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From True Crime to Mystery and Suspense, Here Are 4 Netflix Shows to See: 'Occupants,’ ‘The Valhalla Murders,’ ‘The Stranger,’ and ‘Lost Girls’

The streaming service has dropped a lot of new content lately, in its quest to be the go-to during these Home Quarantine times

With so many projects all over the globe in the pipeline, Netflix has been the reliable streaming service of the moment—with new offerings coming at a furious pace.

The Valhalla Murders (Netflix Limited Series)

An eight-episode Limited Series from Iceland, The Valhalla Murders revolve around a serial killer, a conspiracy cover-up, and a boy’s home up in the north of Iceland where some events in the past obviously left a lasting and homicidal impression. Yes, there’s an element of Sleepers here, but in a setting that’s wintry, desolate, and does make for stunning cinematography.

Valhalla Murders doesn’t set out to reinvent the genre; but it’s a solid, invigorated treatment that owes much to the inspired casting. Rather than unreal glossy-looking actors and actresses, the cast all look the part; middle-aged working people. This holds true whether they be the police detectives, the top brass, or ex-students of Valhalla. Red herrings abound, and the twists and turns keep us on our toes. One I can recommend. 

The Stranger (Netflix Limited Series)

Created by Danny Brocklehurst, this is the second Harlan Coben novel that’s been uprooted from its original New Jersey locale, and brought to England. This time, it’s set in the suburbs of Manchester, where dark and deep secrets abound. The veneer of normalcy is shattered as the story takes the position that we may not know the people closet to us—the people we interact with in our day-to-day lives.

Adam and Corinne Price (Richard Armitage and Dervla Kirwan) are our entry points to this suburbia. He’s a lawyer, and she’s 'Teacher of the Year' in the school their two boys attend. The plot proverbially thickens right away, when The Stranger (Hannah John-Karen) approaches Adam from out of the blue, saying Corinne faked her pregnancy and miscarriage from two years ago. A second narrative strand has to do with DS Johanna (Siobhan Finneran) and her friend Heidi (Jennifer Saunders). Intense, realistic mystery and drama that knows how to hook you in.

The Occupant (Netflix Originals Film)

Directed and written by the Pastor Brothers, who hail from Spain; this film was shot in Barcelona and tracks the descent of one status-seeking sociopath into an all-out raving psychopath. It’s got all the trappings of your stalker-territory anti-hero movie, and even attempts to inject elements of class warfare, privilege, and entitlement. It stars the often dependable Javier Gutierrez, and he could be the one thing that will keep you glued to the end of this well-intentioned, but misguided psychological thriller.

I mentioned the class warfare element and home infiltration is the means; so there’s obviously a parallel to the Korean masterpiece Parasite. But unfortunately, Occupant never gets as layered and intelligent as Parasite was. And you don’t get a sympathetic protagonist in the mix; Occupant seems more preoccupied with just making our title character more and more reprehensible. This starts off with a lot of promise; but quickly becomes too predictable and tries our patience.

Lost Girls (Netflix Originals Film)

A True Crime dramatization of the sad state of reporting a Missing Person, and what kind of attention the report will get if the person in question is a sex worker; Lost Girls has a lot to say about ‘nudge morality’ and the bias that’s built into the system. At the heart of the film is Amy Ryan as Mari Gilbert, a blue-collar construction worker in upstate New York, single mother to three daughters. Two daughters live with her, while the eldest works as a woman of the night.

It’s a bleak, desolate portrait of the law enforcement agencies, and the gated communities that harbor dark, perverse secrets. As it is, the personal crusade that Gilbert waged when her eldest daughter placed a 911 call and the response time was over an hour; resulted in several bodies being exhumed in the marshland beside the gated community. Apparently, there was a serial killer at loose; but because his victims were women of ill repute, no one really cared. Genuine food for thought; and this film drives home the message—but it is painful to watch.

Lead photos from IMDb