Top 10 Suspense Movies

Saturday, March 19 by Tom Gordon

The top 10 suspense movies cover the world of killers, cops, aliens, ghosts and even politicians. The key ingredients of great suspense films are a mystery about what's going to happen next and whether the characters we see are truly as they appear to be throughout the story. The best suspense films often feature surprise endings, though some don't rely on surprises as much as tension about who will emerge triumphant and how it will it all unfold.

  1. "Alien." When an alien creature boards a spacecraft from Earth by entering the body of an astronaut (John Hurt), the suspense never lets up until the final showdown between Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and the alien creature, the two remaining life forms on the ship. If the 1970s was a golden age of filmmaking, this science fiction thriller belongs at the top of any Best Of list from the decade.
  2. "The Ring." You may prefer the Japanese film upon which this American re-make was based, but "The Ring," featuring Naomi Watts, is still a tense, unsettling film filled with creepy and disturbing images. Don't watch it alone.
  3. "The Fugitive." Harrison Ford stars as Dr. Richard Kimble, who is accused of killing his wife. On the run from the authorities and determined to find the killer, the result is a suspense-filled adventure film that also features an Oscar-winning performance by Tommy Lee Jones, as the cop determined to bring Kimble in.
  4. "Wait Until Dark." Released in 1967, this Audrey Hepburn film remains one of the most suspenseful movies ever made. Hepburn plays a recently blind woman who has three crooks searching her apartment and finally confronting her for a hidden doll that appears to contain a large amount of heroin. Alan Arkin is the leader of the bad guys. The suspense grows until the end, when you may feel as blind as Hepburn's character confronting the murderous crew in her apartment in the dark. A classic thriller, and for good reason.
  5. "Se7en." A killer who uses the Seven Deadly Sins as inspiration for his killing spree and commentary about the world is pursued by detectives (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) who have their own flaws and problems. The script by Andrew Kevin Walker and the direction of David Fincher are outstanding, but the gore is intense.
  6. "Poltergeist." Produced by Steven Spielberg during his "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "E.T." days, this movie features the classic line uttered by a young girl who's been contacted by ghostly spirits, "They're heeeeere." The movie mixes humor and suspense as few such movies can and as the tension mounts in the efforts to retrieve the girl from the other side, you'll find yourself jumping at the slightest twist in the plot.
  7. "The Jagged Edge." Jeff Bridges stars as an is-he-or-isn't-he role as a victim or murderer in this 1980s crime and courtroom thriller, also starring Glenn Close. You will never find more suspense in the simple typing of a letter on a typewriter than you will toward the end of this underrated movie.
  8. "The Others." Nicole Kidman stars in this movie about a strange house occupied by a mother and her children, who are supposedly allergic to sunlight. The action is suspenseful and the ending is just plain freaky.
  9. "Paranormal Activity." This 2007 movie scared the hell out of audiences and raked in more than $100 million at the box office, even though its budget was about $11,000. Because you know something otherworldly and nightmarish is behind even the simplest noises and movements in the story, the suspense never lets up, even after the movie is over.
  10. "No Country for Old Men." This first Best Picture Oscar winner for the Coen Brothers is also their most suspenseful, unsettling and riveting film.
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COMMENTS

  1. March 19, 2011 12:39 am

    Fred Madison

    A list of top suspense films without a single Hitchcock title listed. Genius.