These Nextflix movies were unfairly maligned by critics and deserve a wider audience.
These movies deserve your attention! Fortunately, they're all streaming on Netflix right now. For this list of the best, most underrated movies on Netflix, we're focusing on lesser-known films from different genres, and from all around the world, that are worthy of more attention. To be clear: Many of these films were critically acclaimed upon release; they just haven't found as big of an audience as we think they merit. In this roundup for 2023, we've included big-screen releases, as well as Netflix originals. We're covering everything from thrillers to horror, sci-fi to drama, comedies to family and kid-friendly fare.
Here are recommended, overlooked movies you can watch on Netflix right now. This list is regularly updated as titles come and go from the streamer.
Underrated Movies on Netflix
1. The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021)
A breakout critical and commercial hit of the pandemic era, Michael Rianda‘s animated sci-fi comedy is about a road-tripping family who must defend each other and all of Earth from uprising technology. The Mitchells vs. the Machines was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 94th Academy Awards. The film has been commended for relatable, inspirational inclusion of LGBTQ character Katie (voice of Abbi Jacobson).
Related: Best Family Movies on Netflix
2. Cam (2018)
Directed by Daniel Goldhaber, this Netflix original is about an adult webcam performer who discovers a sinister presence has taken her place on the internet. Cam has some truly frightening moments, and it examines the subject matter of sex work with appropriate care and thought. Most notably, it showcases a head-turning lead performance by The Handmaid's Tale's Madeline Brewer, often playing multiple entities on-screen at the same time. Thanks to a perceptive script by real-life former cam girl Isa Mazzei, Cam is often an examination of fractured identity, something that's definitely not limited to the world of adult entertainment. Cam stumbles a bit at the ending, but it's full of provocative ideas, and Brewer just floors you.
3. Blonde (2022)
Based on Joyce Carol Oates' fictionalized account of the life of Marilyn Monroe, Andrew Dominik's much-hyped drama stars Ana De Armas as one of classic Hollywood's foremost icons. The biggest headlines surrounding Blonde's release were due to the picture's NC-17 rating; it's the highest-profile film released with the infamous stamp in some time.
Dominik's three-hour film is occasionally riveting, alternately bloated, self-indulgent, often unpleasant, even cruel. De Armas' performance is genuinely astonishing, deserving of major awards attention.
4. Bad Trip (2021)
Eric André, Lil Rel Howery and the incomparable Tiffany Haddish star in an admirably go-for-broke mix of scripted comedy and hidden-camera pranks à la Jackass, about two buddies on a road trip to New York. Initially scheduled for a spring 2020 release, Bad Trip was delayed, accidentally released and pirated online before a sale to Netflix. Since its turbulent release window, it's gained a considerable following and positive critical notices.
Related: The Sexiest Movies on Hulu Right Now
5. His House (2020)
Remi Weekes’ acclaimed supernatural horror debut follows South Sudanese refugees adjusting to a perilous life in small-town Europe. Like The Babadook or Under the Shadow, this is horror as dramatic art rather than a series of things that jump out and go boo. The real-world subject matter is twisted and devastating, all strikingly performed by leads Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dirisu.
6. Berlin Syndrome (2017)
So abundant we might as well make them their own genre, movies about kidnapped females generally go one of two ways: It’s either all about the suspense, figuring out how and if she will get out—or there’s the nastier route, the low road, when some movies focus on a woman’s torture and humiliation, turning it into spectacle.
Though Australian director Cate Shortland‘s adaptation of Melanie Joosten‘s novel, about a tourist imprisoned by a handsome teacher after a passionate one-night-stand, is a thriller (quite heart-pounding at times), and much of the woman’s mistreatment is extremely hard to watch, this highly absorbing psychological drama stands out because it’s all about the characters and what’s going on in their heads.
Aussie-born Teresa Palmer of Hacksaw Ridge fame delivers a ripper of a performance as a victim suffering in stages not unlike the stages of grieving. German Max Riemelt (Sense8) keeps up every step of the way as her chilling and multifaceted captor, but this is Palmer’s film, and it gave the dynamite actress long-relegated to playing love-interest side characters a serious calling-card in Hollywood.
7. Alex Strangelove (2018)
All at once joyous, raunchy and disarmingly poignant, this Netflix original movie stars Daniel Doheny as Alex Truelove, a deeply closeted high school senior who loves his girlfriend Claire (Madeline Weinstein), but is overwhelmed with confusion when he falls for a handsome, comfortably out boy named Elliot (Antonio Marziale).
