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Anacardium (2001)
19 June 2007
Fantastic acting and script. Simple one room set (based on stage play - I'd love to see it). Won best independent feature at the New York Film Festival. I can understand why. Best thriller I've seen for a while. Examples of movies I enjoy are 'The Usual Suspects', 'Nature of the Beast', 'The Others', 'Identity', 'Donnie Darko' and 'The Skeleton Key'. If you like most of this list then you'll enjoy Deranged. Same sort of clever writing (plot underneath plot).

This is NOT a spoiler - I only wish they used the alternate ending. Great camera shot on the alternate and would have been better. I still appreciate that the alternate ending was added to the DVD (American Version).

If you like thrillers, despite their slowness, you'll love Deranged. It shows that simple can be great.

Love your work.
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a hidden gem for fans of thrillers with surprise endings.
22 May 2005
'Nature of the Beast', written and directed by Victor Salva, is a hidden gem for fans of thrillers with surprise twist endings. You may or may not predict the plot twist that makes you rethink the entire movie, but you will enjoy the performances by Lance Henriksen and Eric Roberts. Victor Salva also does a good job with the directing and the story. Like most thrillers it maybe a little slow for action fans, a little shallow in character development for drama fans, and a little too serious for comedy fans. But if like a good thriller with suspense, intrigue, an underlying truth hidden from the viewer, and good acting and directing, then I recommend you see 'Nature of the Beast.'
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Donnie Darko (2001)
To try and categorise 'Donnie Darko' is to limit its definition.
11 January 2003
You could be excused for feeling a sense of prejudged disappointment while walking into the cinema to watch 'Donnie Darko.' Besides, it is a low budget first attempt at movie making for writer/director Richard Kelly. I admit I did. And now I admit I was wrong. Very wrong.

'Donnie Darko' is 'Donnie Darko'. I don't think I can make any other comparisons. 'Donnie Darko' must win the most original screenplay award. If it doesn't I would like to see what does.

Kelly wrote this gem based in the eighties focusing on a main character (obviously Darko acted by Jake Gyllenhaal) who is either a future seeing hero, or a schizophrenic villian. He meets a new imaginary friend named Frank who is a six foot bunny rabbit. Sound strange, well that's just the beginning of a rollacoaster ride of an amazing screenplay. Frank's character being a rabbit might make this movie sound like it's a comedy, but it isn't, and in fact it works, with the scenes being very creepy and amazingly twisted which supports the possibility of Donnie suffering a mental illness.

'Donnie Darko' isn't a comedy but it is comedic, it isn't a drama but it's dramatic, it isn't a thriller but it's thrilling. It even has a touch of science fiction. This movie is everything. Probably the most holistic effort I've seen. To try and categorise 'Donnie Darko' is to limit it's definition.

Very deep, emotional, entertaining, intellectually stimulating, conversation starting piece of movie making. Great characters with great development. Great movie. I can't wait for Richard Kelly's next movie. This movie should have been on mainstream cinema. There is so much rubbish out there and in my opinion this is the best movie of 2002.
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Primal Fear (1996)
Quality Murder Mystery Thriller Based on William Diehl's Novel.
2 August 2002
Gregory Hoblit's 'Primal Fear' is a quality murder mystery thriller based on William Diehl's novel. Starring Richard Gere as 'Martin Vail', a lawyer who transforms from being a prosecutor at a major firm to an independent but successful defendant. A battle of moral consciousness. From a man searching for frenzied media attention to a man searching for the truth. Via his inner most thoughts being conveyed to a reporter throughout the movie, the audience, like a jury, try to make a judgment on his character.

But the stand out performer was the rookie. Edward Norton. He delivered his character 'Aaron Stampler' with amazing credence. An incredible display of acting. And it had to be. This supporting character was really the cornerstone character of the movie.

The supporting cast was great. Laura Linney, who played 'Janet Venable', Vail's love interest and opposing prosecutor, was also very good.

Hoblit's direction was typically solid. Nothing too experimental. Just the basics. But he didn't let the story become too slow which is a major problem for any thriller.

I recommend this movie to anyone who likes a good murder mystery thriller. Also anyone who wants to witness a potentially great actor (Edward Norton) perform for the first time.
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Paranoid (I) (2000)
Doesn't make the audience work for answers like most good thrillers do.
20 July 2002
John Duigan's psychological thriller 'Paranoid' explores the world of a high class model named Chloe (played by the stunning beauty Jessica Alba). She gets involved in the wrong crowd and finds herself alone in a lodge surrounded by strangers. She wakes up paranoid that someone had slept with here while she was unconscious.

It seems a simple plot. But there are strange characters that make this film more interesting. The suspected rapist (played by Iain Glen), the stalker, the boyfriend left at home. It seems as though the beautiful Chloe is surrounded by characters with ugly intentions. Apart from Theresa (played by the young Mischa Barton) who is deaf and dumb and seemingly the only one with a moral conscious.

