As we turn the calendar to April and move further away from winter, there are a whole slew of fantastic new movies to stream on Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, Criterion Channel, and more. From the Blade movies on Netflix to dark comedies from the Coen Brothers to animated adventures like How To Train Your Dragon and horror movies like The Ring, there’s something for virtually everyone to watch at home this month. It also seems likely we’ll get The Batman on HBO Max in mid-April, so keep your eye out for that.
With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a list of the best movies new to streaming in April to help you figure out what to watch this month. We also have complete lists of everything coming to Netflix and Disney Plus in April, if that’s your speed.
Got something else you’re excited to check out this month? Planning to check one of these out? Already did and loved it? Be sure to let us know in the comments.
Blade and Blade 2
10 years before Robert Downey Jr.’s debut as Tony Stark in 2008’s Iron Man, Wesley Snipes delivered Marvel its first genuine hit movie through his career-defining role as Blade, the half-vampire, half-human vampire hunter. Forced to wage a war against an underground society of vampires led by Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff), a megalomaniacal vampire with world-ending ambitions, Blade must at the same time work alongside his mentor Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) and hematologist Karen Jenson (N’Bushe Wright) to manage his own terrible, suppressed thirst for human blood. Come for the blood rave, stay for the kickass action sequences.
If that weren’t enough, March marked the 20th anniversary of Guillermo del Toro’s follow-up Blade 2, which saw the Daywalker facing off against a monstrous horde of split-chinned hybrids manufactured by an unscrupulous sect of vampire nobles. Both films are more than worth your time, and with plans afoot for Marvel’s reboot starring Mahershala Ali, what better time than now to pay respects to the OG? —Toussaint Egan
Blade and Blade 2 are available to stream on Netflix.
Bernard Rose’s original 1992 Candyman is one of the most horrifying horror movies of the early ’90s, a film whose sheer thematic depth and daring visuals evidence the hand of a masterful filmmaker at the peak of his abilities. Adapted from Clive Barker’s short story “The Forbidden,” the films stars Virginia Madsen as Helen Lyle, a University of Illinois grad student who becomes obsessed with studying the legend of Candyman, the murderous apparition born from the tortured spirit of a black man who, in 1890, was killed for falling in love with a white woman. Lyle journeys to the modern-day site of Candyman’s death, the Cabrini-Green housing development, where she unwittingly conjures the vengeful ghost back into being. With a beautiful, haunting score by composer Philip Glass and an iconic performance by Tony Todd as Candyman, the 1992 original is required viewing for anyone even remotely interested in watching Nia DaCosta’s 2021 sequel of the same name. —TE
Candyman is available to stream on Shudder.
Brian De Palma’s 1976 horror movie stands as one of the better Stephen King adaptations ever made, bringing to life both the natural anxieties of being a bullied teenager in an unsupportive household and the supernatural anxieties of having super powers. Sissy Spacek stars as Carrie, and Piper Laurie as her domineering mother, a religious fanatic. When Carrie gets her first period at school and panics, having never been told what that was, it starts a spiral that leads to a climactic and unforgettable prom night for all involved. —PV
Carrie is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
Director duo Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (Gamer) have a chaotic energy to their movies that has to be seen to be believed. Their debut, Crank, takes that to its premise, as well. Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), a hitman in LA, has a job go bad and ends up being injected with a drug that slows his heart. In order to stay alive, Chelios must keep his adrenaline pumping. While the premise sounds ridiculous, don’t let it fool you into thinking there’s no thought behind it: Chelios’ situation can also be read as an allegory for action movies themselves, as the genre also requires continual stimulation to stay alive (aka keeping viewer interest). But what links the whole thing together are Neveldine and Taylor’s unique directorial sensibilities, infusing the film with a permeating sense of chaos and disorder that fits the story to perfection. —PV
Crank is available to stream on Hulu.