8. RRR (2022)
The Rs stand for rise, roar, revolt—and international audiences have certainly risen and roared in response to this crossover hit of South Indian cinema, now streaming on Netflix. An epic buddy action musical that's sort of about real-life Indian revolutionaries and their struggle with the Raj, RRRis funny, bloody, and kinetic, with a touching bromance between stars N.T. Rama Roa Jr. and Ram Charan. The VFX are outlandish but remarkably detailed and eye-popping. The film is genuinely spectacular for 187 minutes.
9. Under the Shadow (2016)
An exquisitely crafted and thoroughly unnerving chiller, writer/director Babak Anvari's feature debut blurs the line between supernatural terror and the horrors of the real world like few films you'll ever see. Set in 1980s Tehran during The War of the Cities—the backdrop of Anvari's own fear-ridden childhood—Narges Rashidi stars as medical student Shideh who is barred from her studies because of her involvement in revolutionary politics. When her husband departs for the front, Shideh is tasked with protecting their young daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi) as the fighting and bombings escalate around them. It doesn't look like things can get any bleaker, and that's when Shideh and Dorsa are haunted by an evil genie.
The performances are powerful, and the filmmaking here is impeccable, evoking a war-torn Iran that is almost suffocating to watch. Anvari grew up in a culture where VCR's and VHS tapes were illegal, and his debut is made with the kind of passion for film that you can't put a price tag on. The supernatural scares really work, but they're never quite as frightening as Shideh's reality, which seems to be Anvari's point. Esteemed British film critic Mark Kermode named this small-scale powerhouse the best film of 2016, and it is not to be missed.
10. Uncharted (2022)
Where to begin with Uncharted? Why on the continental surface of Earth were critics so harsh to it? Based on the long-running, critically acclaimed adventure game series about strong-willed everyman explorer Nathan Drake, the box-office hit boasts magnetic, funny and physical performances from Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, who are in a league of their own when it comes to this kind of thing.
There is only one Harrison Ford, and it's unlikely any adventure film will ever measure up to prime Indy. Uncharted is content to be a slick, silly and self-aware homage, and its pleasurable escapism connected with audiences. As was the case with Spider-Man: No Way Home (released within weeks of Uncharted, cementing Holland as maybe the biggest box-office name in the world right now), Holland's face is more compelling than any visual effect. This is a true star.
11. The Lost Daughter (2021)
Maggie Gyllenhaal‘s debut as writer/director is a top-shelf psychological drama based on Elena Ferrante‘s novel. Olivia Colman is—as always—dynamite, playing a woman who becomes obsessed with another woman and her daughter while on holiday. Jessie Buckley, Dakota Johnson and Peter Sarsgaard round out a stellar cast.
12. A Monster Calls (2016)
Based on the atmospheric children’s book of the same name, J.A. Bayona‘s visually breathtaking, highly emotional low fantasy centers on a boy facing the unthinkable: the inevitable death of his terminally ill mother (Felicity Jones). Sigourney Weaver co-stars in an inventive, highly emotional picture that made Bayona one of the most sought-after directors in Hollywood.
Related: The Best Romance Movies on Netflix
13. Dolemite Is My Name (2019)
The year is 2019 saw a considerable Eddie Murphy comeback. The film, TV and standup legend won an Emmy for hosting SNL and received a Golden Globe nod for his work in Craig Brewer's acclaimed biopic of blaxploitation and comedy icon Rudy Ray Moore. Many observers say Murphy was robbed of an Oscar nod.
14. I Am Jonas (2018)
Some stunning eye candy (those cheekbones on star Félix Maritaud!) punctuates this powerful, acclaimed coming-of-age drama. Young gay love is part of the plot, so is devastating tragedy. Like the bodies on display, this plot is a beauty, told in non-linear fashion with some suspense and surprise. To ruin it would be a disservice. Just watch it already.
15. Crimson Peak (2015)
Gorgeous Gothic visuals, generous performances and genuine period chills run throughout an underrated Guillermo Del Toro romantic ghost story set in Victorian-era England, starring Mia Wasikowska as a newlywed who discovers her new family's dark secrets. Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain co-star.
The nightgown sleeves get puffier, the candlesticks in the candelabras get longer, and the melodrama gets juicier as the story goes along. Crimson Peak knows exactly what it is, and has no interest in transcending its genre trappings. Also, it's delicious; MVP here is villainous Chastain, squeezing every bit of camp, terror and black humor from the affably cheesy script.