Stranger Things actor Gaten Matarazzo stars in Honor Society, the newest original film to arrive on Paramount+ on July 29th, and though not a ton of people are talking about it, that could make it a hidden gem of 2022. It feels like the kind of movie that some will overlook now only to find it at a later date.
That would put the film right in line with some of the best from the 2010s that flew under the radar. Some were met with widespread acclaim but had low box office numbers while others are simply a good time, yet all are worth checking out.
The Little Hours (2017)
Filmmaker Jeff Baena has become known for his frequent collaborations with Alison Brie in Horse Girl and Spin Me Round, and with his wife Aubrey Plaza in Life After Beth. All three came together for The Little Hours, an absurd comedy set in medieval times.
Loosely based on a collection of novellas by Giovanni Boccaccio, the story follows a trio of nuns (Plaza, Brie, and Kate Micucci) who all try to have sex with a gardener (Dave Franco) who is hiding after being charged with adultery. Overlooked by many, The Little Hours was well-received and boasts a loaded cast.
Considering the names involved in Allied, it’s pretty surprising that it became a box office flop. The legendary Robert Zemeckis directs it, while Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard are the lead actors, making it feel like something you just had to watch.
That said, not enough people went out to see the story of a French Resistance fighter and Canadian intelligence officer who fall in love in Casablanca while posing as a married couple. Allied isn’t considered an epic or all-time great film but the actors give strong performances and this scored an Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design.
There are times when a movie works well because it features relatively unknown actors. That allows viewers to get swept up in the story rather than see a famous star on the screen. That concept is part of why Overlord succeeds as an action horror movie.
Combine that factor with the committed performances and it’s easy for the audience to buy into this film about soldiers who get trapped against Nazi experiments the day before D-Day. Though it had a small box office intake, reviews were positive for the zombie frights, action, and gore.
She’s Out Of My League (2010)
The romantic comedy genre is a crowded one which makes it so far too many end up getting passed over. She’s Out of My League fits into that category as it grossed less than $50 million worldwide but those who saw it seemed to have a fair amount of fun with it.
Nobody will confuse this for an Oscar contender and the formulaic aspect is evident but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth a watch. Jay Baruchel and Alice Eve have great chemistry as the average joe and the beautiful woman who unexpectedly fall in love.
Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong (2015)
The simplicity of Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong is the most appealing thing about it. The movie tells the story of a man and woman who meet outside of a bar in Hong Kong and quickly form a bond before it picks up again a year later to see where they’re at now.
It’s made in the same vein as the classic Richard Linklater Before trilogy as it just follows two people falling for each other through conversations. The highlight is the electric chemistry between leads Jamie Chung and Bryan Greenberg, which makes sense given they were dating for years at the time of release and are married to this day.
The Feels (2017)
Thanks to starring roles in Fresh Off the Boat and the huge hit Crazy Rich Asians, Constance Wu is someone who audiences have come to adore over the past few years. Despite that, even some of her biggest fans are unaware of this little LGBTQ+ indie flick, The Feels.
The plot takes place on a bachelorette weekend ahead of the wedding of Andi (Wu) and Lu (Angela Trimbur), only for things to get turned upside down when a drunk Lu admits she’s never had an orgasm. That sends the couple into a spiral that ruins their big day and leads to some heavy emotional drama.
Dave Made A Maze (2017)
It’s often fun when a film can blend a handful of different genres and that’s just what Dave Made a Maze does. The movie has elements of horror, comedy, fantasy, and adventure as it tells the story of a cardboard fort built by a man that includes deadly creatures and traps.
Dave Made a Maze had a budget of less than $1 million yet still didn’t even crack $100,000 at the box office. That means not enough people saw this intriguing and unique movie that won the Audience Award for Best Narrative at the Slamdance Film Festival.
Summer Days, Summer Nights (2018)
Not much is known about Summer Days, Summer Nights as it only has two critic reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and less than 1,000 ratings given out on IMDb. However, one of the reviews came from legendary critic Roger Ebert, who praised the film.
Summer Days, Summer Nights is set in 1982 and centers on a group of friends dealing with working summer jobs, falling in love, and planning for the future. Talented actors like Anthony Ramos (In The Heights) and Lindsey Morgan (The 100) are part of a likable cast.
It’s always tougher to get through a harrowing movie when you know that it’s based on a true story. Detroit does just that, telling the tale of the Algiers Motel Incident during the 1967 12th Street Riot, where people (mostly women and Black men) were abused by police officers.
The film doesn’t hold back in its depiction of this situation, making the viewer sit in these gruesome, unjust, and uncomfortable situations. Though it bombed at the box office, it was well received. There’s also the boost of a great cast including John Boyega, Kaitlyn Dever, Anthony Mackie, and more.
Calling Annihilation a hidden gem can feel a bit odd since most film lovers have already come to appreciate it as a modern classic. Being written and directed by Ex Machina’s Alex Garland and starring Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, and Oscar Isaac gives it some serious appeal.
That said, Annihilation didn’t make its budget back, so there are still a lot of people who likely don’t know about it. The trippy sci-fi flick about explorers entering a mysterious zone known as the Shimmer is the kind of thing you need to watch multiple times.