Since the creation of the term “Lovecraftian,” this type of horror storytelling has captured the imagination of filmmakers for decades. With hits and cult favorites like The Evil Dead, The Thingand The Misteven audiences have become fascinated with the true unknown and the scares that can be created from it.
When it comes to Lovecraftian or cosmic horror, Netflix has produced some hits and misses over the past few years. And while everyone will have their preferences, each one of these Netflix offerings tried to at least do something different to bring a fresh perspective to the sub-genre.
The Silence (2019)
After a cave exhibition awakens a group of mysterious flying creatures, the Andrews family must do what they can to find safety while also trying to remain silent, as this unknown menace tracks sound. As the United States tries to contain the situation, Hugh Andrews (played by Stanley Tucci) must protect his deaf daughter from other people as the country goes into chaos.
Despite its critical panning and sharing many similarities to the beloved A Quiet Place, the movie did try to at least create a tense ride across America. And while the actual origins of the deadly creatures are never discovered, it’s the way that they have made other people into monsters that really drives the story.
Suffering from a rare condition that causes a number of allergic reactions to the outside world, Eli and his family attend a medical facility where they can help the boy. But soon after arriving, he starts to see supernatural occurrences and questions the legitimacy of the doctors and nurses caring for him.
What starts out as a ghost story slowly reveals itself to be much more serious and darker than audiences may have expected, turning Eli into potentially one of the best horror movies featuring creepy kids. And it’s this unknown force that keeps the movie suspenseful as it is equally intriguing.
Set in 1905 on a remote Welsh island, Thomas Richardson (Dan Stevens) tries to discover the whereabouts of his sister, who has been kidnapped by a cult that lives there. But what starts out as a rescue mission soon becomes a thriller, as Thomas soon discovers that there may be more to the cult than meets the eye.
It may share some beats with the likes of The Wicker Man, but the movie’s focus on the supernatural and otherworldly presence plays a big part in this story. And it’s the discovery behind the cult and the beloved figure to whom they pray that turns it into a Lovecraftian take on what would have otherwise been another Wicker Man clone.
The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
Set on the Cloverfield Station in 2028, the crew of the orbiting space station attempt to create infinite energy for Earth using a particle accelerator. But after a successful attempt, the crew find themselves in a strange predicament, as the Earth has seemingly vanished and odd events start to happen onboard.
This sci-fi horror movie may not have been the sequel that fans wanted for the Cloverfield series, but it does make an intriguing cosmic story. From sentient limbs to traveling across parallel universes to finding a woman fused into a wall, the filmmakers at least tried to tell a new Lovecraftian horror before it became part of the Cloverfield franchise.
Responsible for inventing the specialized goggles used by the movie’s soldiers, Dr. Mark Clyne (James Badge Dale) finds himself in a mystery to uncover the odd apparitions that have appeared on the footage they’ve captured and have been killing the soldiers. But as the war is turning the tide against them, can the doctor uncover this unstoppable force before it’s too late?
No strangers to military action movies, Netflix’s Spectral was their attempt to spin the genre on its head with some sci-fi and paranormal implementations. While the movie may not be the best military action flick on the streaming platform, it does at least try to keep the suspense going to the end.
In The Shadow Of The Moon (2019)
After he thought he killed a murderer in 1988 after they committed a series of brutal murders, detective Thomas Lockhart (Boyd Holbrook) tries to stop a potential copycat killer in 1997. But after chasing down a possible suspect, he soon realizes that the same murderer after all those years is alive and has remained the same age.
Although it starts out as a thriller, the movie opens up to become a sci-fi tale and makes the audience question everything. While it may not play with horror too much, the murderer and the reasoning behind their actions may be more associated with Lovecraft’s science fiction work than some may expect.
An engineer named Peter (Michael Peña) continuously has visions in his dreams of war and an invasion from alien creatures. But soon after his dreams become a recurring issue for him and his family, they become real, and he must help to fight back against the invaders.
Extinction may come across initially as a similar story to other alien invasion flicks, but it goes into a more cosmic horror angle as the movie unfolds. And like some of the best sci-fi and Lovecraft stories out there, it also has its own twists that audiences may not have anticipated.
Bird Box (2018)
Set in post-apocalyptic America, Bird Box tells the story of Malorie Hayes (Sandra Bullock) and her two children as they try to find a safe place to call home. But with beings that can make someone see their worst fears and drive the victim to kill themselves, they must make the perilous journey while blindfolded.
One of the biggest titles on Netflix at the time of its release, Bird Box was also one of the biggest horror movies within the sub-genre. Despite the hate from critics, audiences loved this horror movie from the 2010s. As audiences never see or know where the creatures come from, it’s hard to say how the sequel could open up the mystery and the world it has created.
In The Tall Grass (2019)
Based on the book of the same name by Stephen King and Joe Hill, the movie sees Becky and Cal DeMuth get lost in a seemingly never-ending field of grass. And to make matters worse, they start to witness strange phenomena as they try to find their way back out of the field.
A blend of horror and the supernatural, In The Tall Grass turns a seemingly ordinary field into a sinister force of nature. And with the peculiar sights of ghosts and paranormal visions, the movie dives into the unknown and takes the cast of characters along for the terrifying ride. Just try not to watch this Canadian movie alone.
Leading a star-studded cast, Natalie Portman plays biologist Lena, who enters the Shimmer to discover how to save her husband, who ended up in a comatose state after escaping it. But soon after entering the unknown and mysterious area, she and her team come across a series of mutated animals and plants that have seemingly become infected by it.
One of the critics’ favorite movies from 2018, it also remains a celebrated work of cinema in Lovecraftian horror. Blending a whole host of genres to create some of the most disturbing and bewildering scenes in recent memory, Annihilation‘s cosmic mystery will keep audiences guessing and on their toes until the very end.
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