6. The Raid
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2011

Genre: Non-Stop Action

Director: Gareth Evans

Cast: Iko Uwais, Joe Taslim, Donny Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhian

Ready for a non-stop punching, kicking, stabbing fest? You better be, because The Raid is streaming on Netflix. Gareth Evans‘ no-holds-barred action film follows special forces officers infiltrating a high-rise building, and having to fight their way through non-stop mayhem. The plot is…thin (and whatever plot there is isn’t that interesting). But the action is so intense, so skilled, so unlike what most audiences are used to, that The Raid is like a kick to the face. It just keeps going, and never lets up. Sooner or later, they’ll get around to making that long-rumored American remake of this. Ignore it.

For fans of: The Night Comes For UsDreddNinja: Shadow of a Tear, cringing.


7. The Red Violin
Now Streaming on Hulu

Release Date: 1998

Genre: Musical Drama

Director: François Girard

Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Carlo Cecchi, Sylvia Chang

The Red Violin boasts a gorgeous, haunting soundtrack and a rather unique set-up: a violin made in the 1600s is passed down through the ages, before finally winding up in the present day. We see the instrument move from hand to hand, while in modern-times, an appraiser (Samuel L. Jackson) tries to authenticate the instrument. This may not sound particularly thrilling, but there’s a backstory to the violin that you won’t expect, and the individual segments – the 1700s, the 1800s, the 1960s and more – each bring their own individual spin to the story. It’s almost like an anthology film – like Creepshow, without all the bloody monsters. Bonus: this film might feature the most subdued, quiet Samuel L. Jackson performance you will ever see.

For fans of: AmadeusThirty Two Short Films About Glenn GouldShort Cuts, beautiful music.


8. Summer of ‘84
Now Streaming on Shudder and Kanopy

Release Date: 2018

Genre: Horror

Director: François Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell

Cast: Graham Verchere, Judah Lewis, Tiera Skovbye, Rich Sommer

There’s a serial killer preying on teenage boys in a small town in the 1980s, and teen Davey Armstrong (Graham Verchere) thinks he knows who the killer is – his neighbor (Rich Sommer), who also happens to be a cop. Summer of ’84, which inexplicably has three directors, is a fun throwback to the Amblin age, with a little Monster Squad thrown in for good measure. As Davey and his teen friends spy on their neighbor, the film takes on a playful, even comedic tone. And then things get considerably darker, and more violent. Summer of ’84 isn’t the most original ’80s homage, but it has a lot of heart – and the final act goes to some considerably dark places. The synth-based soundtrack by Le Matos is a highlight.

For fans of: The Monster SquadRear WindowThe Guest, Canadians pretending to be American.


9. The Seven Five
Now Streaming on Netflix

Release Date: 2014

Genre: Documentary

Director: Tiller Russell

The Seven Five is a documentary that plays out like a Martin Scorsese crime drama, with director Tiller Russell making great use of music, flashy editing and re-enactments to tell the story of a group of corrupt cops working in 1980s Brooklyn. This story is shocking on its own, but The Seven Five ups the stakes by having many of the crooked cops talk about their past crimes – and it’s clear almost none of them are very repentant. Some may take issue with Russell’s overly cinematic approach to telling this story, but it works – and keeps the film moving at a clipped, engrossing pace.

For fans of: SerpicoGoodFellasThe Thin Blue Line, documentaries destined to be turned into feature films.


10. Wake Wood
Now Streaming on Shudder

Release Date: 2009

Genre: Horror

Director: David Keating

Cast: Timothy Spall, Eva Birthistle, Ella Connolly, Aidan Gillen

After the violent death of their young daughter, a married couple (Aidan Gillen and Eva Birthistle) move to a remote village, and struggle to cope with their loss. As fate would have it, the village they now inhabit is the home of a group of cultists who are able to perform a ritual that raises the dead. You can probably guess where this is going: the couple perform the ritual, and raise their daughter from the dead. Unfortunately, this couple didn’t see Pet Sematary, or else they would know that sometimes, dead is better – because the child that comes back is very changed (and very violent). Creepy, eerie and appropriately somber, Wake Wood is the type of low budget horror that more filmmakers should emulate.

For fans of: Pet SemataryDon’t Look NowKill List, creepy villages with dark secrets.

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