Hitchcockian Thrillers

View:
Log in to copy items to your own lists.
1.
Charade (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Romance and suspense ensue in Paris as a woman is pursued by several men who want a fortune her murdered husband had stolen. Who can she trust? (113 mins.)
Director: Stanley Donen
“ Famously referred to as “the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made.” ” - jzappa
 
2.
Wait Until Dark (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A recently blinded woman is terrorized by a trio of thugs while they search for a heroin-stuffed doll they believe is in her apartment. (108 mins.)
Director: Terence Young
“ The plot is as full of holes as a pasta strainer, but the self-contained set pieces of juicy suspense build-up comes from the Hitchcock school of forcing us to be voyeurs surrounded in innovative ways with anxiety and fear. ” - jzappa
 
3.
Obsession (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A wealthy New Orleans businessman becomes obsessed with a young woman who resembles his wife. (98 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
“ Both De Palma and writer Paul Schrader have identified Vertigo as the chief muse for this sleeper hit melodrama's narrative and thematic interests. ” - jzappa
 
4.
Silver Streak (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
On a long-distance train trip, a man finds romance but also finds himself in danger of being killed, or at least pushed off the train. (114 mins.)
Director: Arthur Hiller
“ As well as the notable first on-screen pairing of two great contemporary film comedians, it’s also a totally unspoiled little Hitchcock takeoff, with various nods to The Lady Vanishes, Strangers on a Train, and of course, North by Northwest. ” - jzappa
 
5.
Foul Play (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A shy San Francisco librarian and a bumbling cop fall in love as they solve a crime involving albinos, dwarves, and the Catholic Church. (116 mins.)
Director: Colin Higgins
“ Foul Play is a deference to Sir Alfred Hitchcock, more than a few of whose films are alluded to throughout the film. The basis of an innocent person becoming tangled in a snarl of conspiracy is at the hub of Hitchcock films such as The 39 Steps, Saboteur, North by Northwest and, most conspicuously in this case, The Man Who Knew Too Much, which encouraged Foul Play's opera house climax. When Goldie, the obligatory blonde, is assaulted in her home, she rummages inside her knitting basket and nearly settles on a pair of scissors to protect herself, a citation of Dial M for Murder. As well, the plot embraces a MacGuffin, in the shape of the celluloid roll hidden in the cigarette pack. ” - jzappa
 
6.
Dressed to Kill (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A mysterious blonde woman kills one of a psychiatrist's patients, and then goes after the high-class call girl who witnessed the murder. (105 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
“ Dressed To Kill is one of Brian De Palma's earlier thrillers, one of his heavily flawed but incredibly entertaining suspense films. It, like Body Double, pathologically mimics Hitchcock's classics. Its plot, if not practically a sexier, 1980s-style remake of Psycho, is at least cut from the exact same cloth. The way we're made to think we're watching a completely different kind of movie right up until the big turning point happens, the transsexual element, etc., are all in homage to Psycho. De Palma, even when immersed in Hitchcock's influence, can't help but keep his movie as distinctive as possible from your average suspense thriller. His style is completely his own. ” - jzappa
 
7.
Still of the Night (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A Manhattan psychiatrist probes a patient's murder and falls for the victim's mysterious mistress. (93 mins.)
Director: Robert Benton
“ Two average people fall into strange and dangerous situations, one being a platinum blonde in a Hitchcockian film so carefully measured, so understated that if the story of a scene can be told with no words, then we will hear no words. In this way, it’s pure cinema. It’s a flow of sequences that build a dark, quiet stairway of tension, yet they’re also thoroughly self-contained because they’re so finely and fully attuned to setting, atmosphere and the inside and outside of every character in these very moments. ” - jzappa
 
8.
Body Double (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A young actor's obsession with spying on a beautiful woman who lives nearby leads to a baffling series of events with drastic consequences. (114 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
“ This chic cult hit is a gawdy homage to Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, Rear Window, and Dial M for Murder. There’s the cool platinum blonde, there’s mistaken identity, characters are average people but they can’t be trusted, all that Hitchcockian noise. ” - jzappa
 
