Netflix Top Picks: Indie Horror Movie Edition

With so much content on Netflix Instant it is easy for some titles to just get lost in the shuffle, and with Netflix streaming now accounting for the majority of all American internet traffic, someone needs to start sorting this all out. Welcome to Netflix Top Picks, where I will select items from the Netflix Instant service you just have to add to your queue.  Just in time for Halloween, Netflix Top Picks is back with a set of indie horror movies that may, or may not have you sleeping with the lights on tonight (candy not included).
10-27-13_netflix_top_picks_indie_horror_movie_edition_pontypoolTitle: Pontypool
Type: Movie
Genre: Halloween Favorites,Horror Movies, Scary Halloween Favorites, Zombie Horror Movies
Rating: NR
Run Time: 1hr36m
Released: 2008
Directed By: Bruce McDonald
Starring: Stephen McHattie, Lisa Houle, Georgina Reilly, Hrant Alianak, Rick Roberts, Daniel Fathers, Beatriz Yuste, Boyd Banks, Laura Nordin, Daniel Park
Synopsis: Valentine’s Day is off to a bizarre start for a radio shock-jock when he runs into a crazed woman on his way to work — and that’s only the beginning. Soon, scores of other people in the small Ontario town of Pontypool start acting awfully odd.
My Analysis: Pontypool is a horror film about words. Yes, yes, it’s about an epidemic, and it’s a low-budget, one location horror movie, but don’t let that keep you away. The premise is inspired: during his late-night radio show, veteran DJ Grant Mazzy (the criminally under-employed Stephen McHattie) and crew start getting word of strange, violent behavior in their little city of Pontypool. And “get word” they do – cut off from the outside world, they can only rely on the confusing, jarbled speech of their callers to explain the supposed societal devolution. Thoughtful and contained, Pontypool excels far beyond its cliched brethren. McHattie, with his lulling, grizzled growl, puts off just the right combination of grit and pathos as Mazzy, the apathetic DJ interested more in his own on-air monologues than playing popular records. If Cronenberg is the progenitor of body horror, fellow Canadian director Bruce MacDonald provides the perfect counterpart in neurological terror.

10-27-13_netflix_top_picks_indie_horror_movie_edition_my_little_eyeTitle: My Little Eye
Type: Movie
Genre:Horror Movies, Slasher and Serial Killer Movies
Rating: R
Run Time: 1hr35m
Released: 2002
Directed By: Marc Evans
Starring: Sean CW Johnson, Jennifer Sky, Kris Lemche
Synopsis: Five young people must bunk together for six months as part of a reality TV show that will award its winner $1 million. The catch is that if even one person leaves, no one wins a cent. As the players — brainiac Danny (Stephen O’Reilly), loafer Rex (Kris Lemche), frat boy Matt (Sean CW Johnson), perfect Emma (Laura Regan) and aspiring actress Charlie (Jennifer Sky) — settle in, things turn ugly when one of them is found dead
My Analysis: Rarely do gimmicks make for enjoyable movies, so you can’t be blamed for rolling your little eyes at the premise of Marc Evans’ horror thriller. Watching closed circuit footage of five people angrily contemplating whether their webcasted six-month stint in a desolate compound will actually result in fame and fortunate, or if something nefarious is at hand, goes well beyond just a clever plot device. While archetypes are present, the actors – particularly Canadian vet Kris Lemche, who built his career on playing the smart asshole – work naturally together. The script is the real ballast here, though, avoiding horror clichés and, instead, reveling in the characters’ isolation, growing anxiety, desperation (for fame and fortune as much as safety) and the unknown. Look for a brief but pivotal scene with a young Bradley Cooper, who gets the best – and creepiest – line of the movie.



10-27-13_netflix_top_picks_indie_horror_movie_edition_what_not_to_watch_human_centipede_2Title: Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence
Type: Movie
Genre: Cult Movies, Foreign Movies, Horror Movies, Cult Horror Movies
Rating: UR
Run Time: 1hr35m
Released: 2011
Directed By: Tom Six
Starring:Laurence R. Harvey, Ashlynn Yennie, Maddi Black
Synopsis: A disturbed loner is so obsessed with the shocking horror film The Human Centipede that he decides to replicate the movie’s grisly experiment. In this metasequel, the stakes are raised as 12 unlucky souls endure surgical hell.
My Analysis: In every bad sense of the word, Human Centipede 2 is exploitative. Essentially a 90-minute montage of human suffering with no plot, very little character depth and a raucous, undulating finale, Tom Six’s follow-up to his good-natured original comes off like a child continuing to shout the punchline to a joke that previously got a reaction. Newcomer Lawrence R. Harvey is legitimately amazing as the creepy Martin, with his bulging eyes and persistent lethargy, but watching him continually bludgeon people, then – spoiler alert – connecting them ass to mouth and raping the end result is mean-spirited, misguided and just plain awful. Despite inspired visuals on-par with Eraserhead and Tetsuo: The Iron Man, Human Centipede 2 is the very thing its titular creation seeks to produce: shit.


About S. Matthew Bauer

Visiting my first seedy video arcade at age four, there was a good chance I would end up a felon. Instead, I became a geek. Maybe the grouchiest writer at the site, I am confused by such modern developments as online multiplayer, achievements and paying money for avatar skins, and am perfectly content playing platformers on my 3DS (although single-player shooter campaigns on my PS3 keep me plenty busy). I’ve written professionally (and unprofessionally) for the past decade, which gives me plenty of time watch just about everything on Netflix Streaming, and cook mediocre meals for my family. I am happily and luckily married to an adorable, brilliant nurse, and we live with our inconspicuously geeky ten-year old daughter and beagle-pug mix in Minneapolis. If you ever meet me and want to see me never stop vomiting, play the theme to Home Improvement or a Rusted Root bootleg.