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Netflix: June Horror Roundup

 

It’s a huge month for Netflix streamers. We’ve got a handful of nasty pictures making a return to the digital outlet and a series of brand new arrivals that are going to afford genre fans the chance to catch up on some treasures that may have been missed. There’s marquee magic all over the place, as you’ll see names like Stephen King, Anton Yelchin, Dean Koontz, Famke Janssen, Jake Gyllenhaal and James Wan surface in the lineup, so it’s safe to step out on a few limbs here. Dig on just a small handful of the new shiners on Netflix in June!

Netflix

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Nightcrawler:

Nightcrawler is a genuine mind-fuck. Not because it happens to be a profoundly complex feature, but because writer/director Dan Gilroy dips into a dimension of depravity that is just really, really hard to absorb. The film is dark and morbid and Jake Gyllenhaal’s work as the twisted lead Louis Bloom is unsettling to say the very least. While more thriller than horror, the film is no doubt guaranteed to leave viewers deeply unsettled. Expect an excellent scipt and some jarring performances from this exceptional piece.


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Asmodexia:

Don’t tune into Asmodexia anticipating your run-of-the-mill exorcism movie, because you aren’t going to get it. What you will get is a very well shot Spanish flick that pits good versus evil in typical fashion only to turn around and yank the rug from beneath our feet. While the movie as a whole may not be an outright masterpiece, the twist that director Marc Carreté hits us with in the final moments is masterful. There are surprises in store for viewers here and if you don’t mind reading subtitles you’re likely to walk away from the viewing experience feeling surprisingly gratified.


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Extraterrestrial:

I’m not a big fan of The Vicious Brothers, but they’ve assembled a pretty decent little flick with a solid cast. The visuals work rather well and although the concept may lean toward the preposterous, it is still quite a bit more embraceable than those dreadful Grave Encounters flicks… which for the record, were utter shite. If alien invasion type flicks tickle your fancy, then go ahead and give this one a go, it’s definitely superior to the average sub-genre effort.


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Oculus:

Mike Flanagan truly impressed with his 2011 indie feature Absentia. In fact, he impressed enough to turn around and earn the right to film a substantially larger picture. That pic is Oculus, which tells the story of a mirror that turns the mild mannered into the murderous variety, and it was pretty damn good. There are a series of chilling moments to take in and the performances are excellent across the board. It’s a fairly original piece and it deserves a look from those who haven’t had the chance to check it out.


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The Houses October Built:

The Houses October Built returns to Netflix this month and that’s a good thing. While not jaw dropping on any level, this is an ambitious little found footage film that differs from most handi-can flicks. The cast is excellent and the menacing clowns will leave you feeling just a tad unnerved. Although not universally adored by fans, for my buck this one is well worth a watch. It’s certainly one of the stronger found footage efforts to hit the market inside the last half-decade.


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The Town that Dreaded Sundown:

Talk about a stunning picture. Not only does The Town that Dreaded Sundown far exceed expectations, it’s a really enjoyable blend of remake and sequel, and it also sparked awareness of the original (which is excellent and insanely creepy), which should never have fallen into the realm of obscurity to begin with. Hands down one of the finest reboots we’ve seen in recent years, The Town that Dreaded Sundown is an absolute must-watch!


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Come Back to Me:

Now here’s a damn interesting piece. Based on the eerie Wrath James White novel, Come Back to Me doesn’t translate perfectly to film, but it does leave viewers stunned at the wild twist offered forth. Expect a slow start to things, as the first half of the picture is average at best, but once we round the halfway bend, all insanity kicks into gear and then that amazing spin on ths story closes the deal and leaves the jaw on the floor. It’s worth it to sit through the sub-par first half, no doubt about it.


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13 Sins:

Anytime a filmmaker can deliver genuinely sadistic material with a hint of obvious class, something special is happening. By all accounts 13 Sins should be a revolting, visually shocking picture. It really isn’t. Rather, it’s a very well told tale of a man put in a horrific bind, forced to cross the threshold that separates decency and savagery. And again, it never comes across as offensive, and that is something to behold. Mark Webber is absolutely brilliant in the film, which should already own a place in your collection. Don’t miss it on Netflix (it comes and goes) this month.


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Odd Thomas: Heading into the Dean Koontz transfer Odd Thomas my expectations were about as low as they dive. I anticipated nothing more than a cookie cutter PG-13 flick, but what the hell, Koontz has nailed a few novels in his time and Anton Yelchin is a young bad ass of the genre. I gave it a go and found myself rather stunned. Make no mistake, Odd Thomas does feel a little hollow, but it’s quite a bit more enjoyable than expected. The special effects aren’t dreadful, the cast is strong all around and the pace of the film is pitch perfect.


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Killer Legends:

Documentary fans take note: Joshua Zeman is an amazing filmmaker and Killer Legends, though slightly suffocated to fit into a reasonable time frame, is extremely entertaining. Four urban legends are put under the microscope (part of the reason the time becomes an issue) and explored pretty thoroughly. There’re some very familiar concepts on display here and any longtime genre follower who checks this one out will not only welcome the topics covered, they’re likely going to be left feeling as though they’ve added a little knowledge to the noggin. A fine film indeed.


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Alien Abduction:

Here’s another fair found footage film for those who love their horror when it feels as close to real as possible. Of course the film isn’t real, but it is actually based on a real case that occurred in North Carolina. There are some strong visuals to take in and as the film progresses into the final act we get a couple unforgiving action sequences (it looks pretty bad ass when people begin to be abducted). Alien Abduction is no ground breaker, but it’ll hold your attention for 85 minutes.


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A Good Marriage:

This Stephen King adaptation surprises right out of the gate. It’s more of an emotional horror piece than anything else, but between a very crafty script, stellar performances from Anthony LaPaglia and Joan Allen and a satisfying conclusion, it’s a fine way to watch 102 minutes tick away. Throw in some very polished (even if controlled) visuals and you’re looking at a standout of the King variety. Disregard the fact that the film didn’t earn a wide theatrical release, it still makes for excellent entertainment.


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Hemlock Grove:

All kinds of supernatural craziness waits in this Netflix original series, of which you can now watch both season one and two. Werewolves stand at the forefront of the story, but trust in the fact that this one is quite a bit more complicated than that. The series isn’t flawless, but strong performances from Famke Janssen, Landon Liboiron and Dougray Scott help to keep the interest alive. The second halves of each season offer plenty of action and plot twists, so hang on through the slower episodes to get to the truly disconcerting stuff!


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All Cheerleaders Die:

Fan reception seems to be quite mixed when it comes to Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson’s teen terror flick All Cheerleaders Die. From my position, the flick absolutely rocked. It deviated from a lot of the typical tropes one would expect, featured a slew of respectable performances and – as proven in the introductory sequence – didn’t give a damn about playing it safe. It’s unforgiving in the greatest moments, and while it may be a far out concept, it’s a far out concept that at least manages to thrill. It’s no The Woman, or May, but it is a feature that McKee can be proud of.


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Insidious: Chapter 2:

There’s no need to speak on the Insidious franchise, much. We all know these are solid stories with awesome visuals and some chilling hidden scares. The second chapter in the ongoing series may not be as petrifying as the inaugural effort, but it’s a fine film all the same. It has once more made its way onto Netflix’s awesome streaming service, and given the release of the third film, now is the perfect time to catch up!

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Matt Molgaard