Hidden gems on Netflix you need to watch

While Netflix is good for an afternoon of binge-watching your favorite TV shows, it has a great movie selection, too. With an amazing 83 million subscribers, the streaming service has capitalized on the cord-cutting movement and has recently expanded into offering their own original series and films. Even though the titles Netflix offers change from time to time, they consistently offer up some really great movies, including plenty of titles that are well worth watching even though they might not have attracted the audience they deserved at the box office—or missed theaters entirely on the way to home video.

At the time of this writing, these are the best "hidden gems" on Netflix you may not know about. Some are sleeper hits from the last decade, while others are older classics you may not have seen unless you're a real cinephile. Either way, do yourself a favor and add these to your queue.

The Void (2016)

In many ways, the John Carpenter horror thrillers of the '80s were a genre unto themselves. Movies like The Thing and Prince of Darkness reveled in violence and body horror without leaning on it as a pure shock tactic the way many horror movies did at the time—and although Carpenter's output slowed as his style of horror fell out of favor at the box office, his influence lives on. In fact, while Carpenter himself hasn't directed a movie since 2010's The Ward, his fans will spot the filmmaker's blood-spattered DNA in this small sci-fi horror outing, which slipped unnoticed into that exclusive genre. The Void is a throwback to those '80s creature features in many ways, from the practical monster effects to the subdued, foreboding atmosphere, but writer-directors Steven Kostanski and Jeremy Gillespie clearly learned some good lessons from the master—this is one creepy homage that also stands on its own as a bloody good sci-fi creepfest.

Odd Thomas (2013)

Based on a series of bestselling Dean Koontz novels about a guy who can see ghosts and monsters, 2013's adaptation of Odd Thomas missed the mark with critics and completely bombed at the box office. But don't let that keep you from streaming this on Netflix—the character's big-screen incarnation, brought to life by actor Anton Yelchin and directed by The Mummy vet Stephen Sommers, is really a singularly quirky fantasy thriller that takes a refreshingly lightweight approach to its paranormal themes, adding up to something along the lines of Supernatural crossed with Dirk Gently. Admittedly, it isn't hard to see why critics may have been left less than impressed, or why audiences weren't inclined to pay full ticket price. There are plenty of clichés along the way, and the cast certainly wasn't working with a perfect script, but Odd Thomas is still a roundly entertaining gem worth digging up on a rainy day.

Turbo Kid (2015)

What happens when you roll every post-apocalyptic trope into one movie, mix in absurd violence straight from Quentin Tarantino's unaired Saturday morning cartoon series, and then add superheroes? Probably something like Turbo Kid, a movie that plays like Mad Max if the production crew could only afford bicycles. Stay with us here. It's got wastelands, a water war, robots, Soylent Green jokes, and, most importantly, an evil Michael Ironside (the best kind of Michael Ironside).

In the distant future of 1997, a loner kid survives one day at a time in a wasteland, scavenging junk to trade for water. To pass the time, he reads the adventures of Turbo Rider, a superhero with a blaster cannon on his arm. But when he gets on the wrong side of the local warlord, he has to become the hero himself to save his new friend. Don't expect any deep insights into human nature with Turbo Kid. Just enjoy it for what it is: a goofy romp through the imagination of someone who probably grew up wearing out the scanlines on their RoboCop LaserDisc.

Makkhi (2012)

We've never watched much Bollywood, so we honestly can't tell if Makkhi is making fun of Hindi films or comfortably nestled at the heart of it all. The absurdity feels intentionally cranked to 11, but then again, there's also a distinct possibility that a song-and-dance number followed by a Rocky training montage for a reincarnated fly is completely normal for Bollywood, and we've been living our whole lives blissfully unaware up to this point. If everything tastes like chicken in the Matrix, Makkhi is your first bite of pineapple: tangy, strange, and dangerous if you aren't careful.

Here's the premise, and we'll just get this out as quick as possible: A fly born from the soul of a dead man goes on a revenge rampage against the guy who killed him. It's John Wick crossed with A Bug's Life crossed with…we don't know. La-La-Land, maybe? There's a trippy Ant-Man vibe to the visuals and explosive action sequences, all tied into a to-the-death battle between a man and, well, a housefly. As far as hidden gems go, this one's like stumbling across a dead unicorn in the woods. It's majestic, you just don't know what the hell to do with it.

