Bored of the usual fare? Here are some offbeat productions — showing both reel-life and real-life horror — to sink your teeth into…

Don’t Breathe (2016, Netflix) and Don’t Breathe 2 (2021, Disney+)

If you’re an expert binge-watcher who can easily predict the format and flow of most modern productions available on streaming services online, and feel utterly and completely bored by what’s on offer, these are the films for you.

Now available to stream on Netflix, Don’t Breathe (2016) had me and my household gripped and on the edges of our seat throughout its one hour and 28-minute running time.

Three desperate, teenage thieves break into a house of a blind man hiding a fortune. The house is in an isolated neighbourhood of Detroit and the job seems easy. Until they break in, that is. The Blind Man is a war vet who will protect what is his with a vengeance. His disability has only made him more dangerous to others. He’s also hiding a terrible secret in the house.

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In this film, the victim is the villain. A frighteningly lethal one at that.

A sequel to the brilliance that is Don’t Breathe, simply titled Don’t Breathe 2, has been released. The trailer indicates several years have passed since the last home invasion. Stephen Lang is back as the Blind Man and has a young girl (his own?) he’s been training and caring for, but his whole world is set to fall apart when three men come looking for her. I’ve heard the sequel is not as good as the original, but just the trailer had enough suspense and scares to properly spook me out already.

While the platform it’s streaming on, Disney+, is not available in Pakistan yet, you can either wait for it to come on one available in Pakistan or access it through your friendly neighbourhood videowala.

Inside Pakistan’s Morgues (2021, YouTube)

Inside Pakistan’s Morgues
Inside Pakistan’s Morgues

Pakistan’s cinema scene might be a bit of a bust for now, but its documentary industry is thriving. There have been three noteworthy releases by Pakistani filmmakers (or productions filmed in Pakistan) that have been released and are now available to view online.

For Vice News there is the current affairs documentary film, Inside Pakistan’s Morgues, directed by Saad Zuberi and Hani Taha, which takes a brazen look at Pakistan’s first responders. In this case, these are two ambulance drivers who constantly step out into the volatile landscape of Karachi’s urban existence, where encountering suffering and death is a norm. The 17-minute film, which showcases how hard it is for the first responders to maintain sanity, is available for view on YouTube on the Vice News channel.

Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror (2021, Netflix)

And finally, there is Turning Point: 9/11 and the War on Terror, a six-part series on Netflix co-executive-produced by our very own Emmy-award winning Mo Naqvi. This year is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and so brace, because every major network or streaming platform out there will have their own 9/11 productions ready for release. Beating them to the punch is Turning Point as it came out earlier than the others, on September 1st.

It’s trending at the number one spot globally on Netflix and even got a shout out by Kim Kardashian. The series showcases painstakingly collected archival footage and interviews of hard-to-track-down characters from around the world, either involved or affected and is a moving watch. The series drops in the backdrop of the United States’ shameful flight from Afghanistan, leaving things exactly as they were — in the hands of the same people they tried to ‘liberate’ Afghans from 20 years ago. This should be a timely, interesting and informative trip down memory lane. And for a much-publicised, mulled-over moment in history, we may just learn something new.

Published in Dawn, ICON, September 19th, 2021

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