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25 Best Thriller Movies Of 2016 – Guide

New: Top 10 Best Thriller Movies 2016 Mystery, suspense, espionage, mobsters, detectives, the psychological. It all goes into the thrillers blend. We’re going to take a look at the biggest and best thriller movies of 2016 with a Top 25 countdown. This includes what I’ve seen so far and what’s most anticipated. So draw those blinds and prepare to discover danger.

25th – Triple 9
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Casey Affleck, Kate Winslet, Woody Harrelson
Director: John Hillcoat
Released: February 26, 2016 (U.S. Dates)
Best Thriller Movies 2016

 -Seen It-  A crew of dirty cops and ex-military (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Clifton Collins Jr, Norman Reedus) is blackmailed by a Russian mob wife (Kate Winslet) to take on a virtually impossible heist. The only way to pull it off is to cause a distraction by generating a 999, police code for “officer down.” But the recent officer transfer they select to be gunned down (Casey Affleck) starts to bond with one of the dirty cops, putting their resolve to the test. Double-crosses, greed and revenge will follow… This comes from renowned Australian director John Hillcoat, responsible for ‘Lawless’, ‘The Proposition’ and ‘The Road’. In addition to the names above, the impressive ensemble cast also includes Woody Harrelson, Gal Gadot, Teresa Palmer, and Norman Reedus (which means you’ve got the stars of ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘True Detective’ and ‘The Walking Dead’ in the same movie). By casting quite a few actors of roughly equal draw and not making clear until quite late who the protagonist is, this has a refreshingly unpredictable feel. I genuinely didn’t know if Affleck would be murdered or not (though synopsis elsewhere will spoil it) and was surprised at the timing of how certain characters met their demise. That lack of full-on character attachment hurts the film for some, but I appreciated how it was done. Winslet, the most unlikely prospect, does a solid job as the cold Russian mobster, though it would have been nice to see her get her hands dirty. The first bank heist is the highlight, taking elements of ‘Heat’, ‘The Dark Knight’ and ‘Payday 2’ (PC). It’s a pretty dark, bleak film overall that wouldn’t liven up a gathering of friends, but it’s also a nicely made crime saga.

24th – The Purge: Election Year
Starring: Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell, Mykelti Williamson, Edwin Hodge
Director: James DeMonaco
Released: July 1, 2016
New Thriller Movies 2016

In the near future all crime is legalised, including murder, for a 12-hour period once a year, an event known as “The Purge”. Once again, Sergeant (Grillo) finds himself out on the lawless streets, this time intertwining with two other sets of at-risk people, primarily anti-purge presidential candidate Charlene (Mitchell, TV’s ‘Crossing Lines’) who becomes vulnerable to assassination attempts when she is compromised by a member of her own staff. The original ‘Purge’ movie made $89 million worldwide from a tiny $3m budget. ‘Purge: Anarchy’ did similar numbers. The second movie improved on the first by switching it from home invasion thriller to an ‘Escape From New York’-style survival on the streets. New lead Grillo also added a lot of charisma, although the overall script let him down. With Grillo returning here and the same writer-director back expect this to play much like the second movie.

23rd – Money Monster
Starring: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O’Connell, Dominic West
Director: Jodie Foster
Released: May 13, 2016
thriller movie 2016

A bombastic TV personality (Clooney) has made himself the money wiz of Wall Street through his popular financial show. But after he hawks a high tech stock that mysteriously crashes, an irate blue-collar New Yorker who’s lost his family’s money on the tip (O’Connell, ‘Unbroken’) holds him, his crew, and his ace producer (Roberts) hostage live on air. Unfolding in real time, the presenter and producer must find a way to keep themselves alive while simultaneously uncovering the truth behind a tangle of big money lies… Given the politics of Clooney and director Jodie Foster (‘The Beaver’) this could easily end up preachy, with the very familiar ‘bash the greedy bankers’ message. But if they can find a fresh angle then it always has the potential to be a ‘Network’ or ‘Wall Street’ for this decade. O’Connell is a rising talent to watch.

22nd – Now You See Me 2
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Lizzy Caplan, Dave Franco
Director: Jon M. Chu
Released: June 10, 2016
best thrillers 2016

One year after outwitting the FBI and winning the public’s adulation with their Robin Hood-style magic spectacles, The Four Horsemen (Eisenberg, Harrelson, Franco, Caplan) are threatened by an unethical tech prodigy (Radcliffe) into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. Their only hope is to perform one last unprecedented stunt to clear their names and reveal the true mastermind behind it all… Lizzy Caplan has replaced Isla Fisher as a new character, due to Fisher’s pregnancy. The original director has moved on, replaced by the man behind ‘G.I.Joe: Retaliation’ and the misjudged ‘Jem & The Holograms’. The original ‘Now You See Me’ was all kinds of ridiculous, populated with unlikeable characters, that just about saved itself at the end. This looks to go even further with the use of cgi in magic tricks that annoyed some, and it’s a hard story to sequelise, but Daniel Radcliffe as a villain should be a great addition to this cast.

21st – The 9th Life Of Louis Drax
Starring: Jamie Dornan, Sarah Gadon, Aaron Paul, Oliver Platt
Director: Alexandre Aja
Released: September 2, 2016
Best Thriller Movies 2016

 -Seen It-  After surviving 8 near death accidents, a boy plunges off a steep cliff on his ninth birthday and into a coma. An acclaimed neurologist (Dornan, ’50 Shades Of Grey’) finds himself drawn to the boy’s grieving mother (Gadon, ‘Dracula Untold’) as he tries to establish the truth. Meanwhile the boy’s missing father (Paul, ‘Breaking Bad’) comes under suspicion, and a psychotherapist (Platt) attempts to tap into the boy’s subconscious mind in the weeks leading up to the tragic fall… Anthony Minghella was preparing a version of this film at the time of his death and the script here is credited to his son, Max Minghella. The director, Alexandre Aja, is known for solid chillers including ‘Haute Tension’ and ‘Horns’, but this is quite a mix of genres, including fantasy, coming-of-age, and love story. The shifting tone and genre makes it unusually unpredictable, but also removes the forward drive. About half way it settles more definitely into being a mystery – What happened to Louis on the cliff, and why? The psychology of the conclusion is hard to swallow, the supernatural elements are an uncomfortable fit, and the boy is way too precocious throughout, but fans of the director will enjoy this strange ride.

20th Place >

2016 Thriller Movies

Thriller Movies 2016

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4 Comments »

  • dnwilliams said

    Curious about Money Monster, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Midnight Special, The Girl on the Train, and The Nice Guys.

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  • Nick said

    Awesome list!! Saw many of these and can agree with the comments made. “Don’t Breath” deserved to be higher… that was pretty great for a film shot almost entirely in one house.

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    • Sheridan Passell said
      Sheridan Passell

      Thanks. Yes, Don’t Breathe was a highlight this year. It’s been moved over to the chiller list (link at the end of this post) where it felt a slightly better fit genre-wise.

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  • Mike O said

    Despite all the professional reviews, “Criminal” should be high on this list.

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