The Beaver (2011)

Jodie Foster's 2011 low-flying comedy The Beaver is a unique piece of filmmaking. Mel Gibson stars as Walter Black, the CEO of a toy company who has a nervous breakdown, loses his family, and tries to hang himself from a hotel shower curtain. (It is a comedy; wait for it.) On the edge of death, Black snaps completely and allows his life to be taken over by a beaver puppet. Using the beaver to communicate with the world, Black slowly manages to find the broken pieces of his life and put them back together…here comes the comedy part…but still can't connect to his depressed son who hates the fact that he's growing up to be exactly like his father. And his wife still can't stand him. And his employees think he's lost his mind.

And, well, that covers all the "funny" parts. Dark doesn't come close to describing the humor. This is blacker than a coal mine after a cave-in, an intimate portrait of depression and mental illness that flows so seamlessly from Gibson's acting that you can't help but believe he's channeling his own personal experiences. With incredible supporting performances from Jodie Foster, Anton Yelchin, and Jennifer Lawrence, The Beaver is definitely a hidden gem worth watching, if only once. Although afterward you may need to watch something a little more light-hearted. Like Schindler's List.

Harlock: Space Pirate (2013)

From the outset, you can look at Harlock: Space Pirate and expect a rocket-fueled amount of fun. After all, a movie with the gumption to call itself exactly what it is in the title isn't about to bore you with over-long, tedious insights into the internal struggles of being a space pirate. No, you're getting spaceships, laser bombs, robot suits, and—have we said this already?—space pirates. Based on a Japanese manga, Harlock: Space Pirate was well-received on its release in 2013 and even won Best International Animated Feature at the 3D Creative Arts Awards, but the CG spectacle didn't come anywhere close to making back its production budget and ultimately failed to find much of an audience.

Does that mean you should steer clear of Harlock? Not even close. If the geek pleasure centers of your brain light up at the thought of a well-made, beautifully animated sci-fi adventure, you'll definitely get a kick out of Harlock: Space Pirate.

Uncanny (2015)

If you liked Ex Machina, you should be right at home with Uncanny, a tight, claustrophobic movie about a brilliant roboticist named David Kressen who builds the perfect artificial intelligence. Or is it really so perfect after all? When the robot's behavior grows more sinister, the programmer and his newfound girlfriend, a journalist who's on assignment to write about Kressen's achievements, find themselves trapped in Kressen's cloistered living quarters/lab with an uncannily human creature who's suddenly become painfully unpredictable.

Beautifully shot and steeped in tension you could cut with a bonesaw, Uncanny plays like a portrait of humanity on the edge of finally understanding itself, then learning what it's uncovered could very well murder everything we've ever known. Okay, it's not as depressing as that, but it's pretty visceral all the same, and with incredible performances from everyone involved, you won't be able to look away until the end.

The Last Unicorn (1982)

Yes, The Last Unicorn is a children's movie. Yes, it's an animated children's movie. But don't lump this haunting and beautiful tale in with Pixar's or Disney's traditional fare—it's far deeper and darker than its inclusion in that oft-maligned and misunderstood genre might suggest. For starters, the gorgeously unique animation style might be familiar to some viewers, as the core members of its animation team would go on to form Studio Ghibli. The sweet, sad tale—based on the novel of the same name by Peter S. Beagle, who also performed screenwriter duties on the adaptation—is brought to life by a stellar cast of Hollywood pros that includes the familiar voices of Christopher Lee, Angela Lansbury, Jeff Bridges and Mia Farrow. And don't forget the enchanting score, composed by acclaimed songwriter Jimmy Webb and performed by '70s Mellow Gold hitmakers America. Watch this with your children, or watch it alone—either way, you won't regret it.

The Thin Blue Line (1988)

Long before Making a Murderer became must-binge TV for a nation of true crime enthusiasts, there was The Thin Blue Line. Former private detective Errol Morris directed this chilling documentary with the intention of bringing the public's attention to the case of Randall Adams, a man sentenced to death for the murder of a police officer. This wasn't Morris' first feature, but it's the one that helped launch him to national prominence and paved the way for the slew of fascinating documentaries he's done in the ensuing decades. More importantly, all of Morris' investigative work paid off when The Thin Blue Line, and the many discrepancies in the evidence and testimony it uncovered, actually prompted officials to reopen Adams' case. What authorities discovered ultimately echoed Morris' findings: the investigation exonerated the wrongly imprisoned man, and his conviction was completely overturned only a year after the documentary arrived in theaters.

