5 best Netflix movies you (probably) haven't watched yet

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The best Netflix movies include box office hits, Oscar-winning favorites and blockbuster originals led by A-list stars, but underneath the flicks that dominate the streamer’s “most popular” category is a library of equally fantastic movies that you (probably) haven’t watched. 

These overlooked Netflix movies span multiple genres, and often feature some pretty well-known stars. However, without the name recognition of the biggest franchises, these films tend to fly under the radar. That’s why I’m here to pick out 5 of my favorite Netflix movies that deserve to be seen by a wider audience. 

Below you’ll find a crime thriller that sees comedic actress Aubrey Plaza play against type, a slick and sexy drama set in the world of corporate finance, and a fresh take on the slasher genre — and that’s not all. Here are 5 Netflix movies you (probably) haven’t watched, but really should. 

'Emily the Criminal' (2022) 

Aubrey Plaza has brought many memorable comedic characters to the screen, but “Emily the Criminal” allows her to show a different side as — you’ve guessed it — she plays a criminal named Emily. Although, Emily doesn’t aspire to a life of crime, at least at first. The movie opens with her trying to make an honest living, but her massive pile of student debt, and her inability to land a well-paying job due to a criminal record from a past mistake leave her with no choice but to resort to crime. 

To make enough cash to keep her head above water, Emily agrees to take part in a credit card scam under the watch of a charismatic criminal named Youcef (Theo Rossi). But after dipping her toes in these seedy waters, rather than being wary of the consequences, Emily is increasingly drawn into a world where she can make not just quick money, but enough ill-gotten riches to live the high life. A compelling thriller, with a refreshing lead performance from Plaza, “Emily the Criminal” is certainly no time-thief. 

Genre: Thriller
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%
Stream it on Netflix

'Fair Play' (2023) 

Emily (Phoebe Dynevor) and Luke (Alden Ehrenreich) both work at the same cutthroat Manhattan hedge fund, but unbeknownst to their colleagues, the pair are engaged in a passionate affair. After getting engaged in secret, and overhearing that Luke is due for a big promotion at work, the couple are blissfully happy. That is until Emily is offered the new job instead of Luke. 

What follows is the unraveling of their seemingly perfect relationship as envy grips hold of Luke, and his increasingly irrational actions don’t just threaten his position within the firm, but also Emily’s hard-fought career. “Fair Play” mixes the great chemistry of its lead with biting criticism of corporate culture, and weaves a cautionary tale for the modern era. After watching this excellent Netflix original movie, you’ll certainly never wish for a workplace romance. 

Genre: Drama
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
Stream it on Netflix

'Bodies Bodies Bodies' (2022)

Mixing horror and comedy, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is a very fresh spin on the spooky genre. Like many scary movies, it starts with a group of friends — in this case, a clan of silver-spoon zoomers — holed up in a massive manor during a storm. Deciding to play a murder mystery game to pass the time, things get serious when one of them ends up dead. Soon mass paranoia takes hold of the group as they try to identify the killer, avoid being the next victim and keep their social media followers updated. 

Starring Amandla Stenberg, Maria Bakalova, Myha'la Herrold, Rachel Sennott and Pete Davidson, “Bodies Bodies Bodies” particularly lampoons social media culture and the narcissism it brings out in people. Its characters are intentionally unlikeable, but that just makes watching them fall to a grisly fate all the more satisfying. Plus, the movie builds to a genuinely surprising ending, that helps make a second watch almost equally enjoyable. 

Genre: Horror
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%
Stream it on Netflix

'Waves' (2019) 

Sterling K. Brown has been making waves (pun intended) for his excellent turn in “American Fiction,” even earning himself an Oscar nomination for his powerful performance. But, in my opinion, his best role comes in “Waves.” This 2019 drama was a box-office bomb, which is a huge shame, as it’s a remarkable movie that chronicles a family’s complex journey through tragedy, trauma and forgiveness. 

Focused on a suburban family in sunny South Florida, Brown plays the domineering, but well-meaning, father to Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) and Emily (Taylor Russell), two high school students each dealing with their own mounting pressures. Also featuring Lucas Hedges, Renée Elise Goldsberry and Alexa Demie, this is a distinctly character-focused drama that succeeds thanks to astonishing performance from its cast. 

Genre: Drama
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%
Stream it on Netflix

'Melancholia' (2011)

Fair warning, “Melancholia is not the easiest watch. That’s partially because of its weighty subject matter which deals with severe depression but also because of its dream-like structure that is often less concerned with telling a story, and more focused on setting a somber mood. If you’re able to embrace its off-kilter storytelling, and its surreal imagery, then “Melancholia” may just connect deeply, and stir real emotion in you. But it won’t be hit every viewer, and some will dislike it. 

Coming from acclaimed Danish director Lars von Trier, it stars Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a pair of sisters navigating a strained relationship as a large rogue planet, known as Melancholia, prepares to collide with the Earth. Both Dunst and Gainsbourg are magnificent as siblings that handle the impending end of all life as we know it in very different ways, and there are also strong performances from Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgård and Stellan Skarsgård. Some might call this a very divisive movie, but I call it a movie that deserves at least a shot to impress. 

Genre: Drama
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%
Stream it on Netflix

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Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.