Often, a taught thriller can be just as intense and terrifying (sometimes more so) than a blood-soaked horror film; here are ten that top my list.
Hello, my dear Ghoulies and Goblins. Guess what tonight is? Tonight, is Thriller night, and something evil is lurking in the night… Oh wait, that’s just my shadow. This is Miss J here, and this week I am bringing you some of the best thrillers to come about — many even have a reputation of frightening people.
Now read the list before the beast strikes!
10. Prisoners (2013)
Hugh Jackman plays Keller Dover whose daughter has gone missing, and Jake Gyllenhaal play Detective Loki who is trying his best. But he is worried that Mr. Dover may take matters into his own hands soon and ruin the whole case. The movie is packed with A-list celebrities like Viola Davis, Maria Bello, and Terrance Howard. Hugh Jackman gives an emotional performance as he begins to lose faith that he will find his daughter alive, and the movie keeps you guessing until the very end.
Jake plays a detective that comes off as dark and mysterious and has sexy tattoos. The tattoos on his right knuckles are signs of the zodiac’s Virgo, Leo, Scorpio and Aries, which is interesting because he was in the 2007 film Zodiac. For a thriller, you wouldn’t expect such a high R rating, but it was originally going to be NC-17. The torture scenes had to be cut down, along with scenes that heavily suggested pedophilia. So, if you feel like playing detective tonight, why don’t you give this movie a shot and see if you can figure out the ending before time runs out!
9. Horns (2013)
Iggy is madly in love with his girlfriend. When she turns up murdered, everyone thinks he’s crazy enough to do it. He knows in his heart that he didn’t do it. One day he wakes up with horns sprouting out of his head, and suddenly everyone around him tells the truth. He decides to start his own investigation and figure out who truly killed the love of his life. Daniel Radcliff gives a funny, witty and dramatic performance, and he truly showed us what he could do outside the world of Harry Potter. His character even wears a maroon t-shirt and yellow sweatshirt that could easily symbolize his house at Hogwarts, and he is oddly able to speak to snakes as well.
Daniel said in a press interview for the film that he was absolutely excited to play the role and loved the script because it had so many different genres and elements to it. He knew it was going to be a great opportunity for him as an actor. He could also fall back on the book, which is written by Joe Hill, who is the son of famous horror writer, Stephen King. With the help from the horns, do you think you can figure out who the murder is?
8. Hide and Seek (2005)
A widower moves him and his daughter into a new home after his wife commits suicide. His daughter becomes oddly attached to an imaginary friend named Charlie. However, his daughter Emily (played by Dakota Fanning) is showing some rather disturbing behavior, and her father and psychiatrist begin to worry about her sanity.
Dakota actually took a pay cut just so she could have her name on the movie poster next to Robert De Niro’s, and she didn’t actually dye her goldilocks brown and wore a wig instead. The DVD includes four alternative endings for the film and is a hidden gem amongst the thriller movies, but it’s good enough to land itself on this list.
7. The Raven (2012)
I bet John Cusack never thought that he would ever in a million years get to play such an iconic legend like Edgar Allan Poe, but he did, and he totally rocked it. He even had a pet Racoon as a sidekick that almost completely stole the show, but he was only in it for a few scenes. If you don’t know who EAP is, then I highly suggest you educate yourself — because he is a legend when it comes to writing the darkest poetry, and The Raven is one of the greatest pieces of literature in history.
This is a different outlook on the morbid icon and a fictional tale of how they imagined the last few days of Edgar’s life went; because no one actually knows what happened to Edgar before his mysterious death. Much to his annoyance, he must help a detective solve crimes that are based on his horror stories. He is going to have to help or else watch as his darkest thoughts become a gruesome reality. The only thing that has been for sure about the death of Edgar is the last words that he muttered before he took his last breath, and John made sure to include them. Those words: “May God have mercy on my poor soul.”
6. Red Eye (2005)
I’m sure everyone knows someone, or is someone, who is terrified of flying. But can you imagine flying and being held hostage in your spot? This is one of Wes Craven’s great pieces of work that he left behind for us, starring Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy. It is one hell of a thriller and not as gory as we are used to when it comes to the master of horror. But he’s just as good giving us a chilling thriller as he is with a blood bath horror flick.
