The sense of thrill is universally desirable probably because it makes one feel alive. But at the same time it usually comes at a high cost that makes it not worth it. You probably would not try to rob a bank just to get a rush of adrenaline – aside from the moral issues of that, the stakes are just too high. That is why thriller movies are the best alternative to seeking thrills in real life.
Cinema as an escape from our mundane lives is supposed to evoke that which we would not normally experience, and thrillers are on the extreme end of this spectrum.
The 10 thrillers listed here are perhaps not about shock value or unmatched artistic excellence, but they are worth a watch for someone in pursuit of exhilarating stories. The movies in this list border on such genres as comedy, drama, horror, sci-fi, mystery, and crime, so there is something for any type of taste looking for that delightful feeling of excitement.
1. A Simple Favor (2018, Paul Feig)
There is no rule that comedies cannot be thrilling. “A Simple Favor” is a great example of a movie that seems light and funny at the beginning and then makes you worry about what will happen next.
Based on a novel of the same name by Darcey Bell, “A Simple Favor” is a surprisingly better movie than what the synopsis leads to believe. Its plot revolves around a video blogger mom Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), who takes up to investigate the disappearance of her new friend Emily (Blake Lively).
Since the two women are polar opposites, watching their relationship is intriguing and hilarious. Blake Lively’s performance is undoubtedly exceptional, and Anna Kendrick really does shine here, too, despite the preconceptions the viewer might hold because of her previous few subpar romantic comedy work.
The storytelling, however, inevitably introduces some cliché elements and loses its great potential created in the first half. Nevertheless, it is an entertaining way to spend two hours of your time.
2. Greta (2019, Neil Jordan)
“Greta” is a psychological thriller about a lonely widow (Isabelle Huppert) who befriends a young woman (Chloë Grace Moretz). They seem to click instantly and form something like a mother-daughter type of relationship. Before long, though, the young woman discovers that there is an ominous secret about their friendship. As soon as it is revealed, a sequence of terrorizing events sets off.
Although “Greta” does not break any genre conventions, it is impressive in its cinematography, which complements the mounting suspense of the storyline of “Greta”. The ride that it takes the audience for deserves their attention for the entirety of this thriller.
While the movie has had mixed reviews, Isabelle Huppert’s outstanding performance cannot leave anyone unconvinced. There are some nice moments of hilarity, but the thrill of the story is maintained with the overall terrifying atmosphere.
3. The Girl in the Fog (2017, Donato Carrisi)
“The Girl in the Fog” is Donato Carrisi’s directorial debut. On top of that, it is based on Carrisi’s own novel by the same name.
The movie features Toni Servillo, the star of “The Great Beauty” (2013), who plays detective Vogel investigating the case of a missing teenage girl in an alpine village. Despite being criticized by his peers and the public, Vogel persists in approaching the mystery with the use of untraditional methods.
What is unique about this thriller is that in most movies, this premise would be turned into a typical crime story containing protagonists, suspects, and some twists along the way, whereas “The Girl in the Fog” does more than that. It shows how crime is surrounded by image management, reputation, the public’s bloodlust as well as the interests of the manipulating media. In the end, the resolution of the crime also depends on the morality of the detective.
4. A Most Wanted Man (2014, Anton Corbijn)
Based on John le Carré’s bestselling novel, “A Most Wanted Man” features a stunning performance by the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. It was the last of his movies to be released before death. The cast also includes such greats as Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, and Willem Dafoe.
Hoffman stars as the leader of a covert government team, whose infectious idealism makes the audience care for his mission. The story takes place in Hamburg, Germany, where a political refugee from Chechnya is suspected to have ties to Islamic terrorists. Different government agencies wish to approach this matter differently, so the rivalry between them becomes the crux of this espionage thriller.
For the action thrill seekers, “A Most Wanted Man” might come off as a little boring as it chooses to approach the subject in a realistic tone. Having said that, it tells some accurate things about our post-9/11 world and that has a lasting value.
5. Upgrade (2018, Leigh Whannell)
This sci-fi thriller takes place in a utopian future where modern technology thoroughly constitutes all aspects of people’s lives. The main character technophobe Grey Trace suffers a trauma making him quadriplegic. Eventually, Grey decides to accept an offer to install an experimental microchip in his body in order to overcome his paralyzed state. The microchip, however, appears to enable Grey in more ways than expected.
“Upgrade” includes a decent amount of action. The fight scenes are rather humorous, but the storyline keeps you at the edge of your seat. The overall concept tastes like an episode from the TV series “Black Mirror”, while the car chases and robotic imagery are quite reminiscent of the movie “I, Robot” (2004).
“Upgrade” is exciting from the start until the very end. Although some twists of the story could be a little less predictable, it is still a visually and emotionally gripping piece of work.