Embrace of the Serpent (2015)

Streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu | imdb | trailer

Here’s a very well-made, history-based, dark, jungle adventure. Well, two adventures. Part of it involves a search for what they refer to in the movie as Caapi (William S. Burroughs called it Yage). If you’ve seen any of the Italian cannibal exploitation movies, this is their grown-up, arthouse descendant (with a bit of Altered States mixed in).

Available on Blu-ray from Oscilloscope.

Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

If you’ve never seen anything from Werner Herzog other than his many documentaries, this is mandatory viewing. The two standout components of the film are Klaus Kinski’s amazing performance and the beautiful score by Krautrock legends Popol Vuh. Pay close attention to one of the early scenes of a seemingly endless line of people winding around a narrow mountain path. I have no idea how Herzog managed to pull off this shot. It’s one of the most beautiful moments in the history of cinema. Please note that at first the film may appear cropped, but the nearly-square aspect ratio (1.37 : 1) is how it was originally filmed.

Available on Blu-ray from Shout Factory.

9 (2009)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

Rag dolls vs. death machines after the fall of man. I don’t normally enjoy movies made with young people in mind but this was damn good. It’s is a very imaginative creation from start to finish. Well, there is one moment of Disney-esque happy fluff but it’s over fast. 9 also features excellent sound design. Try to watch this when connected to a good stereo with a subwoofer or the best headphones you can get your hands on. There are lots of lovingly crafted weird sounds to enjoy.

Available on Blu-ray from Universal.

The Nightingale (2018)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

This is a pitch black revenge film. I’ve seen a lot of on screen nastiness in my time but The Nightingale made even me cringe. The only flaw of the movie is that it is too damn long. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’ve got patience and a strong stomach.

The Nightingale is scheduled for a US Blu-ray February 2020. You can pre-order it through Diabolik DVD.