You know it when you see it. If the movie's title doesn't tip you off, then the featured art certainly will. And if you're still not convinced the film you're about to watch is objectively bad, then the synopsis will surely be all the evidence you need not to watch it.
And, yet, against your better judgement, you've probably watched one or two really bad movies on Netflix, mostly out of curiosity, but also because, let's face it, these bad movies are just so damn good. It's like our weird obsession with the smell of gasoline.
Inexplicably, we started watching these bad movies in our office a few weeks ago, and we've been hooked ever since. It started as a joke. Let's put on Zombeavers and see just how ridiculous it is. It's gone downhill since.
And I have absolutely no regrets. For every Inception, Shawshank Redemption, and Pulp Fiction, there's a Cowboys vs. Dinosaurs, Zoombies, and Avalanche Sharks. These aren't the type of movies that are so bad they're actually good. These movies are plain horrible.
If you've ever sat through a terrible movie, you've probably wondered how it got made in the first place. And a lot of them don't seem very self-aware of just how ridiculous they are. For some reason, I find it endearing in a way.
The way they're unintentionally funny, the truly awful special effects, and the insane plots. You haven't seen crazy until you see sharks that terrorize vacationers in California's famed Mammoth Mountain.
There are varying degrees of a bad movie, too, which complicates things. I don't necessarily think Con Air is bad, but it's also not very good. Yet, you can't help but love it.
Compare that with 3-Headed Shark Attack and the disparity becomes alarmingly clear. Sure, they're both terrible. But 3-Headed Shark Attack's unintended commitment to being terrible is almost impressive. Scenes that are supposed to be frightening end up being hilarious.
Just watch the clip (below) and try to keep a straight face.
I mean no disrespect to anyone involved in these productions. I am immensely happy this kind of entertainment exists—and you should be too. They provide an innumerable amount of joy, even if it's unintentional. Zombeavers isn't the least bit funny, yet I couldn't stop laughing.
Think of it this way: Netflix's library of awful movies is like the crazier version of the Hallmark channel, which plays different versions of the same movie over and over and over.
I knew all of these movies were on Netflix, too, I just never gave them a chance, content to mindlessly scroll past them in search of the "good" ones. But after watching one—it started with Zombeavers—I was hooked. Frankly, I'm excited to see what other terrible movies the service gets throughout the year.
Watching these straight-to-DVD movies—they're even worse than that—is in a weird way riveting; how low can the bar be set?
These titles shouldn't be derided, but celebrated. Rather than put on Disney Animation's Moana, why not put on Jurassic School, a film about a young boy whose clone dinosaur egg suddenly hatches, leading to all sorts of wild hijinks.
To help introduce you to the world of really bad movies, we've come up with ten titles on Netflix worth checking out right now. Give them a chance, enjoy them with friends, have a laugh or two. You'll realize that there's value to be found in even the worst and most ridiculous entertainment.
(Even though the Sharknado movies are on Netflix, they didn't make the cut.)