As someone who’s a parent, an aunty, a teaching assistant in a primary school and an art technician in a high school, I’ve been exposed to more viruses than the clumsy lab tech at the beginning of an outbreak movie. Sickness bugs, flu, colds, COVID- I’ve had my fair share of sick days.
As such, my main form of selfcare involves numerous cups of tea and watching as much horror as Netflix has to offer. If you’re stuck at home today trying to recover, here are 6 Netflix Original Films (and one series) for you to comfort watch in between bowls of soup and fever dreams.
Fear Street Trilogy (2021)
When I tell you this helped me through a bought of COVID…. 90s nostalgia, colourful, all the best parts of a slasher movie with fun lore and one of the most inventive and satisfying endings you could possibly hope for- The Fear Street trilogy has it all. Part 1: 1994 is engaging, funny and compelling enough to set up what’s to come. Part 2: 1978 fleshes out the story a little more and Part 3: 1666 is where the whole story comes together. Plus, once you’ve seen the whole trilogy it’ll make you go back and watch it in a whole new light. The second is a really fun throwback to the Friday the 13th era of campground slashers- including a nod to Jason’s first appearance with the sack on his head. The third is absolutely perfect.
Hot at the Shop:
The short this film was based on is so simple and straightforward that it’s surprising no one else had thought of doing it first. TLDR: A father who’s been infected in a zombie apocalypse and has to find a new family for his infant daughter before he turns. It’s a great setup and the Netflix feature has a brilliant conceit to justify the extra runtime. After a zombie outbreak, the living are provided with government issued kits that give you options should you be bitten (oddly prophetic as it turns out), including a that wristwatch counts down your “transformation”. This means the film is given a literal ticking clock for desperate father Andy (played perfectly by Martin Freeman) to find a safe place for his baby girl.
Whilst the film is light on zombie attacks, it’s unbelievably tense, and packs one doozy of a human villain. It might not be for you if the effects of the pandemic were too much to really enjoy in media, but if you think you can manage a zombie movie that deals with the actual nuts and bolts of government intervention in a plague… then give it a go.
I am the Pretty Thing that Lives in the House (2016)
I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House is something of an acquired taste to be sure. If you’re not a fan of art house horror and want something more than beautiful visuals and thoughtful narration, this one might not be for you. It’s more of a thoughtful vibe than a specified story, which has become a bit of a specialty for Osgood Perkins, who’s got a keen eye for haunting visuals, so if nothing else it’s at least beautiful to look at. As a haunted house story, it’s a meditative look on mortality, death and decay. How the past will stay in a house, one way or another, and that there’s beauty even in things that are rotting. Which might be comforting to you in a strange way, especially when you feel like death warmed up.
I first watched His House during lockdown, and the feeling of not being able to leave your home certainly added an extra layer to the film’s already horrifying premise. Two asylum seekers, Bol and Rial, played by Wumni Mosaku (Lovecraft Country) and Sope Dirisu (Silent Night), having fled war torn South Sudan, are finally given asylum in the UK. They’re relocated to a particularly disgusting and hostile council house on an equally unwelcoming estate…and they cannot leave. Not only are they treated with contempt by the case workers and neighbours, but they are also risk of being sent right back if they set one foot out of line, which is all compounded by something unseen that lurks in their new home.
Something followed these two across the sea to this house. A supernatural manifestation of trauma, sin and potent survivor’s guilt. The hardest parts of this movie to watch are not just the ghosts and the nightmares. Its the real-world horrors. It’s a hard watch, but worthwhile and full of brilliantly constructed haunted house scares.
The Ritual (2017)
The Ritual is a film I never knew I needed. Four university friends bonded by tragedy, barely held together by macho bravado, go on a backpacking holiday in the Swedish mountains to honour their friend. It all goes horribly wrong when they get lost and find themselves at the mercy of an ancient, woodland evil. If you haven’t seen this movie, don’t look anything up. Don’t google any images. I promise you that reveal is worth the wait.
It’s a masterpiece of spooky storytelling and marked the arrival of filmmaker David Bruckner, who would go on to direct The Night House, and the recent Hellraiserremake. The atmosphere, the surreal visions, the tension- it’s probably one of the best pieces of folk horror made in the last decade. I love this movie and it maybe the best thing for your sick day if you, like me, love Nordic folk horror.
Day Shift (2022)
Look, Day Shift isn’t exactly The Hunger, but it’s so much fun. It’s about a down on his luck Dad played by Jamie Foxx (Django Unchained) who’s trying to earn a living by hunting vampires. There’s some fun, stylish, over-the-top action (the vampires are played by contortionists who scuttle in inventive ways), enjoyable gags and a really great villain played by Karla Souza (How to get Away with Murder). She chews the scenery more than Stephen Dorf in Blade. And I mean that as a compliment.
Souza first moment of menace in the movie is delightfully messed up and is probably one of the many things you’ll really remember about this movie. That and Snoop Dogg (Bones) as a veteran hunter in a trench coat and cowboy hat. With a Gatling gun! If you like vampire action or horror action comedies- there are worse ways to spend your sick day.
If you’re looking for a longer binge, sadly, there isn’t a huge amount of choice of horror shows on Netflix, but Detention has become a bit of a comfort series for me. Plus, it’s flown under the radar for a while now and I want more people to know about it. Based on the game Detention by Red Candle Studios, the Detention series is a semi-sequel to the game. But it’s also mostly a remake? A retelling? It’s not vital to have played the game, but if you have you’ll appreciate what is included just a tiny bit more.
It’s set in a tiny countryside community in Taiwan, during the turn of the millennium, and focuses on a high school student Yunxiang Liu played by Ling-Wei Lee (Born to beHuman). She’s looking to start a new life with her mother at Greenwood High. The school still enforces rules as if it were under the martial law of 1960s Taiwan’s “White Terror” dictatorship, including cruel punishments and surveillance inflicted on its students.
The school’s past is also manifesting in the abandoned campus- where the ghost of Ruixin Fang played by Ning Han connects with Yunxiang and compels her to play a role in her vengeance from beyond the grave. The two girls have a lot in common, even separated by decades, and both need to face their troubled past to break the cycle in order to find peace. The supernatural element is very much in the background- but it enhances the human drama taking place around Yunxiang. It’s pretty harrowing, but ultimately hopeful. The ending, like the other entries on this list, is uplifting even though it might make you cry.
We hope you get better soon! And we hope you find something spooky to watch during your time stuck on the couch. Let us know your Sick Day Streaming Recommendations over on Twitter or in the Nightmare on Film Street Discord! Not a social media fan? Get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.