Moonrise Kingdom (2012)

Described as an "eccentric, pubescent love story" by Hollywood Reporter critic Todd McCarthy, Moonrise Kingdom is definitely the most romantic movie on director Wes Anderson's resumé. This coming-of-age tale has a stellar cast of seasoned Hollywood pros (including Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Bruce Willis, and Edward Norton), a beautiful setting, and all the quirky signature hallmarks that Anderson's many fans have come to love. Set in the late summer of 1965 on the fictional island of New Penzance off the coast of New England, Moonrise Kingdom follows a pair of young lovebirds (played by Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) who make plans to run off together after trading letters for a year and developing a strong long-distance attraction. Naturally, the adults on the island are sent into a tizzy, prompting an island-wide kidhunt that leads to all sorts of improbable—and, as is par for the course with Anderson, impeccably filmed—shenanigans. 

Beasts of No Nation (2015)

Netflix made its first major foray into original films when it acquired Beasts of No Nation. Directed by True Detective vet Cary Fukunaga, this brutally effective 2015 drama tells the harrowing, powerful tale of Agu, a West African child caught in a civil war and recruited to a rebel militia as a child soldier. Idris Elba gives a commanding—and occasionally terrifying—performance as the militia leader who orders his soldiers to perform ever more horrific acts. Beasts of No Nation never had a prayer at the box office—partly due to its uncompromising subject matter, but also because of the ongoing struggle between Netflix and the nation's biggest theater chains, whose execs have resisted the streaming giant's efforts to narrow (or eliminate) the gap between big-screen releases and a film's availability for home viewing. For that reason alone, Beasts missed the boat with most viewers, but this powerfully acted drama definitely deserves to be seen.

The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)

Another winner from Netflix's stable of original films, The Fundamentals of Caring takes the "road movie" formula and gives it a good-natured, offbeat twist. Paul Rudd and Craig Roberts team up as, respectively, a caretaker and a teen afflicted with muscular dystrophy out to explore the country and themselves—and the duo get unexpected company when they pick up a hitchhiking Selena Gomez along the way. Road trip dramedies aren't exactly hard to find, and in terms of quality, the genre's familiar narrative arc has long since settled into a predictable rut filled with wacky quests, beautiful vistas, funny montages, and seemingly insurmountable obstacles that get swept away in the final act. The Fundamentals of Caring includes most if not all of those time-tested ingredients, but the excellent cast—and writer-director Rob Burnett's deft touch with the material—make the movie's more unsurprising moments easy to forgive, and the whole thing adds up to an enjoyably diverting journey.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010)

There are a lot of reasons to watch this blood-and-guts-filled backwoods adventure, but the thing we love most about Tucker & Dale vs. Evil might be the way it turns traditional horror tropes on its head. This comedy horror film stars Alan Tudyk (Wreck-It Ralph, Firefly) and Tyler Labine (Breaker High, Reaper) as a pair of West Virginia hillbillies who encounter a group of clueless college students on a camping trip. When one of the college students accidentally hurts herself, Tudyk and Labine rush to do the right thing and take care of her — until the misguided college kids attempt to rescue her from the "scary" backwoods hicks that they mistakenly believe are getting ready to torture, maim, and murder their friend. All sorts of hilarious and horrific hijinks ensue—and more than a few stereotypes are mocked— all of which makes this movie a perfect choice for your Netflix queue.

In Your Eyes (2014)

Do you like the films of writer-director Joss Whedon, movies about the paranormal, and atypical romance stories? Then you'll love In Your Eyes. This movie tells the story of two very different people: a rich (and married) socialite from New Hampshire and an ex-con from New Mexico. Rebecca and Dylan may be polar opposites, but they've shared an inexplicable mental connection since childhood that neither seems to understand. As that connection grows, the pair slowly start to become more aware of each other, and they finally realize that they aren't going crazy — there actually is another person inside their heads. Of course, even though the protagonists know they are sane, the rest of the world does not, which sets up some very interesting problems. What follows is an intriguing and wild ride, enlivened with a Whedon-penned screenplay stuffed with the type of great dialogue that his fans have come to expect.

