Tag Archives: psycho thriller

The Hunt

A Danish psycho thriller “the Hunt” (2012) directed by Thomas Vinterberg and starring Mads Mikkelson, Alexandra Rapaport among others.

A brilliant movie dealing with the problems of a false child sex accusations against a person in the community. Lucas (Mads Mikkelson) goes to the nursery to teach children and he is accused of displaying himself by one of the female students. It turns his world upside down and nobody wants to believe him even as he is pleading his innocence. For everybody including the girl’s parents, the girl can’t be wrong, she is never wrong.

Even when the girl says that she just said something for fun, still nobody wants to take that and relieve the man of his guilt. He is shunned by the community, not allowed to buy things from the supermarket, is arrested, cleared but still the doubts remain. Its the way of the community. His favorite dog is killed, stone is thrown into his house and even his son is beaten by the neighbours.

Mads has done a brilliant role as the main person accused of the crime. The film got nominated into a clutch of awards and won a few of them. IMDB 6/10

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Manichitrathazhu

A kind of psycho thriller historical fiction, horror Malayalam movie “Manichithrathazu” (1993) starring Mohanlal, Shobana, Suresh Gopi among others.

Suresh Gopi (Nakulan) and Shobana (Ganga/ Nagavalli) are a couple and they come to their ancestral house in Kerala. That house is supposedly haunted by some previous lady who had a bad childhood and who was refused in hand by the landlord of that place who was smitten by her.

Fast forward to the present day, the spirit has supposedly entered into the hearts of somebody in Shobana/ Suresh Gopi household and strange things start happening from time to time. Enters Mohanlal who is a psychiatrist but also a ghost buster and has a world wide name and fame.

The script and dialogues are good and so is the direction, cinematography and music by M.G. Radhakrishnan is excellent. Shobana has played out of her skin – a brilliant bravura performance that rightly earned her the best actress national award.

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The Duel

Deadly psycho thriller movie from Steven Spielberg, The Duel (1971) where the villain is a truck, a monstrous one at that.

It was his directorial debut for Steven Spielberg. David Mann (Dennis Weaver) is an ordinary American returning home to his family in his Plymouth Valiant. He had differences with his wife early on in the morning. He is driving through the Mojave desert when he passes a tanker truck. The dilapidated truck overtakes him at high speed blaring with noise.

Then follows a cat and mouse game between the car driver and the truck driver, with the maniacal truck driver trying to kill David. The truck driver whose face is never shown on the camera tries to push David onto an onrushing trailer train at the railway crossing.

The deadly game has its own deadly moments when David tries to outguess, outrun and out flank the truck driver but fails miserably. The camera work is simply magnificent and shows the monster truck in its true elements with its size, sound and power of its engines.

Superb acting by Dennis Weaver, probably the only actor in this movie, besides the truck of course.

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Strangers on a Train

Deadly psycho thriller from Alfred Hitchcock “Strangers on a Train” (1951) starring Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, Robert Walker, Patricia Hitchcock, Kasey Rogers among others.

Guy Haines (Farley Granger) is a tennis player of some repute and he meets on a train with Bruno Anthony (Robert Walker) who is a kind of a possessive, inquisitive, fiendish chap. Guy is going through some marriage problems with his wife Miriam Joyce Haines (Kasey Rogers) a diabolical scheming woman out to get her pound of flesh. She is double crossing Guy while going around with others. Bruno does not like his father. He suggests to Guy crossover murder i.e. both of them murder each other’s enemies, thereby the motive will be lost and both will be free.

Guy scorns at such an idea but Bruno does not give in. He follows up relentlessly and goes after Miriam and kills her in an amusement park. Guy’s cigarette lighter was left behind by him in the train which is used by Bruno as evidence at the scene of the crime. Guy does not go to the police immediately as Bruno warns him about their crossover plot.

Somehow Guy’s present love Anne Morton (Ruth Roman) comes to know of little things as Bruno seizes up when he espies Anne’s sister Barbara Morton (Patricia Hitchcock – daughter of Alfred Hitchcock in a delightful cameo role) as Barbara looks almost alike Miriam Haines.

Things get to a pass and there is a deadly climax scene involving the merry go around, which spins around uncontrollably after the operator is shot dead. Superb natural acting by Robert Walker, Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, Patricia Hitchcock and Kasey Rogers. I thought there would be a twist in the tale towards the end, typical of Hitchcockian suspense. Unfortunately Robert Walker died immediately after this film was released, himself suffering from alcoholism and mental illness.

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Drishyam 2

Drishyam 2 is a resumption of the first film where Mohanlal had buried the body under an under construction police station. Jeetu Joseph takes a long time in coming around to the climax of this sequel. It is not as taut as the first movie, which was a thriller par excellence.

