Welcome to the first volume of our foray into the expanse of Netflix in 2017. Did we find treasure or dust?
The Rezort (2016)
I saw quite a few films in January 2017, however the ratio of good/bad films was lopsided in favour of the bad. I’m not just talking throwaway bad, the type of films you can laugh at and maybe watch again when you’ve had one drink too many. I’m talking about the awful films that are so bad you regret even taking a chance on them. The Rezort is one of those films.
After a zombie epidemic plagues the world, a company decides to use an island as a holiday resort/park for survivors to take out their anger on unsuspecting zombies. Essentially Jurassic Park with the undead. This in theory should have been a fun film, but it takes itself far too seriously, contains a wide array of painfully annoying characters, and journeys down a path of complete predictability. It’s an utter waste of time, and the talents of Dougray Scott and Martin McCann. It’s another headshot to the zombie genre which is getting closer to extinction with every film like this. However thinking outside the box, this would make a fun basis for a video game though. Dead Island 3 perhaps.
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)
With his second feature film Oz Perkins continues his unconventional exploration of the horror genre. Ruth Wilson plays Lily, a home nurse tasked to care for elderly horror author Iris Blum whose house is haunted.
I like takes on the horror genre that stray from the beaten path. The Witch is a perfect example of horror effectively done differently, exchanging excitement for captivation. I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House on the other hand gives up excitement, only replacing it with a thin coat of atmosphere. Lily’s narration waffles on throughout the running time, doing nothing but fill long uneventful scenes until the credit roll relieves us of our duty to see the film through to the end. Even when proceedings show a glimmer of the supernatural it’s too short lived to stir anything. A disappointing film.
Once upon a time Jason Statham was voted as The Snooty Ushers favourite actor, but that is democracy for you, living with decisions that may or may not be the best voted by the majority. Now everybody loves a good Statham action flick even if things get a little bit cheesy, but boy is Parker such a bad film.
Directed by Taylor Hackford (you know, the esteemed director of Ray) the film follows ethical criminal Parker who seeks revenge after being double crossed on a job and left for dead. I went into this expecting little, but got even less. Michael Chiklis demonstrates none of the acting ability he showed in The Shield, Clifton Collins Jr. barely says a word, and Statham himself delivers one of the most godawful Texan accents I’ve ever heard. If you can look past the acting, then you find yourself wondering why does Jennifer Lopez seem to fall for Parker and why is she such a useless character. To think that Parker came out after Statham starred in gritty actioners Blitz, and Safe, and with a great performance in Hummingbird, the film feels like a ten year step back into the period of derivative straight to video films.
The Keeping Room (2014)
Just when I thought my latest excursion into Netflix was going to be a disaster, this tense low key Western affair comes along and saves the day. Directed by Daniel Barber (Harry Brown) from a script by Julia Hart, the film follows three women, Augusta, Louise, and Mad, looking after themselves during the final days of the American Civil War. Two rogue soldiers break off from the encroaching and begin terrorising local homes and towns. After an emergency trip for medication Augusta attracts the attention of the soldiers who begin an assault on their homestead. With nobody to protect them the girls must fend for themselves, taking on roles only men had fulfilled previously.
Why it has taken Daniel Barber nearly 5 years to get another film out there after the great Harry Brown I do not know. Driven by three terrific performances from Brit Marling, Hailee Steinfeld, and especially Muna Otaru the film is a taut western drama that is well worth your time. Despite taking place in the middle of nowhere, the sparse setting, which is both bleak and beautiful, it makes for a claustrophobic feeling as the three women fight for their lives.
I’ve most certainly enjoyed better explorations into Netflix, in fact this has probably been one of the least enjoyable. But at least it ended on a high note, even if the film is a little bleak. Anyway join us next time as we sift through the wonders of Netflix to bring you the good, the bad, and the ugly of the streaming service.