By LaReeca Rucker
As a Halloween enthusiast, you might assume that I really like horror movies.
I’ve never been a fan of blood, guts and gore. Movies like “Saw” and such are not for me. I’m not big on monsters, witches and zombies. I don’t find any of those things frightening because they are fictional and implausible.
So, while I’m not a big fan of horror, the psychological thriller is my favorite film genre.
As both a journalist and news consumer, I think many of the news stories that get our attention and make us click a link are about people who have done something that is so far outside the bounds of normalcy, we are left stunned and curious about their motivation. What happened in their lives that drove them to commit a crime?
And perhaps we find it even more horrifying when we can’t latch onto some kind of trigger, warning sign or explanation, because it means one day they were just like everyone else … like us … until they were not.
I like films in which the central character is complex and unpredictable, films that take us on some kind of psychological journey, characters who sometimes find themselves descending into madness or trying to escape a confusing situation, and unexpected plot twists.
Here are a few thrillers I’ve watched in the last year that you may find interesting, and I have included links to other thrillers I have written about. You may find one that you want to check out this Halloween.
Honeymoon (2014) – Originally found on another list of horror/thriller recommendations, a newlywed couple arrives at the family cabin in the woods. Everything is fine at first, then strange things begin to happen. Bea, played by Rose Leslie of “Game of Thrones” fame, and Paul seem set for their romantic getaway, then Bea goes missing. Paul finds her disoriented in the woods, and her behavior becomes increasingly worrisome. As the viewer, you’re intrigued throughout the film because you are hoping for some satisfying answer as to why she has begun behaving so abnormally, but in the end, the film becomes more horror than thriller, so thriller fans may find the ending disappointing, while horror fans enjoy it.
Berlin Syndrome (2017) – Berlin Syndrome is another film I saw on a thriller/horror list that I had to check out, and it would probably be my top choice from this post. The Australian film tells the story of a young journalist named Claire, who travels to Germany and meets an attractive guy named, Andi. She decides to have a one-night stand, which proves to be a terrifying mistake. When she wakes up, she realizes she doesn’t have a key to unlock the door of the apartment. In time, she soon understands that her charming captor has locked her inside. Teresa Palmer, who bears a striking resemblance to Kristen Stewart, and actor Max Riemelt give strong performances. The film is an interesting character study of a psychopathic predator who masquerades by day as a teacher and the confusing relationship he has with his victim.
1922 (2017) – Set in 1922, the lead character of this film, based on a Stephen King novella, is a farmer who sits down to give a written confession of the sins that haunt him. In 1922, he murdered his wife for financial gain and convinced his son to help him. We see both of their lives unravel because of these selfish decisions.
Raw (2016) – This French-Belgian horror film is about a vegetarian named Justine, who leaves home to attend veterinary school, joining her sister, Alexia, who is already enrolled. After a hazing ritual, Justine realizes she has a taste for blood. The film moves slowly, so you don’t really understand what is happening completely until the end. Then, like “Honeymoon,” it switches from psychological thriller to a unique horror genre approach.
It Follows (2014): Another film with great reviews, so I watched. It’s described as a supernatural psychological horror film that “follows a girl pursued by a supernatural entity after a sexual encounter.” I can’t really explain it, but if you are a fan of the horror/thriller genre, you’ll probably want to check it out. If you remember the horror movie rules outlined in “Scream” – for teenagers, this scenario almost always results in a horror movie death.
Hush (2016): This was an unexpectedly good thriller about a young deaf author who is terrorized by a masked man who tries to break into her house. But she is no victim. The lead actress also co-wrote the screenplay with her husband, who directed the film.
Get Out (2017) – I enjoyed “Get Out,” and here is a lengthier review of the film that I wrote earlier this year.
Here are a few other posts about thrillers that you may find interesting if you’re looking for one to watch this Halloween: