Best cult movies on Netflix: classic cult films revealed
Take a step away from the mainstream with these cult Netflix movies.
Netflix isn’t just the name of a popular streaming service. It’s entered the vernacular as a byword for relaxing in front of the TV with a glossy box set or a blockbuster movie from yesteryear.
UPDATED:While these aren't quite the best cult movies on Netflix, the following movies are on Netflix and are a lot of fun. There's Zombeaver, a movie about - you guessed it - a horde of zombie beavers who terrorise a bunch of college kids. The remake of ultimate cult classic Oldboy is now streaming - while not a patch on the original, it's worth a watch. Gotti is one of the worst movies made but stars John Travolta and is definitely gaining cult notoriety for how bad it is. And we'd also recommend The Man With The Iron Fists - a kung fu movie directed by Wu-tang's Rza. It should be better than it is but is fine for a past midnight schlock fest.
What tends to fall in between the cracks (often courtesy of the service’s less than helpful browsing experience) is all those films that might not have raked in millions or filled column inches over the years, but which still have something special going for them.
We’re talking about films that have built up a cult following, or have simply been forgotten over the years.
Here, then, are 15 top cult classic films that are available to stream right now on Netflix. Watch them now before they get lost in the scramble to ‘Netflix and chill’.
Which of these is your favourite? Upvote to send them to the top of the chart.Next, find out about the best horror films on Netflix
- Upgrade your TV's sound with one of the best soundbars
Best cult movies on Netflix
1. Good TimeWatch now at Netflix
If all you know Robert Pattinson from is the Twilight series and the recent news that he’s set to don the Batman cowl, we urge you to check out Good Time. The handsome young English actor is almost unrecognisable as a desperate low-level criminal scrambling from one poor decision to the next. The whole film has a unique nervous energy to it, backed by a suitably skittish score from Oneohtrix Point Never. But it all hangs on Pattinson’s pitiable, reprehensible Connie Nikas.
2. NightcrawlerWatch now at Netflix
Jake Gyllenhaal stars in this brilliantly dark take-down of the modern news media. He plays Louis Bloom, a troublingly ambitious video journalist who starts selling crime footage to a local LA TV network. Riz Ahmed plays the hapless sidekick who is slowly dragged into Bloom’s increasingly amoral world. As the lines between fact and fiction start to blur and these recorders of the news start to make it, things take a turn for the grim.
3. PrisonersStream on Netflix
Before he did a marvelous job with the Blade Runner sequel and started to piece together Frank Herbert’s epic novel collection Dune, Denis Villeneuve made this cult classic that’s a lesson on suspense. The stars and the acting are A List, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman on board but the story of a missing girl is anything but mainstream. Masterful stuff.
4. The RaidWatch now at Netflix
If you count yourself an action movie buff and you haven’t yet seen The Raid, we’re going to have to ask to see your credentials. It’s one of the finest and most brutal films of its kind. Set in Indonesia but helmed by Welsh director Gareth Evans, this is a lean tale of an elite police unit storming crime-ridden tower block. Iko Uwais takes the lead as a virtuous officer well versed in the acrobatic martial art of Pencak Silat.
5. Infernal AffairsWatch now at Netflix
Ignore the groan-inducing title - Infernal Affairs is a serious piece of filmmaking that combines tense crime thriller, police drama and thrilling action elements. Andrew Lau’s 2002 Hong Kong classic tells the parallel stories of a police office and his opposing triad number, who both go undercover in one another’s organisations. If that premise sounds at all familiar, it’s because Martin Scorsese remade the film as The Departed four years later. For our money, the original’s better.
