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Author Topic: Psychological Thrillers!  (Read 856 times)

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Offline ropedwristsTopic starter

Psychological Thrillers!
« on: January 06, 2012, 10:05:57 PM »
I love psychological thrillers.

Requiem for a Dream? The first time I saw that movie, I watched it without blinking. Then the credits started rolling, and I kept watching. Then I turned off the television and stared at a wall for about an hour and a half. Every time since then, I've cried at the end.

Stay? The thing about that movie is, the more times you watch it, the more you understand it. It's brilliant.

Anything by Christopher Nolan (the new Batman trilogy, the Prestige, Memento, Inception)? Pure brilliance. If you watch a movie by Christopher Nolan, you're going to be thinking about that movie for days, weeks, or even years to come. I'm still trying to get over the twist involving Hugh Jackman at the end of Prestige, and I saw that movie in December of 2010.

The trouble is, there aren't a lot of them. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was good, and so was Donnie Darko (even if you had to go online to find the critical information that the movie left out). The Butterfly Effect (the original, Director's Cut) is one of my favorite movies of all times--I love everything about that movie, up to and including the preview, which featured Staind's It's Been Awhile--and Hard Candy, while kind of disturbing, was a trip and a half.

My question is: what are the best psychological thrillers of all time? Or even the 'upper end' thrillers, which may not be the best, but are still worth giving a look at?

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Psychological Thrillers!
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2012, 10:27:03 PM »
"Wait Until Dark" is a movie starring Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman and Efram Zimbalizt, Jr. as her husband.  Everything about that movie is spine chilling.  It moves at a slow and steady pace interspersed with subtle humor and flashes of breathtaking violence until the final scenes that are simply spectacular in their tension.

It's one of my favorites.

Offline ropedwristsTopic starter

Re: Psychological Thrillers!
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2012, 10:32:08 PM »
"Wait Until Dark" is a movie starring Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman and Efram Zimbalizt, Jr. as her husband.  Everything about that movie is spine chilling.  It moves at a slow and steady pace interspersed with subtle humor and flashes of breathtaking violence until the final scenes that are simply spectacular in their tension.

It's one of my favorites.

It sounds awesome! I'll definitely check it out!

Keep 'em coming! :)

Offline Manari

Re: Psychological Thrillers!
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2012, 12:41:20 AM »
I've always loved Memento.  I had to watch it twice to fully see all the subtleties within it. 

The Prestige was also really awesome to watch.  And yes, really, anything by Christopher Nolan is. 

Offline Izzie Aditi

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Re: Psychological Thrillers!
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2012, 12:56:05 AM »
Let's not forget all the movies you mentioned were co-written with Nolan's brother Jonathan. Memento was written completely by Jonathan, as far as I remember. Yes semantics, I know ::)

All that currently comes to mind is Secret Window, based on that King book. In my opinion it's not quite up to par with the others you've mentioned though. I'll see what else I can come up with.

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Re: Psychological Thrillers!
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2012, 01:32:06 AM »
I must confess a weakness for David Fincher's "Se7en".
I've been late to the party, have only seen it like 2 years after the big hype, but I enjoyed all performances, twists, and especially Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey's acting immensely. I'd recommend this one, although I'm pretty sure probably everyone has seen it already.

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Re: Psychological Thrillers!
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2012, 02:11:47 AM »
The interesting thing about a really good thriller is that no matter how often you see it it still has a major impact on you every time.

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Re: Psychological Thrillers!
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2012, 04:11:22 AM »
Se7en is a favourite with me as well (and Fincher a favourite director). And The Sixth Sense too. And The Frighteners, for something a bit sillier; the supernatural element doesn't detract from the 'humans at the root of evil' counter-element.

Offline Izzie Aditi

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Re: Psychological Thrillers!
« Reply #8 on: January 07, 2012, 07:13:14 AM »
Asked around a bit and this is what I got from friends (bigger movie buffs than I am)

This list.

And..
Number 23 (Schumacher); Rosemary's Baby (Polanski); Flightplan (Schwentke); Panic Room (Fincher); Phone Booth (Schumacher - personal favorite of mine though not sure it fits the genre all too well); The Net (Winkler; honestly, even though it's from '95 and the computers are massive and look, floppy disks!..it's still a good movie); Shutter Island (Scorsese)

..
and maybe Breach (Ray) though honestly..it's not much of a psychological thriller just a brilliant movie.

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Re: Psychological Thrillers!
« Reply #9 on: January 07, 2012, 07:18:16 AM »
I'd probably add Misery to the list, mainly for a brilliant female villain, of which we have too few. (And I suspect I'm not the only one who'd have loved to read the destroyed book. ;))

Offline ropedwristsTopic starter

Re: Psychological Thrillers!
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2012, 02:35:04 PM »
Asked around a bit and this is what I got from friends (bigger movie buffs than I am)

This list.