9.
Frantic (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
In a hotel room in Paris, a doctor comes out of the shower and finds that his wife has disappeared. He soon finds himself caught up in a world of intrigue, espionage, gangsters, drugs and murder. (120 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
“ Through a leisurely exposition between a happily married doctor and wife on a business trip in Paris, Polanski's camera at some stage begins to tell us things through ominous zoom-ins and steadicams. We see him thinking, wondering when he should start worrying. We are comfortably in the same perspective as Harrison Ford's protagonist. The hero's essential obstacle being that he's a fish out of water, an American businessman in Paris who speaks no French and thus can hardly navigate his way through the city, much less a trail to his wife in which time is of the essence. Not to mention, Polanski echoes Hitchcock’s famously strong visual use of famous landmarks. ” - jzappa
 
10.
Shoot to Kill (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Sidney Poitier returned to the big screen in this action-thriller, after a decade-long absence. When... (110 mins.)
“ Flashes of lightheartedness are smoothly intermingled with the film's more nail-biting sections, like a sequence about traversing a very steep canyon on a very tiny handcar, sustained by very unpredictable-looking rigging. ” - jzappa
 
11.
Pacific Heights (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A couple works hard to renovate their dream house and become landlords to pay for it. Unfortunately one of their tenants has plans of his own. (102 mins.)
“ There's a categorically Hitchcock texture to this “yuppie horror film,” recognized not only in the eye-catching use of location but by the casting of The Birds heroine Tippi Hedren in a cameo role, and a crafty director’s cameo from Schlesinger himself. ” - jzappa
 
12.
Dead Again (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
An amnesiac and a private eye find they might have a past life connection. (107 mins.)
Director: Kenneth Branagh
“ This star-studded psychological thriller encompasses customary Hitchcockian themes and style while keeping its own integrity and distinctiveness. ” - jzappa
 
13.
Shattered (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Dan Merrick comes out from a shattering car accident with amnesia. He finds that he is married to Judith... (98 mins.)
“ A Hitchcockian thriller in spades if for no other reason the classic kind of twist ending that causes a division among the responses given by critics. Some think the surprise too ludicrous to tolerate, while some think it imaginative and crafty. ” - jzappa
 
14.
Basic Instinct (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A violent, suspended police detective investigates a brutal murder, in which a manipulative and seductive woman could be involved. (127 mins.)
Director: Paul Verhoeven
“ A cat-and-mouse game if there ever was one, a cool blonde singing the screen while the obsessed male lead follows various Macguffins at a time. ” - jzappa
 
15.
Guilty as Sin (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
A female lawyer takes an accused wife-murderer as a client, but finds herself morally compelled to betray him one way or another. (107 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
“ An involved chess game between Rebecca DeMornay and Don Johnson as they maneuver events, other people, and one another to find out the guilt or innocence of Johnson’s playboy widower. ” - jzappa
 
16.
The Vanishing (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
The boyfriend of an abducted woman never gives up the search as the abductor looks on. (109 mins.)
Director: George Sluizer
“ A thoroughly involving thriller that boasts a number of genuinely tense sequences, not to mention an American remake of the same director’s earlier work, the most notable of that small genus being Hitchcock’s two versions of The Man Who Knew Too Much. ” - jzappa
 
17.
Death and the Maiden (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A political activist is convinced that her guest is a man who once tortured her for the government. (103 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
“ A central motif of this masterpiece of claustrophobia is Schubert's string quartet in D minor, much like The Merry Widow Waltz in Hitchcock’s seminal Shadow of a Doubt. ” - jzappa
 
18.
Nick of Time (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
An unimpressive, every-day man is forced into a situation where he is told to kill a politician to save his kidnapped daughter. (90 mins.)
Director: John Badham
“ Much like The 39 Steps, Young and Innocent, Saboteur and North by Northwest, this early Depp vehicle zeroes in on an everyman who suddenly finds himself stuck in a situation in which he will be framed for murder if he doesn’t figure something out. Somewhat like Rope, the action in Nick of Time occurs in real time, as the recurrent shots of clocks and watches bear out. ” - jzappa
 
