We’ve all been there… flicking through film after film on Netflix deciding what to watch. Agreeing with yourself is hard enough let alone if you have a partner or family to contend with. Fancy something a bit different? Try these five hidden gems we’ve found on Netflix. We’ve got adventures, slow burners, thinkers, untold stories and a very unique thriller for you to try!
1. Jungle (2017)
Jungle is a rollercoaster of a film which will leave you biting your nails out of frustration, fear and anger. Based on the true story whereby Yossi Ghinsberg, an Israeli backpacker, convinces himself and two of his friends to follow the wilderness guru Karl Ruprechter deep into the Amazon rainforest to uncharted jungles and never seen before native villages. If you haven’t already figured it out by the photo we’ve used… things go very very wrong.
Deep inside the world’s largest rainforest, the group begins to fall apart. Karl unnerves everyone, Yossi is blinded by a wish to be an explorer and Marcus begins to suffer from bloody sores on his feet. From this point onwards it gets progressively darker and more bleak. It is a reminder of how weak the human body can be when taken out of it’s comfort zone. It is a story of survival, tragedy and ultimately a warning.
In a world where backpacking (pre covid) is almost seen as a birth right among many 20 year olds – Jungle is a stark reminder of how misplaced trust, unpreparedness and nature can quickly turn your adventure into a nightmare.
Watch Jungle if you want a realistic and yet remarkably true story about man versus nature.
The Dig (2021)
The Dig has been forgotten among Netflix’s original films and that is simply unacceptable. The acting, cinematography and dialogue is superb along with a surprisingly gripping storyline. This is not an action film, it’s not a comedy, it’s not a drama or a romance. It is, well, all those things to an extent but most simply put it’s a story. A story about an archaeologist in England, a country on the brink of the largest and deadliest war it will ever be involved in, but all Basil Brown is worried about is unearthing one of the largest and well preserved Anglo Saxon burial mounds in British history.
If you think archaeology boring this film will quickly change your mind. The Dig is a constant race against time – whether that be the impending war which will halt all non-essential digs, incoming rain clouds which threaten to destroy all the excavated work or more sadly the terminal illness the landowner is facing.
The Dig is charming and pleasant to watch. The characters, even those who are meant to be antagonists, have a genuine human side to them which makes the audience warm to them quickly. Each character is dealing with their own issues and somehow the film explores all of these fully in just 112 minutes without it even feeling rushed.
Watch The Dig if you want something truly different, there is no film like it. If you’re American I think you might need subtitles to actually understand what Basil Brown says.
3. Mosul (2019)
Whilst contemporary war films remain strongly tied to US and Coalition efforts in the War in Afghanistan or the 2003 Invasion of Iraq – Mosul makes an effort to change this and shine a light on the countries darkest recent history when it was gripped in a deadly fight with ISIS.
Mosul focuses on a group of elite police officers, the Iraqi version of SWAT, who must battle through deeply held ISIS territory of which their ultimate goal is hidden from the newest member of the group and also the viewer. They face fierce firefights, IEDs and moral dilemmas throughout their journey. All the members are highly trained expert shots so you will get a special forces vibe which is not often shown with Iraqi forces in western films.
The film is reminiscent of a modern day Stalingrad (1993) where the enemy can be sleeping next to you with just a wall separating the two of you – and each street is fought over with deadly consequences. Nothing will stop the team reaching their objective, no matter the cost to themselves or others.
The torturous and vicious regime of ISIS is shown to an extent but could play a bigger role in the film. What Mosul does explicitly show is the lack of help the Iraqi’s are getting from the outside world and how they have to make deals with lesser war criminals in exchange for simple things like ammunition.
Watch Mosul if you want a punchy action film where the characters have minimal plot armour and the rules of war are stretched.
4. Beasts of No Nation (2015)
Six years ago Netflix was still discovering itself as the new movie giant and one of it’s first breakthrough distributions was Beasts of No Nation – a sombre and challenging film with Idris Elba playing the role of an African war lord with a number of child soldiers at his disposal. Idris’ portrayal is haunting, you learn to hate him but can’t deny the enigmatic pull he has over everyone he speaks to – using drugs, guns and violence to secure his power.
This is not a film you will particularly enjoy, how can you with it being based around child soldiers. It will, however, make you think and be grateful for not being born into an existence such as theirs. Beasts of No Nation does not hold back from showing true unapologetic violence – executions, drug use, rape and graphic injuries are peppered throughout the film’s 138 minute run time.
The exploration of child innocence and how easily it can be tainted and moulded to suit an adults agenda is prominent in Beasts of No Nation. The main character, Agu [played by Abraham Attah], starts off as a happy go lucky child in his relatively peaceful village. You will witness his transformation into a warrior, a murderer and fanatic of which you will still see him as a victim and nothing more. He cannot be blamed for his actions and Abraham Attah does a fantastic job by so subtlety portraying this complex character arc.
Watch Beasts of No Nation if you want a thought provoking insight into the existence of what is sadly a very real situation in parts of Africa.
5. Hush (2016)
Ok we get it, you’ve seen plenty of horrors and thrillers where there is a helpless person inside their home and a killer on the outside trying to get in. But you haven’t seen one quite like Hush where the person inside their home is firstly deaf and secondly not so helpless as you might think. Put this together and you have yourself an edge of your seat thriller which is well worth a watch.
Maddie, played by Siegel, is a deaf author who lives by herself in a modest home of which her only neighbour is a good 5 minute drive away. She has embraced her disability and lives her life contently and happily, until the man in the mask arrives who starts circling her house killing people on the outside and trying to get in to kill Maddie.
The best part of Hush is how both the man in the mask and Maddie are clever and on a surprisingly equal playing field. The man in the mask quickly ascertains that Maddie is deaf and begins to toy with her and play chilling games – there are a number of moments where he could easily have killed her. However, Maddie learns to eventually use this to her advantage which makes for some interesting scenes which I simply cannot spoil for you.
Hush has very little dialogue and relies on Siegel to deliver a really standout performance. It does not fall into the usual horror pitfalls of stupid victims, incompetent police and a lot of people falling over whilst running away. Instead, it has genuinely unique scenes and a refreshing character arc from both the victim and the killer.
Watch Hush if you fancy some thrills mixed with a compelling plot line and a splash of slasher gore.