STREAM WARRIORS is a weekly feature on Daily Grindhouse where a different contributor recommends a few things to check out on streaming services and around the net to watch. The platforms being used are U.S. versions (unless otherwise noted), content availability does change between countries. This week, Andrew Campbell weighs in with some suggestions.
(Please Note: Shudder is still running a promotion where you can try the horror streaming service for free for 30 days when you use code SHUTIN on their website.)
It took me a good three weeks of being stuck at home before I could find my footing when it came to entertainment. A cancelled vacation, adapting to home-schooling and transitioning to working from a desk in my bedroom – none of them presented a challenge. It was only at night, when the family was fast asleep, that the struggles began.
I thought this new world would provide unending opportunities to watch film after film, but I found myself lost in the streaming sea, compounding my situation by adding Disney+, HBO Go, and (safe space here!) Quibi to my already too-long list of subscriptions. At last, I eventually found my groove hunting down all the quintessential Hitchcock films that I had failed to watch in my formative years. If you’re feeling that same urge to catch some films you may have missed, wind the clock all the way back to 2018 when life was totally fine and normal in every way and check these out:
You know that one Korean film that everyone who sees it raves about? The one with all of the award-worthy acting performances and a terrific soundtrack? The one that highlights social and economic inequality while being light-hearted at times, but with dark under-currents? No, not PARASITE—I’m talking about BURNING.
Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead, MAYHEM) in a supporting role should be enough to draw in horror fans. Yeun is the antagonist here in the role of Ben, a wealthy young socialite who takes interest in Hae-mi and her childhood friend Jong-su, both raised in a rural farming village within earshot of the North Korean border. BURNING absolutely pulsates tension for more than two hours, delivering a dark mystery.
Streaming On: Netflix
SUMMER OF 84 (2018)
Okay, so it’s Stranger Things with little less nostalgia and no ridiculous sci-fi elements burdening the story. Had it been given a rating, it would barely earn itself an R, but look out when it does! The “my neighbor might be a serial killer” story has been done countless times before, but this film from the RKSS trio (the makers of TURBO KID) has such love for its characters and such restraint when other movies go over the top, that it’s almost perfect.
The four teen boys in SUMMER OF 84 cover all the ’80s movie archetypes:
- – The shy, handsome leader who’s about to do a whole lotta growing up
- – The tough kid who, shockingly, comes from a rough home situation
- – The potty-mouthed dork who brings the comic relief
- – And a teenager played by a guy who is clearly in his lower thirties
Horror comfort food all the way.
Streaming On: Shudder
John Ajvide Lindqvist wrote the novel on which 2008’s LET THE RIGHT ONE IN was based—a now-classic modern day vampire tale. With BORDER, based on a short story by Lindqvist, the writer applies the same magic, delivering a dark romance with fairy tale elements that I refuse to spoil here.
BORDER toes the line between fantasy and reality with an expert touch. Swap the darkened snow-covered playgrounds of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN for lush springtime forests, then age the characters 30 years and add in the excitement of a TSA agent who can literally smell deception and you’ve got the recipe for director Ali Abbasi’s BORDER.
Streaming On: Hulu
This Italian crime thriller with a forgettable title is based on a true story. I have seen numerous films set in Italy, but none that take place in a town like this—a depressed beachfront town far from the path of foreign tourists. Marcello is an affable man of short-stature, who runs a dog-grooming shop off the dusty town square, in addition to dealing a little cocaine on the side. Marcello serves as both town whipping boy and personal punching bag for local tough Simone, but even Marcello has his limits.
DOGMAN is mesmerizing and authentic. It’s a little dark and not a lot of fun, but if you’re in the mood for a gritty little crime tale that’s easy to follow and (mostly) actually happened, it’s worth a watch.
Streaming On: Hulu
Meanwhile, on a far more affluent coast of the Mediterranean is a thematically similar tale of abuse at the hands of power from filmmaker Isabella Eklöf. Victoria Carmen Sonne gives a powerful performance as Sascha, a beautiful young girl dating a violent criminal boss 20 years her senior in exchange for the trappings of wealth. As Sascha begins seeing more of the violence directed towards her and others in some very difficult scenes to watch, she begins testing the limits of what she is willing to endure.
HOLIDAY takes place during an extended vacation involving Sascha and her powerful boyfriend, along with some of his associates and their families. The Turkish Riviera is gorgeous and intoxicating. It’s the perfect backdrop for a film about looking the other way in exchange for the finer things in life. You will long for those days when we all used to be able to travel (though maybe nowhere as grand as this), but it will also remind you how nice it can feel being “trapped” in the safe comforts of home.
Streaming On: Tubi
Tags: Ali Babbasi, Anouk Whissell, Border, Burning, Canadian, Dogman, Drama, François Simard, Holiday, Horror, Hulu, Isabella Eklöf, Italian, John Ajvide Lindqvist, Netflix, RKSS, Shudder, South Korea, Steven Yeun, Summer of '84, Thriller, Tubi, Victoria Carmen Sonne, Yoann-Karl Whissell