30 Best Thriller Movies Of 2014# Thriller Movies # 4 Comments
Thrillers are the movies that put you on the edge of your seat. They’re about suspense, excitement, mystery, crime, and the psychological. We’re going to take a look at the biggest and best thriller movies of 2014. So draw the blinds and prepare to discover danger.
Here’s the countdown, reviewing what’s out, previewing what’s still to come:
30th – Mindscape
Starring: Mark Strong, Taissa Farmiga, Brian Cox
Director: Jorge Dorado
Released: 6 June 2014 (U.S. Dates)
A private detective (Mark Strong) with the ability to enter peoples’ memories takes on the case of a brilliant, troubled 16-year-old girl (Taissa Farmiga – Vera Farmiga’s younger sister) to determine whether she is a dangerous sociopath or a victim of trauma… What starts with sub-par writing, an air of silliness and slightly awkward performances (partly explained by this being the Spanish director’s first English language film), gradually builds into something more interesting with some pretty clever ‘dream rules’. The ending is fine but needed more clarity (eg the whole ‘Mousey’ business). Reasonable overall, but it’s no ‘Inception’.
29th – uwantme2killhim?
Starring: Jamie Blackley, Toby Regbo, Joanne Froggatt
Director: Andrew Douglas
Released: 14 March 2014
A British teenage boy descends into the murky depths of an internet chatroom. What it leads him to do will have harrowing consequences. Based on a bizarre true case of attempted murder in Manchester in 2003. The documentary, ‘Kill Me If You Can’, is on YouTube and is well worth a watch. That already lays out complex character motivations and surprising twists for director Andrew Douglas (‘The Amityville Horror’) and his unknown cast. Critics say he’s turned it into mostly taut, unnerving thriller, although the lead actor doesn’t seem gullible enough for the more extreme actions.
28th – Pioneer
Starring: Aksel Hennie, Wes Bentley, Stephen Lang
Director: Erik Skjoldbjærg
Released: 5 December 2014
Norwegian/part-English conspiracy thriller set in the early 80’s, at the beginning of the Norway Oil Boom. When enormous oil and gas deposits are discovered in the North Sea, the authorities team with an American firm to lay the pipeline 500 meters deep on the sea floor. When Norwegian diver Petter (Aksel Hennie – star of ‘Headhunters’) loses his brother on the first dive, he becomes obsessed with uncovering why it happened, and who was responsible. Soon other key personnel start turning up dead and he realises his own life is in danger. From the director of the original ‘Insomnia’, this is an old fashioned mystery, right down to the slow pacing. It features strong performances and is ultimately a well told story. It’s a shame the two major underwater sequences are shot in such an uninspired way. It’s definitely not the next ‘Dragon Tattoo’ or ‘Headhunters’, but worth a look if you’ve been enjoying the recent wave of Scandinavian thrillers. George Clooney is looking to produce a remake – surprising since I’ve never seen Americans portrayed so negatively.
27th – Open Windows
Starring: Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey, Neil Maskell
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
Released: 7 November 2014
A hot actress on the rise (Grey) refuses to have dinner with a fan (Wood) who won a date with her in an Internet contest, organised by the distributor of her latest film. Instead, a man named Chord who claims to be her campaign manager shows the fan how he can secretly follow the actress’ every move from his computer. Soon the fan realises he is only a puppet in an insane plan to hunt down the star. Imagine ‘Rear Window’, except it’s windows on a desktop. The movie is in real-time, shot in a manner that mimics his desktop as he watches her through the “open windows”. It’s a very challenging concept but the Spanish writer/director of the excellent ‘Timecrimes’ sort of pulls it off. Some of the visuals work, other don’t. Wood commits fully to the role, while Grey is pretty wooden. Plot-wise it’s an increasingly silly movie, but can be fun if you’re willing to leave your brain at the door.
26th – Grand Piano
Starring: Elijah Wood, Kerry Bishé, John Cusack, Alex Winter
Director: Eugenio Mira
Released: 7 March 2014
Moments before his comeback performance, a concert pianist who suffers from crippling stage fright (Elijah Wood) discovers a threatening note written on his music sheet. His choice is simple: play an incredibly complicated piece to perfection, or lose his life and his wife’s. The vast majority of the movie is set entirely at the piano. Imagine ‘Phone Booth’ in an upper class setting. This comes from the Spanish director of ‘The Birthday’ and the producers of similar one-location thriller ‘Buried’. While critics have been positive, the public reaction has been mostly brutal. The story requires significant suspension of disbelief, there’s dreadful acting from a couple of the supporting cast and it never draws you in fully. But the voice on the earpiece is menacing enough, and the visuals are full of ingenuity, making elegant use of cinematography and set design. It’s a little like a lost, flawed De Palma movie. Also it’s nice to see Alex Winter from ‘Bill & Ted’ back with a significant role.
25th – A Walk Among The Tombstones
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dan Stevens, David Harbour
Director: Scott Frank
Released: 19 September 2014
An ex-NYPD cop turned unlicensed P.I. (Neeson), who operates just outside the law, is hired by a wealthy heroin trafficker (Stevens) to find out who kidnapped and brutally murdered his wife, despite payment of the ransom. The trail soon leads to a pair of serial killers, who are far from finished with their twisted crimes. Based on Lawrence Block’s bestselling series of mystery novels, this is directed by Scott Frank, a long time Hollywood thriller writer and director of the well-received ‘The Lookout’. This is not in the same league as the latter, striking an awkward balance between gangster movie, serial killer flick and a lot of time spent befriending a street kid. Neeson’s unhinged, alcoholic cop in the opening sequence is more interesting than the standard Neeson character he inhabits the rest of the time, but he’s still a pro and very watchable. The killers are more chilling than usual and there are plenty of stylish moments. It’s not essential, but if you like Neeson you’ll be entertained.