Welcome to the first of a brand new range of articles! In these Netflix Roundups, I will essentially talk about and review all the things I’ve watched on Netflix (UK) during the month. Sometimes there will be many titles to discuss, other times there might just be one. These reviews might also not necessarily focus on a new release, but will consist of movies and shows on my Watchlist, many of which I missed at the cinema or have never gotten round to watching.
So sit back, pop the kettle on, and enjoy!
The Ritual (2017)
Adam Nevill’s The Ritual has been on my Audible list for a while, so I ummed and ahhed about watching this before experiencing the book. I think I made the right call! I really, really enjoyed this film. It surprised me how enjoyable it actually was!
Rafe Spall was excellent. Having such a small cast really worked in the film’s favour as it just enhanced the isolation and tension. Having little knowledge of the wider story going into this, I was very surprised in the way the story went. It took me to a place and an ending that I was not expecting. This film did a fantastic job of combining Scandinavian mythology and folklore within the psychological-horror genre.
The sound design was extremely strong in the movie, and the visuals really helped lift the movie to another level. If I was to be super-critical, the ‘reveal’ may have been about twenty or so minutes too early. But that is being very picky.
Ghost Stories (2017)
This anthology horror consists of the main narrative is interwoven between three stories. As with most anthology movies, the quality wavers. The first story starts off strong, with the movie taking a dip with the second one. Thankfully things improve as Martin Freeman makes his appearance in the final story. As for the ending? It was nicely worked when all the other stories started to all interlink and payoff. It was clever in the way it ended, but it was a little bit of a slog to get there at times.
I think the big positives are Martin Freeman and Paul Whitehouse, with a big shoutout to Whitehouse for his serious character portrayal. As he is someone I heavily associate with comedy, I was very surprised how well he did.
I think modern horror fans may struggle with this movie due to the emphasis on building up tension naturally rather than relying on jump-scares. But for me, I appropriated this approach. A little slow at times but enjoyable all the same.
The Limehouse Golem (2017)
I’m very big of the ‘Victorian setting’, with TV shows like The Alienist or movies like From Hell being standouts in the genre. So a Victorian horror-mystery film starring Bill Nighy? Surely this was going to be right up my street? And indeed it was!
First of all, Olivia Cooke and Bill Nighy were fantastic. Two very strong co-leads. Jane Goldman continues to show great positives as a screenwriter, and while the ending was extremely predictable, the twists and turns along the way made up for it. The film’s aesthetic was really well executed and I particularly enjoyed the editing style.
Other than the predictable ending, the film was a little too ‘on the nose’ at times. Other than that though, I’d recommend this film, while nothing spectacular it was still an enjoyable watch.
I had high hopes for this film! Helen Mirren and Jason Clarke are no mugs and The Spierig Brothers did a good job with Daybreakers. The concept and ‘true story’ aspects were also very intriguing. So it should, on paper at least, have been half decent? Sadly, it was pure garbage…
The story failed to make use of the exciting source material, delivering an underwhelming story that even Mirren and Clarke couldn’t save! The visual effects and horror techniques were also just as disappointing. Again, the film’s biggest frustration is the execution of the story. The scope and potential for this movie were huge, but the result is just a hodge-podge of worn-out Tween horror tropes and an inability to deliver any tension or genuine horror. The source material deserves a much better movie than this. I highly recommend avoiding this film unless you really have nothing else to watch!
The Girl With All The Gifts (2016)
A new take of the zombie genre will always get my attention, but for me, I was drawn to this movie because of Paddy Considine. Hook this man to my veins! The film also stars Gemma Arterton and Glenn Close, so at least from a casting standpoint, this movie had potential. Did it deliver? Overall, yes it did!
The film could have used a little more money, as some of the props and costumes were very cheap, but these things are easily overlooked when they manage to tell such a well-structured story. It had the right balance of character performance to horror, with the two acting in harmony with one another. I think if you are looking for a more ‘smarter’ zombie film, then The Girl With All The Gifts is definitely one to consider!
Assassin’s Creed (2016)
If you throw Michael Fassbender into any film then I’m listening. If you throw him into one of my favourite video game franchises then I am definitely on board! I was gutted I missed this at the cinema, but the reviews and response were quite negative. So I was a little apprehensive going into the film. But again, I was pleasantly surprised.
When playing the Assassin’s Creed games, anything outside of the Animus I couldn’t care less about. The balance was off and they spent too much time trying to flesh out the real-world and lost focus when it came to the more exciting, action elements. But when we did get these moments, I thought the film did a very good job with the historic assassin parts of the movie. The film had a stylish look about it and there is no questioning the production value. In all honesty, I’m not sure why this film got so much bad press. As a big fan of the franchise, I really enjoyed most aspects of the film. I think the critical response has killed any hope of a sequel, which I think is a shame.
The Great Wall (2017)
Despite being considered a box office bomb, The Great Wall was actually, ok! I mean, there are probably fifty or so movies in this genre that i’d recommend you watch instead, but for what it offered, it was alright. The story was very meh, and Matt Damon was, well, Matt Damon. But Pedro Pascal and Jing Tian were very enjoyable. I am a big fan of Asian cinema, Wuxia films in particular, and while this film does not come to reaching the likes of some of the great Wuxia movies, it at least nails the setting and the colours. The colour pallet in this move is visually striking but lacks the artistic flair and cinematography that makes these films so appealing.
To quote from the guys from Nerdschatting, “it was fine.” It was what it was.
Get Out (2017)
Out of all the movies I watch in June, this was the one that I had the most hype for. Did it deliver? Boy did it!
Jordan Peele absolutely smashed it with this film. It had outstanding pacing, a great script, wonderful cast and a whole host of social commentary to boot! Peele builds the tension up perfectly and Daniel Kaluuya was the perfect lead. What a performance!
I didn’t know that Bradley Whitford was even in this, so that was a much welcomed surprise. I love The West Wing, and he plays my favourite character, so I’ma big Bradley Whitford fan. But there is no one cast member that brings this movie down. It’s a near-perfect horror film. I just really wish I had watched this on the big screen.
Due to the releasing and licensing issues, this film has only just made it to Netflix (UK) as of May. It has been on my radar for sometime yet I never tried to source it via alternative means. I kind of wish I had now though as this was an absolutely stunning film. The ensemble cast is just incredible, with some truly stunning performances.
The concept of the story was really interesting and the development and progression of this narrative were so well done. I cannot recommend this film highly enough. If you haven’t watched this movie yet or if it’s stuck on your Watch List, don’t delay! Get this film watched!
Love Death + Robots (2019)
There is no questioning the quality of the animation and the execution and implementation of the different styles. It all blends seamlessly and while it’s an anthology, it feels very much connected in a subtle way. As with most anthology properties, it is very hit and miss. Some episodes are great, others not so much. But overall, I would say the storytelling aspects were positive.
While the language, gore and nudity will appeal to a ’15-year-old boy’ type audience, I do feel these factors cause the series to lose focus. Sometimes a good story has these moments shoe-horned in, having a negative impact on the episode. If these elements are reigned in a bit, Series 2 could be much better.