Best of Netflix: Deconstructing horror genre

Photo provided by magnetreleases.com
Photo provided by magnetreleases.com

Every week this month, we’ve featured an assortment of the best horror movies currently streaming on Netflix Instant. Here’s a last batch of movies guaranteed to keep you constantly looking over your shoulder up into the wee hours of that sweet daylight.

2009’s “The House of the Devil” might have slipped under your radar, and that’s completely understandable considering its humble cast of relative unknowns and independent release, but this hidden treasure of horror cinema needs to be seen and truly appreciated. Desperate college student Samantha takes a job as a babysitter for the mysterious Ulman family, but she soon discovers that the Ulman family is luring gullible teens to their deaths in order to perform satanic rituals.

The movie is a simultaneous send-up and love letter to the grindhouse horror movies of the 1970s and ‘80s. Everything in the film, down to the feathered haircuts, the Sony Walkmen, the title cards over freeze frames and the delightfully cheesy ‘80s soundtrack just reeks of a tongue-in-cheek affection for the movies that made Halloween a treat at the movie theaters.

Photo provided by flickfacts.com
Photo provided by flickfacts.com

If you’re a film buff or even just a horror film fanatic, Palm d’Or winner Michael (pronounced Michelle) Haneke’s name might not be on the top of your list of horror movie directors. His 1997 thriller and its 2007 American shot-for-shot remake “Funny Games” places him firmly in upper echelons of directors to make audiences feel permanently unsettled by what they’re seeing on the big screen.

The film begins with two teens asking a vacationing family for eggs from their fridge. Without spoiling the rest of the film for any prospective viewers, the bulk of the story is these two kids systematically inconveniencing and then torturing the vacationing family in order to satisfy some kind of twisted bet between the two. The film leaves the audience feeling completely powerless as the tropes of the “last girl” or even the concept of good things happening to good people are thrown entirely overboard. “Funny Games” is a darker, less comical take on the role of violence in movies and the role of the passive spectator similar to the deconstruction of the horror genre put forth in Drew Goddard’s “The Cabin in the Woods.”

For something not nearly as depressing, yet even more exaggerated in its take down of horror movie tropes check out “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.” Starring the eminently likable Alan Tudyk (“Frozen”) and Tyler Labine

Photo provided by magnetreleases.com
Photo provided by magnetreleases.com

(“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”) as two courteous hillbillies, who through a series of increasingly hilarious misunderstandings, keep getting mistaken for your stereotypical murderous hillbillies of horror movie lore. The college students who keep getting lost on their way to their spring break cabin in the woods do almost everything in their power to make them out to be these murderous characters to a fault.

The movie is just as much about the beaten to death clichés found in B-movie horror films as it is about not judging books by their covers. It’s sure to make you laugh and make you think a little bit by the end.

Regardless of if you want to laugh or scream, horror movies should stick with you once the credits roll and make you question the world you walk out into.