Last Updated: December 18th
There are a lot of movies on Netflix right now. Taking into account all their original movies (the streaming service keeps churning them out at a neck-breaking pace) and their impressive, ever-changing library, it’s easy to understand why there are so many great underrated titles that seem to get looked over.
“Underrated” is certainly a subject term. Some movies you hear buzz about originally but never get around to seeing them, or you overlook others for x, y, and z that deserve a second look. They may not get all the awards or are literally under-rated on IMDb, but they’re still worth seeking out.
Because we know how difficult it can be to keep up with everything on Netflix, we’ve rounded up some of the best underrated movies you probably haven’t seen yet, but definitely should.
Ex Machina (2014)
Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Alex Garland’s sci-fi thriller breathed new life into the tired A.I. trope when it landed in theaters a few years ago. The film focuses on a naïve young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) who’s selected amongst a pool of applicants to evaluate a new A.I. lifeform. The poor kid is whisked away to a remote villa to spend time with the eerily-human-looking robot, Ava (Alicia Vikander) and her eccentric, often cruel creator Nathan (Oscar Isaac), a genius with an ego to match his talent. The film takes some twists you don’t expect, and Isaac gives cinema one of its greatest dance sequences, in case you needed more reason to watch.
Now and Then (1995)
Run Time: 100 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Christina Ricci, Gaby Hoffman, Thora Birch, and Ashleigh Aston Moore play younger versions of stars Rosie O’Donnell, Demi Moore, Melanie Griffith, and Rita Wilson in this quintessentially 90s tale of a group of young girls who form a friendship that carries them into their adult lives. The girls spend a life-changing summer together, investigating a mysterious death and learning more about themselves in the process before reuniting years later where they confront past mistakes. It’s a heartwarming ode to friendship supported by a truly talented group of young actresses.
Run Time: 97 min | IMDb: 7/10
If you like your wanderlust just a bit on the weird side, may we recommend this adventure comedy starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe. Dano plays Hank, a man marooned on an island, ready to commit suicide, before a corpse washes ashore. Radcliffe plays the dead man, whom Hank soon befriends and discovers he can manipulate like a Swiss Army Knife. As Hank treks through the wilderness in search of civilization, he uses the corpse, which slowly comes to life, goes by the name Manny, and, at one point, is used as a jet-ski powered by uncontrollable flatulence, to reconnect with the world around him. It’s strange, there’s lots of farting, but there’s also some great Survivor Man-type of adventuring going on.
The Bad Batch (2016)
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 5.3/10
Iranian filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour followed up her 2014 horror masterpiece A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, with this dystopian horror flick, one that imagines a cannibalistic wasteland confined to the territory of the state of Texas. Undesirables are sent there to fend for themselves. Suki Waterhouse stars as one of these “bad batch” people, a young girl named Arlen who’s cast out of society, forced to fend for herself, and becomes the victim of cannibals. She loses and arm and a leg but finds a certain grit and steel of will, one that leads her to meet Miami Man (Jason Momoa, having a lot of fun) and discovering a place called Comfort run by a mysterious man named Dream (Keanu Reeves). The plot is way out in left field for most of the film, but the performances and the striking visuals make it worthy of a watch.
Sleeping with Other People (2015)
Run Time: 101 min | IMDb: 6.5/10
Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie star in this hilarious rom-com about a couple of sex addicts who find love with each other after some obligatory mishaps, of course. Brie is Lainey, a young woman (cheating on her boyfriend with a married man), who goes to a meeting for sex addicts and runs into the man she lost her virginity in college to, Jake (Sudeikis). The two become friends again, end up falling for each other, and go through some pretty rough sh*t before they’re able to make a go for it. Sudeikis proves himself capable of leading-man status, and Brie banks on the kind of neurotic comedy she’s known for, so despite a sometimes lack-luster script, this one works.
Camp X-Ray (2014)
Run Time: 117 min | IMDb: 6.9/10
Kristen Stewart couldn’t be further from her role as a lovelorn teenager in the Twilight franchise with her performance here as a guard at one of the most controversial prisons in the U.S. Guantanamo Bay is the centerpiece of Camp X-Ray, a harsh, unforgiving place where detainees are striped of their right and dehumanized for the sake of God and country. Stewart plays Amy, a young guard who forms a relationship with Ali Amir (Peyman Moaadi), a man held prisoner following the 9/11 attacks. The two slowly form a friendship that eventually threatens Amy’s career and Amir’s life. Again, the acting is what elevates this flick above the standard not-all-Muslims-are-terrorists fare that dominated Hollywood post 9/11.
Run Time: 93 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Danny Boyle’s black comedy crime film has become a cult classic over the years, and for good reason. Ewan McGregor plays Mark Renton, an unemployed heroin addict who shares a flat with his equally unimpressive friends, Spud, Sick Boy, Franco, and Tommy. The group parties together constantly, doing drugs, getting into fights, and committing petty crimes before Renton attempts to get clean only to return home to make a drug deal that could set him up with a clean slate. It’s darkly comedic, with some ridiculous twists thrown in, but the core of the story is surprisingly emotional.
Life After Beth (2014)
Run Time: 89 min | IMDb: 5.6/10
Aubrey Plaza and Dane DeHaan star in this horror comedy about a guy named Zach mourning the loss of his girlfriend, only to discover she’s come back to life. Plaza stars as Beth, the dead girl revived, who begin exhibiting strange behavior, eventually going into full-blown zombie mode while her devoted boyfriend Zach (DeHaan) tries to manage her mood swings and her pesky craving for human flesh. John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon play Beth’s parents, who hilariously try to cover-up their daughter’s current undead state, and though things go off the rails in the final third, watching Plaza play a moody, angst-ridden walking corpse is one hell of a good time.
Obvious Child (2014)
Run Time: 84 min | IMDb: 6.8/10
Jenny Slate is one of the more underrated comedians in the game right now, but she proved herself a capable leading lady in Gillian Robespierre’s indie rom-com, Obvious Child. Slate plays Donna, a young hopeful trying to make it in the world of stand-up. She frequents a few undergrounds around New York City, honing her set while disappointing her successful academic mother by phoning it in at a used bookstore in Brooklyn for her regular 9-5. She has a brief and promising love affair with Max (Jake Lacy) before facing a dilemma: an unplanned pregnancy. There aren’t many films that can tackle the sensitive topic of abortion with dignity, grace, and a ton of poop jokes, so you’ll want to check this one out.
Under The Skin (2013)
Run Time: 108 min | IMDb: 6.3/10
Scarlett Johansson stars in this sci-fi thriller about an other-worldly woman with a dark agenda. The film sees Johansson using her sex appeal to lure unsuspecting men to their watery doom while beginning to contemplate her own existence with every new partner she seduces. It’s a subtle reverse of rape culture, with themes of race and immigration mixed in, but if all of that goes over your head, you’ll at least enjoy seeing Johansson off a bunch of frat bros and rapists.