Netflix Top Picks: Horror Comedy Edition

With so much content on Netflix Instant it is easy for some titles to just get lost in the shuffle, and with so many gamers now using their consoles to watch movies and TV shows on Netflix, someone needs to start sorting this all out. Welcome to Netflix Top Picks, where every week I will select two items from the Netflix Instant service you just have to add to your queue.  This week I examine a genre that simply doesn’t get enough attention, the horror comedy.  Now I’m not talking about horror movies that are so bad they actually become comedies, but rather films that set out to combine the life and death horror situations with smart, scripted comedy.  This genre is both rare, and rarely executed well, so it is important to note the successful attempts.

Title: Zombieland
Type: Movie
Genre: Horror, Zombies, Dark Humor & Black Comedies
Rating: R
Run Time: 88 Minutes
Released: 2009
Directed By: Ruben Fleischer
Starring: Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin

Synopsis: An easily spooked guy, Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), joins forces with wild man Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) to fight for survival in a world virtually taken over by freakish zombies. As they destroy scores of the undead, they meet up with two other survivors, Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and Wichita (Emma Stone), and journey to a supposedly safe abandoned amusement park. Ruben Fleischer directs this horror romp.
My Analysis: A lot of people overlooked Zombieland as just another film trying to cash in on the zombie craze, and amazingly even the news of an amazing cameo by Bill Murray failed to make most people realize that this was more of a comedy than a horror movie.  The tagline for the film was “Superbad meets Shaun of the Dead” which is unfortunate because it doesn’t make much sense (a comedy about zombies is like a comedy and a comedy about zombies?).  A better way to describe Zombieland is a mix somewhere between Dawn of the Dead, Superbad and the book, Zombie Survival Guide.  The zombies themselves aren’t comical like they sometimes were in Shaun, and the relationship between Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) and Wichita (Emma Stone) is a little bit “coming of age” comedy (obviously with a very different backdrop).  The end result is a movie that is full of a descent amount of zombie fighting action and tons of well-delivered dark humor.  It isn’t Shaun of the Dead, but then again nothing really ever will be. So grab a box of Twinkies, turn off the lights and enjoy Zombieland.

Title: Doghouse
Type: Movie
Genre: Horror, Zombies, Dark Humor & Black Comedies
Rating: NR
Run Time: 88 Minutes
Released: 2009
Directed By: Jake West
Starring: Danny Dyer, Noel Clarke, Emil Marwa, Lee Ingleby, Keith-Lee Castle, Christina Cole, Terry Stone, Neil Maskell, Emily Booth, Stephen Graham
Synopsis: Six guys hell-bent on having a raucous weekend away from wives and lovers arrive in the town of Moodley. But something’s odd about this quaint hamlet. Where are the men? And why do all the women look like they’re thirsting for blood? The poor blokes soon discover that half the population has been wiped out by the same virus-infected, man-hating cannibals terrorizing them. Stephen Graham, Danny Dyer, Noel Clarke and Lee Ingleby star.

My Analysis: Doghouse is an odd film. Everything about it says this is going to be some stupid B-film about half naked, large chested zombie women chasing a group of men… and that isn’t entirely untrue.  What makes Doghouse work is that it is fully aware of its’ cheeky, blatantly sexist and quite stupid premise (that a disease has been unleashed in this small isolated town that turns all the women, who are largely half naked and large chested, into psychopathic man hating zombies), and even openly acknowledges it. In fact, one of my favorite scenes in the whole movie is when facing death, the group finally acknowledges how unusually good-looking most of the zombie women are.  The film is very self aware and so over the top that it is actually a riff on bad horror movies, and it is often quite funny in its approach to the subject. You may also note that this is the 2nd British film I’ve recommend starring Danny Dyer this month, and he once again manages to steal most of the scenes this time around as well; in fact much of what makes this film work is the great cast.

So not everything on Netflix Instant is kid friendly, in fact much of it isn’t in the least bit appropriate.  Finding something that is kid friendly is fairly easy, but finding something that both you and the kids in the room can enjoy isn’t always so.  So with Kid Pick, I highlight something there is at least a chance will bridge the generation gap. You may also just want something a little more “G” after watching the last two picks.

Title: Alice in Wonderland
Type: Movie
Genre: Children & Family, Family Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Rating: PG
Run Time: 108 minutes
Released: 2010
Directed By: Tim Burton
Starring: Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Alan Rickman

Synopsis: So I have to admit that I’m not a particularly huge fan of the 2010 Alice in Wonderland remake/sequel/re-imagining (whatever this technically was) but I know from the experience of my own niece and nephew that this certainly appeals to the kids.  It is by no means a horrible film, it simply isn’t very good, but the visuals are actually quite amazing; so while the latter is drawing in the kids you are more likely focusing on the former.  My best advice is to use this one as a great way to keep the kids entertained, but if you have to watch at least it won’t be as painful as say… the Suite Life on Deck made for TV movie.

Due to Netflix constantly updating and changing the content on their service we cannot guarantee that the content listed in this article will be available for any particular length of time, nor can we guarantee it is available in all regions.  We do make a genuine effort though to never include any item that Netflix has marked with a limited availability.


About Tristan Rendo

I've made movies, written and performed music, and in January of 2011 got bored and started the awesome gaming site you see before you. My gaming roots began with the original NES, and endless hours spent spilling quarters into machines at the local arcade. I have a personal collection of over 200 Nintendo 64 games, and for many years it was the only system I owned. I re-entered the modern generation of gaming consoles when I decided to purchase a 360. I typically prefer the single player experience of games, so I’m usually playing through some single-player campaign, but can occasionally be found doing some damage in Halo Reach.