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17 of the best underrated movies (and where to stream them in 2022)

Some movies just can't get the love they deserve. Don't let that stop you!
By
April 7, 2022
Megan Fox holds a lighter to her tongue in Jennifers Body - most underrated movies
20th Century Fox

Movies can fail for any number of reasons: bad marketing, bad reviews, bad timing. You name it. But sometimes we need to reevaluate and rescue underrated movies from obscurity. That’s why we’re here. We’ll point you to great movies that either earned bad reviews or paltry box-office receipts, and we’ll send you where you can watch them for free or included with your subscription to various streaming services.

Check out: The best original streaming movies on every platform

Some of the best and most underrated movies sadly aren’t streaming anywhere, so if you find yourself frustrated at the absence of your favorite underrated gems, don’t be mad. Underrated classics like Drop Dead Gorgeous, Alien: Resurrection, and Josie and the Pussycats are just not available except on home media or VOD.

So, read on for our top picks among the most underrated movies you can stream right now.

The best underrated movies you can stream

Speed Racer (2008)

Warner Bros.

Speed Racer may have been dead on arrival when it premiered in 2008, but it has developed a cult following and is an essential entry in the filmography of the Wachowskis.

Read: Speed Racer is an unsung classic

In it, Speed Racer has taken up the family trade, racing cars in the memory of his older brother, who dies on the track years ago. When he’s approached by a racing conglomerate to join their ranks, Speed comes to discover the seedier side of the industry and takes a stand against big business. The film continues the Wachowskis’ streak of tackling stories about the little guy standing up to impossible forces, and it does it with a truly unique and bold visual style that makes it a must-see underrated movie.

Where to stream:

Cam (2018)

Cam Netflix movie - most underrated movies
Netflix

Netflix buys a lot of great indie films, premiering them as streaming exclusives after they succeed in festivals, but it doesn’t always know what to do with them. That’s what happened with Cam after it premiered at Fantasia in 2018. You’d be forgiven for never having heard of it, as Netflix didn’t really make much of an effort to put it on anyone’s radar. But it’s great, and it’s one of the best underrated films you can stream.

See also: The best indie movies on Netflix

Cam tells the story of a camgirl who suddenly loses access to her account, her main source of income. But she hasn’t just been locked out. She’s been replaced by a doppelganger who continues hosting her live feeds. Now, she has to find and stop whoever is behind this to reclaim control of her livelihood in a smart and scary thriller that offers a pro-sex work look at one woman’s nightmare.

Where to stream:

Netflix icon
Netflix
Netflix is still the leading premium streaming service, with over 200 million worldwide subscribers. It offers thousands of movies and TV shows to binge watch, including its always growing list of original films and series, including Stranger Things, The Witcher, Bridgerton, and many more.

Killing Them Softly (2012)

Brad Pitt aims a gun in Killing Them Softly - new streaming movies
The Weinstein Company

A quiet little thriller that lost a lot of its momentum with a staggered release, coming out in the UK months ahead of the American premiere, Killing Them Softly is a hard-boiled crime tale that should have been a much bigger hit.

Check out: The best thrillers on Hulu

A mob enforcer is brought in to deal with some low-level crooks who ripped off the wrong card game in this recession-era thriller that captures the desperation and uncertainty that followed the American financial crisis in an original and engaging way. It also features some terrific performances by Brad Pit, James Gandolfini, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, Richard Jenkins, Ray Liotta, and Sam Shepard.

Where to stream:

Hulu Logo
Hulu
Hulu offers not only thousands of movies and TV shows to stream, it also has original shows and films like The Handmaid's Tale. You can upgrade to Hulu Plus Live TV to get live channels, including your local stations.

Jennifer’s Body (2009)

Megan Fox strutting in a high school hallway in Jennifers Body - best underrated movies
20th Century Fox

It might no longer be fair to call Jennifer’s Body underrated. Despite terrible reviews when it came out in 2009, the film, written by Diablo Cody, directed by Karyn Kusama, and starring Megan Fox and Amanda Seifried, was the victim of poor marketing and dual backlashes against Cody and Fox.