19.
The Swindle (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Betty and Victor are a pair of scam artists. One day Betty brings in Maurice, a treasurer of a multinational company... (104 mins.)
Director: Claude Chabrol
“ Michael Serrault is the film's great highlight. He is tremendously likable and infectiously dry, and his occasional physical timing or subtly crisp one-liner holds the film's smiling side at bay amidst some token moments of comic relief, namely the presence of the gaudy widow whom Serrault constantly must try to hide from. ” - jzappa
 
20.
Snake Eyes (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
A shady police detective finds himself in the middle of a murder conspiracy at an important boxing match in an Atlantic City casino. (98 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
“ As De Palma keeps on refining his luminous visual style within the most unashamedly synthetic plot scenarios, this set piece-driven exercise in voyeurism never loses its posture as it lingers between outlandish obsession and a Billy Wilder-like ethical parable about a severely faulty hero who finds the limit of corruptibility beyond which he can’t go. ” - jzappa
 
21.
What Lies Beneath (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
The wife of a university research scientist believes that her lakeside Vermont home is haunted by a ghost - or that she is losing her mind. (130 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
“ Pfeiffer's blonde lead is suggestive of past Hitchcock blondes Grace Kelly, Kim Novak and Tippi Hedren, while Ford's two-faced character evokes Joseph Cotten in Shadow of a Doubt and Claude Rains in Notorious. Characters, plot developments and several stylistic elements honor Rear Window, Vertigo, Spellbound, Rebecca and Psycho. ” - jzappa
 
22.
Femme Fatale (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A woman tries to straighten out her life, even as her past as a con-woman comes back to haunt her. (114 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
“ A genuinely surprising exploration of the title persona, complete with full erotic charge, inspired formalist madness and a return to form for its obsessively voyeuristic director. ” - jzappa
 
23.
Panic Room (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A divorced woman and her diabetic daughter take refuge in their newly-purchased house's safe room, when three men break-in, searching for a missing fortune. (112 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
“ Cherishing logic over violence, Fincher's claustrophobic trip also pushes the elevated realism of keeping mum over the slasher-era buzz of a brassy thriller. In the tradition of Hitchcock, it’s a work of technique, not gimmick. ” - jzappa
 
24.
The Truth About Charlie (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  
A young woman in Paris is about to divorce her husband when she discovers... he's dead; and all their money is gone... (104 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Demme
“ An ultra-modern reimagining of the 1963 Cary Grant-Audrey Hepburn film Charade. It’s also an tribute to Francois Truffaut's 1960 film Shoot the Piano Player, and we know who his idol was, that son of a green grocer named Alfred. ” - jzappa
 
25.
Derailed (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
When two married business executives having an affair are blackmailed by a violent criminal, the two must turn the tables on him to save their families. (108 mins.)
“ Derailed is sincerely a fishing line of a movie. You are engrossed, then hooked, then quite taken aback. There are steps this film takes in carefully making you realize the film will go in certain directions that it clearly doesn't. In order to prevent you from expecting certain things for the film to do, I will stop there. ” - jzappa
 
26.
Match Point (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
At a turning point in his life, a former tennis pro falls for an actress who happens to be dating his friend and soon-to-be brother-in-law. (119 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
“ Woody’s sinewy, droll, seamlessly inflected dramatic thriller about chance, fortune, avarice and guilt enjoys a classic philosophical metaphor (to which Hitchcock was no stranger, many Hitchcock academics will have you know) of a bouncing tennis ball that, in one of the last decade’s great gotcha scenes, becomes a profound Hitchcockian motif. ” - jzappa
 
27.
The Black Dahlia (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
Two policemen see their personal and professional lives fall apart in the wake of the "Black Dahlia" murder investigation. (121 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
“ The Black Dahlia is De Palma's return to his status as a stylistically obsessed, visually meticulous director of popcorn thrillers. His thrillers have more often than not been nothing more than exercises, as they borrow from every classic Hitchcock film and only hold together as their own because of De Palma's unique visual traits. ” - jzappa
 
