LIST: 10 Netflix picks to help you deal with life in lockdown

LIST: 10 Netflix picks to help you deal with life in lockdown
Going crazy under quarantine? Feed your escapist appetites with these films streaming on Netflix.

MANILA, Philippines – Whether you’re home alone or stuck with the family, you probably can’t help but feel like the star of a “chamber film” – you know, those films where a small cast of characters is confined to one setting. Chamber films are among my personal favorites, fitting into almost any genre between horror and comedy.

Out of all the titles now streaming, I’ve handpicked my top 10 chamber dramas available on Netflix:

The Invitation (USA)

A chamber film in the purest form, Karyn Kusama’s cult-thriller takes place entirely inside a house. The plot is simple: a man and his friends are invited to a fancy reunion dinner with his ex-wife of two years. What could go wrong?

Nothing to Hide (France)
Dark Comedy

Make it a double-feature. This french comedy is a much lighter The Invitation, complete with delectable food and marriage woes. Imagine your innocent dinner party turns into a social experiment where all guests must confiscate their phones, then have all incoming messages read out loud. It’s the perfect party game for the smartphone age.

Girl, Interrupted (USA)
Psychological, Coming of Age

When a semi-suicidal graduate is placed in a mental institution, she starts to realize she might not be so crazy after all.

This cult teen drama may be remembered as the film that bagged Angelina Jolie an Oscar. But who could forget this ensemble: Winona Rider, Brittany Murphy, Elizabeth Moss, Whoopi Goldberg. And, surprisingly, it’s from James Mangold, the director of Ford v Ferrari and Logan

A Quiet Place (USA)
Science Fiction, Thriller

In a muted world where noise is a death sentence, a family seeks safety to deliver their newborn baby.

Jon Krasinski’s (The Office) directorial debut was not a comedy, but a genre-bending work of suspense. I consider it the Get Out of 2018 — small budget, great script, welcoming to non-horror lovers. 

The Raid: Redemption (Indonesia)

My favorite action movie, The Raid: Redemption, revolutionized combat cinematography and put Indonesian martial arts on the map. In the film, Would-be action star Iko Uwais plays a lone cop who must fight his way out of a thirty-floor crime den.

Snowpiercer (South Korea, USA, Czech Republic)
Science Fiction, Action

The first American film by now Oscar-legend Bong Joon-ho features a post-apocalyptic caste system set on a massive train. In true Bong fashion, Snowpiercer is an allegory of modern social inequality — Parasite, but with Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and John Hurt.

Gravity (USA)
Science Fiction

Another Oscar-sweeper with 7 wins in 2014, Alfonso Cuaron’s “literally lost in space” film is a masterclass on digital cinematography. Technically the opposite of a chamber film, Gravity stars Sandra Bullock as a shipwrecked astronaut drifting toward the infinite depths of outer space.

Spirited Away (Japan)
Animated, Adventure

Okay, so admittedly a bit of a stretch from chamber film, but who could deny an addition from Studio Ghibli? This “Japanese Alice in Wonderland” follows a young girl who gets stuck in the realm of spirits and must work her way up to earn her freedom.

The Shining (USA)

Although this film needs no introduction, it certainly needs an explanation… I give up. Set entirely in the infamous Overlook Hotel, this often-parodied horror classic is more a Stanley Kubrick relic than it is a Stephen King adaptation. 

The film is such an enigmatic treasure trove. Afterward, you can look up the conspiracies posed by the 2012 documentary, Room 237.

Rosemary’s Baby (USA)

Last but not least, and perhaps most horrific of the bunch, we have Roman Polanski’s exquisitely tragic classic. The plot is hard to describe in detail, but its DNA can be found in almost every modern psychological thriller. In a career-defining role, Mia Farrow plays an expecting young mother who gradually grows more and more paranoid of the world around her.

Call me a masochist, but it’s comforting to watch other characters deal with their own lockdowns. For me, films have always been a form of escape — even ones that take place in the most inescapable prisons. –

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Outside of Rappler, Pawi Bitanga is an independent filmmaker and founder of Manila Movie Nights, a weekly film club hosted at Borough, Bonifacio Global City. As both a New York-trained cinephile and Marvel fanboy, Pawi promotes movies that overlap mainstream and arthouse circles in the hopes of cultivating a more inclusive film community.


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