These Final Hours (2013)

If you enjoyed Mad Max: Fury Road, you'll probably also enjoy These Final Hours. Both movies are Australian apocalyptic thrillers with a cast of interesting characters attempting to navigate the end days. With only 12 hours left before an asteroid-induced global firestorm reaches Australia, James abandons his pregnant girlfriend in search of the ultimate apocalyptic party.

Along the way, James is forced to save a young girl, Rose, from attackers with nothing to lose. After saving her, the self-indulgent and arrogant James has some serious choices to make about how he truly wants to spend his last moments on Earth. Tense, edgy, and raw, These Final Hours shows us the best and worst of humanity when pushed to the brink. Be prepared for an edge-of-your-seat ride that will also inspire tears and deep thoughts about what you would do if you only had 12 hours left to live.

The Way Back (2010)

Based on a memoir by a former Polish prisoner of war, The Way Back focuses on a small group of prisoners in a Siberian labor camp as they attempt to escape their captors. Once they're finally free of their captivity, The Way Back becomes a survival drama in which the protagonists must manage to somehow cross more than 4,000 miles of frozen Himalayan tundra to make their way to freedom in India. While not precisely a "war" movie, The Way Back offers a unique view into the World War II-era Soviet prison system — which is, needless to say, a topic seldom covered in American cinema. It also features stunning cinematography and solid work from the star-studded cast, each of whom delivers an exceptional and believable performance. Most of all and most importantly, The Way Back tells a gripping and emotionally resonant story of overwhelming odds and the determination to survive and persevere.

Snow on Tha Bluff (2011)

Every decade, there seem to be several "hood movies" which become a major success. In the '90s, we had fictional films like Boyz n the Hood. In the 2000s, indie filmmakers turned to full documentaries with movies like Hood 2 Hood. In 2011, Snow on Tha Bluff makes unique use of both techniques of filmmaking to create its own unique style.

Even though it's labeled as a documentary, Snow on Tha Bluff is actually a "found-footage" reality film that follows Curtis Snow, a real-life armed robber and drug dealer. After Snow steals a camera from some naive college students seeking drugs, he hands it to a buddy and tells him to start filming. Even though it's not truly a documentary, Snow on Tha Bluff gives the audience a chilling look at the gritty and bloody reality of life on the street from Snow's perspective. While the footage is mostly dramatized, Curtis Snow himself is very real and the situations he faces are a daily reality for many who live in the hood.

Oldboy (2003)

American filmgoers are probably more familiar with the remake of Oldboy that was directed by Spike Lee and released in 2013, the original South Korean movie is far superior — and it's on Netflix for your viewing pleasure. Based on a Japanese manga, Oldboy is a thrilling neo-noir mystery, centered on the story of Oh Dae-su. After being abducted on the street, he is held for 15 years in a prison cell (which resembles a hotel room), with no knowledge of who his captors are or why they are keeping him there. Then, Dae-su finds himself suddenly released and given the chance to get revenge on his captors — if he can find them in a mere five days.

The plot takes off from there and doesn't stop delivering solid punches of emotion, action, mystery, and entertainment. With well-rounded characters, stunning cinematography, and plenty of raw power, Oldboy is a truly gripping movie.

The Invitation (2015)

It's awfully hard to talk about The Invitation without spoiling the best parts, so we'll just keep it simple and leave it at this: if there was ever a dinner party that went downhill, it's this one. Director Karyn Kusama loads the movie with tension right from the start and builds the drama in a way that leaves you guessing right along with the characters. The twisty story is brought to life by great, low-key performances from Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones) and Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus)—not to mention Tammy Blanchard's turn as an edge-of-crazy housewife. With corkscrew tension that irrevocably mounts as the evening gets later and the party takes a series of turns into the progressively surreal, The Invitation is a swan dive into paranoia. It's also a welcome change of pace for Kusama, whose previous films, Aeon Flux and Jennifer's Body, weren't exactly gems themselves, hidden or otherwise.

Creep (2014)

Who knew a film with a cast of exactly two people could be so enthralling? Yeah, you might groan at first: if Creep had a downside, it would be the decision to make it in jerky, handheld, found-footage style—the filmmaking version of that jar of pickles in the back of your refrigerator that's been there for years but never seems to gets thrown away, and every now and then it's in a different position, so someone's eating those pickles, although God knows who.