Thrillers always have great fight scenes, and Rachel and Cillian have a close encounter in the airplane’s washroom. Things got a little out of hand when Cillian accidentally threw Rachel in the wrong spot, and she hit her head. She was unconscious for a half hour, and when she woke up she immediately wanted to finish the take, even though Cillian was nervous that he would hurt her again. But he truly wanted this role. Cillian flew from England to Hollywood just to have lunch with Wes Craven, two days before his wedding, just so he could get the part. He won Wes over with those piercing eyes of his.
5. The Butterfly Effect (2004)
I would have never thought that the hilarious Ashton Kutcher, the guy from Dude, where’s my car?, would ever be in a horror film. Now I know this movie is considered a Thriller, but it horrifies in ways that only humans can. Though Ashton is considered a funny man, he took this role very seriously and researched Psychology, Mental Disorders, and Chaos Theory to prepare for his roll as Evan Treborn.
Ashton was also an executive producer on the film, and it was finally made because of that. You probably wouldn’t expect a thriller to make you feel so emotional — but that’s what movies about lost love, death, and heartbreak will do to you. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of fucked up shit for you to enjoy as well if you haven’t seen this film.
4. Seven (1995)
“What’s in the Box?!” Sorry, now that that’s out of the way, we can continue to our scheduled programing. This movie is quite popular around the horror community because it very well could be considered a horror film with the gruesome crime scenes that are left behind by a killer dubbed John Doe. Unfortunately, he is played by douche bag Kevin Spacey, who has since been blacklisted from Hollywood. But a common rule amongst most movie lovers is that we can enjoy the work they did before it was known they were pieces of shit.
This serial killer is following the myth of the seven deadly sins, and each kill would put Jigsaw to shame — they are quite impressive and creative. Brad Pitt was injured while filming the scene where he’s chasing the criminal in the rain. He accidentally slipped, and his hand went through a car windshield, requiring him to get surgery. But they worked it into the script for him so he could get back to work sooner. If you haven’t seen this Thriller, make sure to check it out. Then never watch another Kevin Spacey movie again!
3. What Lies Beneath (2000)
Michelle Pfeiffer plays the ideal house wife, but it’s apparent she has gone through some type of trauma and is healing. Her husband, who is played by the silver fox Harrison Ford, is a scientist and leaves her alone a lot of the time. She begins to believe her home is haunted. The director was very inspired by legendary horror director Alfred Hitchcock and tried to film something the icon would have done with today’s technology.
He even made sure to have a blonde female heroine, which was one of Alfred’s trademarks. There also happens to be a ghost in the film, which technically makes it horror worthy, but this movie is more thrilling than horrific, and that’s why it’s the number 3 choice!
2. The Bone Collector (1999)
The once better half to the Brangelina couple, makes it on the list — at a higher spot than her former other half, because she is not only more captivating than her ex but a lot smarter, too. Angelina plays a New Yorker cop who finds herself part of an elite team of detectives tasked with trying to stop a killer who has timed his murders all around the city. I won’t forget about the wonderful Denzel Washington’s performance as a Quadriplegic who wants to end his life but finds himself more involved in the case than he could ever imagine.
The film is an adaptation of a novel by Jeffrey Deaver of the same tittle and one that I’ve been meaning to read forever. I also wish they made thrillers like this today, but they are missing the 90’s feel to them. However, Director Phillip Noyce and Angelina went on to work together in 2011 to make the action-packed film, Salt.
Before we get to our number one killer Thriller, let’s take a look at some important Honorable Mentions: Secret Window (2004), Gone Girl (2014), Cape Fear (1991), Black Swan (2010).
1. The Crow (1994)
This movie takes down the competition with just two words: Brandon Lee. Not only was this unfortunately his last performance after being killed on set with a loaded gun, but it was a performance that would go down in the history of cinema. Brandon Lee became the character Eric Draven and made every viewer feel as if he were truly avenging the death of him and his darling fiancé on Devil’s Night. This movie is treasured in the horror community despite it being a thriller, and that’s because horror fans know that reality is a lot more frightening than fiction could ever be.
If you’ve been living under a casket and haven’t seen this piece of cinematic history, I highly suggest you do your homework and go watch it right now. He is the reason that girls love guitar players and guys wear guyliner. For those who have seen the film and love it just as much as I do, it was announced that Jason Momoa was signed up to play the role of Eric in the remake, but later dropped out due to wanting to make the film authentic and not seeing the same vision as the Producers.
This film has been in the process of being remade for years now, and I’m starting to think that it’s best that they just leave this one where it is, because it will be watchable for generations to come; we don’t need to cover up the last work of a man who died for his craft.