Great streaming indie sci-fi/horror films, 2014 edition
January 8, 2014 4:27 PM   Subscribe

This has been asked before, but long enough ago that it's time for an update: What are the best, smartest, most compelling indie sci-fi and horror films of recent months/years, with a preference for things streaming on either Netflix or Amazon Prime?

Things I have loved in the past: Upstream Color, Pontypool, Never Let Me Go, Primer, Special, Battle Royale, Rare Exports, Pi, Cube, Cabin in the Woods, John Dies at the End.
posted by jbickers to Media & Arts (22 answers total) 92 users marked this as a favorite
"Let the Right One In"

Nice, creepy Swedish vampire movie. Available on Netflix with subtitles.


Cerebral, creepy Canadian movie about selling/injecting the diseases of celebrities into people so they can feel 'closer' to their idols. Available on Netflix.
posted by stubbehtail at 4:37 PM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Trollhunter. So good, streaming on Netflix.
posted by The Michael The at 4:42 PM on January 8, 2014 [7 favorites]

You'll probably enjoy V/H/S and House of the Devil.

(NB: V/H/S starts off with some gross sexual assault: a bunch of assholes lift up a woman's shirt in a parking lot while filming it, and then run away. It sets a really shitty tone for the rest of the movie, which is otherwise pretty great and original and very scary. You can fast forward through that first scene and lose nothing.)
posted by griphus at 4:44 PM on January 8, 2014

Timecrimes, aka Cronocrimines is a pretty great Spanish-language riff on time travel.
posted by cortex at 4:56 PM on January 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Tucker & Dale vs Evil was smarter and better than it had any right to be, thanks to some wonderful casting and some genuinely hilarious meta-horror moments. And it's on Netflix streaming.
posted by mochapickle at 5:03 PM on January 8, 2014 [9 favorites]

Resolution is on Netflix. It mines a similar vein to Cabin in the Woods, but in a much more low-key/low-budget fashion.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 5:04 PM on January 8, 2014

If you like Shane Carruth's work, you may like "Sound of My Voice" and "Another Earth". They are slower paced films and Brit Marling stars in both.
posted by cazoo at 5:10 PM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

"Attack the Block". Streaming on Amazon, Netflix has DVD.
posted by Ochre,Hugh at 5:15 PM on January 8, 2014 [7 favorites]

Safety Not Guaranteed; The Pact (the 2012 title); Cockneys Vs. Zombies; all available on Netflix (the first two are streaming.)
posted by OolooKitty at 5:24 PM on January 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Absentia was one I enjoyed.
posted by Gneisskate at 5:25 PM on January 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Europa Report is on Netflix Streaming.
posted by yasaman at 5:42 PM on January 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

Stake Land is on Netflix streaming right now, and Mulberry St from the same creative team is also fantastic.
posted by soundguy99 at 5:47 PM on January 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

These all skew toward horror/unclassifiable, but they're recentish things I've enjoyed quite a bit in that non-category. Not sure about availability on streaming services (the last one may be hard to see outside the UK, I dunno), but they're worth tracking down if you like intelligent, disturbing, weird things.

Pontypool: Pantypole. Pointypale. Language is dying. Luggage is flying. Large edge is buying.

Branded: the ghosts of H.P. Lovecraft and Charlie Kaufman (who is alive and not involved in this film in any way) make a self-aware satire about marketing, consumerism, cosmic horror and seven hundred levels of meta-film fakeness.

A Field in England: British folklore horror in which a magician seeks out his fellow student-of-shadow-arts during the English Civil War.
posted by byanyothername at 5:52 PM on January 8, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh, sorry! I didn't see that you specifically listed Pontypool. But going by that and the rest of the list, do look into the other two, if you haven't seen them already!
posted by byanyothername at 5:55 PM on January 8, 2014

Triangle is on Hulu Plus and is available as a rental on Amazon, and via DVD on Netflix. It's utterly magnificent, and along with the aforementioned Pontypool is a sort of pet favorite of many MeFites, me among them.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:52 PM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Some recent things I liked:

