Thriller Movies 2014 – Guide13.01.14 # 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 – Open Grave
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Joseph Morgan, Thomas Kretschmann
Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego
Released: 3 January 2014
A man (Copley) wakes up in a huge pit of dead bodies with no memory of who he is or how he got there. Fleeing the scene, he breaks into a nearby house and is met at gunpoint by a group of strangers all suffering from the same memory loss. The group tries to piece together clues about their identities, but when they encounter a deadly threat, they’ll have to figure out the whole picture before it’s too late. Think Agatha Christie meets ‘The Last of Us’, in not very capable hands. Reviews say it does a good job of creating mystery by posing intriguing questions, but undermines itself with badly-written dialogue and dull characters.
28th – Monsters: Dark Continent
Starring: Joe Dempsie, Johnny Harris, Sofia Boutella
Director: Tom Green
Released: TBC 2014
[preview prediction] Sequel to the indie creature-feature/drama. It’s seven years later and the Infected Zones have spread worldwide. With disparate communities struggling for survival, American soldiers are being sent abroad to protect US interests from the monsters. A haunted soldier is ordered to find and assassinate an American G.I. who has gone rogue, deep in an Infected Zone. But when his unit and transport are destroyed, he finds himself with only an inexperienced cadet for company – the brother of the man he’s been sent to kill. No doubt this is influenced by ‘Apocalypse Now’/’Heart of Darkness’. The director of the slow but creative-for-the-budget original has left to make ‘Godzilla’. So this time it’s directed by another newcomer, whose TV credits are superhero drama ‘Misfits’ and ‘Blackout’. The writer’s only credits are unrelated and of suspect quality. It’s more likely than not to end up uninspired, but here’s hoping.
27th – 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.
26th – Pioneer
Starring: Aksel Hennie, Wes Bentley, Stephen Lang
Director: Erik Skjoldbjærg
Released: TBC 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.
25th – 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.