28.
Roman de gare (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A popular novelist researches unlikely sources to find characters for her next bestseller. (103 mins.)
Director: Claude Lelouch
“ When a movie like Roman De Gare succeeds, it's inspired, deceiving and crafty. When it doesn't, it's just blowing smoke. This film is entirely driven by a carefully weaved plot, and it is intended solely to keep us wondering and then surprise us, but despite its later slips into silliness, I think I understand the alternative realities of the plot, and I concede the loose ends are tied up, sort of. One person who sees this movie could feel that just one of the characters played by Pinon would have been enough for this movie but not in both of them interchangeably. But there is a lot of creativity and exacting work that goes into a thriller that doesn't quite give us a place to stand. And because of its carefully manipulated ambiguity, we care. ” - jzappa
 
29.
Vacancy (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A married couple becomes stranded at an isolated motel and finds hidden video cameras in their room. They soon realize that unless they escape, they'll be the next victims of a snuff film. (85 mins.)
Director: Nimród Antal
“ Like the vintage Saul Bass title sequences of Hitchcock and Preminger’s heydays, the opening credits of Nimrod Antal’s Vacancy are some of the most inventive and subliminally tone-setting in recent films, overscored by the brilliant, multi-layered music score. Antal's patient, incidental use of violence is truly terrifying and stunningly, stunningly real. Vacancy is fueled by an unyielding, helplessly engrossing suspense and squeezing tension. ” - jzappa
 
30.
Transsiberian (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A Trans-Siberian train journey from China to Moscow becomes a thrilling chase of deception and murder when an American couple encounters a mysterious pair of fellow travelers. (111 mins.)
Director: Brad Anderson
“ Do not betray your experience seeing this movie by giving in to the temptation to read about the plot. One or two fragments here and there online are enough. Brad Anderson's suspenseful drama is the essential manner in which the Suspense Thriller should be conceived. We have already deluded our concern for getting to know and identify with the people on the screen, those who are keeping us company throughout, good or bad, right or wrong, and Anderson declines to bring into being a suspense film defined by the default mode of its era. ” - jzappa
 
31.
A Perfect Getaway (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Two pairs of lovers on a Hawaiian vacation discover that psychopaths are stalking and murdering tourists on the islands. (98 mins.)
Director: David Twohy
“ Hitchcock in paradise, Twohy establishing a murder mystery with six genuine suspects and gradually coiling the plot to keep us uncertain of who the villain is. ” - jzappa
 
32.
The Ghost Writer (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A ghostwriter hired to complete the memoirs of a former British prime minister uncovers secrets that put his own life in jeopardy. (128 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
“ This slick, composed and self-possessed star-studded comeback refreshed the world that Polanski is a genuine successor to Hitchcock, chiefly in his graceful expertise with camera movement and the interaction of silence and music. ” - jzappa
 
33.
Shutter Island (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A U.S Marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderess who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane. (138 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
“ As a period film, this expressionistic psychodrama---the sort of haunted house film Scorsese had always had the itch to make---is lined with nods to various films in the film noir and horror genres, and could by and large be seen as a contemporary fete for Hitchcock's works. Scorsese has said that while the foremost allusion in DiCaprio’s Teddy Daniels was to Dana Andrews' Mark McPherson in Laura (and there‘s also a character named McPherson in Shutter Island), he was also predisposed to more than a few shoestring-budget 1940s zombie films produced by Val Lewton. ” - jzappa
 
34.
The Tourist (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Revolves around Frank, an American tourist visiting Italy to mend a broken heart. Elise is an extraordinary woman who deliberately crosses his path. (103 mins.)
“ The film's rife with clichés and predictable at every turn. Both leads exert themselves gracefully in pursuits over the rooftops of Venice, casino scenes, designer gowns and a chase through the canals with Jolie at the reins of a motor taxi without smearing their makeup or mussing their hair. Their relationship goes where the script instructs. All actors are masked in the shade of their prototypes. The music swells in romantic scenes that reek of corn, cheese and syrup. But there's an unapologetic tone to it all. It winks at us rather than implying that we're supposed to be taking any of it seriously. Jolie and Depp meet on a train virtually wearing signboards reading "NORTH BY NORTHWEST." Perhaps on the back, they say "THE LADY VANISHES." The script in general is nothing more than a retread of The 39 Steps or Saboteur. Some have argued it's the up-to-the-minute counterpart of Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief, which one can't say it isn't. ” - jzappa