Everybody knows Netflix is awesome (right?) but sometimes it can be hard to find something decent to watch among the thousands of titles available.  There are huge, blockbuster Hollywood films and small, independent productions.  While I’ve always been impressed with the selection on the red giant, this year is already shaping up to be a banner year for Netflix.  Several highly acclaimed horror films from last year have made it onto the service.  It can be tough to decide just what to watch,  but I’m here to tell you …. Trust in Me.

Oculus is, without a doubt, my favorite film of 2014. It’s creepy, its trippy and its fucking awesome.  In a world where big budget horror is struggling to connect with audiences Oculus succeeds on every level.

Oculus is about a demonic antique mirror capable of warping reality. Kaylie’s family encountered the mirror years ago and it destroyed them. Now she is back as an adult and ready to take her revenge against the cursed object.

Starring Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Guardians of the Galaxy), Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent), Katie Sackoff (Battlestar Galactica) and Rory Cochrane (Right At Your Door), the film plays with the viewers’ perception of reality and constantly shifts between the past and the present. Featuring terrifying set pieces and a strong mythology, Oculus is one of the scariest films I’ve seen since Scott Derrickson’s Sinister. Make sure you stay until the end too, that finale’s a doozy.

This one took me completely by surprise. I was totally unprepared for how great this film is. I was expecting a modern, hip, and annoying remake in the vein of April Fools Day or Prom Night. Those films couldn’t be further from Town that Dreaded Sundown (TDS).

TDS is a kind of ‘meta’ horror film similar to films like Blair Witch 2 and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. The film acknowledges the original film and also the events on which it was based. This film is dead serious however and when it comes time for the slashing and mayhem to happen, WATCH OUT.

There are three things a decent slasher must have; Blood, Boobs and a Fantastic Final Girl. (TDS) has all of these and more. The gore is in your face with practical effects and plenty of the red stuff. There is the required T and A and Addison Timlin makes a likable and empathetic final girl. Trust me, if you like slashers you’re gonna wanna catch this one.

The first Dead Snow was a genuine phenomenon. Hailing from Norway and directed by Tommy Wirkola (who has since gone on to direct Hansel and Gretel: Witchungers) Snow was popular with pretty much any type of horror fan. It was fun, funny and irreverent.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t the biggest fan. Hence, I can’t comment on the quality of Dead Snow 2, but I will say, “I Love that Poster.”

Alexandre Aja is one of the most controversial directors working in horror today. From the perplexing and twisted ending to High Tension to the polarizing Kiefer Sutherland thriller Mirrors, Aja knows how to get a reaction out of his audience.

This is why I was anticipating the pairing of Aja and Stephen King’s son, Joe Hill. The film stars Daniel Radcliffe (Do I have to tell you?) as Ig Parrish whose girlfriend has been murdered and he is the prime suspect. Waking one morning with horns protruding from his head and possessing strange powers, Ig must get to the bottom of his girlfriends’ untimely demise.

The less said about Horns, the better. Just know that this is an Alexandre Aja film so expect gruesome sights, sexy ladies and some bizarre moments. I’m still undecided on whether I like Daniel Radcliffe as an actor, but the film plays to his strengths so he works. The supporting cast is excellent with Juno Temple (Killer Joe, Dark Knight Returns), Max Minghella (the Social Network) and James Remar (The Warriors) all co-starring. It’s not the best film of the year, but its Alexandre Aja. So make sure you see it as soon as you can.

I had the fortune (or misfortune) to see Clive Barker’s fully realized vision for his second film at Horror Hound film convention. At that time, the film was a “work print” which meant that it was unfinished and very rough. Barker was trying to garner attention and raise funds to have the film restored. This was before websites like Kickstarter existed so the product wasn’t guaranteed to happen.

Even with the print in such a rough form however, I could see that The Cabal Cut was Clive Barker’s true vision. While Nightbreed has always had its fans, if you haven’t seen this version of the film, you haven’t seen Nightbreed.

The film focuses on Boone (Craig Sheffer), a confused young man who is trying to figure out “who he is”. He feels out of place in the world and dreams of a mysterious place called Midian he longs to find. Complicating matters is his psychotic psychologist Dr. Decker, played by none other than David Cronenberg himself. Decker wants to find Midian for himself and he will let nothing stand in his way.

If you’ve never seen Nightbreed before now, you are both fortunate and cursed at the same time. The movie is an experience with wonderous creatures, phenomenal effects, a bombastic score (Danny Elfman) and a wholly original story. Now more complete and complex than ever before, make sure you see Nightbreed before you die.

While everybody is raving about Black Mirror, a brilliant science fiction show on Netflix that tells dark tales of technology, horror fans have their own TV series to get excited about.

Darknet is an anthology series that tells horrific tales that all tie into a mysterious website, Darknet. The film employs narratives that often tie into each other in obscure or unpredictable ways. From a burgeoning serial killer to strange parasites, you are sure to find something you like here.

