What Netflix did next: puke, maggots & amputation

What Netflix did next: puke, maggots & amputation
Are you still watching? — Writer Megan Nolan bravely ventures into Netflix’s new releases, in an attempt to figure out if anything is even worth our time anymore. This week it’s rape-revenge body horror The Perfection, and the undeniably vapid Good Sam.

The Perfection

(Spoilers and CN for sexual violence)

When the trailer for The Perfection was aired, showing Alison Williams psychologically torturing a young woman on the side of a deserted road, I saw several people on Twitter remarking that the actress had found herself a rather particular post-Girls career niche: playing the role of evil white girl who torments black people. Williams, of course, played Rose in Jordan Peele’s brilliant horror/ psychological thriller Get Out, with an eerie blank white smile, a glass of milk in one hand and a rifle in the other. The Perfection is another film, like Get Out, which takes a real, pervasive social ill and makes an operatic horror out of it, but it does so far less successfully. It’s a big brash ridiculous thing, full of cheap thrills and nonsensical twists and joke-shop gross-out moments, projectile puke and maggots and amputations.

Some reviewers have found it really offensive; its absurd, flippant tone jarring with the subject matter it deals with. For me, it was so blatantly B-movie that I couldn’t be mad at it for this. It has no nuance, sure, but I don’t think it has any pretensions to either. Getting upset at a film like this for not being credibly feminist is a bit like getting upset at romcoms for being heteronormative; sure, yeah, but what did you expect? With The Perfection, you can take it for what it is – a silly, coarse and entertaining rape-revenge fantasy – or you can leave it, most understandably.

Williams plays Charlotte, a teenage prodigy cellist whose mother falls ill, forcing her to quit an exclusive music conservatory, run by the aloof, authoritative Anton (Steven Weber). Having lost 10 years of her life to being a carer, when her mother finally passes away she seeks out Anton and her old life, all too painfully aware of the potential she was forced to squander. A new, younger master cellist, Lizzie (Logan Browning) took her place when she left and went on to achieve all the renown that was rightfully Charlotte’s. The first part of the film shows us Charlotte and Lizzie’s first encounters, a hasty (unconvincing) erotic connection charged with jealousy, followed quickly by a sickening freefall into visceral body horror. After this come the twists and turns which make this watchable despite being pretty stupid.

Is it problematic? Naturally. You can easily tell this is made by men. It’s impossible for a crass film like this to avoid making the violence in question part of what titillates the viewer – although to be fair, there are no explicit representations. It’s 90 minutes of gotchas and creepy soundtrack strings and, latterly, a risible flood of extreme violence perpetrated by two beautiful queer women against their abusers. So, yeah, even though it’s no good, it’s still pretty enjoyable.

HOW MANY POPCORNS OUT OF TEN? 🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿❌❌❌❌

WORTH A WATCH WHEN SOBER? Yes, with the caveat that it should be avoided if you can’t stand sexual violence plotlines or body horror.

WORTH A WATCH WHEN HUNGOVER/ DRUNK? The gross-out stuff would be too much for me with a hangover.

Good Sam

This completely bad, thick, syrupy film is exactly what Netflix needs to be making more of and I am not being sarcastic when I say that. It occurred to me this week, watching two undeniably vapid bits of shit which I nonetheless enjoyed, that the very nature of what Netflix is means that they should be focusing on pumping out tasteless, by-the-numbers films like this one. I don’t actually want to watch a good film in the way I consume Netflix films. I go to the cinema to see good films, or if at home, make an effort to watch it in reasonable conditions on a screen bigger than a laptop. Netflix, bathe me in the light of this exact kind of disposable tosh targeted at dumbasses more often, I beg you.

Good Sam is basically exactly like one of Netflix’s famously amazing/ terrible holiday films, except there’s no holiday. It has a love story, a tragic death, a mystery, a quasi-villain and an unquenchable belief in the goodness of humanity. Kate (Tiya Sircar) is an ambitious young reporter who generally covers disasters and tragedies, assigned unexpectedly to a good news story about money being left anonymously on the doorsteps of random people in New York by a mystery figure who comes to be known as Good Sam. The money always seems to arrive at just the right moment, and the recipients are so touched by their good fortune that they too spread it around. Kate becomes obsessed with the story of Good Sam, challenging as it does her previously held belief that all human beings are basically selfish and bad.

Some other stuff happens, she tries to find the mystery benefactor, there’s a story about a tragic boat accident, there’s a really hot firefighter with a glint in his eye and a tragic past. I honestly barely remember what happens in the film even three days after watching it but I do remember the immense sense of mindless cosiness which enveloped me while watching it. Good job.

HOW MANY POPCORNS OUT OF TEN? 🍿🍿🍿🍿❌❌❌❌❌❌

WORTH A WATCH WHEN SOBER? If you have children aged around 11, yes. Otherwise no.

WORTH A WATCH WHEN HUNGOVER/ DRUNK? Ideal hangover crap. I watched while crippled in bed from a double whammy of a massacre of a period and a hangover which left me feeling like my brain was bouncing, brittle and withered as an old bone, around my skull. Really worked.

Follow Megan Nolan on Twitter.

Enjoyed this article? Like Huck on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

Latest on Huck

Activists claim victory after major UK festivals drop Barclays as a sponsor
Activism

Activists claim victory after major UK festivals drop Barclays as a sponsor

Groups and artists have been campaigning for Live Nation to drop the bank as a sponsor for Download, Latitude and Isle of Wight over alleged ties to the arms trade.

Written by: Ben Smoke

Exploring the football fanatic culture of the Middle East
Outdoors

Exploring the football fanatic culture of the Middle East

New photo book ‘Football كرة القدم’ draws together pictures from over a dozen photographers to explore the region’s vibrant football culture.

Written by: Isaac Muk

Drag artists unite to get out the vote, babes
Election 2024

Drag artists unite to get out the vote, babes

East London legend Crystal talks to Huck about her new campaign, Vote, Babes! which brings together over 20 drag artists to encourage young people to use their vote.

Written by: Ben Smoke

I interrupted Keir Starmer’s manifesto launch – here’s why
Election 2024

I interrupted Keir Starmer’s manifesto launch – here’s why

One of Starmer’s constituents, Alice tried every way to talk to her then MP about the crisis facing her generation, but he did not listen she writes exclusively for Huck.

Written by: Alice, Green New Deal Rising

Bashy: “My dad kept me alive”
Culture

Bashy: “My dad kept me alive”

In our latest Daddy Issues column, award winning actor and MC Ashley “Bashy” Thomas talks traditional masculinity, learning survival skills from his Dad and ‘making it’.

Written by: Robert Kazandjian

How communities of colour fought back
Election 2024

How communities of colour fought back

Micha Frazer-Carroll examines the challenges that the UK’s minoritised communities have faced over the last five years, and reports on the ways that they have come together to organise, support and uplift one another.

Written by: Micha Frazer-Carroll

Sign up to our newsletter

Issue 80: The Ziwe issue

Buy it now