In recent years, the film has been vocally reclaimed as a queer, feminist classic, done wrong by a sexist industry that didn’t know how to market it or protect its creative talent. The film tells the story of a teen girl turned into a demon by indie rockers looking for fame by making a very literal deal with the devil (or some evil ghoul or other). Now, Jennifer is back and hungry, ready to prey on her classmates unless her best friend can stop and more importantly, save her.

Where to stream:

The Vast of Night (2019)

A man and girl at a radio booth in The Vast of Night - underrated movies
Amazon

An understated science-fiction throwback, The Vast of Night is one of the best movies Amazon has acquired as a Prime Video original, but it hasn’t had a very high profile, despite great reviews.

In New Mexico in the 1950s, a high schooler and a young radio DJ try to track down the source of a mysterious signal while most of the town is distracted by a basketball game. Could there be intelligent life out there, trying to make contact? This eerie mystery uses an intimate and grounded perspective to tell a story on a cosmic scale. It’s one of the most underrated movies you can stream right now.

Where to stream:

Empire Records (1995)

Liv Tyler and other teens in Empire Records - most underrated movies
Warner Bros.

Some truly awful reviews haven’t stopped Empire Records from amassing a well-earned cult following. This teen drama is a ton of fun, with a killer soundtrack and some early-career roles for Liv Tyler and Renée Zellwegger.

When an indie record store employee finds out the store might be sold to a big, soulless chain, he gambles cash from the safe in an attempt to save his job — instead, he loses big. Now, his co-workers have to deal with the fallout during one wild day at work.

Where to stream:

Blackhat (2015)

Blackhat
Universal Pictures

Michael Mann’s Blackhat bombed critically and commercially in 2015, but it’s been getting a loving reappraisal since dropping on Netflix, and it’s certainly worth the second look.

Chris Hemsworth stars as a hacker released from prison to help investigate a string of major hacks that could destabilize world markets. The deeper he gets, the higher the stakes, in this stylish, gritty thriller that offers a fresh and clever look at the intersections of our physical and virtual lives.

Where to stream:

Crimson Peak (2015)

Mia Wasikowska in Crimson Peak - most underrated movies
Universal Pictures

One of Guillermo del Toro’s least-celebrated films is also one of his best — as well as one of the best underrated movies you can stream.

In Crimson Peak, a young woman moves to the estate of her charming new husband only to be haunted by literal ghosts as well as the family’s dark secrets. Del Toro offers up an old-school gothic horror that’s an absolute joy to watch and deserved a much warmer reception than it got.

Where to stream:

The Perfection (2019)

Allison Williams and Logan Browning perform cello in The Perfection - best underrated movies
Netflix

The Perfection is a Netflix original horror film, but it hasn’t gotten the kind of attention that other big-ticket streaming exclusives have. Its mostly unenthusiastic, mixed reviews didn’t help much either, but it’s a hidden gem among the streamer’s vast library and one we can’t recommend enough.

Our picks: The best horror movies on Netflix

A musical prodigy returns to the music academy she left years ago to find a new student has taken her place at the front of the pack. After a trip with the new protegé ends in bloody disaster, it’s clear our protagonist is up to something. Is this just jealousy, or is there something deeper at play? This gripping film will keep you guessing until its shocking and haunting final scene.

Where to stream:

The Assistant (2020)

Julia Garner on the phone in The Assistant - best underrated movies to stream
Bleecker Street

The Assitant was an early #MeToo film, tackling Hollywood abuses with a tale very directly based on Harvey Weinstein and the network of people who enabled his criminal behaviour for decades. When it premiered, it seemed like a major awards contender and the next big water cooler movie, but the buzz fizzled out, and by the time the Oscars rolled around, it was all but forgotten.

Following a day in the life of an entertainment mogul’s assistant, the film explores how her work is constantly colored by allegations that can’t be denied or ignored. Can she take a stand, or is the machine too big and powerful to take down? Don’t miss this haunting look at Hollywood’s dark side, an underrated movie that packs a punch.