Duigan's directing is solid, but nothing you haven't seen before. The occasional camera shot through the key hole or binoculars or from window to window.

Unfortunately Duigan's script reveals whether Chloe is suffering from irrational fears very early and too easily. He doesn't make the audience work for the answer like most good thrillers do.

Jeanne Tripplehorn is very good in a supporting role. And Jessica Alba shows potential. There is some what of a twist in the end but it doesn't work as well as it should. In the End, good... but it could of been so much better.
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McQuarrie changes the usual formula from 'who done it?' to 'who is it?'. Who is Keyser Soze?
20 July 2002
Bryan Singer's 'The Usual Suspects' is a masterpiece. From the ad hocery of the line up scene that lets the great cast shine, to the highly organized reminiscential scenes that help the audience understand McQuarrie's great script.

McQuarrie has written an amazingly intricate story filled with tension. It changes the usual formula of 'who done it?' to 'who is it?' creating a unique crime story.

Spacey is brilliant as disabled con man Verbal Kint. Byrne is great as con man gone straight Dean Keaton. Pete Postlethwaite is also amazing as the mysterious lawyer Kobayashi. Not to mention the performance of Palminteri as the frustrated Agent Dave Kujan. The Cast is full of class.

McQuarrie's dialogue is superb. Which is delivered with awesome credence. Especially from Spacey's character Verbal Kint who largely verbalizes the story to Agent Kujan and of coarse the audience.

Singer exposes the clues to this mystery in the most subtle fashion. This leads to one of the most surprising endings in the history of cinema. Who is Keyser Soze?
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The Others (2001)
A Masterpiece of Film Making. Well Written & Brilliantly Acted.
19 July 2002
Alejandro Amenabar (writer,director) has used all the appropriate elements (light & dark, Noise & silence, action & reaction) as tools to create a masterpiece of film making. Using an Old English Mansion as the back drop to a ghost story maybe cliche'd, but it's meant to. This movie, like all great thrillers, works on our assumptions. And this is a great super-natural thriller. Amenabar's story is pure genius. It has been compared to the 1995 title 'Haunted' directed by Lewis Gilbert and starring Aidan Quinn. It has also been compared to M. Night Shyamalan's 'The Sixth Sense' starring Bruce Willis. In my opinion 'The Others' makes the critically acclaimed 'The Sixth Sense' look Second Rate. The story, the directing, and the acting is far superior. Kidman is brilliant as the lead (In my opinion her best performance). And she is well supported by Flanigan, Sykes & Eccleston. The children are played by Mann and Bentley and are quite remarkable. Especially Mann, who is going to be an absolute star (even bigger than Haley Joel). This Movie is an all-time classic. It deserved higher praise from the critics. If you enjoy quality film making you will like 'The Others'. Quite simply it leaves THE OTHER movies in this genre looking amateurish. Check it out.
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Drop Dead Gorgeous (1991 TV Movie)
Great Murder Mystery. Red Herrings, Suspects, Unexpected Twists, and a Sting in its Tail.
16 July 2002
Paul Lynch's 'Drop Dead Gorgeous' aka 'Victim Of Beauty' (the latter the better in my opinion) is an under-rated sleeping beauty for thriller fans. Especially those who enjoy a murder mystery with twists and turns. Lynch's Direction is solid for a TV movie. It obviously had a TV Movies Budget. The acting isn't award winning but believable. What makes this movie special is the story. Harriet Steinberg has created a fantastic script. Not so much the dialogue but the way this mystery is plotted and unfolds. Everything a Murder Mystery needs; many suspects, motives, confused sexual orientation, red herrings, an underlying story that occasionally raises its ugly head, and a sting in its tail. Rubin is beautiful, Outerbridge is talented and the supporting cast do a good job.

This is not so much a suspenseful thriller. All Murders happen off camera. We only see the left over bodies. But it is a very good Murder Mystery Thriller with a great twist that works. Check it out.
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Stonebrook (1999)
A solid intricate thriller with many unexpected plot twists.
3 June 2002
Co-writer, co-producer and director, Bryon W. Thompson, has created a very under-rated thriller. A story about a country boy (Rowe)who seeks a better life through the help of an old family friend (Mesnik). He applies to Stonebrook Uni, meets a beautiful girl (McLellan), as well as an eccentric room-mate(Green)who is in his own mind 'a very dangerous man'. Life is great, that's until he and his room-mate accidentally steals from a mob boss (Kamel). From here it's a rollercoaster ride full of unexpected twists. If the story doesn't sound interesting enough, wait til the underlying story unfolds. The performances are good. You believe every character. The direction is also good. There are many cut away reminiscing scenes (much like 'The Usual Suspects') that are needed due to the intricate plot. This allows the viewer to keep up with the story causing the plot twists to work more effectively. Good thriller. Not quite great. But if you like a thriller with a twist. I recommend you check it out.
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