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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

War on Everyone (2017)

For all of its unlikable characters, War on Everyone is a surprisingly enjoyable movie. The two main characters are Terry and Bob — played by Alexander Skarsgård and Michael Peña, respectively — two crooked cops with absolutely no moral code. Instead of stopping crimes, they spend their days blackmailing criminals in exchange for kickbacks. That is, when they're not drinking all day or doing drugs in the bathroom.

This is technically a buddy cop comedy, but the black humor and overall nihilistic message that nothing really matters take it to some weird places. And yet somehow, by the time the last bullets have found their mark, you realize that you kind of like these two amoral sleazebags who haven't performed one single act of redemption the whole movie. War on Everyone won't hit home with everybody, but if you like dark humor, you may find yourself enjoying it a little more than you should.

A Serious Man (2009)

For just about every high-profile, Oscar-winning film the Coen brothers put out, they release another low-key movie that slips under the radar and goes virtually unseen. After Raising Arizona came Miller's Crossing; after O Brother, Where Art Thou? came The Man Who Wasn't There; and after No Country for Old Men, we got A Serious Man.

Even by Coen standards, A Serious Man is an unusual movie. It starts with a subtitled prologue set in the 19th century and then moves into a suburb in the Midwest circa the late '60s. The main character is Larry Gopnik, a Jewish husband, father, and physics professor whose life is slowly but surely derailed by a chain of events completely beyond his control. In search of answers, he visits three rabbis to figure out the meaning of life.

It's not the Coens' best movie by a long shot, or even their best comedy (although being a Coen brothers film, there's always going to be someone ready to dispute that, with violence if it comes to it). In the end, you'll probably come away scratching your head. But maybe you'll also watch it again a year later, because there's something there, something you can't put your finger on. There has to be something holding it all together. Or maybe, just maybe, none of it means anything.

Moon (2009)

Back in 2009, a handful of critics raved about Duncan Jones' debut film Moon, calling Jones one of the freshest voices in cinema. Then came Source Code, a slightly less intense but still extremely enjoyable film. After that came Warcraft. Finally, Mute, a disaster by any other name. And the name of Duncan Jones became synonymous with "that one good movie."

But who cares? Because Moon really is a fantastic experience, even if it's barely a cult film at this point. Starring Sam Rockwell and a robot who sounds like Kevin Spacey, it's the definition of a bottle movie — just one man in a lunar research station, slowly losing his mind. Of course, any trailer will tell you that there's a little more to it than that, but we're not trying to spoil anything here. If you've never seen Moon, do yourself a favor and avoid all the marketing and just queue it up on Netflix.

A Perfect Day (2015)

It was a simple job: just get the corpse out of the well. But nothing is ever simple in a time of conflict, especially for a group of aid workers in Yugoslavia during the Yugoslav Wars. Beset on all sides by rigidly uptight UN bureaucrats, gun-toting kids, and booby trapped cows, all they want to do is find a piece of rope so they can pull a body out of a local town's water supply before it poisons the villagers.

With a cast led by Benicio del Toro, Tim Robbins, and Melanie Thierry, A Perfect Day is both an absurd comedy of errors and a low-key satire of the often ridiculous regulations and red tape involved in international conflict. Without making any grand statements, the movie suggests a parallel between Robbins' and del Toro's characters' preciously small-scale mission and the larger surrounding war. If it's this hard to find a measly rope, how is an entire country supposed to figure out its problems?

Blame! (2017)

There seem to be two camps when it comes to this Netflix animated film — those who like the original manga hate the movie, and those who haven't read the manga generally enjoyed it. At least, they enjoyed it if they're the type of person to watch a feature-length anime in the first place.

But love it or hate it, when it comes to fresh takes on the apocalypse, Blame! has most any other futuristic vision beat, hands down. That's what makes this film so intriguing. In a seemingly endless, continually growing city that goes for miles up, down, and in either direction, robots have taken to exterminating humans. But a small band of people has survived for centuries inside an invisible shield that keeps the robots out. They don't know why the robots can't get inside their colony; they just know that going outside means risking life and limb at the hands of predatory robots.

It's only when a stranger comes to their town that they realize there may be a chance to do something about their predicament and finally stop the expansion of the city. It's not a perfect movie, but for vision alone, Blame! is well worth watching.