Where to stream:

Gamer (2009)

Gamer
Lionsgate

Gamer came and went without much notice — aside from some scathing reviews. Don’t let that fool you. The directors of Crank use their signature chaotic energy to great effect in this satirical take on video games and social distraction.

Check out: The best movies on Peacock

Kable is a death-row inmate who has a chance to win his freedom if he completes enough rounds as a human avatar in a shoot-em-up multiplayer game. When a resistance group busts him out, Kable could finally find the people who have been pulling his strings and have society enthralled by a sadistic game.

Where to stream:

Cats (2019)

Taylor Swift as a cat in Cats - underrated movies
Universal Pictures

2019’s Cats really tests the “underrated” label. Can a movie be both terrible and underrated? If movies can be so bad they’re good, then why not? Tom Hooper’s take on the Broadway classic is certainly only good if you surrender to its absurdity and, well, badness. A group of cats competes for the chance to ascend to the “Heaviside Layer” and a new and better life in this bizarre would-be blockbuster. Or maybe it’s all a metaphor for death. It’s unclear.

Get your friends together — preferably those who know the songs. Sing along. Find a good Cats drinking game online. Prepare to quote some of the more abysmal lines. Basically, have fun with it! Most critics and audiences didn’t, so someone should.

Where to stream:

Hudson Hawk (1991)

Bruce Willis drinks coffee in Hudson Hawk
Tri-Star Pictures

For all the scorn it received, Hudson Hawk is one of those movies where you feel as though everyone onscreen is having the time of their life. That energy, real or projected, can be infectious, making up for a few bumps along the way.

See also: The best Bruce Willis movies

Master thief Hudson Hawk has just gotten out of prison, but he’s immediately roped into a string of ambitious heists. All he wants is some calm and a nice cappuccino, but that’ll have to wait. With musical interludes, eccentric criminals, and gripping heists, Hudson Hawk is an underrated movie that belongs on your watchlist.

Where to stream:

The Guest (2014)

The Guest best indie movies on netflix
Picturehouse

The Guest has been making it onto more and more best lists since it premiered in 2014, but it still feels like a hidden gem, from Adam Wingard, who went on to direct Godzilla vs. Kong.

With some top-notch performances by Dan Stevens and Maika Monroe, The Guest tells the story of a stranger coming to town and bringing chaos with him. David is a soldier who shows up, unannounced, to pay his respects to the family of his friend who died in combat in Afghanistan. As the death count in town rises though, it becomes clear that David may not be what he seems.

Where to stream:

P2 (2007)

P2 best alternative Christmas movies
Summit Entertainment

A chilling Christmas nightmare, P2 is one of the best and least talked about horror films of the 2000s. But it remains a ton of creepy fun, if you’re okay with never looking at underground parking the same again.

Read: The best alternative Christmas movies

When a workaholic businesswoman is last to leave the office on Christmas Eve, she finds herself forced into the deranged fantasies of the only guard on duty in the parking garage. Can she escape and make it to her family before Christmas morning?

Where to stream:

The Last Duel (2021)

The Last Duel - best new streaming movies
20th Century Studios

Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel was one of the best films of 2021. It was even an early Oscar contender. But then it came out in the middle of a pandemic following a weak marketing campaign, earned a meagre sum, and pretty much disappeared without a peep.

It’s a shame because it’s absolutely worth watching. Scott directs from a smart and haunting script by Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon. In Medieval France, a knight challenges his friend to a duel when the latter assaults his wife. The film recounts the events leading up to the duel, providing the perspectives of the knight, his wife, and his friend the squire.

Where to stream:

Fast Color (2019)

Fast Color sci fi movies hulu
Lionsgate

Julia Hart directed this American indie that feels like a blueprint for stripped-down X-Men movies in the vein of Logan.

A woman is forced to the safety of the home she left behind when her superhuman abilities are discovered. This sci-fi family drama is moving and visually gorgeous, focusing on a human story over special effects and large-scale action scenes.

Where to stream:


Those are our picks of the best underrated movies you can stream. What are your favorite underrated movies?