Netflix’s new family movie just claimed the No. 2 spot — and it’s 87% on Rotten Tomatoes

A promotional image for "Orion and the Dark" on Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

If you’re looking for a new Netflix movie that the whole family can enjoy, then the streamer has the perfect pick in the form of “Orion and the Dark," a new fantasy flick from legendary animation house Dreamworks. 

“Orion and the Dark” landed on Netflix last week (Friday, February 2) and has made quite the first impression. The well-received movie currently ranks in the No. 2 spot ahead of recent blockbuster additions to the Netflix catalog including “Fury” and “Pacific Rim”. 

This new Dreamworks animated movie is currently second only to “The Vow," but with Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it’s little surprise that a Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum-fronted romantic drama has claimed the top spot. 

Of course, a high ranking on the Netflix most-watched list is no guarantee of quality, so if you’re wondering whether “Orion and the Dark” is worth adding to your watchlist, we’re here to help by answering the most important question: Should you stream it or skip it?

What is ‘Orion and the Dark’ about?  

Orion is an elementary school kid who is afraid of pretty much everything. Dogs, bees, the ocean, heights and much more, but of all the things that Orion is scared of, it’s the dark that terrifies him most. So, when the living embodiment of his worst fear appears before him during a blackout, Orion is literally shaking with terror. 

However, this mysterious apparition, known appropriately as Dark, hasn’t come to scare the young boy but instead plans to show Orion that the dark is not something to fear and that it has many benefits. What follows is a surreal adventure, as Orion and the Dark team up and embark on an unforgettable journey across a dream-like reality. 

Hailing from the mind of acclaimed screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, the writer responsible for cult classics such as “Being John Malkovich” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," “Orion and the Dark” is a charming fantasy movie with heart and plenty of interesting ideas. 

‘Orion and the Dark’ reviews — here’s what critics say 

“Orion and the Dark” has enjoyed a strong reception from critics as evidenced by the movie's impressive 87% rating on the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. However, its audience score isn’t quite as sparkling at a fairly average 67%. 

Gregory Wakeman of the Chicago Reader was especially enamored with “Orion and the Dark." He labeled the Netflix movie “Endlessly creative, full of alluring colors, and with a pace that grabs hold of viewers and doesn't let go.” The critic also praised the movie for its “dynamic characters that you never could have imagined” in a very positive write-up. 

Rolling Stone’s David Fear called it “a cut above your average rainy-afternoon distraction” and compared it favorably to Pixar’s Inside Out. Brian Tallerico of was also impressed. He called the movie an “early-year Netflix original surprise” thanks to its “sharp character design, entertaining dialogue, and positive messaging.”  

A more mixed write-up came from Kevin Maher of The Times of London. He called “Orion and the Dark” disposable and “a rare misstep for Netflix Animation." He also argued it doesn’t stack up against Netflix’s other well-regarded animated options including “Leo”, “My Father’s Dragon” and “The Sea Beast."

Should you stream Orion and the Dark on Netflix? 

Finding something that appeals to, and is appropriate for, the whole family on Netflix can sometimes be a little tricky. That’s what makes a movie like “Orion and the Dark” so valuable. It’s got vibrant animation, and a grand sense of adventure, that will appeal to young viewers, but for adults, there’s greater subtext and interesting themes to be unearthed.

“Orion and the Dark” is a new Netflix movie well worth adding to your watchlist, and is yet more proof that the streamer knows its stuff when it comes to creating awesome animated content. 

If you’re looking for even more viewing recommendations check out our roundup of the best new to Netflix movies this month and the Netflix shows to watch this week.  

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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.