Filmmakers are lucky. Part of becoming a better director, screenwriter, actor, etc. involves watching other movies to learn the craft. Luckily, Netflix is a fantastic resource for hundreds of titles available for you to watch instantly. Since Halloween is coming up, we made sure to include a few spooky titles on this list just for the occasion. These are the best movies on Netflix for filmmakers in October 2019.

Movies to Watch on Netflix

1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

It may be an animated Spider-Man movie, but Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) genuinely one of the best films of 2018. It departs from typical Spider-Man film tropes by focusing on Miles Morales, a high schooler who ends up getting bitten by that pesky, radioactive spider and realizes he needs to take on the role of Spider-Man in his dimension. 

The voice performances are spot-on. The soundtrack has hit after hit. And the animation is beautiful. You can take pretty much any frame in this film and hang it up in your house as art. Take a deep dive into how they animated this masterpiece in this informative video. 

“A leap of faith.”

Best Movies on Netflix

2. Green Room

In Green Room (2015), a punk band plays a show at a neo-Nazi compound and things just get stranger from there. The bandmates witness a murder, and the Nazis come to realize they can’t let them get out alive. It’s a visceral film where you feel every punch, every cut, and every death. It’s a film that grabs ahold of you and refuses to let go. 

Once you finish watching it, you’ll want to learn as much about it as possible. Here’s a fascinating interview with director Jeremy Saulnier where he talks about making the thriller, including what it was like to cast Patrick Stewart as a neo-Nazi kingpin. 

“This… is a nightmare.”

Top Netflix Movies

3. The Witch

The Witch (2015) may be a slow-burn, but it draws you in so effectively you won’t want to escape the nightmare you’ve been placed in. It’s a period piece about a group of Puritan settlers as they’re family slowly becomes undone by supernatural forces. One of these forces is a goat named Black Phillip, who is the embodiment of Satan. If that’s not enough to draw you in, then we have very different tastes in movies. 

As the title suggests, a witch features prominently in the film. In this featurette, the filmmaker describes what drew him toward witches and why he wanted to make a movie specifically about Puritan witches. 

“Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?”

Best on Netflix

4. American Psycho

American Psycho (2000) has become a classic for good reason. In recent years, it’s themes of materialism and linking one’s self-worth to what you own (like business cards) have only become more prevalent. It also has that amazing scheme of Christian Bale wielding an axe set to “Hip to be Square.” 

It can take several viewings to fully understand what’s going on. If you need a primer on what exactly American Psycho is trying to say, then check out this video that excellently breaks down the themes. 

“Do you like Huey Lewis and the News?”

Great Movies on Netflix

5. 50/50 (2011)

If you want something a little lighter than these thrillers to watch on a Tuesday evening, might we suggest 50/50. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, 50/50 tells the story of a man diagnosed with a malignant tumor. It has all of the humor you would expect out of Rogen, but this film is surprisingly heartfelt with genuine moments of Gordon-Levitt’s character fearing for his life. It’s the kind of film that gives you a new lease on life and will make you want to live life to the fullest afterward. 

The film can get pretty intense, but it does have its lighter moments. Here’s a scene from early on in the film where Gordon-Levitt’s character tells his friend about his diagnosis, and Seth Rogen tries to cheer him up.

“If you were a casino game, you’d have the best odds!”

Netflix Films

6. Scream (1996)

In the 70s and 80s, Wes Craven helped create the modern horror genre with films like A Nightmare on Elm Street and The Hills Have Eyes. In the 90s, he sought to bring down the genre he helped create with a little film called Scream. It manages to deconstruct horror films while still being an incredibly suspenseful horror movie in its own right. 

Scream is an expertly crafted thriller. The writing is top-notch in the way Craven misdirects the audience to get you to pay attention to the wrong thing, so when Ghostface’s identity is revealed, you didn’t see it coming. This video breaks down how Scream manages to effectively manipulate viewers’ expectations.

“Do you like scary movies?”

List of Netflix Movies

7. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010) is one of the most underrated horror gems to come out of the last decade. A group of friends go into the woods, and WAIT! Don’t click away yet. It takes a delightful turn that skews horror tropes fantastically. Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine are wonderful in this movie as a pair of rednecks the teens think are actually the murderers, but they just happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. 

It’s a horror comedy that ranks right up there with Cabin in the Woods. It’s campy, hilarious, and heartfelt, and this video does a great job of breaking down how the slapstick in the film succeeds. 

“He’s heavy for half a guy.”

Good Movies on Netflix

8. Her

Her (2013) breaks down the isolation so many people feel in the 21st century despite being supposedly more connected than ever before. A man falls in love with his phone’s A.I. He avoids his real-life responsibilities and developing relationships in the real world to spend time with his phone. While it would be easy to make the message heavy-handed, Her applies a gentle touch and forces the viewer to look inward about how we all handle technology. 

At its core, Her is a film about love. The YouTube channel Creators filmed a documentary taking various people’s reactions to the themes of Her and how the concept of love has changed in recent years. 

“The past is just a story we tell ourselves.”

Netflix Movies

9. Creep (2014)

Creep might just be the best found footage horror film ever. In other movies, the found footage aspect is more of a gimmick than anything else. However, in Creep, it makes sense why our protagonist continues to film everything. Although things seem innocent enough at first, our videographer begins to suspect the worst of his subject. Things get weird quickly to the point you’ll be yelling at your screen, “Just get out of there!”

Creep has a superb mix of horror, humor, and suspense. Mark Duplass, star of the film, and Jason Blum, horror movie producer extraordinaire, talk about making the film in this interview at SXSW.

“I love wolves.”

Best Movies to Watch on Netflix

10. The Lobster (2015)

Yorgos Lanthimos broke out in a big way with last year’s The Favourite. But well before that, The Lobster proved he was a master of dark humor. The film takes place in a world where people need a romantic partner or else they will be transformed into an animal. Similar to Her, it’s a film about isolation and feeling detached from other human beings. It probably says a lot about life in the 21st century that this is a recurring motif in modern film. 

The Lobster is darkly brilliant. It says a lot about the expectations society places on people to get married and have children. In case you need an explanation of just what exactly went down, check out this in-depth analysis that goes into the themes and filmmaking style that work together to create the dark humor.

“The last thing I want right now is a kiss from a silly little girl.”

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  • Mike Bedard is a graduate of UCLA. He’s a screenwriter based out of Los Angeles who’s written several short films as well as sketch comedy for various theaters around LA. He’s also written articles for sites like Cracked and Ranker.

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