Hulu is a fairly new streaming service for original movies and TV shows, especially in the area of story-driven fiction. Hulu’s original TV shows have been talked about for a while, but the streaming service only released its first film this year: Little Monsters, a zombie comedy starring Lupita Nyong’o that was neither particularly funny nor particularly scary. Since then, Hulu has published 24 original movies that cover a wide range of topics and levels of production value.
The first Hellraiser movie, made by Clive Barker in 1987, was a fantastic, twisted, metaphysical look at how humans feel and how pain and pleasure are related. Hellraiser (2022), the 11th installment in the series, is a reboot that plays more like an episode of Scooby-Doo, with a group of teenagers in a van trying to solve a mystery. With the inclusion of a notebook that lays out the rules, the movie’s central puzzle box is reduced to nothing more than a tool of power and evil.
In the story, protagonist Riley (Odessa A’zion) and her boyfriend Trevor (Drew Starkey) loot an abandoned building and discover the box. Riley’s brother (Brandon Flynn) disappears shortly after playing with it. Through their investigation, they learn that they are linked to the rich Roland Voight (Goran Vinji), who has also disappeared. And the clock is ticking as the Cenobites race toward the box, which must be outrun before civilization crumbles.
The movie is notable for casting a woman (Jamie Clayton) in the role of “Pinhead.” Clayton, however, has very little screen time. The new Hellraiser movie from director David Bruckner (The Ritual, The Night House) looks better and is better made technically than the first eight movies in the series. However, it is still frustratingly typical.
IMDB rating: 6.0/10
The return of everyone’s favorite alien thrill-killer, but this time as a prequel. Prey is a return to form for the franchise. When the hunters become the prey, only the cleverness of a few will help them survive the wild creature’s game of bloodsport. The plot takes place in the Comanche Nation in the early 1700s, which is a unique choice for a mainstream Hollywood film.
The majority of the characters in Prey are Native Americans; the few French trappers that make an appearance are there to be shot down. (Former NBA center Dane DiLiegro plays the monster instead of a space alien.) Amber Midthunder, who plays the main character Naru, is a strong-willed person who wants to be a warrior but has been held back by how society views women. Her mother and older brother would rather have her focus on mending and maybe some tracking than hunting.
IMDB rating: 7.2/10
Into the Dark: Culture Shock
Culture Shock (2019), directed by Gigi Saul Guerrero, may be the best of the feature-length Into the Dark episodes because it depicts how poorly America treats immigrants while also anticipating shows like Disney+’s WandaVision.
Martha Higareda stars as Marisol, a Mexican woman who has tried and failed once to enter the United States illegally. Now that She’s expecting; she has to give it another shot, no matter what. For the trip, she hires a coyote (Sal Lopez) and makes friends with a young boy named Ricky (Ian Inigo) and a man named Santo (Richard Cabral) who looks tough and is ready to protect her. They are almost discovered. When Marisol wakes up, she is in a pastel-hued utopia where there are parades, fireworks, and neighborhood cookouts.
The mayor is played by Shawn Ashmore, while Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator) plays a woman whose smile is too wide (scary, David Lynch-style). It’s intriguing to think about where it could go from here. an agile, shrewd, and frighteningly effective parody of the horror genre.
IMDB rating: 5.8/10
Satire isn’t always easy to pull off, and while Bad Hair isn’t executed perfectly, the subject is interesting enough to tie the whole thing together. Bad Hair is the story of a deadly weave and comes from the mind of Justin Simien, whose debut film, Dear White People, was a critical and commercial success.
That is the actual killer, as in a weaving that causes death; it is not a slang term. Simien’s main point is that Anna (Ella Lorraine) has to change who she is and how she looks (by dying her hair) to live up to the unrealistic and often offensive expectations of white people. It’s a clever metaphor that recalls classic monster movies until the weaving starts picking off its victims.
Bad Hair succeeds in large part because of its supporting cast, which includes actors as diverse as Jay Pharoah, Lena Waithe, James Van Der Beek, and Laverne Cox. Bad Hair does a good job of showing multiple styles of horror at once, even if it doesn’t quite reach the heights of satirical comedy achieved by a film like Get Out.
