There used to be a time when Netflix’s original movies were a big deal. Back in the days of Beasts of No Nation and Okja, these were huge events. Now, original content gets added to Netflix’s cavernous archives every day with little to no fanfare, which means some truly awesome hidden gems slip by the everyday scrolling viewer.
But if you know where to look, you can find badass movies that are more than deserving of a recommendation, like this Norwegian alien comedy that was quietly added over the summer. It barely got any attention, but it could easily stand next to the great sci-fi classics like Shaun of the Dead.
Here’s why Blasted is a must-watch Netflix original, and what you need to know before you dive in.
On June 28, Netflix released Blasted, a Norwegian sci-fi action comedy. It opens like many bro comedies before it — a bachelor party weekend in a forest known for its UFO sightings, with groom-to-be Sebastian surrounded by his friends from all facets of his life: his two work friends Audun and Pelle, his boss Kaspar, and his childhood best friend Mikkel.
Mikkel and Sebastian used to be champion laser-tag players (this is obviously crucial to the plot later on), but now that Sebastian’s moved on and is climbing the corporate ladder, there’s a bit of a disconnect between the two friends. Sebastian isn’t even that impressed when Mikkel shows him the deluxe laser tag vests and guns he got imported from Japan.
The gang decides to go paintballing, but when a friendly paint shot hits a odd-looking stranger, they realize there’s no need for mock combat: green-eyed aliens are converting unsuspecting citizens into zombie-like foot soldiers. The solution? They seek help from a heavily pregnant police officer named Hjørdis (obviously modeled after Frances McDormand in Fargo).
Those pop culture references are rife throughout Blasted. The tone is so similar to the golden age of bro comedy in the late-2000s that delightful references to Teslas and Joe Exotic seem almost jarring. The mid-budget theatrical comedy is becoming rarer and rarer these days, so the old-fashioned broad jokes and bits are surprisingly refreshing.
And then, there’s the action. The “unusual weapon against alien species” trope is wearing thin at this point, but you can’t make a movie about childhood laser tag prodigies without making the laser guns deadly to the oncoming aliens. Yes, this movie hits a lot of the alien combat survival movie beats but with the earnestness that this movie offers, it’s more “comfortingly familiar” than “repetitive and tired.”
Blasted is a return to a simpler time, when all a movie needed to succeed was a cast of bros and an unusual circumstance, one good CGI monster, and a fjord full of one-liners. There are no big names (at least, not to the American viewer,) just an indie movie feel with a blockbuster premise. It’s this balance that makes Netflix original movies great: we get access to international movies with huge ideas that we never would get to see otherwise. Blasted is the platonic ideal of this concept.
Blasted is now streaming on Netflix.