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What were the best streaming movies that flew under the radar in 2022?
The year is coming to an end, and that means we’re celebrating all the big streaming hits that dominated our social feeds and pop culture conversations. But not all streaming movies got their fair shake. Some were ignored, hidden by algorithms, or just didn’t get as much love as we may have liked. So, what were some of the best underrated streaming movies of 2022?
The titles on this list were all worth watching but got buried in one way or another. They include original titles on nearly all the major streaming services like Netflix, Apple TV Plus, HBO Max, Hulu, and Disney Plus. In some cases, they got very little marketing from their studios. In others, they didn’t quite land with critics or develop enough word-of-mouth to really take off.
Read on for some of the best streaming movies you might have missed in 2022.
See also: The best original streaming movies on every platform
The most underrated streaming movies of 2022
Thirteen Lives (Prime Video)
Chronicling the real-life rescue mission to get a Thai boys’ soccer team home safely in 2018, Thirteen Lives didn’t get very much attention. It was among the best underrated streaming movies of 2022. With grounded, shaky camera work, viewers get front-row seats in the flooded caves where the boys are stranded, as rescue teams struggle to save them.
Director Ron Howard has proven his mastery of survival narratives with movies like Apollo 13. Like Apollo 13, Thirteen Lives features characters who exhibit incredible professionalism and heroism in the face of nearly impossible challenges. If you can stand some claustrophobia-inducing suspense, Thirteen Lives is a must-see 2022 streaming movie.
Deep Water (Hulu)
Starring Ben Affleck and Ana de Armas, Deep Water is an erotic thriller from one of the genre’s icons, Adrian Lyne. A man is suspected of foul play when his wife’s lovers start turning up dead. Is he an innocent victim of circumstance, a devoted and naive husband, or did he finally snap?
It’s hard to argue that Deep Water is a great film, but it was a ton of fun! A casualty of Disney’s purchase of 20th Century Fox, the film quietly bowed on Hulu instead of its planned theatrical release. There, it quietly disappeared from the pop culture zeitgeist, but it’s worth watching, especially for fans of Fatal Attraction, Basic Instinct, and other similar classics.
The Sky Is Everywhere (Apple TV Plus)
A 17-year-old musical prodigy living in the redwood forests of California struggles to get her life on track after the tragic loss of her older sister. With the help of her father and some new acquaintances, she begins to navigate her high-school life once more.
Josephine Decker, director of 2020’s excellent Shirley, tells a sweet, beautiful, and heartbreaking about coming of age while facing immense grief. As often happens with Apple TV Plus films, The Sky Is Everywhere didn’t have a huge impact, despite decent reviews.
On the Count of Three (Hulu)
Two coworkers realizing they both want to end their lives agree to a suicide pact in this pitch-black comedy. Knowing the end is near, they agree to spend one last day on Earth, making the most of it and saying goodbye to their disappointing lives.
Comedian Jerrod Carmichael made his directorial debut with On the Count of Three. After a successful premiere at Sundance in 2021, the film quietly became a “Hulu original film” in 2022, despite an earlier limited theatrical run. Perhaps its confusing distribution deals are to blame for its lack of marketing. Regardless, it’s a solid film worth adding to your watchlist if you like dark comedies and crime movies.
The Stranger (Netflix)
An undercover cop gets extremely close to a murder suspect, forming a powerful bond while trying to elicit a confession in this dark and meditative crime drama.
The Stranger barely registered with anyone in 2022, partly because Netflix didn’t seem all that interested in marketing it. It didn’t help that it shared a title with a Netflix show with no relation to it. If you enjoy true crime or movies like Deep Cover and the Departed, you’ll want to watch The Stranger.
All the New Knives (Prime Video)
Years after a mission went south, an intelligence officer is tasked with investigating his old team to smoke out a mole. That includes an old flame, who he reconnects with to suss out whether she double crossed him.
A sleek little mid-budget spy thriller, this moody Amazon original was a pleasant surprise. While receiving little to no buzz, it was a competent genre film with a stacked cast that felt like a blast from the past. You may well have never heard of it, but if you enjoy films like Three Days of the Condor, Enemy of the State, and Spy Game, you won’t want to sleep on it any longer.
Kimi (HBO Max)
Kimi is the best movie of 2022 that most people I talk to haven’t even heard of. The film stars Zoë Kravitz as an employee of a tech company in the days following COVID-19 lockdowns in Seattle. Still working from home and suffering from intense agoraphobia, she monitors her employer’s smart speakers, dubbed Kimi. One day, she thinks she witnesses a violent crime in one of the recordings and has to venture out of her home in search of someone who might believe her.
Director Steven Soderbergh has made a comfortable home for himself at HBO Max in recent years, with films like No Sudden Move and Let Them All Talk. Kimi is the best one yet, reminiscent of other paranoid thrillers like Rear Window, The Invisible Man, Michael Clayton, and Soderbergh’s own Unsane and Side Effects.
Nanny (Prime Video)
An undocumented nanny takes a job for a wealthy New York family. As she prepares for the arrival of her son, she begins to lose her grasp on reality. A violent presence has entered her life and threatens her American Dream.
A chilling horror film and one of Prime Video’s best, Nanny was a big hit at Sundance at the start of 2022. It took home the Grand Jury Prize and was picked up for streaming to much fanfare. From there, Amazon rather quietly released it without the kinds of major year-end marketing push you might expect. Check it out if you love the horror films of Jordan Peele or titles like Rosemary’s Baby, His House, or the Apple TV Plus series Servant.
No Exit (Hulu)
A Hulu original thriller, No Exit sees a young woman trapped in a snow storm at a mountain rest stop with a small group of strangers. On a walk outside looking for cell reception, she happens upon a kidnapped girl in the back of a van. But whose van is it, and how can she get help without accidentally tipping of a potentially dangerous kidnapper first?
No Exist came out early in 2022 and didn’t generate much conversation. It’s too bad, because that makes it one of the most underrated streaming movies of 2022. Like many films on this list, it’s the kind of mid-budget genre picture that rarely makes it to theaters anymore, but thankfully it has a home online.
An artist whose career is about to take off strikes up a relationship and possible romance with his charming neighbor in this animated film set to Kid Cudi’s 2022 album Entergalactic. The film features animation in the style of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and vocal performances by Jessica Williams, Timothée Chalamet, Ty Dolla $ign, Laura Harrier, Vanessa Hudgens, Christopher Abbott, 070 Shake, Teyana Taylor, Jaden Smith, Keith David, Arturo Castro, and Macaulay Culkin.
Entergalactice was oddly marketed by Netflix. Announced as a series, it eventually dropped on the streamer without much fanfare as a TV special. At 92 minutes, it’s hard to think of it as anything but a feature-length animated film. And it’s terrific. With gorgeous animation, a killer soundtrack, and an all-star voice cast, this one should have been a much bigger deal at Netflix.
Fresh (Hulu) — A grim, anti-love story, this Hulu original horror film is not for everyone, but with terrific performances from Sebastian Stan and Daisy Edgar-Jones, it’s a winner. The story of a serial abductor with horrifying motives is now streaming.
Crush (Hulu) — This queer teen romcom got some attention and positive reviews, but it disappeared from the conversation pretty quickly. It’s a smart, funny, touching coming-of-age story that you can check out on Hulu.
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