Must SEA movies on Netflix

by Matthew Escosia
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By: Godfreyna Canja


“Netflix and chill” is our generation’s energy re-charge from our hectic daily lives (and now are lives in quarantine!). Whether you are a student, or a working adult, Netflix and chill is an activity we can all agree on that can take our stress away.

But with the abundance of content that Netflix has, we can honestly confess that we sometimes spend our “Netflix and chill” time only to browse through all these films and shows never choosing anything! We can all agree that picking which movie or series to watch can be a little overwhelming and that the abundance of Western content can sometimes be a little too repetitive for our tastes. So here, we’ve listed down five Southeast Asian gems that you can watch on Netflix now!


Dead Kids (2019) — Philippines

dead kids netflix

Dead Kids. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

Ever thought or imagined how much you want to get back at your school’s major bully? Maybe throw a punch at their face or two? This film’s protagonists took revenge a little too far.

Dead Kids is a Netflix original film about a group of teenagers who kidnapped their classmate, the school’s rich and privileged “cool kid” and the son of a drug lord. They kidnap him to get back at his cockiness and to gain “easy” money from his drug lord dad. Plans go awry, and things get a little too complicated for these teens.

The film was loosely based on a true story involving a kidnapping of a student by fellow students from various schools in the Philippines which was a controversial issue in 2018.


The Stranded (2019) — Thailand

the stranded netflix

The Stranded. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

Thai films are known to give us awesome suspense thriller films, this time they give us The Stranded, Thailand’s first Netflix original series. A mystery thriller series about a group of students that get stuck in an elite island private school after getting hit by a tsunami. With seemingly no adults around, and no means of getting help from anyone, they are forced to try and get out of the island by their own hands, but mysterious forces lurk and seem to work against them.


Shirkers (2018) — Singapore

shirkers netflix

Shirkers. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

Shirkers is a documentary, one oddball true tale of a girl whose first-ever film was stolen by her director and how 20 years later, what once vanished without a trace come popping back to her life. Director Sandi Tan made a film, titled Shirkers, in 1992 together with her friends and with her director friend Georges Cardona, but before the film was completed, Georges disappeared with no trace along with her 70cans of 16mm films. After miraculously reuniting with her film she decides to make a documentary about the strange experience and revisit her youth.


Paskal (2018) — Malaysia

paskal netflix

Paskal. Photo courtesy of Netflix.

We are all too familiar with America’s abundance of movies surrounding, Navy SEALS, secret special forces and all that action-packed, star-studded films. Malaysia introduces to us their very own special military unit through PASKAL. The Pasukan Kauhs Laut or PASKAL is the highest special operations unit of the Royal Malaysian Navy and the film succinctly shows us what its like to be in the unit. From the rigorous training that the officers go through to the high-risk missions that they are sent to, PASKAL delves into what it’s like in the lives of these unsung Malaysian heroes.


Filosofi Kopi (2015) — Indonesia

filosofi kopi netflix

Filosofi Kopi. Photo courtesy of Netflix

For fans of coffee, warm and light-hearted films, this movie is for you. Filosofi Kopi is a film about Ben and Jody, childhood friends who run a coffee shop that Jody inherited but unfortunately came with a lot of debt. Jody handles the business side of things while Ben is the often cocky but creative genius barista who is passionate about the aesthetics and philosophy of coffee. Their characters are explored as they continue to face the challenges of keeping the business afloat and tension arising between them as they do. Packed with humor and wholesome moments, Filosofi Kopi warms you up like your delicious and familiar cup of coffee.


It’s nice to take a break from the same old western shows we watch and take time to appreciate the creativity of our region. We often forget how talented Southeast Asians are when it comes to creating beautiful stories and narratives through cinema. Now let’s bring out the popcorn and start our Netflix and chill!

Enjoyed these shows? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!


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