies when you should be studying for four finals and writing three essays. Instead, you can binge in peace on a sunny deck with a cold cocktail in hand.
Thus far in 2018, Netflix has released 30 original movies, most of which fall within the realm of drama, sci-fi and comedy. If you watch as much Netflix as I do, you would know that high quality original films of theirs seem to be few and far between, but when you happen to get lucky enough to click on one, it’s a banger.
Unfortunately, Netflix seems to have dropped the ball so far this year comedy-wise. One such title, “The Kissing Booth,” scored a dismal 17 percent on the Tomatometer, and has otherwise mixed reviews. Another almost promising comedy is “Ibiza,” a rom-com that actually takes place in Barcelona and Croatia. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Spanish archipelago that includes Ibiza is considering suing Netflix over the misrepresentation.
So far, though, Netflix has made up for some of these blunders with their newly released drama and sci-fi films.
Here are just a few of the best.
At first glance, “Cargo” may seem like just another zombie movie. The movie contains all the classic elements of a zombie horror film: the protagonist’s self-sacrifice, traveling through a post-apocalyptic landscape and, of course, lots of gore.
The interesting difference in “Cargo,” however, is the choice of setting. After becoming infected by his own wife, Andy Rodoreda (played by Martin Freeman) embarks on a last-ditch effort through the backcountry of Australia in order to save his baby daughter.
The vast, arid land starkly contrasts the typical city block and mall settings that you find in many zombie apocalypse films. Because the movie is set in a relatively low-populated area, the result seems to be less dramatic zombie encounters. Instead, “Cargo” hones in on the characterization of Andy and his sacrificial journey.
As his time runs out, Andy must find somebody who is both willing and capable of taking care of her after he turns. Things look grim as he begins to show symptoms of turning, thus putting his daughter in tremendous danger.
However, while trekking through the Outback with his infant, he meets a young girl who belongs to a group of Aborigines surviving in the nearby area. The girl, Thoomi, agrees to guide Andy to a place where his baby might have hope of surviving the outbreak.
2. The Ritual
You may not want to ever go camping again after watching this movie. Consider yourself warned. Featuring a group of inexperienced backpacking friends and a haunted forest, “The Ritual” taps directly into the horror genre in all the best ways.
The film begins with a man named Luke witnessing his friend’s bloody murder in a liquor store, and needless to say, the incident sticks with him throughout the movie. Haunted by a guilty conscience and the manifestation of an ancient Norse god in the forests of Sweden, Luke and his friends struggle to survive along the famed King’s Trail.
What makes the movie stand out from other horror flicks is the clear relationship between the main character’s guilt and the thing that goes bump in the night. Whenever the creature comes close, it seems to conjure within Luke different versions of flashbacks concerning the murder of his friend.
This dynamic between the presence of the fearful monster and the guilt that burdens Luke makes you wonder which one is truly haunting him more. Although, the creature is pretty damn terrifying when it finally makes an appearance.
3. The Cloverfield Paradox
Interdimensional travel, impending global war, betrayal: You can’t expect anything less from J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot, but you don’t have to, either.
As they orbit Earth, a team of scientists attempt to fire up a mechanism that will solve the world’s energy crisis forever, but when it melts down, the space station ends up on the other side of the solar system. Not only that, but they accidentally open a rift that releases destruction upon the very world that they are trying to save.
After finally getting their bearings and realizing they are on the opposite side of the sun, the astronauts find a way to recreate the machine’s overheating, putting the station back into Earth’s orbit — only this Earth is not theirs. The team finds itself in a harsh alternate dimension where the energy crisis was never solved and the world is at war.
With the clashing of two different dimensions competing for the same space comes some certain dangers. After the team’s commander dies, British engineer Ava Hamilton finds herself in charge of what is left of the crew. In the midst of the onboard calamity, she has to decide which Earth is worth saving and which reality she wants to continue living in.
4. The Outsider
“The Outsider” is another film that stands out because of its setting. Other works dealing with organized crime tend to jump straight to the Italian mafia, but “The Outsider” deviates from the trend. Set in Japan after World War II, the movie follows Nick Lowell, a former Marine who befriends a yakuza member named Kiyoshi while in prison, landing him a position in the family.
While performing bloody jobs for the Shiromatsu clan, Nick tries to gain the respect of his fellow “brothers.” He sets himself back in this regard by falling in love with Kiyoshi’s sister, Miyu.
Throughout the movie, Nick attempts to hide his relationship with Miyu, but after she gets pregnant, he comes clean to Kiyoshi, who responds forgivingly and ensures that Nick realizes the responsibility he now has to keep Miyu safe.
Although critics on Metacritic have bashed this movie, most Metacritic users and casual film viewers disagree. Perhaps the film is embellished with clichés and unoriginality, but I think that if you are not a film critic who has watched many movies on the yakuza, you might find that it is a refreshing change of setting. So long as you’re not one to hate a movie based on the fact that it stars Jared Leto, it’s a great movie indeed.