Conservative Hulu subscribers make a deal with the content devil.
Yes, the service is densely filled with original and beloved content, giving users all the options they crave on movie night. The platform still leans to the Left, sometimes dramatically, in both the stories it produces (“Hillary,” the documentary) and its TV-style lineup.
One Hulu original is literally called “Woke.”
Consumers open to finding solid films on the service, though, are still in for a treat. Hulu delivers some smart indie horror, dramas that got overlooked the first time around and even documentaries you’ll want to watch more than once.
Warning: There’s a dash of woke in this Hulu original, but the feminist underpinnings are well earned and never slow the story down. A frustrated singleton (Daisy Edgar-Jones) meets a stranger (Sebastian Stan) she thinks could be The One. Instead, he isolates her before revealing his true, ghastly intentions. The film traffics in R-rated mayhem but holds back just enough to let our imaginations complete the unsettling picture. Strong lead performances and an irresistible revenge angle make this genre film worth a horror fan’s time.
“The Wretched” (2020)
This slick shocker may quickly establish its cult status, and understandably so. A teen caught in a sudden divorce learns he has something new to worry about. A witch living next door puts his domestic woes on the back burner. Sharp effects, solid performances and a giddy sense of the unknown power this yarn.
“Little Monsters” (2019)
Horror comedies unite the best of both genres – a laugh here, a scare there, making the shocks go down easily. Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o anchors this tale a field trip gone oh, so wrong. She’s a teacher trying to distract her young charges from realizing they’re caught up in a zombie outbreak. Be warned, though, Co-star Josh Gad of “Frozen” is gratingly bad as the film’s comic foil.
“Hotel Mumbai” (2018)
This harrowing tale of terrorists invading an Indian hotel is based on real events, which makes its violence land with a sickening thud. Dev Patel leads an ensemble cast as a hotel worker caught between duty and survival. The film shrewdly balances the day-to-day hotel duties with terrorists streaming into the space, eager to wreck mayhem. The tension is relentless, but the humanity of the potential victims is never pushed off screen.
How this action romp didn’t spark a film franchise remains a mystery, even if we later saw an Amazon series based on the same concept. The great Saoirse Ronan stars as the title character, a teen taught to be a world-class assassin by her father (Eric Bana). That puts a target on both their heads, drawing the attention of a cagey CIA agent (Cate Blanchett) tasked with erasing the duo. Director Joe Wright delivers bravura action sequences, and young Ronan grounds her character in ways that many of her peers have not achieved..
Burglars aren’t always the smartest lot, and it’s clear the villains of this twisted tale fall squarely in that category. Bill Skarsgard and Maika Monroe play lovestruck robbers who pick the worst home possible to fleece. The odd homeowners (Jeffrey Donovan, Kyra Sedgwick) are downright creepy, and that’s the least of the burglars’ woes. This smart thriller offers a neat twist on the home invasion genre.
“The Nice Guys” (2016)
Some movies just can’t crack the box office, but it doesn’t reflect their entertainment value. That’s particularly true with this Shane Black production. The screenwriter best known for the “Lethal Weapon” series and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” gave Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling a cool, gritty buddy caper … and no one showed up to see it. Their loss is our gain, and it’s easy to luxuriate in the film’s sharp banter and coy mystery.
“No Exit” (2022)
This Hulu original dials down on genre excess, focusing on a troubled student (Havana Rose Liu) in way over her head. The woman springs herself from rehab, hoping to visit her dying mother. A snowstorm forces her to spend time at a highway rest stop where she learns about a kidnapping among the stranded travelers. The flawed but feisty hero is fun to watch, as is reliable character actor Dennis Haysbert as a military vet who could help save the day. The film offers one twist too many, but otherwise it’s swiftly paced and satisfying.
How did this film slip under the cultural radar? The story couldn’t be more basic, and there’s nothing wrong with that. A widow (Jules Willcox) is attacked by a hulking stranger (Marc Menchaca), sparking a cat and mouse chase across a cruel landscape. That’s it, and it’s all the film needs given the taut direction and effective performances.
“Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead” (2015)
Remember comedy, long before the woke scolds tried silencing stand-ups who didn’t play by their rules? The comedy bomb throwers at National Lampoon didn’t follow any playbook in the ‘70s. They chased the funny wherever it took them, offending readers every step of the way, sans apology. This sharp documentary recalls their satirical founding, the comic legends who worked with the comedy troupe and how the magazine finally crashed and burned after changing film comedy forever.
“Ben Is Back” (2018)
That year gave us not one but two haunting films on drug dependency. “Beautiful Boy” with Steve Carell garnered some attention, while “Ben Is Back” got the cultural cold shoulder. That’s a shame since it offers one of Julia Roberts’ best screen performances as a mom trying to keep her teen son (Lucas Hedges) clean and sober. Nothing is easy when a family is caught up in addiction, and Roberts shows just how far a mother will go to save a troubled child.
“Mr. Jones” (2020)
The fact that this movie exists at all is a minor miracle. “Mr. Jones” recalls the heroic Welsh reporter (James Norton) who exposed the Ukrainian famine covered up by Soviet leaders. The fact-based story is fascinating enough on that level, but what’s maddening is how a New York Times reporter, the infamous Walter Duranty (Peter Sarsgaard), did his best to do the Soviet’s bidding. It’s the original Fake News story and, sadly, little has changed today.
“Leave No Trace” (2018)
Ben Foster dazzles as he always does in this drama about a father and daughter living as off the grid as any duo could. It’s the presence of young Thomasin McKenzie as the conflicted daughter which elevates an already potent tale. McKenzie is a star, no doubt, and watching her navigate her father’s PTSD condition is a dramatic delight.
“Too Funny to Fail” (2017)
“The Dana Carvey Show” bombed, big time, back in the ‘90s, damaging the “Saturday Night Live” alum’s career in its wake. But how did a sketch show brimming with future stars crash and burn so dramatically? Think Louis C.K., Steve Carell, Robert Smigel (“SNL,” Triumph the Insult Comic Dog), Robert Carlock (“30 Rock”) and Stephen Colbert (before his descent into satirical propaganda). How could it miss? The 1996 series did just that, leaning into absurd sketches that alienated much of America. This self-aware documentary recalls the disaster from the people who lived through it.
The Frankenstein saga has been told, and retold, but this low-budget version offers something original. A former Army medic creates a way to bring dead flesh back to life, thanks in part to his friend and financial benefactor. What happens next? Can this creature effectively enter society? And is the father-like scientist strong enough to guide his “monster” along that path? Don’t expect the usual horror trappings here, just a deft spin on a classic yarn.
“(500) Days of Summer” (2009)
This frothy rom-com has a welcome edge that sets it apart from its predictable peers. Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt star as a couple unsure of their status from day to day. They’re smitten, no doubt, but what’s the next step, if any? Raw emotion and romantic gestures have powered this tale that quickly found cult status.
“Dolphin Tale 2” (2014)
Sometimes a family craves a story everyone can watch without wincing at inappropriate language or rude visuals. This charming sequel rushes to mind, a starry affair thanks to the presence of Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd, Kris Kristofferson and Morgan Freeman. The key characters, all returning from the first film, must find a way to nurse an injured dolphin back to health before marine bureaucracy steps in.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.