Written by: Zhi Shan (22-U1), Jolina Nair (21-E5)
Designed by: Angelica Chiw (22-I6)
Have you ever gotten tired of scrolling through Netflix for hours on end only to discover 20 minutes into a movie that it just isn’t worth the watch? Well fret not as here are 6 film recommendations that are guaranteed to fix your thriller needs.
Get Out (2017)
Overall ratings: 9/10
Get Out is by far one of the best thrillers I have watched. It is a thriller that will keep you at the edge of your seat and leave you with a haunting yet surreal feeling at the end of it all. Directed by Jordan Peele, this masterpiece was able to achieve what most thrillers fail to, which is the sense of realness embedded in the film. It was not just another psychotic killer out there looking for a new target or an obsessed ex-lover seeking revenge, but rather, is a film reflecting the real horrors Black people face despite living in a so-called “post-racial liberalism” era. Get Out is able to present themes of social horror through the use of satire and a myriad of symbols, hooking viewers to the film while brewing suspense and anticipation for what happens next. The film has a relatively slow start but as you continue watching, the minor details you would have neglected initially connect you to a bigger, more shocking truth at the end. Whatever scene you thought was irrelevant was made crucial at the end of the film. The acting served as the cherry on the cake which helped to emphasise, again, the realness of such horror and bring you closer to the fears of the protagonist. What I especially loved about this film was the complementing sound effects that brought out both the terror of the characters and the extra “jump-scare” factor. Although the film begins with a rather slow and surreal feeling, the juxtaposition of the initial “safety-net” facade and the unfolding truths of the thriller really allowed me to experience the fear first-hand. What I would really recommend to viewers is to watch the film a second time. The best part of this thriller is how the perspectives you take in watching the film differ drastically from the first time you watch it to the second time you watch it. Just watch it, and you’ll understand what I mean.
Extra reading: Film analysis on Get Out
Overall ratings: 7/10
If you are looking for a one-time watch or just a good thriller to satisfy your cravings, Greta is definitely the one for you. This was the very first thriller I have watched that has kept me hooked on thrillers ever since. Directed by Neil Jordan, this film may appear to be about a normal and wholesome relationship shared by a young woman and an elderly stranger. However, the film takes a sharp 180-degree turn when viewers are suddenly forced to abandon that seemingly innocent image and embrace a shocking plot revelation. Like many thrillers out there, Greta unravels into a story of prey and predator which keeps one on their toes throughout the film. What sets Greta apart from many thrillers though is the clever nature in which the antagonist executes her plans. This is rare in many thrillers where they are mainly focused on the horror aspect and not so much on the development of the plot. This makes Greta very easy to watch without many “huh” moments that ruin and interrupt the momentum of the film. The ending of the thriller was the most impactful moment for me as viewers are left on a cliffhanger which left me wanting for more. After the tough ordeals the protagonist had to put up with, the final scene, instead of leaving closure in the viewers, left a disturbing and definitely haunting feeling. Greta is one of those thrillers that will take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride and cause many other thrillers to pale in comparison. Watch it and you won’t regret it.
Shutter Island (2010)
Overall ratings: 6.5/10
Shutter Island is a slow burn for the ages. It starts off with a relatively dull black and white scenario which never reveals its true direction till the very end. I’ll admit that it took a little more convincing to keep me hooked but the ending is very much worthwhile. The story follows detective Teddy Daniels who arrives at Shutter Island on a mission to find a missing psychiatric patient. However, when the mission is abruptly cut short after many suspicious activities have arisen, viewers are left wondering where the plot is headed. As more is uncovered, more questions are raised. The shocking truth bomb is only dropped towards the end and takes the viewers through a whirlwind of emotions along with the lead character. Feelings of confusion and denial leave us at crossroads between fiction and reality. Even after a seemingly revealing flashback, the plot twists continue, one after another, almost resembling a self-fulfilling prophecy. In the end, we are left with only one question: Which would be worse – to live as a monster or to die as a good man? Shutter Island leans far more into the mystery aspect of thrillers. With minimal jumpscares and gory scenes, I’d recommend it for the faint of heart or anyone who is just starting to dip their toes into the thriller scene.
The Call (2020)
Overall ratings: 10/10
Rated 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, The Call definitely lives up to its name. Park Shin-hye stars as the main character, Seo-yeon who has recently moved back into her childhood home. As she begins receiving strange phone calls from a young woman named Young-seok, Seo-yeon grows suspicious of her new home. She puts two and two together and discovers that the phone connects the women living in the same home 20 years apart. Realising that all actions in the past affect the future, Young-seok helps Seo-yeon reconnect with her deceased father, while Seo-yeon helps Young-seok escape from her abusive stepmother. However, Young-seok grows more demanding day by day and Seo-yeon soon realises that the woman she saved is not as innocent as she believed. The stunning performances by Park Shin-hye and Jeon Jong-seo, the former of agony and the latter of hysteria, make this impossible scenario seem all the more believable. Director Lee Chung-hyun artfully crafts the parallels between the past and present, leaving immaculate suspense yet little room for confusion. This combination of top-tier direction, screenplay and performances creates a gripping thriller that leaves us at the edge of our seats from start to finish. The Call is a must-watch for anyone who can stomach the excruciating suspense.
Overall ratings: 7.5/10
For my cliche thriller lovers out there, I have just the thriller for you. The Hush is what some might call the OG ‘A Quiet Place’. Set in the scene of the isolated woods, The Hush follows Maddie, a deaf-mute writer, who retreats to the woods for a life of solitude and writing only to be disturbed by a masked killer at her window. Despite the obvious direction of the narrative, there is nothing ordinary about how Maddie navigates the prospect of a serial killer on the loose. With her lack of hearing and inability to speak, Maddie seems to have all the odds stacked against her. However, her quick thinking and agility make up for her disabilities. Maddie is no gullible victim. With every new plot twist, I found myself rooting for her more and more. Throughout the film, the audio also fades in and out, giving us a glimpse into Maddie’s world. We see how her lack of hearing can severely hinder her ability to notice massive actions that bring her closer and closer to the face of death. Certain objects and dialogues are also strategically placed to create a sense of foreshadowing and tie the film together nicely. All these little details along with Kate Siegel’s exceptional performance, make this film worth seeing.
Has your curiosity for these thrillers been piqued? We sure hope it has and that you would give these Netflix thrillers a shot! But remember, curiosity kills the cat! 🙂