Pride and Prejudice director Joe Wright’s action thriller Hanna stars Saoirse Ronan as a 15-year-old girl trained from birth to become an assassin by her surrogate, ex-CIA asset father Erik (Eric Bana). When the pair are discovered by Marissa Wiegler (Cate Blanchett), the CIA handler charged with recovering Hanna and her father, she’s forced to face startling revelations about her past and existence as she attempts to stay one step ahead of her pursuers. Featuring a bangin’ soundtrack produced by The Chemical Brothers, Hanna is a lean and mean spy thriller that hits the mark. (The Amazon series it inspired, maybe less so.) —TE
Hanna is available to stream on Hulu.
The sci-fi romantic drama Her stars Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore Twombly, an introvert who falls in love with an artificial intelligence operating system named Samantha (Scarlett Johansson). Set in an uncanny future only partially removed from our present, Spike Jonze’s cinematic ode to the intersecting forces of love and technology is a humorous and affecting experience whose poignant clarity will stick with you long after it’s over. —TE
Her is available to stream on Netflix.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Garth Jennings’ 2005 adaptation of Douglas Adams’ beloved sci-fi comedy stars Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Sherlock) as Arthur Dent, a dull, ordinary everyman who inadvertently becomes one of the last surviving humans in the universe after the Earth is destroyed by a bureaucratic alien race to build a hyperspace overpass. Venturing alongside a cast of colorful characters played by Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def), Sam Rockwell, Zooey Deschanel, and the late Alan Rickman as a depressed android, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is gleefully out of this world and perennially hilarious. The whale scene alone ... —TE
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
How to Train Your Dragon
The entire How to Train Your Dragon trilogy is rock solid from front to back, but there is something particularly special about the first one. The epic fantasy series follows a group of vikings, who, in the first movie, are locked in constant battle with dragons. Misfit Hiccup finds a wounded dragon and, instead of killing it, he begins to train the spunky creature and bonds deeply with it. It’s a story of outcasts finding each other and proving generational prejudices wrong, against all odds. The soundtrack is phenomenal, the story a perfect blend of funny and heartwarming, and the character designs are amazing — especially the dragons. Dreamworks could have made these creatures look the same as every other dragon out there, but they’re all so distinct and fun to see in action. Of course, Toothless is still the best boy of them all. —Petrana Radulovic
How to Train Your Dragon is available to stream on Netflix.
What if there was a pill that could change your life and give you everything you ever wanted? No, I’m not trying to soft-sell you on some snake oil prophylactic, I’m describing the premise of 2011’s Limitless. Bradley Cooper stars as Eddie Morra, a down-on-his-luck writer who ingests an experimental synthetic drug that increases his concentration and intelligence a hundred-fold. Using his newfound mental prowess, Eddie becomes a successful financial advisor and climbs the corporate ladder to success — that is, until the criminals who manufactured the drug come looking for him to take back what’s theirs. —TE
Limitless is available to stream on HBO Max.
Rian Johnson’s sci-fi noir action-thriller Looper follows the story of Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a hitman working for a crime syndicate in the year 2044 who specializes in killing people his employers send back in time from the future. In exchange for his services, Joe is offered the opportunity to retire provided that he close his own “loop” by executing his future self (Bruce Willis). When his future self overpowers him and sets off on his own mysterious mission, Joe must track himself down and close his loop before his employers opt to kill both of them to cover the whole mess up. From there, it only gets more complicated. Filled with exciting chase sequences, exhilarating gunfights, a memorable score by composer Nathan Johnson, and some frankly bizarre makeup designed to make Gordon-Levitt look like a younger Willis, Looper is a fascinating and thoroughly entertaining action movie with a heart as big as the ideas that power it. —TE
Looper is available to stream on Hulu.
Man of Steel
Stay with me as I share my journey with this movie. Like many others, when I first saw it, I hated it. I thought the violence and destruction was excessive and without thought, and it left a bad taste in my mouth. With the passing of time and the completion of the trilogy of movies, I have done a complete 180 and Man of Steel is now a movie I unexpectedly and unabashedly adore.