And..
Number 23 (Schumacher); Rosemary's Baby (Polanski); Flightplan (Schwentke); Panic Room (Fincher); Phone Booth (Schumacher - personal favorite of mine though not sure it fits the genre all too well); The Net (Winkler; honestly, even though it's from '95 and the computers are massive and look, floppy disks!..it's still a good movie); Shutter Island (Scorsese)

..
and maybe Breach (Ray) though honestly..it's not much of a psychological thriller just a brilliant movie.

Shutter Island! How could I forget that one? That's a great movie because while you're watching it, it feels like a huge burden is being lowered onto your shoulders, but as the film progresses, it's like the burden is slowly lifted. I don't really know how to describe it much better than that; you just feel different after watching it.

I actually came across that list during one of my quests for PTs...The Talented Mister Ripley is a great movie. It's one of those movies that starts off really slow, and you're like "wow, this sucks". But one things start heating up, you're totally invested in what's going on. Every five minutes, the circumstances will change, and you're just like..."okay, how is he going to get out of this one?" But he's the talented Mr. Ripley for a reason.

Another movie like that is Transsiberian. It's about a couple (Woody Harrelson and...some girl) taking the Transsiberian railway across Europe, but along the way they meet some people who end up not being who they initially think they are. Eventually some stuff goes down and a detective (Sir Ben Kingsley) gets involved, and things just sort of spiral out of control from there. It's tough to really talk about it without giving anything away.

Let's see...speaking of Kathy Bates, Dolores Claiborne was pretty good. It's another Stephen King adaptation. This one is different from most because it blurs the line of absolutes. Like, at the beginning, you're not really sure what to think...and by the end, everything is revealed, but it's still up to you to decide what to think. The movie (and presumably the book, which I have yet to read) doesn't preach one mindset or another; it just presents the facts, as twisted and convoluted as they are.

The most recent one I watched was Just Cause, which has Sean Connery, Laurence Fishburne, and (I didn't realize this until the credits, because she's only 11 years old in the movie) Scarlett Johansson in it. It was all right; it had all the elements of a good psychological thriller, but I felt like they were delivered kind of sloppily. The storyline reminded me of Unspeakable (another alleged psychological thriller, but I wouldn't recommend that one, because it's terrible on all fronts). It's about a guy on death row that claims he's innocent, so he asks a retired lawyer (Connery) to help him prove it. Of course, not everything is as it seems, and eventually another death row inmate (played by Ed Harris, in rare form) gets dragged into the mix.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Psychological Thrillers!
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2012, 05:05:46 PM »
I like some of the older ones.  Gaslight has been coming up on my radar a lot, recently, along with many of Hitchcock's works (Vertigo, and Rear Window especially).

A more modern piece:  Jacob's Ladder - that one had me going until the very end.

Offline Observing Trifles

Re: Psychological Thrillers!
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2012, 05:32:36 PM »
Psychological thrillers represent most, if not all of my favorite films, second only to body horror (and I do so love when the two combine!).

I think Memento was my first real psychological thriller, and it set the standard for my likes and dislikes pertaining to that particular genre. The nonlinear narrative was especially brilliant, probably my favorite part about the film. The lack of a "normal" sequence heightened the suspense considerably. It allows you to watch two parts of the same story simultaneously, and when the two finally combine, you learn more than you would have if the story had been told in proper sequence. Not only do you learn more, but you also feel more of an impact. It sticks with you long after the film has ended.

Black Swan is another favorite of mine. It's a psychological thriller, but it delves into body horror as well, taking the processes of the protagonist's mind and making them physical, making them real. That is to say, real from her perspective. The two genres blended beautifully, in my opinion.

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Re: Psychological Thrillers!
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2012, 09:44:41 PM »
I like some of the older ones.  Gaslight has been coming up on my radar a lot, recently, along with many of Hitchcock's works (Vertigo, and Rear Window especially).

A more modern piece:  Jacob's Ladder - that one had me going until the very end.
Gaslight. It's now a verb. To gaslight. I actually like Phone Booth a lot. It was originally planned by Hitchcock, but they couldn't come up with a way to keep the protagonist in the phone booth until much later when one of the co-writers hit on the idea of a sniper. I actually think the time it was filmed in was rather symbolically better than if it had been filmed earlier. Some weird attachments to phone booths.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Psychological Thrillers!
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2012, 09:58:57 PM »
Gaslight. It's now a verb. To gaslight.

Yup - which just goes to show how effective that movie is in getting inside people's heads.