BUT: Creep pulls it off. And beautifully at that. In fact, this may be the first film since The Blair Witch Project that couldn't have been filmed any other way, and arguably the first good one. Creep switches seamlessly between drama, comedy, and horror thanks mostly to a near-perfect performance by mumbling maniac Mark Duplass. Whatever else you take away from it, there's no doubt Creep will give you the creeps.

Beyond the Gates (2016)

You could probably get away with calling this movie Jumanji 2: This Time with Demons, but that wouldn't be entirely fair to Beyond the Gates, a unique horror thriller about two brothers who find a VHS board game in their recently deceased father's video store. Video board games were a real, weird thing in the VCR heyday, so there's probably a nostalgia element to Beyond the Gates if you were one of the 30 or 40 people who ever played one, but for everyone else, the idea of a video that knows what you're doing lends as much to the fantasy element of the film as the hellish repercussions the brothers experience as they fall deeper into the game.

Hellish, in this case, is of course totally literal. The more the brothers play, the more the game begins to bleed into the real world, turning their home into Dante's wet, suburban dream. It's a fun, twisted film, perfect for a rainy night.

I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017)

Call him Frodo all you want, but Elijah Wood is working hard to reinvent his image as an actor, and we can totally respect that. From his mannequin-obsessed killer in 2012's Maniac to his dirty cop con man in 2015's The Trust (a soft #4 on our list of every Nicolas Cage movie on Netflix, ranked), Wood is clearly capable of branching out. In I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore, Wood plays a geeky loner who teams up with a woman in his neighborhood to find the people who robbed her house. Don't let the title bog you down. It's a black comedy extracted from the varicose veins of the Coens' Fargo and Burn After Reading, a subtle, escalating thriller about two everyday people thrust over their heads into a world of crime where anything can—and does—go wrong. IDFAHITWA (nope, just as bad) is moody, occasionally hilarious, and surprisingly poignant.

Spectral (2016)

Sci-fi thrillers with style can feel awfully hard to come by. If that's your kind of thing, chances are you've probably seen all the good ones (and way too many bad ones), which makes Spectral even more of an unexpected treat and a definite Netflix hidden gem. Following a team of U.S. Special Forces soldiers who stumble across a mysterious new enemy while they're off on assignment in Moldova, Spectral jacks the action up into the stratosphere with lightning-quick combat scenes and several nail-biting moments of true, unadulterated terror. The present-day war-torn environment grounds the action even as the movie leaps into the realm of pure science fiction. In the end, Spectral admittedly falls short of cinematic perfection, but it still more than delivers what it promises: a bunch of dudes fighting for their lives against an otherworldly threat. Stick it on, crank up the volume, and enjoy the ride.

Kill Me Three Times (2014)

Simon Pegg is a modern cult megastar, but this hilarious crime thriller still managed to fly under the radar on its 2014 release. Or maybe, just maybe, it flew so close to the sun that nobody bothered to look up and squint, just for a moment, to catch the flaming outline as this jet-fueled albatross soared into space.

But that's a weird metaphor, so here's a better one: Kill Me Three Times is a gem well worth digging for. With a kinetic style reminiscent of Guy Ritchie's good films, Kill Me Three Times follows three intertwined stories of ordinary people driven to the brink, all of it linked by one man: a hitman. With a very hitman mustache. A Simon Pegg hitman mustache. At times brutal, touching, and snort-milk-out-your-nose hilarious—sometimes all at once—you won't find a more flat-out fun movie than Kill Me Three Times.

Look Who's Back (2015)

Hitler's still something of a controversial figure in Germany. Okay, sure, the guy's controversial everywhere—he's Hitler. But Germans have the added headache of being the country that, how do we put this…tried to kill half the world. It's like being born into a family famous for having that one uncle who founded the KKK.

In that light, this German satire is both unexpected and surprisingly hilarious. Look Who's Back starts with Hitler waking up in in a park in modern Berlin, still in uniform, with no idea how he got there. The first people he meets think he's a crazy hobo, the next ones think he's a Method actor doing a bit, and before long, Hitler's all over the news as the next big German comedian…and the people love him. In fact, it's less a satire on Hitler and more a social commentary on modern-day German nationalism and the country's attempts to move on from a particularly dark historical period, even while some of the population seems willing to welcome a Hitler-like figure back into their midst. On top of all that, it's pretty funny. Look Who's Back is definitely a weird combo, but it's one that happens to work extremely well.

