When evaluating the quality of Netflix’s horror releases in 2022, it’s evident that their collection is a truly mixed bag.
As competing services, particularly genre-specific ones like Shudder, continue to develop their horror movie collections, Netflix’s catalog becomes more static and reliant on Netflix Originals on a monthly basis.
Netflix, for example, might boast The Shining, Scream, Jaws, The Silence of the Lambs, or Young Frankenstein at various periods in the last year, as well as contemporary indie greats like The Witch, The Descent, or The Babadook.
All of those films have been replaced with low-budget, direct-to-VOD films with suspiciously similar one-word titles, such as Demonic, Desolate, and Incarnate.
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Every islander on Midnight Mass’ Crockett Island feels beset by calamity. The recent oil spill nearly wiped off the island’s fish supply, causing the local fishing industry to collapse. In defiance of the ocean’s elements, their houses fracture and peel.
Due to a lack of opportunities, the vast majority of the population has abandoned the island, leaving only a few survivors. They can only go to the mainland on two ferries.
Hope is scarce, and a massive storm is brewing on the horizon. Everything else about this seven-episode Netflix series is a complete spoiler, but what can be revealed is that despite its supernatural elements, Midnight Mass (made by The Haunting’s Mike Flanagan in his most recent collaboration with Netflix) is a drama that digs inwardly rather than outside.
Midnight Mass is concerned with horrors within: addictive tendencies, secret histories, and questions of forgiveness and belief, with both the physical claustrophobia of Crockett’s setting and the psychological agony of characters, placed front and center.
Nothing saps the enthusiasm of horror films like those that don’t use the word “horror.” Of course, movies can scare audiences in a variety of ways, but at the absolute least, a horror film can be frightening rather than amusing.
His House, by Remi Weekes, doesn’t mess around. The picture opens with a tragedy, and within 10 minutes, it has out-grudged The Grudge by scattering spirits around the floor and up the stairs, where his characters can trip over them.
Finally, this is a film about the inextricable pain that comes with immigrant stories, a companion piece to recent independent films like Jonas Carpignano’s Mediterranea, which shows the risks that immigrants face on the road and at their destinations with brutal neorealist precision.
The Haunting of Hill House
The Haunting of Hill House’s aesthetic lets it works as a clever adaptation of Shirley Jackson‘s iconic novel as well as a horror television show. Monsters, ghosts, and other things that go bump in the night are off-screen, scarcely visible, or hidden by shadow.
In order to create uneasiness and inconsistency, the series even goes back to some of the initial film adaptation’s judgments in terms of camera movement and shot design. Maybe “inconsistency” isn’t the right word.
While watching it, the only thing that feels truly contradictory is your mind: you’re constantly afraid of being duped, but the scenes’ composition frequently fools you.
By purpose, Crimson Peak adheres to gothic romance conventions: “I made this movie to present and reverse some of the normal tropes of the gothic romance while following them,” del Toro says during the introduction between his protagonist, Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska), and her first of two love interests, Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), a baronet who has come to the United States to win over her father, the magnate Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver), and obtain financial backing for his very ambitious project.
The conversation between Thomas and Edith in this sequence is vital to the film’s overall goal: “I’m sorry,” he begins, his gaze drawn to the book on her desk.
“I’m not trying to pry, but isn’t this a work of fiction?” Yes, it is. It is, in reality, her fiction, a piece she has written for publication in The Atlantic Monthly. The tale has him ensnared at first glimpse.
Vol. 1 of Oats Studio
This collection of experimental (but well-budgeted) sci-fi and horror short films from District 9 filmmaker Neill Blomkamp was first distributed on YouTube throughout 2017, and all of them seem like seeds for possible feature film projects.
Blomkamp created Oats Studio to do real VFX testing while also fleshing out some of his wilder ideas, and each of the major projects within it is spectacular in its own right.
Rakka imagines an Earth overtaken by telepathic reptilian aliens, with human survivors fighting back in a desperate and seemingly pointless fight, while Firebase sets a soldier against a reality-warping “River God” in a Southeast Asian military struggle.
It may not be the best time to watch a horror film in the spring. It’s the season of new beginnings! Optimism! At least, that’s how it should be. So we understand if you want to pull out right now.
If the horror genre is your game, Netflix has an amazing list of choices for you. The list of titles ranges from phycological to supernatural to indie to mind-game horror movies.
Netflix has stiff competition in the genre from other horror-specific streamers like Shudder, but it does a great job of keeping its horror movies fresh.