6. Troll HunterStream now on Netflix
This is a fantastically fun mockumentary that follows an infamous Troll Hunter seeking out the giant terrors in Norway. It’s low budget but hides this well as when we do actually get glimpses of the trolls, there’s a lovely Jurassic Park feeling to proceedings. It’s more a comedy action adventure than horror and the documentary style footage really works for the movie. If you are looking for another cult-ish movie by director André Øvredal, then also check out the creepy The Autopsy of Jane Doe
7. LifeforceStream on Netflix
Lifeforce is not the movie we would have expected from the director of The Chainsaw Massacre and the writer of Alien, but it is a wonderfully barmy movie about space vampires that invade London. A word of warning: this is a very 80s movie. The space girl, played by Mathilda May, is naked a lot of time, for no discernable reason, there’s a ton of violence and the acting and FX are ropey in places. But it’s one of those midnight movies that need to be seen at least once - oh, and it stars, among other theatre stars, none other than Patrick Stewart.
8. AnnihilationStream on Netflix
Devs may have cemented Alex Garland as the king of sci-fi but you can see the blueprint for the who in his previous work Ex Machina (which is also on Netflix) and Annihilation. The latter was a Netflix exclusive (when it was frowned upon to go straight to Netflix) and is a brutal, beautiful look at monsters and environmental concerns. The cast is sublime, with Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez and Tessa Thompson all starring. But it is its almost wordless, Kubrickian ending that will stay in your brain the most - even if it is all confusing as hell.
9. Would You RatherStream now on Netflix
Would You Rather is a delicious horror movie and one that’s criminally underseen. Much like the recent Ready or Not, this is about rich people playing deadly games with the poor - in this instance, it’s a bloody and horrific game of Would You Rather. It’s an inventive and surprisingly funny chiller but don’t watch if you are squeamish about eyes!
10. Blue RuinStream on Netflix
Jeremy Saulnier is one of the most underrated directors around. His movie Green Room is more well known and is a blistering, violent tale of revenge. But another blistering, violent tale of revenge is Blue Ruin - where Macon Blair’s Dwight heads back to his hometown to exact some revenge. It’s a slow, intense film, but one that rewards the viewer with a nice dollop of tension.
11. CreepStream on Netflix
Creep is a no-budget horror movie that was made by one of the kings of mumblecore, Mark Duplass, alongside director Patrick Brice. Duplass is a mysterious client who asks a documentary filmmaker (played by Brice) to film videos of him for his unborn son Buddy. What ensues is a, well, creepy horror where nothing is as it seems, with the whole thing pieced together from found footage. Its sequel is equally as good.
12. ClimaxStream on Netflix
Gasper Noe is a divisive filmmaker, there is no doubt of that. But Climax is perhaps his easiest film to watch. What starts as a dance lesson, ends up in an orgy of drugs, violence and sex. It’s, to give it its official term, bloody bonkers stuff that doesn’t play out as a movie in the beginning, middle and end sense, but let the visuals wash over you and you will be entranced.
13. BlindspottingStream on Netflix
Blindspotting may well be a bit too new to gain cult status, but it has all the trappings of a cult movie. Revolving around the lives of Bay Area residents Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal, the movie shows the two friends part of a community that is in a state of flux, with gentrification rubbing up against the original hood. It’s a fantastic look at both racial tensions and economic tensions in the US, packed with some brilliant dialogue that more often than not veers into rapping. This is for anyone that’s looking for a film that’s got the DNA of early Spike Lee embedded into it.
14. Under The ShadowStream on Netflix
This is one of the best horror movies of recent years. Writer/Director Babak Anvari sets the movie in wartorn 80s Tehran and focuses on a mother and daughter who are spooked by ghostly goings-on in their small apartment. It relies heavily on atmosphere for most of its scares, which means that your heart will be in your mouth for most of it. While the movie is a grim analogy of the horrors of war, it is also punctuated by some beautiful and sweet moments between the mother and daughter, gracefully played by Narges Rashidi and Avin Manshadi.
15. The GuiltyWatch now at Netflix
This brilliantly taut 2018 Danish thriller takes place in a single claustrophobic location - a Copenhagen police call centre. Despite this inherent limitation, The Guilty manages to put you through a whole range of emotions as you follow officer Asger Holm through the final hours of a shift. It soon becomes apparent that all is not as it seems in this low budget masterpiece. It’s no wonder Hollywood quickly came calling, with a remake in the works starring Jake Gyllenhaal.