The Voices (2014)

Released in 2014, The Voices is part horror and part comedy, the tale of a guy named Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) who lives a simple but lonely life as a factory worker. His only real friends are his cat and dog, whom he talks to on a regular basis—standard behavior for anyone who lives alone with an animal. Less standard is that the animals talk back…with some pretty sinister advice for Jerry. It's a seriously dark, twisted comedy anchored by Reynolds' performance as a troubled but cheerful guy who's so out of touch with reality that even he can't believe some of the stuff he's doing.

Obviously, Ryan Reynolds isn't known for his horror movies. If you've seen the 2004 Amityville Horror remake and find it hard to believe that Reynolds could play a legitimate creep, you should give The Voices a watch. And yet, in true Reynolds fashion, even when his character goes full-on psycho you can't help but like the guy. He's just too charming.

The Midnight Meat Train (2008)

It's hard to believe, but before 2008, few people had ever heard of Bradley Cooper. That was before The Hangover, Silver Linings Playbook, and Guardians of the Galaxy, a time when his biggest credit was still the jerk brother in Wedding Crashers. That was also the same year he starred in a little-seen horror thriller called The Midnight Meat Train.

Based on a short story by horror legend Clive Barker, The Midnight Meat Train is straightforward, ghastly, and great. It follows a struggling photographer (Cooper) in New York City who uncovers some weird goings-on in a subway station late at night. Convinced there's a killer on the loose even though nobody else believes him, he decides to dig deeper on his own, and finds himself drawn into an underground world darker than he could have imagined.

Unfortunately, some changes at Lionsgate during the movie's release all but guaranteed that nobody would see the film. According to Barker, the studio opted to give The Midnight Meat Train a very limited release in second-rate theaters in favor of promoting their other titles, like The Strangers, released the same year. The result? The $15 million picture brought back only $83,000 and then quietly drifted away into obscurity. Queue it up on Netflix and give it the attention it deserves, because this is honestly one of the best thrillers on the service right now.

Charlie's Country (2013)

From its lingering opening shot to the film's emotional climax, Charlie's Country never strays in its portrayal of one man's journey to accept the world around him. Charlie is an aging aboriginal warrior living in northern Australia in a region slowly filling up with Western culture—and Western laws. Disgruntled with the the way his world is changing around him, his meager government-issued shack, and the confines of modern life, Charlie takes off into the bush to live the way his ancestors did. Of course, once he's out there, he realizes that the lure of the old ways isn't always a call to greener pastures—which is where this hauntingly affecting story really finds its footing and starts working its hooks into the viewer.

Artfully directed by Rolf de Heer and starring David Gulpilil, Charlie's Country is both a powerfully moving experience and a rare glimpse into Australian culture in the Northern Territories.

The Woodsman (2004)

The first thing you're likely to take away from The Woodsman is that this may be Kevin Bacon's best role ever (Tremors notwithstanding). The second thing is that despite the horrifying premise at the heart of the story—and protagonist—The Woodsman shines with an honesty and humanity that, while brutal in its intensity at times, never veers into typical Hollywood feel-good moral lessons.

The movie opens on Bacon's character, Walter, being released on parole following a 12-year sentence for child molestation. The audience isn't told what his crime is right off the bat, allowing us to empathize with Walter as he tries to build a new life in a new town and leave his past behind. As the details of Walter's past emerge, you can't help but feel some sympathy for the devil, so to speak. It's an unvarnished portrait of a man who's done bad things and wants to do good things, and you'll feel the impact of every step of the journey.

Jackrabbit (2015)

In recent years, low-budget sci-fi films have really gotten ridiculously good. From 2004's Primer to 2013's mind-bending Coherence, indie filmmakers have proven you definitely don't need eye-popping effects or a blockbuster budget to tell a big story that sticks with the viewer long after the end credits roll. While it doesn't quite reach the highs of some other outstanding indie entries in the genre, Jackrabbit is definitely a unique addition. The story follows two computer techies in a dystopian future who are drawn together by the suicide of their mutual friend. Together, they have to decide whether it's worth their lives to solve a mystery that could change everything. Presented as a low key cyber-noir tale, Jackrabbit makes full use of its minimal budget to craft a thrilling, thoughtful story that'll keep you watching to the end—and may leave you mulling over its twists and turns, and discussing what it all means with friends, for days afterward.

