7 hidden gems on ShowMax

2016-04-14 07:00

Cape Town - There are hundreds of movies to choose from on ShowMax – our selection rounds up some of the more unusual and most highly rated of the bunch. 


Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is an ambitious FBI student pursuing a sadistic serial killer who wears the skin of his victims. To catch him, she must interview another mass murderer: the cryptically intelligent psychiatrist-cum-psychopath, Hannibal “the Cannibal” Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). 

Why watch it? 

Directed by Jonathan Demme this classic has racked up over 50 international awards. With an incredible cast delivering a magnificent yet terrifying performance, this horror movie should be on every film fan’s watch list. 

The prequel, Hannibal (2001), which tracks the murders of the cannibalistic serial killer played by Hopkins is also available on ShowMax. 

2. CHASING AMY (1997) 

Holden (Ben Affleck) and Banky (Jason Lee) are best friends enjoying the success of their hit comic book series, Bluntman and Chronic. When the pair meet fellow comic book artist Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams), Holden falls for her immediately. Banky doesn’t want to lose his best friend as the two spark up a relationship and Holden’s hopes are crushed when he finds out that she’s gay.  

Why watch it? 

Chasing Amy is a cult classic directed by Kevin Smith. It’s quirky, clever and highly quotable in the signature style of Smith’s raunchy humour and witty dialogue. 

The fictional comic book Bluntman and Chronic is based on the characters Jay and Silent Bob from a previous hit film that Smith directed, Clerks, where he plays the role of Silent Bob. These characters were so popular that they got their own film, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, also directed by Smith. 

Both Clerks and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back are available on ShowMax. 

3. PAN'S LABYRINTH (2006) 

Set in 1944 following a bloody civil war in Spain, young Ofelia enters a world of cruelty when she moves in with her stepfather, a sadistic army officer. She discovers a mystical realm that sets her on a path to saving herself and her pregnant mother. But soon the lines between fantasy and reality become blurred as she finds herself at the centre of a battle between good and evil. 

Why watch it? 

Pan’s Labyrinth has been described as the adult version of Alice in Wonderland. Directed by the famous Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, the story is compelling and deeply involving. It is beautiful, exciting and sometimes terrifying. The visual and graphic effects are also brilliant.

4. PLATOON (1986) 

Platoon probes the psyche of young soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War. This hard-hitting war classic showcases the soldiers’ camaraderie and their struggle for survival amid terrifying violence and the madness of combat. 

Why watch it? 

Directed by the legendary Oliver Stone, the movie centres on Chris Taylor (Charlie Sheen) who gives up college to join the army. When he arrives in Vietnam and heads to the frontlines, he realises that his romantic idea of war couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Starring Charlie Sheen alongside Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker and a young Johnny Depp, the film brilliantly captures the chaos of war and bonds of brotherhood that quickly form. 


In April 1994, one of the most heinous genocides in world history began in the African nation of Rwanda. Over the course of 100 days, close to one million people were killed in a terrifying purge by Hutu nationalists against their Tutsi countrymen. This harrowing drama focuses on the human atrocities that took place a decade ago through the story of two Hutu brothers – one in the military, one a radio personality.

Why watch it?

Directed by Raoul Peck and starring Idris Elba, Sometimes in April is an extremely powerful yet heartbreaking story that will leave you in shock at the atrocities reaped across Rwanda in the 1994 genocide.


Set in early 1900s Vienna, Neil Burger's romantic thriller centres on illusionist extraordinaire, Eisenheim (Edward Norton), who falls for an aristocrat (Jessica Biel) well above his social standing. When she becomes engaged to Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell), the master magician uses his powers to win her love.

Why watch it?

Great performances by Edward Norton, Jessica Biel and Paul Giamatti will leave you suspended between truth and illusion. With immaculate costume design you’ll feel immersed in the era and the plot progression will leave you guessing until the end. 

7. GUMS & NOSES (2004) 

A dark South African comedy about cocaine, advertising and self-esteem, Gums & Noses documents a man’s descent into the world of addiction and dependency.

Why watch it?

The tagline of this film is A Black Comedy about White Powder. The film centres on a man working in the advertising industry who struggles to get ahead due to his lack of motivation and creativity. That is until he discovers cocaine. So begins his rapid ascent to the top followed by a hastier descent to rock bottom. This is an unusual South African film that is definitely worth a watch. 

Browse ShowMax’s entire catalogue at www.ShowMax.com and sign up for a 7 day free trial. 

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