15 thrillers that will have you on the edge of your seat
Since Walk This Way’s first film collection, Men on the Edge, featured Armed Hands by Pierre Jolivet, Two Men in Town by Rachid Bouchareb, Paris Countdown by Edgar Marie, Back in Crime by Germinal Alvarez,and Lose Your Headby Stefan Westerwelle and Patrick Schuckmann, let’s take a look back at 15 thrillers that will have you on the edge of your seat:
Seven by David Fincher (1995) – USA
Seven days away from retirement, Detective Somerset hunts down John Doe, a murderer who commits seven killings all based on the seven deadly sins. A huge international box-office success, Seven marked director David Fincher’s “arrival” on an international level (The Game, Fight Club, The Social Network…).
Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock (1960) – USA
Marion Crane decides to leave everything behind when her boss asks her to deposit $40,000 in the bank. She runs away with the money, feeling both panicked and excited by her actions. Along the way, she decides to spend the night in a motel run by the friendly manager, Norman Bates... Oscar-nominated, but in the end missing out on an award, Psycho is a horror film, and one of the most analysed movies by film students.
Oldboy by Park Chan-Wook (2003) – South Korea
A loose adaptation of a Japanese manga, Oldboy tells the story of a family man who is kidnapped and locked away in a private prison for 15 years, for no apparent reason, and then released overnight. The prisoner will then seek to understand and take revenge... unless this revenge turns against him. Oldboy was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004, where it won the Grand Prize.
Following by Christopher Nolan (1998) – Great Britain
The first full-length feature film by Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Prestige, Inception, Interstellar...) follows Bill, a young writer who takes to following strangers around the streets of London, until one of them, a psychopathic burglar, draws him into his wrongdoings.
M by Fritz Lang (1931) – Germany
M introduces us to the inhabitants of Berlin, who are thrown into terror and hysteria by a child-killer, causing both the police and the criminal underworld to track him down. This pioneering masterpiece can perhaps be seen as an impressive metaphor of an early 1930s Germany in crisis.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Niels Arden Oplev (2009) – Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany
Adapted from the famous series of Swedish books, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo follows Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist searching for a woman who has been missing – or dead – for 40 years. He is helped in his search by a young hacker, Lisbeth Salander. Awarded the title of Best Non-English Film at the BAFTA Awards, the first instalment in the series of novels has also been adapted more recently by David Fincher.
The Name of the Rose by Jean-Jacques Arnaud (1986) – France, Italy, Germany
This medieval thriller, carefully filmed and awarded at the César and BAFTA Awards, is an adaptation of the eponymous novel by Umberto Eco. In the film, Sean Connery plays William of Baskerville, a Franciscan monk who is placed in charge of an investigation into the disappearance of monks from a Benedictine abbey.
Drive by Nicolas Winding Refn (2011) – USA
Film stunt-driver by day and criminal getaway driver by night, the main character (Ryan Gosling) is forced into a mad chase when one of the heists goes wrong. This thriller was one of the surprises in the Cannes 2011 selection.
The Silence of the Lambs by Jonathan Demme (1991) – USA
A young FBI agent is tasked with interrogating a famous cannibalistic psychopath, Hannibal Lecter, to find out more about another serial killer, Buffalo Bill. A connection of both fascination and repulsion is established between the two characters. The Silence of the Lambs won five major Oscars in 1992, amongst which were Best Film and Best Director.
Marshland by Alberto Rodriguez (2014) – Spain
Two detectives with very different methods and ideologies lead an investigation into the assassination of two teenagers in southern Spain in the 1980s. This Spanish thriller was the biggest winner at the 2015 Goya Awards.
The Wave by Dennis Gansel (2008) – Germany
As part of a lesson, a teacher demonstrates how the totalitarian model of fascism can be fascinating. The consequences will prove to be tragic. Based on a true story, The Wave has also been adapted into a young-adult novel.
Thesis by Alejandro Amenábar (1996) – Spain
Busy preparing her thesis on audiovisual violence, Angela discovers a snuff movie and starts an investigation, at her own expense, into this murder of a young girl who happened to be a former student of her faculty... Revealed at the Berlin Film Festival, the first feature-length film by Alejandro Amenábar (The Others, Regression…) was celebrated at the Goyas.
The Constant Gardener by Fernando Meirelles (2005) – Great Britain
In a remote area of Northern Kenya, a widower (Ralph Fiennes) is determined to find out the truth about his wife’s murder, but also her links with the corruption of large corporations. Adapted from John Le Carré’s novel, The Constant Gardener, the film is the first American full-length feature film by Fernando Meirelles, the director of City of God.
The Vanishing by Georges Sluizer (1988) – Netherlands, France
Rex and Saskia take a break at a motorway service station. After leaving her for a few minutes, Rex returns and realises that his wife has disappeared. Following three years of fruitless searching, he receives a strange postcard, and its author claims to know the truth about her disappearance...
Funny Games by Michael Haneke (1997) – Austria
In this Austrian thriller, a family spend their holiday by a lake. Two young men pay them a visit under a futile pretext. They hold the family hostage and make their life hell... Funny Games was made by famous director Michael Haneke (awarded two Palme d’Ors for The White Ribbon and Amour). An American adaptation of the film has also been made.
21 December 2015, by Cineuropa