The Vault (2017)

There's definitely a genre you could stick The Vault in, but it's pretty unwieldy. All said and done, this is a supernatural crime horror thriller, better known as one of those supe-cri-ho-thros you're always hearing about. James Franco headlines The Vault as the assistant manager of a bank that gets knocked over by a group of petty thieves. The twist is, the bank is haunted. When Franco leads this heist gang down into the underground vault, they get more than money. They get ghosts.

You won't be rocking back and forth in terror from The Vault, although it does have its chilling moments. You won't end up rooting for the thieves, like Don't Breathe, although it does open them up to empathy eventually. And you definitely won't be chuckling at James Franco's silly antics, because he's a stone-faced, mustachioed man on a mission once things really get rolling. What The Vault lacks in such departments as characterization, script, and suspense, it more than makes up for in ghosts. Bunches of ghosts. If you love ghosts, you'll easily tolerate The Vault.

Cold in July (2014)

Starring Michael C. Hall and Sam Shepard, Cold in July begins with a quiet family man who shoots a burglar in his house. Soon, though, his family is being terrorized by the departed young man's angry father, who's fresh out of prison and out for revenge. While that alone would make for an interesting, if predictable film, Cold in July quickly switches gears as these two men realize that there are bigger stakes involved than their petty revenge tale.

One of Cold in July's biggest strengths is that you never guess where the story is going next. Each new twisted development takes the characters in an entirely new direction, and we won't ruin it here by describing what happens. If there was a downside to the whole thing, it's that the ending is over a little too quickly, but it's not enough to ruin what's otherwise a solid, engaging movie.

Oculus (2013)

Netflix has a kurjillion and a half horror movies, all of which have creepy, over-the-top images carefully designed to make their subscribers want to click that title. And the vast majority of them suck. Oculus has the exact same deal going, but with one teensy, important difference — it's actually pretty great, despite the variety of cheesy images you might see on it depending on how or where you're watching Netflix.

The gist is, a brother and sister return to the house where their father murdered their mother, bringing along the haunted mirror that made him do it. Their plan is to record themselves being driven crazy by the mirror so the whole world knows that an evil mirror is responsible for that horrible crime back in the day. Even that description sounds a little hokey, but Oculus is that one rare gem that pulls it off.

Oculus was one of writer and director Mike Flanagan's first films with a decent budget, and it shows in every frame. Flanagan has since gone on to direct several other films, including one of those Ouija movies that were everywhere in 2016 and Netflix's Gerald's Game adaptation, so his is definitely a name you'll be hearing about more often in the future.

Fullmetal Alchemist (2017)

Hate on it all you want. Just go ahead and squeeze all that hate out. Is the live-action version of Fullmetal Alchemist as good as the anime? Not even close. Is it cheesy and hilarious and full of moments that blow your mind? Oh, you bet.

For newcomers to the whole thing, the story is about two brothers with a natural inclination for alchemy (the "science" of making things out of other things) who attempt to bring their mother back to life. Things go horribly wrong, and one brother ends up with his soul trapped in a suit of armor while the other loses an arm and a leg. When they're older, they search for the mythical philosopher's stone in the hopes of restoring their bodies.

As far as anime adaptations go, Fullmetal Alchemist is arguably one of the best out there. It doesn't cover the whole story, but it serves as an origin tale and works as a self-contained story that even non-fans can enjoy. That is, you can enjoy it if you already like over-the-top Asian action fantasies. That's all this is.

Super Dark Times (2017)

This coming-of-age story has all the staples of the genre — high school friends, teenage drama, house parties, and pubescent angst. But for two best friends, a traumatic experience may be too much for them to reconcile.

In his feature-length debut, director Kevin Phillips has crafted a tight, unique teenage thriller. The rich atmosphere and superb performances from a relatively unknown cast add weight to an already heavy script that deals with issues that are, unfortunately, extremely topical. Even though the setting is different — the '90s — the subject matter of Super Dark Times would work just as well set in the modern day.

This isn't an easy movie to watch. Although other films may be more gratuitously violent, Super Dark Times doesn't offer a hint of escapism in its few, swift brutal moments. This is a story that (until the end, at least), could happen in any neighborhood in the country. If you're looking for lighthearted viewing, you'd be better off queuing up something else. But if you want to experience a superb film with a painful message that may be hard to swallow, you could do worse than Super Dark Times.