The turn of the calendar brings a new slate of films and shows to Netflix in February. One of the most anticipated projects this month is Avatar: The Last Airbender, the long-awaited live-action adaptation of the beloved animated series. Popular movies like Everything Everywhere All At Once, Ready Player One, and How to Train Your Dragon 2 will also be available to stream by the end of the month.
Outside of the popular movies, there is an abundance of underrated films ready to stream. We chose five of the most undervalued films on Netflix that you should watch in February. Our selections include a ’70s-inspired slasher, an emotional tale of family trauma, and a sci-fi gem.
For fans of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Ti West’s X is an excellent homage to Tobe Hooper’s groundbreaking slasher film. Set in 1979, X follows a group of aspiring filmmakers attempting to make an adult movie The film crew includes aspiring actress Maxine (Mia Goth), director RJ (Owen Campbell), producer Wayne (Martin Henderson), burlesque dancer Bobby-Lynne (Brittany Snow), ex-marine Jackson (Scott Mescudi), and assistant Lorraine (Jenna Ortega).
The group films at a secluded farm in Texas owned by elderly couple Howard (Stephen Ure) and Pearl (Goth), who do not know they are making a pornographic film. When Howard and Pearl discover the film’s sexual nature, it sets off a chain reaction that has deadly consequences for the group. The X cinematic universe continues with the prequel, 2022’s Pearl, and the sequel, MaXXXine, which will hopefully arrive in 2024.
Stream X on Netflix.
Before checking into the White Lotus, Aubrey Plaza entered a credit card fraud ring in the underrated Emily the Criminal. Due to a felony conviction, Emily (Plaza) struggles to find full-time employment, forcing her to work for a catering company as an independent contractor. Burdened by student debt, Emily joins a fraud scheme as a “dummy shopper,” a person who buys goods with stolen credit cards.
Though dummy shopping is illegal, Emily earns $200 per hour, so she continues. Emily excels and eventually takes on a bigger undertaking in the organization under the tutelage of Youcef (Theo Rossi), one of the generals in the organization. At 93 minutes, Emily the Criminal is a slick thriller showcasing the darker side of Plaza, who embraces the challenge and excels in this new role.
Stream Emily the Criminal on Netflix.
Some movies stop you in your tracks emotionally, forcing the audience to examine their feelings of love, loss, and grief. Waves is a film that falls into this category. Written and directed by Trey Edward Shults (It Comes At Night), Waves follows the Williamses, an African-American family living in the suburbs of South Florida.
Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) is a popular high school student on the wrestling team who constantly faces pressure from his overbearing father, Ronald (Sterling K. Brown). When an incident rocks the family, each member struggles to cope, including Tyler’s younger sister, Emily (Taylor Russell). How the Williamses moves forward in the face of tragedy will shape their lives forever.
Stream Waves on Netflix.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s career outside Game of Thrones is fascinating. Instead of returning to fantasy television or joining a tentpole franchise, Coster-Waldau has elected to star in several gritty action thrillers. His best one in the genre is Shot Caller, a 2017 crime thriller from B-movie extraordinaire Ric Roman Waugh. Jacob Harlon (Coster-Waldau), a successful stockbroker who is married with one kid, makes a tragic mistake one fateful night, leading to his imprisonment.
To survive in prison, Jacob decides he must be an aggressor. After winning a fight against an inmate, Jacob joins an Aryan gang, which offers him protection. When Jacob is finally released from prison, he quickly realizes that to protect his family, he must take out the leader of the gang, which would end his chances of living as a free man.
Stream Shot Caller on Netflix.
Even before writing and directing two Knives Outmovies, Rian Johnson was implementing his love for mystery and twists in other genre films like Looper, a terrific sci-fi thriller from the 2010s. In 2044, Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) works as a looper, a hit man who kills people sent from the future by the mob since bodies can easily be disposed of in the past. Loopers cannot live past 2074, so their older versions are sent back in time to be killed by their younger selves to close the loop.
One day, Joe faces his older self (Bruce Willis). Joe hesitates, allowing older Joe to escape. Older Joe wishes to find and kill the Rainmaker, the child who will grow up to destroy the mob and close every loop. This knowledge puts the present Joe in a battle against his older self, forcing him to make a decision that will affect the future of time and space.
Stream Looper on Netflix.