Officer Downe (2016)

Let's just preface this entry by saying that you can't–and shouldn't–expect a lot from Officer Downe. Based on the 2010 graphic novel, the movie is a hyper-stylized splatter-fest about a cop who can't die. Well, he can. He just comes back to life again. That's about it as far as plot goes. There's a criminal organization that dresses like animals, some gun-toting nuns, and a clan of ninja-type people, and as you'd expect, they all take turns trading blows with undead supercop Officer Downe. Fortunately, the movie doesn't ask or expect the viewer to take any of this seriously. It doesn't even ask you to care all that much about who these people are—instead, all it really wants is to have gunfights and explosions, and in that respect, it does okay. Not great, necessarily, but okay. Just turn off your brain and let Downe take care of the rest.

In Order of Disappearance (2014)

You'll be unable to keep yourself from rooting for the underdog in this hard-boiled crime thriller straight from the snowy streets of Norway. Starring Stellan Skarsgård and Game of Thrones' Kristofer Hivju, In Order of Disappearance follows a quiet, seemingly average snow plow operator (Skarsgård) who finds himself irrevocably compelled to penetrate the criminal underworld in a quest to avenge his the murder of his son. Equal parts pitch-black comedy and explosive, tightly wound revenge thriller, In Order of Disappearance is as unstoppable as its protagonist—and in addition to the nail-biting tension and thought-provoking themes of fatherhood and the unbreakable bonds of family obligation, it's also a surprisingly funny roller coaster of action stylishly helmed by acclaimed Norwegian director Hans Petter Moland. As the New York Times' review put it, it's somewhere between Fargo and Quentin Tarantino, and the end result is way more fun than it should be.

Ava's Possessions (2015)

Just when you thought the crowded demonic possession genre had been exorcised of all traces of originality, along comes Ava's Possessions, a twist on the trope that looks at life after a soul war with a demonic ghoul. Now, Ava just wants to have a normal life again. Ava's Possessions is a quirky drama with some humorous moments and a fresh look at the whole possession thing, often likening people who've been possessed by demons to alcoholics or addicts, and introducing the social stigma that there's a "type of people" that possessions just seem to happen to more often than others. Ava attends a possession support group, for example. If you're looking for something out of the ordinary to spend an evening with—or just in the mood to find some bleak, black comedy in the unlikeliest of places—you could definitely do a whole lot worse than Ava's Possessions.

The Tiger (2016)

Is The Tiger the greatest love story ever told? It's definitely on par with, say, Romeo and Juliet or Lethal Weapon 2 in that it's an unconventional love story that's filled with tragedy, but in a way it's even greater than those timeless tales. The Tiger tells of the bond between a lonely old hunter (Oldboy's Min-sik Choi) and his nemesis, a massive, ferocious feline roaming the mountains of Korea. When the army tasks the hunter with tracking down and killing the man-eater, he embarks on a quest that will bring him closer to death than ever before, but also into an unexpected spiritual understanding with his greatest enemy.

Sure, it sounds like a movie about a dude hunting a tiger. Which it kind of is. But beneath those sharp fangs and fuzzy exterior, The Tiger is an emotional, action-packed fairy tale about life, love, and loss. It's also sitting pretty with a 100 percent Rotten Tomatoes score as of this writing, so that ought to mean something.

The Survivalist (2017)

Like its protagonist, The Survivalist takes no prisoners in its visceral portrayal of a post-apocalyptic landscape where food is scarce and trust is rarer still. Similar to Cormac McCarthy's The Road, the main character is never given a name and rarely speaks, but watching it, you feel like you know every thought in his head—a testament to Stephen Fingleton, who wrote and directed, as well as lead actor Martin McCann.

The story is simple enough, but still captivating once it gets rolling. A man who's been living alone for years in a food-starved future gets an unexpected visit from two women. From there, his ordered–if paranoid–life quickly breaks down. Don't expect any breaks from the desolation–The Survivalist starts and ends like an ax head scraping bone, moving with a slow, deliberate current that'll pull you under if you aren't careful. If you're looking for background noise to play Temple Run to, you'll probably get bored with this movie. But if you give it all your attention, you're in for a surprisingly thrilling journey.

