15 Most Underrated Netflix Movies (That You Haven't Seen, But Should)

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What makes for underrated Netflix movies has nothing at all to do with ratings, at least in my book. For me, an underrated film is usually that one movie that someone in the crowd has to tell everyone about because it's either so obscure, or it's just been forgotten and its significance has fallen by the wayside.

It's always been the same for me, and I suspect that it's the same for everyone; what I refer to is the way we choose what to watch to entertain ourselves that evening. And unless you wake up at dawn and kick back with a long stretch of movie watching, it's probably an evening affair for you too.


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So, when I'm hankering for film, but I want something from the vaults, I hunt for the titles that can range from award winning to schlock horror. I just want my entertainment, and since I'm the boss of me, I'll watch garbage or epic greatness, depending on what entices me.

Underrated films might be well loved cult films, Academy Award winners, or even classics. There's just something about them that makes us forget they're there, and so when we rediscover them again, it's a fun little thrill. And those kinds of thrills are a bonanza on Netflix. 

Here are the 15 most underrated Netflix movies that you should absolutely watch.

1. The Invitation

Phew. Bang, this one comes out of nowhere. At first, you think you're part of some cinematic joke, because it takes patience to get through this one, but if you hang on, you start to notice insidious and most horrendous things starting to happen. A group of "old friends" are brought together in a mysterious Agatha Christie-like setting to perform certain acts. What they are, you'll have to go watch to believe!

2. Big Eyes

If you can stomach whatshisname, and most people seem to adore him — Christoph Waltz — you will see just how true a scoundrel he can be in this movie about real life artist, Margaret Keane, whom he played the husband of, and plagiaristic theft of all her works. You'll recognize the stylized paintings immediately, as these faces with their big eyes will forever make a mark on art history.

3. The Lovely Bones

Not your go-to happy-peppy-bursting-with-love movie, but one of those films where you do see the title and think, "Hey, wasn't that that amazing film about the child murder... oh my god, yes..." And before you know it, you're cuddling your couch pillows and covering your mouth with your fingertips. Sad, strong movie with much emotional anger. A good one to see a second time.

4. Red Dragon

Yes, that's right. Red Dragon has been on Netflix forever. I think... Doesn't matter, it's on right now and it's the actual dictionary definition of the word FIERCE. Yes, fierce is a naked, tattooed Ralph Fiennes, flexing before a movie projector in front of a torture victim that within a matter of moments will have his lips ripped off his face, all to get the attention of one Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Oh, you've heard?

5. Her

If you're as much of a loser in love as I am, then you won't even be able to get to the end of this film without wanting to end your life. However, if you've ever had a successful relationship with an actual human being, you might find this to be an odd fashion show based in apricot and high-waisted slacks for men.

A man falls in love with his computer programed woman-voice-being. She's pure AI, he's pure human heart and vulnerability, and SPOILER: she ditches him. Yay.

6. Queen of the Damned

Just get it out of your system. It's fun, it's goth, it's ridiculous, and it will give you that yearly refill of superior opinion giving when it comes to what Anne Rice does with her books. In this case, she must have fallen asleep, but this truly awful movie happens to be one of my favorites of all time.

It's goth trash, not quite The Crow, but how else do you explain a vampire in leather pants in a bathtub of blood and then in bed — the same wet, bloody leather pants? It's just... ugh. But worth it!

7. Hereafter

Oh, this one is just all the "what the eff?" there is. This one is easy to miss because it boasts Matt Damon, a great actor, but an actor who happens to be in every single movie on Netflix, so one kinda gets used to the face on every poster. Hereafter is a supernatural story that gives us a Matt Damon kinda take on what happens when things get real sad and, well... dead.

8. Gran Torino

Oh come on! You know you have to say the line now. You know the line: "Get off my lawn!" Yes, that's right — it's not just a meme, it's a quote from the movie Gran Torino, where the ever-rude Clint Eastwood gets to show more of his barnacle-covered personality to some kids.

Still in all, this movie was a super hit a few years ago, but it's the kind of movie no one watches a few years later. Like now. Like I did. Good movie, so watch it!


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9. Million Dollar Baby 

I must secretly like Clint Eastwood, because I believe this is my third CE-related film in this line up. Aw heck, I like the ol' gizzard. Well, I like his talent. Anyway, Million Dollar Baby is grit. Again, this is a film that takes a turn for the very, very, very awful right smack in the middle, so stick with it.

You'll never know what's coming, but wow, what a sucker punch it is. Clint is fantastic in this role, and Hilary Swank is equally as brilliant as boxer Maggie Fitzgerald.

10. Clerks

This is a bit of history here. No small film this is, and such a small film too. Low budget classic, this comedy by actor/writer Kevin Smith has got everything you want if you're looking for cheap but clever gags, stoner humor, teen angst and goofiness, and some unforgettably funny jokes, set in a convenience store in New Jersey.

Most of us have seen this film a long time ago, but it's worth cracking open again, just for the laughs and the naive fun.

11. Dallas Buyers Club

Let's not have too much fun, though. While this film is an absolute mega standard for talent, it's also a shocking and nerve-racking film about getting ahold of the drugs it takes to control HIV. This is an AIDS-related film, and it's nearly impossible to think that the actors in this were merely playing roles, though they were.

Amazing acting, and hats off forever and ever to Matthew McConaughey for his scary performance in this new classic film.

12. Doctor Strange

After you've seen Doctor Strange the first time, you must have a very good reason to want to see it a second time. You're either a fan of the genre, the actors or the action, or you GET the meaning of what Doctor Strange is all about and you need more of the magic.

This is no innocent film; there's stuff in it that, magic stuff, and if you pay attention you can figure out and come to understand that kind of magic in your own life. As in for real. Whoa, that's heavy. It's got pretty lights.

13. Seven Pounds

You either saw this, or you didn't. Still, Seven Pounds is why we watch Will Smith films. We watch films that Will Smith is in because he chooses very good, very interesting things to be in. And Seven Pounds is a freaking nightmare!

When you start figuring out why this guy is harassing people and being an all out a-hole to strangers, you'll get to understand that he's working on guilt... and whoa, where that guilt came from, and where it will lead? Wow! Watch it.

14. The Game

I promise I'm not going to perceive Michael Douglas as a slime covered worm for his public vileness when it came to his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones, but he too, has had his awesomely awesome moments in cinema history. The Game is so slow and twisted that it becomes that thing we used to find in movies when we were kids: good ol' mystery loving fun.

The Game is just a good, twisted movie about a practical joke. An older film, but oh, such a goodie.

15. I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House

Look, here's the truth: Ruth Wilson is one of the best. Between she and Elizabeth Moss, the female talent in this town is freakish. Ruth, of The Affair and Luther, plays Lily Saylor, whom it would be best of me to not say another word about.

Let's put it this way: it's new, it's ghostly, it's got clanging and moldy spots on wall boards. There are heart attacks and, dare I say, ghosts. There. I said it. Worth a watch, as the title doesn't really have the grab that may keep it around for years.


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​Dori Hartley is primarily a portrait artist. As an essayist and a journalist, she can be read in The Huffington Post, ParentDishYourTango, The Daily Beast, Psychology Today, More Magazine, XOJaneMyDaily and The Stir. Her art books ‘Beauty’, ‘Antler Velvet’, and 'Mads Mikkelsen: Portraits of the Actor' are all available on Amazon. She's also a Netflix junkie.

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