Saturday, October 04, 2008

Top 10 Psychological thrillers

Comedies and social dramas, horrors and shit films. It's now time for the top psychological thrillers of the decade.

The Piano Teacher (2001)
Directed by Michael Haneke. With Isabelle Huppert.
The Forty Year Old Virgin gone wrong, it's the story of a 40-something piano teacher who's obnoxious to her students, still lives with her domineering mother and sleeps in the same bed as her. Have you ever harboured the suspicion that curt, uptight people are the ones with the kinkiest most fucked up sexual fantasies? This may prove you right.

Arlington Road (1999)
Directed by Mark Pellington. With Jeff Bridges, Tim Robbins.
Almost prescient of the events of 9/11, this film is about having an inkling that something's not quite right. Watch out in the unlikely event your neighbours aren't miserable and introverted. Like Tim Robbins in Arlington Road, chances are they're up to something.

Irresistible (2006)
Directed by Ann Turner. With Susan Sarandon, Emily Blunt, Sam Neill.
Susan Sarandon is convinced she's being stalked. But as everyone believes she's a paranoid obsessive, she gradually turns stalker herself. Full of tension throughout.

Notes on a Scandal (2006)
Directed by Richard Eyre. With Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench.
If you're planning to have a dodgy affair, make sure your history teacher doesn't find out. Because she may look like an old lady, but her rampant sex-drive, secret lesbianism and intense possessiveness will make your life hell.

Dark Water (2005)
Directed by Walter Salles. With Jennifer Connelly, Pete Postlethwaite.
A remake of a Japanese film of the same name, it makes several undisputable points. Estate agents are a bunch of lying bastards; apartment blocks are often creepy and unwelcoming; leaks are to be fixed as soon as possible. Otherwise, insanity looms.

Noise (2004)
Directed by Tony Spiridakis. With Trish Goff.
This little-known independent film is a lesson to noisemakers. With the weirdo upstairs seemingly specialised in subtle psychological torture, you'll watch while a creepy sense of unease gradually gets the better of you. Which I suppose is what a psychological thriller should do.

Hard Candy (2006)
Directed by David Slade. With Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson.
The way this film unravels is fantastic. Almost totally set in a flat and featuring just two characters, you don't quite know if the most despicable of them is the borderline paedo or the bratty, annoying-as-fuck know-it-all 14-year-old. He could do with castration, but a whack over her head wouldn't go amiss either.

Directed by Cedric Kahn. With Charles Berling.
Adapted from Alberto Moravia's novel, it shows how the path to losing the plot is never that far off. A philosophy teacher is only half-arsed when he begins a love affair with one of his students. Gradually though, he becomes obsessed and unable to pull the brakes. His job may be that of explaining and rationalising, but this one turns out impossible to decipher.

The Machinist (2004)
Directed by Brad Anderson. With Christian Bale.
In order to play chronic insomniac Reznik, Christian Bale lost 27 kilograms in months. Possibly the strongest case of actor/character identification, it's a Dostoevsky-inspired story of a lonely outcast haunted by elusive flashes of memory.

The Sixth Sense (1999)
Directed by. With Bruce Willis, Toni Collette.
One of those films where the ending makes the movie and causes you to review it several times in an effort to catch all of the clues you missed.


Anonymous said...

the sixth sense is shit

Jason said...

Really great list here. I've been through several already and this is the first one that I've found a few new movies that I haven't seen yet. Useful post, thanks.

Oh, Sixth Sense was awesome you idiot.