IMDB rating: 5.6/10
Every teen comedy romp from the last ten years or so seems to live in the shadow of Superbad, which is the best example of a story that is emotional, rude, and fast-paced. Plan B, from actor-turned-director Natalie Morales, can’t escape that shadow.
Lupe and Sunny are best friends who must look for morning-after medicine. Despite being gender-swapped from Superbad, the film addresses more political and social issues than most teen films. Sunny’s Indian upbringing and Lupe’s LGBT romance drive the story. When the movie relies too much on gross-out humor, it turns into American Pie instead of a sharp, funny movie.
IMDB rating: 6.7/10
Big Time Adolescence
Pete Davidson is a regular on Saturday Night Live. In 2020, he played the lead role in the surprising and moving coming-of-age comedy Big Time Adolescence. In the movie, he plays Zeke, a 23-year-old man whose fiancee Kate (Emily Arlook) turns him down, but he stays close with Kate’s 16-year-old brother Mo (Griffin Gluck). Zeke is obviously a negative influence on Mo because he introduced her to alcohol and marijuana and because he gives out narcotics to his classmates at parties.
Mo’s popularity rises, and he even kisses a girl, but things are often thrown off balance by Zeke’s reckless activities. Although the plot involves a mismatched pair of friends, the movie avoids using tired comedy tropes and instead makes people laugh by staying true to its characters.
IMDB rating: 6.9/10
Crime + Punishment
Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary at this year’s ceremony, Stephen T. Maing’s Crime + Punishment (2018) is as timely now as it was when it was released. The article talks about the quota system that is still used by the New York Police Department even though it was made illegal in 2010. Each month, police officers are assigned a number of arrests to make, and they are strongly encouraged to concentrate their efforts on the city’s Black and Latinx communities.
Making films and videos about this, as well as the consequences for officers who refuse to cooperate, The main character, Manny Gomez, is a bear-sized, highly persuasive, old-school New Yorker who is as dedicated to fighting corruption as he is to tasty lobster roll pastries, and the story centers around a terrifying trial in which courageous officers known as the NYPD 12 come forward and attempt to sue the department.
IMDB rating: 7.4/10
The Deep Water
Adrian Lyne, who was one of the first people to make a sexual thriller movie (Fatal Attraction), hasn’t made a new movie in 20 years. His most recent film, Unfaithful (2002), came out near the end of the commercial success of erotic thrillers.
With the revival of interest in sensual thrillers brought on by streaming, Lyne seems to have never left. Ana de Armas and Gone Girl mode Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, who began dating during filming in 2019 but have since split up, star in Deep Water as a married couple engaging in bizarre psycho-sexual mind games with each other as people in their lives begin to mysteriously disappear. Uh oh!
Originally scheduled for a theatrical release in 2020, Deep Water will instead debut on Hulu with less fanfare than it deserves (but going straight to streaming may end up being the best thing for it). Enjoy yourself while you can, because it’s a total waste of time.
IMDB rating: 5.4/10
I Am Greta
The 2020 movie I Am Greta, directed by Nathan Grossman, tells the story of how Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg became famous. She became known all over the world after she walked out of school every week to bring attention to the dangers of climate change. Even though the film doesn’t delve very deeply and anyone who follows the news knows the story, it’s still full of amazing moments that let us in on the way her mind works, such as her insistence on a meat- and dairy-free diet and her decision to take a small boat across the Atlantic rather than an environmentally destructive airplane.
After watching this, it’s hard to argue against the reality of climate change or the fact that Greta deserves praise for being at the forefront of the resistance. Viewers of the film on Hulu have the option of watching it in Swedish with subtitles or in an English dub.
IMDB rating: 7.7/10
Can I use Hulu in Canada?
While Hulu is not accessible in Canada, there is a way to access it from the country. By using a VPN (Virtual Private Network), you can connect to a server located in the United States and mask your IP address. This makes it appear as if you are browsing from within the US, granting you access to Hulu’s content library. It’s important to note that using a VPN to access Hulu may go against Hulu’s terms of service, so proceed with caution and be aware of the potential risks involved.