The Best Monster Movies on Netflix
With The Shape of Water netting the big prizes at The Oscars this year and with The Rock’s Rampage set to take mega monsters at the box office to new city destroying heights next month we thought we’d spend some time looking at some of the best monster movies currently on Netflix. There’s something for everyone with alien beings, your more traditional huge scary animals and a group of supernatural scoundrels where the main scare is how low-budget they look. We start with the latest creature feature to hit our favourite on-demand service that begins with the letter N.
Recently dropped on Netflix, Annihilation from writer-director Alex Garland is a smart sci-fi film, that while it might leave you with more questions than answers on viewing is still one of the most rewarding watches you’ll find on all of Netflix. Natalie Portman stars as a grieving biologist who’s sent out on an all-female expedition group made up of other scientists and a paramedic, to investigate an area of national parkland that’s been taken over by The Shimmer, a phenomenon caused by a meteor that has created eerie glowing flora and fauna. Suffice to say things don’t go smoothly on this dangerous mission into this glowing location that’s decidedly less wonderland than it seems on the surface, especially when it comes to the inhabitants. Garland has learned from monster movies of old that less is decidedly more in creating a monster that through grim glimpses let us conjure up something even worse in our own imaginations. Scarily good.
Director Greg McClean followed up one Aussie nightmare in Wolf Creek with another of the creature feature kind. Rogue sees what might have been an uneventful crocodile watching boat trip through the Aussie Northern Territory go slightly off course when the vessel is attacked by a huge man (and anything that gets in its way) eating croc, leaving those on board scrambling to get safely ashore of a tiny island. Although it’s no safe haven for long as it just happens this island will be submerged with the tide in a short time, spelling dinner to big old Mr. Croc. The key factor here is believability, it’s a fact that crocodiles have eaten people in this part of the world and can grow to huge sizes. The film also stands out as it isn’t tongue-in-cheek or played for laughs like so many other similar looking low budget, giant animal terrorising the public features you might find on Netflix. With more tension that Rodger Federer’s tennis racket, as monster movies go, Rogue, is a perfectly pitched bit of escapism.
Shaky camera found-footage films aren’t for everyone, especially those weak of stomach, and the JJ Abrams-produced Cloverfield does boast, if it’s something you’d celebrate, some of the most motion sickness inducing camerawork going. That being said the single-camera here, however restless, does help to create immediacy and a ton of tension with things you’re desperate to see often just out of frame. The film follows a group of pretty twenty-somethings around while they watch New York city get stomped and blown apart by something. That something doing the damage is a huge, less-pretty, rarely glimpsed beast that lets us call the film a monster flick, although Cloverfield may be more akin to the likes of The Blair Witch Project than Godzilla. It’s had a polarised response over time, but its one definitely worth a re-watch with it having the redeeming quality of pulling you deep into the heart of the action.
Ok, so we’re going to go on record as saying Ghoulies isn’t the best film you’re going to watch this year, in fact, it’ll probably be the worst. But it ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to monster movies, B-ones at least. You’ve got low-budget shlock, funny, ugly looking rubberised monsters running around causing havoc, and acting hammier than Porky Pig. To say Ghoulies owes a debt of gratitude to the film Gremlins released earlier that year to much fanfare would be the understatement to end them all. It’s essentially a cheap knock-off that sees a college student who looks like a lost member of Spandau Ballet summon up demons at a party, because why not. It leads to these odd looking slimy things making it a party none of them will forget in a hurry. They made three sequels, so the films couldn’t have been that bad right? Right? You can always check out the trailer before you dive headfirst into this one.
British director Gareth Edward’s labour of love Monsters sees a host of epic and sometimes beautiful beasts play out as a backdrop to a road-movie romance. The story is set in a world left changed forever after a probe was sent to Europa, a moon of Jupiter, to search for life and returned via a crash-landing in Mexico containing some beings who came along for the ride. These ‘monsters’ occupy the Infected Zone in northern Mexico, where travel is forbidden. Army jets and a huge wall that has been constructed keep these beasts out of the US (a huge wall keeping Mexicans out of America, who’d come up with that). A photojournalist has to traverse the dangerous zone to escort his boss’s daughter to the safety of the U.S. border. Along the way, they bump into plenty of incredible creatures, different to many monsters we’ve ever seen on film especially those seen pulsating at its climax. An exceptional film in so many ways.
THE BABADOOK (2014)
He may not be the biggest, but you certainly wouldn’t want to find yourself face-to-face with the monster at the heart of this Aussie chiller. Up there as one of the scariest movies on Netflix The Babadook follows a widow named Amelia who’s struggling to control her young son Samuel, who convinced that there’s a monster living in their house. We first meet this horrible top-hatted creature, Mister Babadook, in a pop-up book (which is seemingly indestructible), that when read is manifested into the real world, leading to endless torment for the family. The most supernatural of monsters on this list, The Babadook is a nightmarish vision that’ll leave you sleeping with the lights on. Deeply creepy and seriously atmospheric it’s the perfect film for a midnight scare-fest.
TROLL HUNTER (2010)
Finally to one of the biggest, ugliest and certainly most enshrined in traditional folklore of all the movie monsters here, the Troll. These typically Scandinavian creatures can be cute little mischievous things or big old nasty things that dwell in mountain caves as is the case here. The highly entertaining Troll Hunter has shades of Cloverfield, utilising found-footage from a documentary being shot by a team of students looking into a spate of bizarre killings in the icy Norwegian countryside. This is where the group chance upon former commando Hans, who lets them follow him as he goes about his secret government job keeping these huge trolls in their native areas and dispatching any who stray outside of the boundaries. This funny and at times scary mockumentary is a great modern take on the age-old monster genre, showing you it’s hard to beat a larger than life creature destroying all in its path while us puny humans fight against all odds to keep them in check.
Let us know your favourite monster movies in the comments.