Being produced in Canada, Darknet doesn’t star anybody you might be familiar with but don’t let that fool you. The acting is top notch and the stories are gripping. Take a tour on the dark side of the internet.

Honeymoon is the tale of young lovers, Bea and Paul. Freshly married but just getting started with their lives, they can’t afford a lavish honeymoon so they visit Bea’s childhood vacation spot; A cabin in the Woods. Things are going swimmingly until Bea begins acting strangely. Soon Paul is seriously worried. Has his new wife had a mental breakdown, or is there something more sinister at work?

Honeymoon stars Rose Leslie (Ygritte from Game of Thrones) and Harry Treadaway (Dr. Frankenstein from Penny Dreadful). Being a smaller production and focusing almost exclusively on these two characters, if you don’t like Bea or Paul the film won’t work for you. Fortunately Leslie and Treadaway are fantastic. They are both stars of hit TV shows and deservedly so. Their chemistry is electric and the suspense and horror of the film builds to a beautiful crescendo.

While you may or may not like where the story goes, the journey is fantastic. Rose Leslie is a joy to watch and is destined for stardom and Honeymoon is a film that will stick with you long after the credits roll.

Proxy is a genre bending, shock-sploitation gore fest. Within moments you will know what type of movie you have decided to watch and you will either be fascinated or disgusted.

Starring Joe Swansberg (A Horrible Way to Die) Kristina Klebe (Rob Zombie’s Halloween) Alexa Havins and Alexia Rasmussen, I challenge you to predict where this twisted tale is headed. It starts with an accident, which leads to experimentation that leads to disaster.

The performances are magnificent and the violence is visceral.  There is one scene in the middle of the film that completely changes the course for the entire story and it is glorious to behold.

While not for everybody, Proxy is insane, riveting and stomach churning. Definitely one of the more “fucked up” movies I’ve watched this year, but well worth the time.

A complete blind watch for me, Come Back To Me surprised the hell outta me. Jon Abrahams (The House of Wax remake) and Katie Walder star as Sarah and Josh, a normal all-American couple trying to start their life together.  They have just moved into a new neighborhood and are meeting the neighbors when they run into Dale.  Dale is a strange loner who instantly takes a liking to Sarah.  After meeting Dale, the couple’s life starts to crumble.  Sarah starts blacking out and waking up with in different locations with no memory of how she got there. To get to the bottom of things, she sets up a camera to see what she does while she is “asleep”.  What she finds will shock you to the core.

It is best if I don’t say much more than that.  Come Back to Me has a great storyline, an enticing mystery, excellent performances and stellar production values.  It’s a really solid horror movie.  I’m not sure how it flew under everyone’s radar.  Devote some time to this one, you won’t be disappointed.

I’m not sure you really need me to recommend this one to you with names like Joan Allen, Anthony LaPaglia, Stephen Lang and …..  a little author by the name of Stephen King involved.  If you haven’t seen A Good Marriage yet, rest assured that it is good if not great.

The film has a central premise that you might be able to guess from the poster.  It’s gripping, intense and ripped straight from the headlines.  Everybody is excellent and plays their parts well.  There is a little violence but this one is more psychological and suspenseful.

The one negative I could point out about the movie is that it is clearly an adaptation of Stephen King source material.  Having read countless tales from the master of horror, I know how he writes and A Good Marriage features many moments that probably played better on the page.  In all though its a fun and gripping, also harrowing tale from one of the best talents of our time.

In Fear is a small British film that premiered at the Sundance film festival in 2013.  It garnered a good deal of acclaim and its easy to see why.  It is a gripping story about two people whose fragile new relationship goes horribly wrong when they become lost in the Irish countryside.

The premise is INCREDIBLY simple and the entire production follows suit.  What makes In Fear stand apart is the direction from Jeremy Lovering (who also wrote the film) and the fine central performances from Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert and Allen Leech.  You’ve seen this type of film hundreds of times and I was tempted not to recommend it because I wasn’t as enamored with it as others apparently have been.  However it IS a good horror film and I can imagine first seeing it at Sundance would have been very thrilling.

The Den is a found footage horror movie.  It is also a low budget horror movie.  Normally I wouldn’t be attracted to this type of film.  However, this is Netflix and I saw The Den on somebody’s list for the best horror movies for 2014, so I pushed play.

The Den is about a researcher working on a project examining the online dating world of chat rooms.  Horror ensues.  The film is relatively simple but effective.  While I wasn’t crazy about it due to the fact that it is hindered by its conventions (ie: found footage), like many low budget horror movies the allure is in the writing.  The story is interesting, Melanie Papalia is likable and the finale is appropriately shocking and memorable.

Well, that’s enough to get you started.  Our loyal readers like to binge horror so I doubt this will last you more than a day, but don’t worry.  There is more coming later.  Netlix Loves Horror.

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