Australian Horror on Netflix: "The Reef," "Arctic Blast," and "Primal"

So I was at first excited by the streaming-video options of Netflix months ago, but the charm actually rather quickly wore off and I agree with some of the popular grouching about it—basically that Netflix has a rather limited list of titles, even if there are zillions of them. I find myself searching around for something weird and offbeat, and lately all those titles have been Austrialian horror/scifi movies. They’re surprisingly better than our similar B-movie offerings, the kind you can often find on the SyFy channel or Chiller: the Australian ones tend to have better acting and plots. They seem to take their cheese more seriously, and it pays off.
The last film I watched in this category was Arctic Blast, which should really be called Ozone Blast. The best part: when hundreds/thousands of people get flash-frozen because a dangerous hole in the ozone layer lets in some cold air (“Close that ozone hole, why don’tcha?”), the hero (a climate scientist) shrugs and says, “We did it to ourselves. We’ve polluted the planet.” (Or something like that.) He’s unflappable to the nth degree. They should have had this tag line for the movie poster: Arctic Blast—”It’s an eco-thriller The Fog without dead pirates!”
Primal is even more fun, for what happens to the sexed-up cutie on a camping trip. You can always tell who’s going to get eaten/stabbed/hacked/infected first in a horror film—the horniest one. But as this girl morphs into a snarling zombie/monster, her boyfriend doesn’t want to hurt her. “But she’s my girlfriend!” he cries (or something like that: I mean, I wasn’t taking notes), after she’s just eaten another person on their camping trip. (Her version of “glorp.”)
And the seriously good one of this trio is The Reef, which is like Open Water only better. It should really be called The Swim, but why quibble. Some holiday yuppies go for a boat ride, it hits a reef and capsizes, then several of them swim for an island far, far away. Guess what? A shark follows, picking off the slowest ones. The end is quite good. Like Arctic Blast, it also features a seriously stoic hero. That must be an Australian thing.

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