Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
As I’ve said before (at length) my goal in this column is to highlight readily streamable movies from outside the mainstream. Any idiot can recommend a big budget movie like Super 8, or suggest a well known cult fave like Evil Dead 2. I aim for things you might not otherwise give a second look. Still, I would be remiss if I didn’t point this out real quick: The Avengers is now available on Netflix Watch Instantly. It has plot holes big enough to drive a flying whale through but I can’t stop smiling every time I watch it. I think I am not alone in wanting to kidnap Joss Whedon and make him love me forever.
Enough PSA. On to this week’s feature, The Awakening (Netflix, $2.99 on Hulu). I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this is NOT an adaptation of Kate Chopin’s groundbreaking tale of modern feminism. This Awakening has nothing to do with that book at all. The heroine does some pretty sweet Victorian era ghost hunting though, so it’s not a total loss.
The Awakening is a generally wonderful haunted schoolhouse yarn, made infinitely more appealing by the classiness of its location sets and excellent British cast. (McNulty!) It’s probably because I so rarely leave the confines of ‘Merica (GREATESTCOUNTRYEVER) but somehow British accents make everything more respectable. Real British accents, that is. Elijah Wood and Sean Astin fucking RUINED Lord of the Rings. I bet they both did the St. Crispin’s Day speech for their screen tests.
In general I had very few complaints. The denouement is a talky, drawn out affair, but completely in keeping with the movie’s emotionless aesthetic. Like most British movies about the paranormal, The Awakening makes blatant overuse of whatever genre tropes happen to be at hand. While mostly inoffensive, in this case that translates into a blurry nine-year-old popping into frame from ever more improbable angles. Surprise! He’s on the ceiling!
Added Bonus: This is my last week serving up the Flix for a spell. I have some vacation time coming to me so I won’t see you bozos again until August. Luckily my MB colleagues have you covered for the next four weeks, starting with good ol’ Kentucky Jay. God help you.