10 Best Thriller Films

Friday, December 17 by Bo Vandy

When putting together our 10 best thriller films list together we had to take several different factors into account.  The first is that there are any number of ways to define what a thriller is.  The most reliable is one where the audience is turned on its head by one or more twists in the plot that keep the viewers watching from beginning to end.  We feel like these 10 are the best at what they do in that regard.

  1. "The Shining" – Despite the fact that this classic starring Jack Nicholson strayed far off the path of Stephen King's novel, this is the best thriller around.  Nicholson's slow descent into madness is made all the more depressing since you know he wants to be a good man, he simply can't control himself.  The isolation of the family only adds to the thrills.
  2. "The Sixth Sense" – The movie that (unfortunately?) put M. Night Shyamalan on the map.  The film gives you plenty of clues as to what you are going to see at the end, but few picked it up the first time they watched it.  While the rest of Shyamalan's films have been varying degrees of bad, this stands the test of time.
  3. "Seven" – The cast for this film is simply epic, with Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Spacey all turning in riveting performances.  Another thriller that has you on the edge of your seat for most of the movie and pulls the rug out from under you at the end.
  4. "Psycho" – Hitchcock's greatest work was based on the real live serial killer Ed Gein.  All anyone has to do is mention "the shower scene" and anyone who has seen the movie will know exactly what you are talking about. 
  5. "Silence of the Lambs" – Took Anthony Hopkins from a little known actor  to one of the best known character actors of his generation.  "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti" is still one of the most chillingly delivered lines in cinema history.
  6. "Memento" – "Memento" is a great thriller because you are having the rug pulled out from under you right along with the star.  The movie centers around a man who has no short term memory thanks to a botched robbery.  As he learns things about his wife's murder, we learn things about the main character we never expected.
  7. "The Others" – This ghost story starring Nicole Kidman is still one plenty of people have trouble sitting down and watching.  The spookiness and the way the director hides the punchline until the very end makes this one of the best thrillers ever.
  8. "Crimson Tide" – An action thriller with two of Hollywood's best leading men in Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman.  The real thrills begin when command of a nuclea submarine swings from one group to another and the viewer is left to wonder whether the hardcase captain is really going to start World War III.
  9. "Basic Instinct" – Lost in the intense sexuality of this movie was a pretty good thriller. Of course Sharon Stone is best known for uncrossing her legs in this movie but she also plays a pretty good nutjob who swings from seductive to scary in a matter of seconds.
  10. "No Country For Old Men" – One of the darker movies of the last few decades generation.  Javier Bardiem is a hitman going about his business very efficiently until he finally runs into some trouble in a Texas border town.  The way he goes about dispatching his victims is enough to keep everyone watching.
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