Skeletons (2010)
Stoker (2013)
Stake Land (2011) - The vampire apocalypse by way of Terrence Malick
American Mary (2012) - Body modification and revenge from the Soskia Sisters
Lovely Molly (2012)
The Bay (2012) - Strange found-footage faux-documentary with an environmental horror slant
The Pact (2012)
Black Death (2011) and Triangle (2009), from Christopher Smith (Triangle is a mind-fuck)
Grabbers (2012) - Comedy monster film from Ireland
We Are the Night (2010) - German lady vampires
We Are What We Are (2010) - an arthousey Mexican cannibal film, and it's 2013 English-language remake by Jim Mickle
The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh (2013)
Resolution (2012)
You're Next (2013)
The Devil's Business (2011)
Trollhunter (2010)

Some recent things I LOVED:

A Field in England (2013) - An uncanny mushroom trip during the English civil war; a nightmare in black and white from the amazing brains of Ben Wheatley and Amy Jump
Sightseers (2013) - Another from Ben Wheatley, this one a black comedy about a caravanning holiday gone wrong
Kill List (2011) - And yet another from Wheatley and Jump; two hit men take a job that is not what it seems
The Battery (2013) - A truly wonderful zombie film, made for $12K and shot on a single DSLR. I don't know how easy it is to find this one, but it's worth the effort; I really can't recommend it more highly. Here's the trailer.
Errors of the Human Body (2013) The most Cronenbergy thing I've seen in ages. Here's the trailer.
Byzantium (2013) - Most inventive vampire film I've seen since Let the Right One In
The House of the Devil (2009) - Pitch-perfect 80s video pastiche from Ti West.
The Innkeepers (2011) - Also from Ti West, an exceptionally charming and polished modern ghost story (Clerks meets The Shining)
Berberian Sound Studio (2012) - A weird recursive giallo by way of David Lynch
Absentia (2011) - Super-low budget, inventive, and a touch Lovecraftian
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:06 PM on January 8, 2014 [5 favorites]

Exam Taut (and underappreciated) little UK thriller about a surreal group interview that takes horrifying turns. If you liked Pi and Cube, you'll be all over this one.

Citadel A mysterious hooded gang in a low-rent apartment building terrorizes a young father.

Berberian Sound Studio Both a loving period piece about the making of giallo films and a terrific thriller in its own right.

The Innkeepers Recommended elsewhere here and with good reason.

The Bay Old Hollywood pro Barry Levinson (Good Morning Vietnam, Diner) tries his hand at the found footage genre, mixing it up with environmental terror.

The Woman A Lucky McKee film with Angela Bettis. Very upsetting. The AVClub said, "The mix of blunt sexual politics and dime-store-paperback luridness has the bracing quality of tub-brewed rotgut." It's an inherently feminist film, but it also deals unflinchingly with some horrible violence against women. You've been warned.

Kill List Genre-hopping UK nailbiter with a profoundly unsettling ending.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:10 PM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

I haven't actually watched any of these, but the following were mentioned / recommended via Marc Laidlaw's twitter feed, all on Netflix streaming:

Errors of the Human Body
Berberian Sound Studio
Post Tenebras Lux

(And on preview, I see I've been beaten to the punch. So consider this a +1 on these.)

(Also, Netflix just added Jacob's Ladder, a very good psycho thriller from 1990, worth checking out if you haven't seen it. And somewhat related to the original question, the documentary Room 237, about people obsessed with Kubrick's The Shining, was fascinating.)
posted by Bron at 7:13 PM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Future Folk. Streaming on Netflix. Not horror, but scifi and super cute. Good music, too!
posted by Wavelet at 8:19 PM on January 8, 2014 [1 favorite]

Samsara is on netflix, I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Baraka (which might also be on there). But I didn't regret the time spent watching.

(which isn't sci-fiat all, and I regret not reading beyond "streaming")
posted by DigDoug at 5:26 AM on January 9, 2014

You have seen Moon, yes? It's on Netflix streaming.
posted by AmandaA at 6:44 AM on January 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yes, definitely check out Ben Wheatley, the most exiting thing in British cinema at the moment. And his next film is JG Ballard's Concrete Island.

It's not a film but the mini-series Black Mirror is probbaly the most exicting bit of British SF of recent years.

Also, I've not seen The Congress but I'm very much looking forward to it. It is an adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's The Futurological Congress form the director of Waltz With Bashir.
posted by ninebelow at 3:26 AM on January 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

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