The Trust

There's nothing particularly amazing to say about The Trust. It's a by-the-numbers heist thriller about two cops who decide to steal a drug dealer's stash of cash via a convoluted plan involving disguises and hi-tech machinery. But if there's one fact of life that separates us from the animals, it's this: anytime Nicolas Cage puts on a mustache and says, "I have an idea… It's kind of wacky," you'd be crazy not to stick around for the ride.

In the end, it's dual leads Nicolas Cage and Elijah Wood who elevate The Trust from a forgettable crime whatever into a quirky, fun, still fairly forgettable, but entertaining crime thriller. Wood has an offbeat comedic touch that's hard not to like, and Cage is, well, Nicolas Cage. Even if he's not at full Cage capacity in this movie, he's a good part of the way. He's sailing at half-Cage.

Uncle John (2015)

The easygoing, friendly old man who's actually a killer trope has been played to death in at least…one or two other movies, even if we can't remember their names right now, but that definitely shouldn't stop you from enjoying Uncle John on Netflix. Set in the rural dustbowl of Nowhere, America, it's about an aging farmer who who lives his life by the age-old philosophy that when you start a job, you follow it through to the end. Even if you just murdered a guy and burned his corpse on the back 40. Especially then. And if people come poking around for answers, that just means the job ain't done yet.

Making full use of a minimal budget, director Steven Piet meticulously builds Uncle John into a slow-burning wasp's nest of a thriller, thanks in no small part to John Ashton's sometimes subtle, sometimes ruthless performance in the lead role.

The Lazarus Effect (2015)

Sci-fi horror probably seems like the easiest genre in the world. You take your tired horror scares, sneeze a fine mist of sciencey gobbledygook over them, then slap around the color grading and shim sham sha-bam, you've got yourself a movie. That's literally the premise of all the Cube movies, and for the most part, that's exactly what The Lazarus Effect is–an hour and a half of cheap scares, technobabble, and surprise colors.

Fortunately, it's also super fun nonsense, thanks mostly to the cast. Mark Duplass, Olivia Wilde, Evan Peters, and Donald Glover are a B-movie dream team as medical researchers who discover a cure for death and decide to keep experimenting after their employers try to shut their project down. Nothing that happens next is particularly unexpected (spoiler alert: everything goes wrong), but the film moves fast enough to entertain you to the end. As long as you don't expect to have your mind blown, The Lazarus Effect is an extremely watchable movie and a fine addition to the "pretty good horror" genre.

Max Manus: Man of War (2010)

Set against the backdrop of the German occupation of Norway during World War II, Max Manus: Man of War is a richly compelling historical drama about one of the most famous resistance fighters of the war (Max Manus, in case you were wondering). Manus escaped a Nazi raid by leaping out of a window, then he escaped again from the hospital where the Nazis stuck him to recover—and then he went on to wage an explosive sabotage campaign against the Nazis for the remainder of the war.

At least, that's the way Max's story played out in the movie. We can't say for sure how historically accurate Man of War really is, but as a purely enjoyable viewing experience, this Netflix hidden gem's cinematic merit speaks for itself. Max Manus: Man of War is fun, engaging, and emotionally charged, a definite must-watch treat for history buffs and action fans alike.

Christine (2016)

We'll come right out and say that there's nothing lighthearted about Christine. Not to be confused with the Stephen King thing about the demonic car, this is a 2016 biopic about Christine Chubbuck, a Florida news reporter who shot herself on live TV. Starring Rebecca Hall in the lead role and Dexter's Michael C. Hall (no relation) as her co-anchor, the movie focuses on Christine's life leading up to the event, and dang, it is nothing less than a sprint through broken glass.

Hall portrays Christine with such power that it's impossible to look away, even while the sense that the elevator's about to drop down the shaft grows to a shrieking crescendo. It's a sad, heartbreaking character study along the lines of Punch-Drunk Love, except that it doesn't even pretend to offer any hope before crushing your soul; it just grabs a hammer and starts breaking off chunks. Is it good? Yes. Will it wither your faith in humanity? Also yes. Look, this is just one of those gems that you'll have to take your chances with.