Them: Covenant (by Little Marvin, 2021) – A black family moves to an all-white neighbourhood in L.A, where they begin to face disturbing threats from next door and within their new home.
The year is 1953. A black family, the Emorys, has just moved into an all-white neighbourhood in Los Angeles, in hopes of a fresh start and better life for their young daughters. It takes mere minutes before their dreams shatter. They are soon faced with hostility not just from their prejudiced neighbours, but something otherworldly in their own home.
Them, subtitled Covenant, is bottled-up dread that necessitates warning labels. It is not an easy watch, not by a far mile. The backdrop of blatant racism draws inspiration from an uneasy piece of recent history. During the Great Migration between 1916 and 1970, 6 million African Americans moved out of the rural Southern United States to predominantly white urban cities. Many had faced the same prejudices that the Emorys did – segregation, racist acts of abuse, and open discrimination in the workplace or at school.
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The Innocent / El inocente (by Oriol Paulo, 2021) – Mateo had been ready to start afresh after serving his prison term for manslaughter, but his past soon comes back to haunt him.
Fans of mystery thrillers would be remiss to overlook the films of Oriol Paulo. His slate of brilliant thrillers, including The Invisible Guest and Mirage, has consistently impressed international audiences with their unmatched suspense and some unexpected twists.
These aren’t the cheap surprise endings that exist solely for a few seconds of shock. Rather, his stories unravel with poise and perfect pacing, allowing us to savour each graceful reveal that fits into the puzzle neatly – like a modern-day Agatha Christie read.
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Sweet Home / 스위트홈 (by Lee Eung-bok, 2020) – A suicidal high school student re-evaluates his decision when he comes to face monsters trying to wipe out all of humanity.
After losing his family and endured months of brutal bullying at his high school, Hyun-su (Song Kang) was ready to end his life. Or so he truly believed, before a horde of monsters begin to infest the apartment building he lives in. Realising how much he wants to live after all, he finds his new purpose to survive, if only to protect the lives of others.
Adapted from the viral webtoon of the same name, Sweet Home may sound like Hyun-su’s coming-of-age story. But the sprawling series goes far beyond his personal journey of self-discovery. The teenager shares the spotlight with several residents of Green Home, each with their own compelling story to tell.
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You’ve marvelled at your own reflection in Black Mirror, mastered the Brummie accent alongside Peaky Blinders, brushed up on your crime history with Mindhunter, and took 80s fashion tips from Stranger Things. What next?
The Netflix library in Singapore may be scant compared to others, but there is no lack of quality choices. As cabin fever starts to set in, there is no better time to binge on great series to take your mind off reality. Here is a list of ten underrated shows that may point you to the right direction.
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Giri/Haji (by Joe Barton, 2020) – A Tokyo detective arrives in London when tasked to find his brother, whose alleged crime sends ripples across the two cities.
Tokyo detective Kenzo Mori (Takehiro Hira) travels to Soho in search of his estranged brother Yuto (Yosuke Kubozuka), whose alleged murder of a Yazuka family member has ignited an all-out gang war. The incident sets the Yakuza on a collision course with the Met Police, embroiling others along the way.
In an endless sea of British crime dramas, Giri/Haji stands out by a mile. It is, for one, an adventurous cultural exchange. Shuttling between Japan and the UK, the unique series takes its time to understand the minutiae of foreign traditions, respectful and never exploitative.
The contrast in cultures is interesting, though it is ultimately the similarities that compel the most. In his story, writer Joe Barton recognises the experiences that are neither uniquely Japanese nor British, but simply human.
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Slasher (dir. Craig David Wallace, 2016) – Sarah Bennett returns to small town Waterbury where her parents were killed, only to find the past re-emerging as a new series of murders begins.
A trope-embracing genre tribute by horror fans, for horror fans. Slasher dishes up a bloody good time, all in the name of fun.
Moving back to the town where your parents were murdered, is a bad idea. Just ask Laurie Strode. But Sarah Bennett (Katie McGrath) clearly hasn’t seen enough horror movies to stay away. The youngest victim left alive by The Executioner chooses to move into that very crime scene in Waterbury, Canada, with the support of her loving husband Dylan (Brandon Jay McLaren).
There, Sarah reveals her true intent – to visit Tom Winston (Patrick Garrow), the now-imprisoned killer who orphaned her on Halloween 30 years ago. But closure becomes the least of her worries, when a new Executioner begins enacting copycat murders with a biblical twist. Seven deadly sins guarantee a growing body count. And in this small town where secrets breed and resentment boils, everyone is a suspect.
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