Best Thrillers You Might Not Know About
What to Watch Next
While we all love books and the great outdoors, sometimes the best way to relax is to find a good movie. If you're a movie buff like me, you probably have at least toyed with the idea of getting a subscription to either Netflix or Prime. Even with a Prime subscription, there are additional fees for movies that are in demand. So before I invest my time and money, I want a story that will keep me tuned in from beginning to end.
Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB ratings are always a good first place to look to find the highest rated movies. The most satisfying watching experiences, I have found, are the underrated gems tucked behind Amazon's sponsored selections and the overly publicized big-budget movies. For those with a less-obsessive movie-viewing habit, here are some movies that you might want to check out.
The Sudden Plot Twist
I admit it, thrillers are my favorite genre. Not all thrillers are created equal. Some are more action-packed, some are stories of vengeance and others have some incredibly unexpected plot twist that comes out of nowhere. It's the type of movie that catches your interest and never lets go. While everyone's heard of movies like "The Sixth Sense", here are many lesser-known movies that are bound to captivate the average movie-goer.
The Others (2001) - This isn't a recent release but it is a simply told ghost story that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The acting and direction are sparse and elegant, conveying an old-world sense of mystery. Don't let the simplicity fool you, the twists and turns in this seemingly straightforward story rival that of the Sixth Sense.
The Machinist (2004) - This thriller is both intriguing and tragic at the same time. There is an industrial worker who's suffering from insomnia, he's lost an incredible amount of weight and there's something that happened about a year ago that possibly is at the root of his current problems. It's not so much that you don't know that your being taken for a ride that swerves uneasily between reality and perception, but the fact that your sympathies and curiosity become engaged in finding out what happened.
The Uninvited (2009) - Everyone knows that the best horror films are originally made in Asia. While everyone has seen movies like "The Grudge" and "The Ring", you may not have heard of this one. It's original was a Korean film called "A Tale of Two Sisters".
Thrillers With a Heart
Thrillers are popular because they grab your attention. Some have Hitchcockian plot twists and others are slow-burners that leave you thinking about them for days afterward. It is the rare thriller, however, that equally engage you in the emotional lives of the characters. Here are some thrillers that not only fascinate you, but they will make your heart ache.
The Triangle (2009) - This movie is about a group of friends that go out on a yacht only to get taken over by a storm. Don't let the cliche "lost at sea" element fool you. There is more to this movie than battling the elements. There's a sense of mystery that pervades this movie that will keep you guessing and an ending that is ultimately satisfying as well as heart-wrenching.
Take Shelter (2011) - It is my current theory that Jessica Chastain does not make a bad movie. Roger Ebert reviews gave this one 4 stars; high praise coming from the man who has literally "seen them all". But this is no inaccessible art-house flick that will be lost on the average movie-goer. It tells the story of a man in midwest America who starts having visions of the Apocalypse. I don't want to give too much away but this movie is so realistic and well-done that it will have you questioning your own perceptions of what happened days after you finish watching.
The Babadook (2014) - This is the story of a single mother who reads a very odd book to her son and soon finds that the house is plagued by an evil presence. More of a horror than a thriller, there is a plot twist at the end that will make this a satisfying watch for die-hard fans of mystery. The real impact of the movie, however, is in the cathartic ending.
The Lives of Others (2006) - This film won a lot of high-status awards, including an Oscar for best foreign language film. It may not have received the general public attention it deserved, however, due to the fact that it has subtitles. I get that most people don't watch movies so they can read. However, this film is definitely worth the extra effort. It may be a little melancholy for some, but it is an unforgettable story.
There's a number of memorable movies that I've viewed in my constant search for the next thrill-ride. Here's a list of more movies that are worth mentioning.
1408 (2007) - Stephen King has been so popular for so long, it's easy to take for granted his ability to captivate the imagination with his dark themes and macabre visions. This is a story about a man whose specialty is debunking the paranormal as he stays the night in a haunted hotel room. Let's leave the rest to Mr. King's imagination, shall we?
The Skeleton Key (2005) - Not the most sophisticated in its execution, this movie still has a plot twist at the end that just works. As in all good thrillers, half the fun is in the build-up. You can try to guess the ending as a young hospice worker discovers Hoodoo practices as she cares for an invalid in a remote mansion. But my guess is that you will be surprised at what she uncovers.
Wind Chill (2007) - This one didn't get a high rating on IMDB, but I found it to be a very enjoyable story with a sense of mystery that kept me guessing from start to finish. The chemistry between the two characters added a dimension of believability to the whole movie. It was so well done, it took me back to my college days when travel plans with friends turned into a never-ending road trip of horror.