Netflix this year faced the challenge of producing more than ever with a promised premiere a week. The result has been, perhaps, that of a certain feeling of saturation, but it is indisputable that the platform has been the absolute number one in terms of audience and of capturing the interest of networks and viewers. And that has been due, above content dump policies, due to the indisputable quality of many of its pieces. We have selected 13 of his movies and series this year, perfect for a review before the end of 2021.
‘The woman in the window’
Without a doubt, one of the most underrated films of the year: a psychedelic and extreme version of ‘Rear Window’, but with agoraphobia and a scandal cast , where Amy Adams, Gary Oldman and Julianne Moore stand out. If you miss the Hitchcocknian de Palma wackiness, this production – which was withdrawn from circulation due to its depressing test passes and acquired by Netflix for exclusive distribution – is missing a boil, but it is still a perfect placebo.
A powerful claustrophobic thriller where a woman (sensational Mélanie Laurent) wakes up in a kind of high-tech coffin. As claustrophobia and lack of oxygen begin to take their toll on his body, he tries to negotiate his release with an artificial intelligence that does not make things easy for him. Suffocating intrigue where Alexandre Aja recovers the pulse of his good old days in a film that passes in a sigh and requires every last breath.
‘Army of the dead’
Zack Snyder goes back to the days of his first feature film (still the best of all his films, that remake of George A. Romero’s ‘Dawn of the Dead’ with a script by James Gunn and that forever changed the modern vision of the zombie), but intermingling the end of the world at the hands of the undead with a plot of robberies . His unpretentiousness and brutality works in his favor , although perhaps he could not have been more concise and wacky.
‘The street of terror’ (3 parts)
A peculiar Netflix experiment that can give of itself if different approaches are applied to it: three feature films released in successive weeks, independent but interconnected with each other . In this case, they are three horror films based on the popular franchise of young books by RL Stine with a common thread, but each parodying different codes: the ‘Scream’ type slashers , the same ones from the eighties and the folk horror . An interesting experience, violent and full of nice ideas.
‘New cherry flavor’
The surprise of the year, as much as you were already forewarned of how Nick Antosca spent them on ‘Channel Zero’. Here she delves into a dark and haunted version of Los Angeles, with an aspiring filmmaker who makes a Faustian pact with a producer, who ends up stealing her child . Only we also have witches, curses in which small cats and zombies are spit out in the Haitian sense of the term. Unclassifiable, very sick and, curiously given its origin, rabidly author.
‘Masters of the Universe: Revelation’
And the award for the most unfairly underrated production of the year is this ‘Masters of the Universe: Revelation’, which could perfectly have been titled “We can’t have anything pretty . ” This spectacular reformulation of a classic eighties toy franchise , with perfect redesigns and loads of action, was received a terrible reception because fans of the endearing but horrible eighties animation series do not like to have their toys touched (literally ). A shame, although there it remains for us to recover one of the best fantasy productions of the year.
‘The squid game’
The surprise sensation and one of the most viewed productions of 2021 on Netflix has been this Korean series that has brought the country’s productions back to the present day and that has led us to see how Netflix premieres a new Korean series every few weeks seeking to replicate the success of this, which is not bad at all. Diffusely dystopian, overtly symbolic and moralistic, passionate in its dosing of information and suspense, ‘The Squid Game’ deserves all the praise that has been devoted to it. Although many have mistaken its playful concept for inconsequential amusement, when it comes brimming with anti-capitalist messages.
Mike Flanagan has been making his mark on atmospheric, dense, and highly emotional horror productions for Netflix for a while. In addition, he is astonishingly prolific but the quality of his proposals does not decrease for a moment : this is perhaps the best and strangest of all the ones he has done for the platform, a proposal that adds lengthy theological dialogues, fascinating monsters, interpretations to the limit and not totally novel narrative codes (Christianity equals vampirism) into which it injects new energy.
Many expected a competent animation series shielded by the fame of a successful video game franchise such as ‘League of Legends’, but the French studio Fortiche has been at the forefront of international animation with a spectacular production , vibrant in the visual and perfectly measured emotionally. It works as a prequel to video games and gives off an absolutely unheard of personal style, which places this series not only in the top of Netflix’s greatest hits of the year, but also among the best animated productions of 2021.
‘The Witcher’ T2
The continuation of the adventures of Geralt De Rivia has not disappointed . In fact, they have corrected one of the main complaints that fans had about the first season : its messy narrative and constant jumps in time, which made it difficult to follow the plot. This second season focuses only on a couple of plot lines related to the White Wolf and gains in dramatic density, although along the way it loses some of the spontaneity and freshness that gave it that adorable monster-of-the-week structure of the first batch of chapters.
‘Jupiter’s Legacy’ has been one of the great failures of the year for Netflix, which has canceled this series that reformulated the superhero codes with drama and violence after only one season. Its creator, Mark Millar, still had another production up his sleeve set in the same universe, which undoubtedly worked much better : with the help of the hysterical and cartoonish style of the Bones studio, Millar mixes superheroes and perfect heists in a story full of dynamism , violence, humor and magnetic characters . A triumph brimming with color and expressiveness.
‘Of love and monsters’
Netflix’s policy of buying productions that due to the pandemic or dubious test passes were not going to have a normalized premiere has given it some of its best films, and this list is a good test. In this case, Netflix bought it for international distribution, thus adding to its catalog one of the most unique adventures of 2021 , with a young man (Dylan O’Brien) touring a post-apocalyptic landscape of splendidly designed monsters to reunite with his loved, and stumbling on the way with endearing and delusional secondary. A little wonder .
‘The Mitchells against the machines’
Overtaking any Pixar or Disney production of this year on the right, ‘The Mitchells against the machines’ opted for a feverish narrative that drank from the internet and social networks precisely to portray how relationships between people have changed in these times . Without going overboard with the anti-technological message, rather the opposite, this film has all the hallmarks of its producers , Phil Lord and Christopher Miller: attractive characters, intelligent humor and extraordinary designs.