Movies you should know nothing about before watching
There's a good argument to be made that every movie benefits from going into it knowing very little. If a film takes unexpected directions when it comes to its storyline, characters, or genres, it's obviously nice to enter a movie without knowing such things. Also, with trailers, rumors, and social media sometimes revealing a little too much, genuine surprises are getting harder to come by.
With all that being said, some films benefit more than others from being entered into blind. The following are all shining examples of movies that provide a better experience the less you know beforehand. They will be very briefly summarized, with care taken not to reveal much at all. Long story short, if there are any here you haven't seen and know next to nothing about, they should be watched as soon as possible, and before any pesky spoilers happen to come your way.
Barbarian has already emerged as one of the most interesting horror movies in years, and is certainly among the greatest of 2022 so far. It plays straight and subverts various horror tropes throughout its well-paced, unpredictable runtime, and makes for a thrilling watch for horror fans in the process.
So, how much should you know going in? It's probably important to know that if you have a hard time with claustrophobic and/or dark spaces, this may not be the movie for you, and neither is it going to convert non-horror fans. But as for the plot? Go in knowing literally nothing, because Barbarian is a unique and consistently thrilling ride that aims to keep you on your toes for every single one of its 102 minutes, and it largely succeeds in doing just that.
Chances are, you'll know about the big twists Psycho has to offer, even if you've never seen the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie. But assume for a moment that you don't, just as viewers in 1960 didn't know what they were in for. The things that happen in this movie – and in one particularly famous scene – were truly shocking for audiences back then. If Psycho's big moments hadn't become so commonly referenced and parodied, they'd still shock viewers today.
Hitchcock famously had rules for cinemas that showed Psycho, which emphasized how closely guarded its twists were intended to be. Apparently, moviegoers before 1960 sometimes arrived to movies late, but Psycho screenings weren't allowed to permit late admissions, given how early some of its surprises come. Still, even if it's a movie that's been spoiled to death, it's worth a watch (just be sure to stay away from the bizarrely redundant 1998 remake!)
The Cabin in the Woods presents itself as a fairly derivative horror movie in its opening scenes. As the title implies, there's a cabin buried deep in the woods. It's isolated, spooky, and, for some reason, seen as a desirable place to visit by a group of young people, all of whom seem like standard movie stereotypes in their introductory scenes.
However, what the film is really about is introduced pretty quickly, and from there, the plot thickens and becomes more and more unexpected. It never feels like a parody exactly, but does become something of a commentary on the state of horror films and the mindset of people who watch them. The way it explores its satirical, darkly comedic ideas are best left unspoiled, of course.
One Cut of the Dead is a charming low-budget zombie film that's rough around the edges, but still fun to watch. Part of that enjoyment comes from the way it's presented in one take, and the fact it gets meta, with a story about a group of people making a low-budget horror film who then themselves get attacked by actual zombies.
Eventually, the movie shifts away from this initial premise, and becomes something else entirely. The "one cut" presentation vanishes, too, but for good reason, and in its place is something even better, with a fantastic second half that expertly recontextualizes and improves the film's still enjoyable first half. It's a masterfully written and ridiculously clever movie, and offers an experience unlike anything else.
The broadest (and best) way to describe Fresh is to say that it's a movie about the difficulties dating in general in the 21st century. Daisy Edgar-Jones plays a young woman who seems unable to find an even halfway decent person to date until she happens to meet Sebastian Stan's character by chance, and the two hit it off surprisingly well.
This plays out until the opening title shows up over half an hour into the movie. By that point, the movie has revealed what genre it's actually going to be, and gives you some idea why it's called Fresh. If you can reach that point knowing nothing about where it ends up going, it would undoubtedly become an even more rewarding and jaw-dropping film to watch play out.
The already classic and critically acclaimed Parasite has a title that makes it sound a bit like a horror movie. It's not quite one, and saying so doesn't give away too much. It is, however, a film that tackles numerous other genres, and it blends comedy, drama, and suspense in a way that's never quite been done before.
Parasite is essentially a movie about two families who are separated by class and wealth, and what happens when they interact. That's keeping it super vague, but seeing the plot slowly take shape before a plot twist at the halfway point shifts just about everything is one thing that makes Parasite such a memorable movie… and to give away anything that happens after that halfway point would be borderline criminal.
Truth be told, there aren't really any plot-specific spoilers in Godzilla: Final Wars that absolutely need to be kept secret from those who haven't seen it. This is mostly because there's little to no plot in Final Wars; at least not one that makes any kind of logical sense.
However, unlike most movies, this isn't a flaw, because Godzilla: Final Wars is not most movies. It's an excuse to get one of the most powerful versions of Godzilla in the series' history to fight as many monsters as possible, all the while featuring a crazy human storyline that gleefully references Hollywood blockbusters like Star Wars, The Matrix, and X-Men. It's probably the wildest giant monster movie of all time, so the less known going in the better.
Some would say that the big reveals in Spider-Man: No Way Home weren't the best-kept secrets. There were plenty of rumors surrounding the movie while it was in production, and it was speculated on more heavily than the average MCU movie, that's for sure.
For anyone who went in maybe expecting certain things while not knowing for sure if they'd be there, it ended up being a hugely satisfying experience. And to the film's credit, it is the most ambitious, dramatic, and twist-heavy Spider-Man film in the MCU so far, which means that even those who might know some reveals in advance likely won't know them all.
Red State is a film that truly stands out among Kevin Smith's other directorial efforts. It's a far cry from the sort of laid back comedy he's best known for making, as any humor here is extremely dark and infrequent, with it being far more of a serious action/thriller than anything else.
It's a movie that continually aims to subvert your expectations, and while the swerves it takes throughout may prove too jarring for some, they could likely prove thrilling and exciting for others. In any event, it's great to see Smith take this kind of risk and have it pay off reasonably well, as it can't be overstated how far removed it is from something like Clerks or Chasing Amy.
By making one of the best – and most harrowing – horror films of the past decade, Ari Aster instantly made a name for himself as a director to keep an eye out for. Hereditary is a film that begins normally enough, with a suitably creepy atmosphere and some family drama… until it takes a turn into something far more disturbing and traumatic surprisingly early on.
After one unbelievably intense sequence, Hereditary never stops spiraling down into darkness and horror that's as sad as it is disturbing. Toni Collette is phenomenal in the lead role, too, with Hereditary emerging as a film that will likely shake even the most jaded and hardened horror fans.
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Jeremy is an omnivore when it comes to movies. He’ll gladly watch and write about almost anything, from old Godzilla films to gangster flicks to samurai movies to classic musicals to the French New Wave to the MCU. When he’s not writing lists for Collider, he also likes to upload film reviews to his Letterboxd profile and Instagram account.
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'Barbarian' & 9 Other Unpredictable Movies You Should Go Into Blind – Collider
Movies you should know nothing about before watching