Although Hulu may be behind other major streaming services in producing original movies, there are still plenty of great feature films under the Hulu brand. Here are the best original films available to stream on Hulu.
Writer-director Justin Simien takes a ridiculous concept—an evil-possessed hair weave—and turns it into a smart and sometimes scary satire. Set in 1989 Los Angeles, Bad Hair is a clever period piece about the rise of hip-hop music video programming, starring Elle Lorraine as an aspiring VJ. She’s advised to get a weave to improve her chances of landing an on-air job at a network focused on African-American culture, but that proves to be a deadly choice when the cursed hair goes on a killing spree to feed its bloodlust.
Pete Davidson plays the embodiment of arrested development in coming-of-age dramedy Big Time Adolescence. Teenager Mo (Griffin Gluck) idolizes aimless stoner Zeke (Davidson), who’s the ex-boyfriend of Mo’s older sister. Being best friends with a teenager is ideal for Zeke’s maturity level, and he drags Mo into his world of drugs and partying. Davidson is perfect as a goofy character who gradually shows his dark side, and the movie is a low-key examination of the perils of male entitlement.
Director and co-writer Clea DuVall brings an LGBTQ perspective to a familiar holiday romantic comedy in Happiest Season. Devoted couple Abby (Kristen Stewart) and Harper (Mackenzie Davis) visit Harper’s family for Christmas, and Harper admits to Abby that she hasn’t actually come out to her family, forcing Abby to protect her secret. Plenty of typical holiday misunderstandings ensue, and the strength of Happiest Season is its use of warm, comforting holiday-movie elements to tell a progressive story of acceptance and forgiveness.
Throughout her time as a teen actor in the 1990s, Soleil Moon Frye carried around a video camera, capturing her own intimate and personal footage. She uses that footage to craft the documentary Kid 90, looking back on her own experiences and her friendships with other teen actors from that time period, including Brian Austin Green, Sara Gilbert, Stephen Dorff, and many more. It’s a rare unvarnished look at life in the spotlight, in an era before reality TV and social media turned every celebrity’s life into a constant performance.
Filmmaker Bing Liu mines his own personal life for the touching, keenly observed documentary Minding the Gap. Liu starts out chronicling the skateboarding antics of himself and his two best friends, capturing the kinds of stunts and mishaps that fill skating compilation videos.
But as the trio grows up and faces the difficulties of adulthood, Liu’s focus shifts, and he reveals harrowing personal details about all three subjects, himself included. Minding the Gap is an insightful meditation on cycles of abuse, race in America, and the joys of skateboarding.
Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti have amazing chemistry in the sci-fi romantic comedy Palm Springs. The time-loop premise is familiar from various other movies and TV series, but the filmmakers put a clever spin on it by having nihilistic loner Nyles (Samberg) accidentally drag the cynical, pragmatic Sarah (Milioti) into the time loop with him. Stuck repeating the day of Sarah’s sister’s wedding over and over, Nyles and Sarah get to know each other and fall in love, while also exploring the existential ramifications of their predicament.
A pair of teenage best friends go on a crazy road trip in search of one desperately needed item, with lots of strange, hilarious encounters along the way. The plot of Plan B sounds like dozens of other teen comedies, but what gives this movie its unique energy is that teenagers Sunny (Kuhoo Verma) and Lupe (Victoria Moroles) are on a quest to acquire a morning-after pill for Sunny following an ill-advised sexual encounter.
Plan B is both a funny, endearing story of teenage friendship and a pointed commentary on the policing of young women’s bodies.
A disabled teenager with chronic medical conditions discovers that her whole life may have been a lie in the tense, twisty thriller Run. Chloe (Kiera Allen) has always thought that her mother Diane (Sarah Paulson) was taking care of her, but as the home-schooled Chloe approaches high school graduation, she grows suspicious of what Diane has told her about her medical needs.
Allen gives a great debut performance as the fierce, resourceful Chloe, and Paulson plays on the audience’s sympathies as the concerned parent whose motives may be less pure than they appear.
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Set in New Orleans, horror movie Wounds is all about creepy atmosphere. Armie Hammer plays a bartender whose good looks hide an ugly personality, which is revealed when he comes across an abandoned cell phone with cryptic, disturbing messages. Soon he’s losing his grip on reality and lashing out at the women in his life, played by Dakota Johnson and Zazie Beetz. The movie’s sense of mounting dread can be indistinct and slow-moving, but it’s suffused with the horror of toxic masculinity.
Everybody knows about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s rise to stardom as the creator and star of Broadway sensation Hamilton, but not nearly as many people are familiar with his earlier days in a groundbreaking group that combines hip-hop, comedy, improv, and musical theater. Documentary We Are Freestyle Love Supreme tells the story of that group, founded by Miranda and many of his future Hamilton collaborators, and its evolving history as an artistic collective, culminating in a joyous reunion.
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