Happy holidays, Netflixers! This year, we’re starting a new tradition by going through the past year and each writer is picking out their personal favorites from the new titles added in 2018.
We all have quite different tastes so there is something on each list for everyone. For me personally, the hardest choice was narrowing my list down to five picks. I loved everything that is on my list.
So that the article is appropriate for everyone, we’ve only included Netflix Originals released worldwide.
5. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Directed by the Coen brothers, this tale is an anthology of six short films that take place in 19th-century post-Civil War era during the settling of the Old West. I loved this movie from beginning to end.
First, the cast. I’ll watch just about anything with Tim Blake Nelson, but the entire movie is filled with wonderful actors from James Franco to Liam Neeson.
Next, like all Coen brother movies, it’s quirky. I’m not one to need things that have a happy ending or things tied up with a neat little bow. If the story is interesting I’ll stick with it. And every one of these stories is interesting. What I especially liked was that I could never guess where it was going. A movie that surprises me and keeps me guessing is one worth watching.
4. Wild Wild Country
As a lover of documentaries and a huge fan of the Duplass brothers, I couldn’t wait to binge this series. I can say with total honesty, you really have to see this to believe it. Even after I had watched the whole thing my mind was still blown.
It’s about the controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), his one-time personal assistant Ma Anand Sheela, and their community of followers in the Rajneeshpuram community located in Wasco County, Oregon. They basically set up camp and hold a small town hostage.
This series has it all. Really. Conflict with locals, the government, sex, murder, guns, conspiracy. I don’t even want to tell you too much about the plot because I don’t want to ruin the experience for you. Watch it. It’s going to leave you saying to yourself “Wtf did I just watch?”
3. Bird Box
This film hasn’t been a big hit with critics but has been a huge hit with audiences. Based on the novel by Josh Malerman, it’s a post-apocalyptic thriller focusing on the lives of those that survived an unseen presence that drives most of society to suicide. It has a great cast including Sandra Bullock, John Malkovich, and Trevante Rhodes.
This film has been very divisive. From everything I’ve read, including the comments from our online community, you either love it or hate it. A lot of the criticism for this movie involves the viewer being unsatisfied with the lack of ‘monsters.’ That it isn’t scary. For me, it’s the opposite. The scariest thing isn’t what’s banging on your door. It’s that scary feeling you get in the dark when you think something could be under your bed but you just don’t know. The unknown is much more terrifying.
I was on the edge of my seat from beginning to end and highly recommend it.
Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón delivers a vivid, emotional portrait of a domestic worker’s journey set against political turmoil in 1970s Mexico. This was a personal project for the director (Gravity, Children of Men) as he drew upon his own childhood and the women who raised him.
Aside from the story itself being rich and completely absorbing, it’s simply beautiful to watch. Filmed in black and white, it’s gorgeous. It pays attention to detail and draws you in with imagery, not conversation or music.
It’s a wonderfully made film and deserves every accolade it has received. You care about the characters and are left thinking about it long after the movie is over. Something that stays on my mind after the ‘stop’ button is pushed is a movie worth recommending.
1. The Haunting of Hill House
I went bonkers for this series when I first watched it. I was that annoying person that told everyone that would listen “You have to see this!”
It’s a slow burn. A character-driven series, most of the hate received was the same complaint as Bird Box: where are the ‘monsters?’ This isn’t a series with jump-scares and vampires. It’s so much more sinister.
The monsters, my friends, are the people beside you. They’re in the walls. They’re in your dreams. They’re the things you can’t see that slowly drive you crazy. For the first time in a very long time, I saw something on the screen that chilled my blood. I found it terrifying. I can tell you I watch a LOT of stuff every week for articles. From horror to true-crime I’ve seen quite a bit. This series haunted me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
The actors completely drew me in. They were each fantastic. I connected with the characters in a way that I haven’t in quite a long time with a series, a big plus in my book. And I felt like I had to devour the story. I just had to see what happened next. I can put a show down for weeks or even months. A show that can get me to do that is worth recommending.