This is a deeply personal movie about feeling alienated from the world around you and wanting to be accepted, and about the failures of our parents while they try to look out for us. (Man of Steel could also be referred to as “There are Two Dads Inside You: The Movie.”) All the elements that left me cold the first time around have since been contextualized thoughtfully in the movies that follow, especially in the opening scene of Batman vs. Superman. Henry Cavill seems born to play Superman, bringing his natural charisma and good looks to the role in addition to an undercurrent of melancholy as he tries to navigate a world that seems to have no clear place for him. Michael Shannon is menacing as Zod, as is Antje Traue as his lieutenant Faora-Ul. With incredible fight scenes, a roaring score from Han Zimmer, and thoughtful meditations on where our parents’ vision of our path in life differs from our own, Man of Steel deserves your reconsideration (or a rewatch, if you’re already in the “this rules, actually” camp). —PV
Man of Steel will be available to stream on HBO Max April 5.
Man on Fire
Tony Scott was at his apex when he made Man on Fire. The 2004 action thriller stars Denzel Washington as John Creasy, a suicidal former CIA agent-turned-bodyguard for Lupita (Dakota Fanning), a nine-year-old girl living with her wealthy parents in Mexico City. Despite his reserved, antagonistic nature and troubled past, Creasy unexpectedly forms an almost familial bond with his client that is put to the ultimate test when she is kidnapped by criminals demanding a ransom for her release. Waging an asymmetrical war of vigilante violence against her captors, Creasy stops at nothing to save Lupita in a bid to redeem his own soul. With intense gunfights, teeth-gnashing violence, brilliant cinematography, and a beautiful score composed by Harry Gregson-Williams and Lisa Gerrard, Man on Fire ranks among the very best of Scott’s oeuvre. —TE
Man on Fire is available to stream on Peacock.
Acclaimed commercial director Kinka Usher’s one and only feature film is this silly cape comedy about a group of minor superheroes left to save the day after the much more lauded and powerful Captain Amazing (Greg Kinnear) goes missing. With a sprawling, hilarious ensemble cast that ranges from Ben Stiller, Wes Studi, and Willliam H. Macy to Janeane Garofalo, Eddie Izzard, and Tom Waits, Mystery Men has everything from silly gags about farts to astute send-ups of the nascent genre and its overlap with corporate America. —PV
Mystery Men is available to stream on Peacock.
O Brother, Where Art Thou?
The Coen brothers followed up their 1998 cult classic The Big Lebowski with O Brother, Where Art Thou?, a crime comedy-drama following a trio of escaped convicts trekking through a mythic rural Mississippi inspired by Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson each deliver comic performances worthy of the Marx Brothers as they serendipitously stumble from one bizarre misadventure to the next, whether becoming accidental country folk stars or quarreling with the Klan.
From its ever-quotable dialogue to its serene scenes of the Depression-era South and its infectiously catchy folk score, O Brother, Where Art Thou? is yet another terrific film that could have only sprung from the imagination of the so-called “Two-Headed Director.” —TE
O Brother, Where Art Thou is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
The movie that made Tony Jaa into an international action star, Ong-Bak was his first collaboration with director Prachya Pinkaew. After gangsters from Bangkok deface a holy statue, villagers send Ting (Jaa), a skilled martial artist, to retrieve the statue’s stolen head from the big city. What starts as a culture clash comedy of sorts quickly turns into a thrilling martial arts action movie, with incredible foot chases, hard-to-believe stunts (the plate glass window jump! IYKYK), and hard-hitting fight scenes. Two pieces of Ong-Bak trivia for you: Jaa, who had trained in Muay Thai as a child and wanted the movie to promote the martial art form around the world, performed Muay Thai demonstrations in the lead-up to the movie’s release, including at NBA halftime shows. And if you keep your eye out, you can see “graffiti” in the background of some shots nodding to Steven Spielberg and Luc Besson. —PV
Ong-Bak is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.
The early 2000s were a fascinating time when studios were spending tens of millions of dollars on horror blockbusters. Among the best of these is the American remake of Ringu, a Japanese movie about a haunted videotape that kills the viewer seven days after they watch its strange montage of images. While the remake lacks the empathy and scares of the original, The Ring is a wholly unique and worthwhile experience on its own and feels completely different from the horror movies of any other era. With its blockbuster budget and gorgeous direction from Gore Verbinski, this remake is somewhere between a ghost story and a mystery-thriller and relies more on its world’s excellent sense of haunting dread than direct scares. —Austen Goslin
The Ring is available to stream on Netflix.