The sequel ponders too much over minor events and sequences. The tight tension which was there in the first part was not evident in the sequel. It would have been better if Joseph had gone onto another unsolved crime and kept the Drishyam brand alive. By closing out the murder investigation, Joseph has effectively buried the brand though he can still play it along with more themes and more unsolved crimes. Which is what i feel he should do, i am sure there are so many live examples of unsolved murder mysteries from the police files. I would say the climax in this Drishyam 2 is disappointing to say the least.

Of the cast, everybody is in slow motion, Mohanlal looks a tired self of himself.

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A Cold Heart

A psycho thriller from Jonathan Kellerman, my first one of him. A not so noted blues guitarist is killed in the alley behind the studio just after his performance. Soon there are other killings of up and coming artists in and around Hollywood like a painter, a singer. Alex Delaware, the psychologist is bought in by the homicide detective Milo. Soon they form a team with Petra Connor investigating the guitarist killing and then joined by ex-army man Alex Stahl. The psychologist is able to put a lot more sense to the killings than the detectives but initially their suspect is a 24 year old Kevin Drummond, but further investigation on his family tree leads them to another suspect, his college counselor Gordon Shull. The way the mystery of the killer is unraveled is quite good. Exciting page turner from Kellerman, a nice narrative as well. Goodreads 5/5

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The Virgin Suicides

Deadly psycho drama movie, the Virgin Suicides (1999) directed by Sofia Coppola, in her directorial debut. Unusual theme for a movie in the sense that it shows five young teen girls in an upscale suburb of Michigan all living their lives in a claustrophobic fashion being barricaded inside their house by their over protective parents. While their mother is a domineering character, their father a maths teacher is a kind of very meek person over ruled by the mother. They don’t go out anywhere to play or meet friends or to shopping mall or do things that normal girls of their age do. The frustration gets to them, one of the girls, Cecilia Lisbon first slits her wrists in the bathtub, but recovers, then again attempts by jumping from their second floor terrace onto the spiked fencepost. The parents get more paranoid and blockade them more fiercely now, but the girls get their fleeting moment of freedom when they go to their schools. Kirsten Dunst as Lux Lisbon gets more daring of them all, but gets betrayed by somebody whom she thinks loves her. The story is narrated by four boys of their age from their neighbourhood who were never able to forget them or what happened to them, even 30 years after they passed out of schools. The girls get more and more desperate, frustrated and decaying all the time. Its a brilliant psycho movie that gets on your nerves. Sofia Coppola has done a good job as a first time director. The girls have all done their part well. Its a brilliant movie worth watching for its thematic content.

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Mirage

Mirage (1965), an intense psychological drama thriller movie starring Gregory Peck, Diana Baker among others. Shot entirely in black & white, the plot is convoluted and confusing to begin with because David Stillwell (Gregory Peck) is himself confused. He does’nt remember anything for two years or who is Shela (Diana Baker) or why she meets him or what is happening to him. Strange things are happening to him. He goes to a Dr. Broden, a psychiatrist who tells him its impossible to have amnesia for two years. He then hires a detective Caselle (Walter Mathau) to find out more about him. In the meanwhile all his troubles start when Charles Calvin (Walter Abel) falls down from his 27th floor office. Whole of lot of confusing plots thrown here and there, quite like a Hitchcockian suspense movie. Very slowly its starts unravelling for Gregory Peck as it does for the viewers. Brilliant acting by Gregory Peck and Diana Baker. Lot of action towards the end, but i would’nt want to reveal the suspense. Worth the watch for the beautiful screenplay and Gregory Peck and the beautiful Diana Baker.

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Thaniyavarthanam

Brilliant malayalam psycho drama movie “Thaniyavarthanam” (1987) directed by Sibi Malayil and starring Mammootty, Thilakan among others. Its a subtle take on the deep rooted orthodoxy and superstition prevalent amongst some families in Kerala. Their strong belief in rituals to the exclusion of scientific temper and medicine, which is disdained. It is also a strong commentary on how Goebbel’s propaganda works – keep telling a person he is mad, until he also believes he is mad. Mammootty (Bala Gopalan) is a school teacher in a small primary school in which his daughter also studies. They have a traditional house in the village but not so much money. There is one relative in the household who is supposedly insane and apparently that is bought about because of an age old curse coming down from generations, affecting the male members of the household. Balan’s younger brother Gopi (Mukesh) is a staunch opponent of all these mumbo jumbo rituals but all the elders are deeply rooted in that belief. They have a sister who is unmarried and not getting any proposals because of this curse apparently. Balan’s relative dies and it is predicted that Balan will be the next in line. So just one wayward dream of Balan and people start doubting it and react funnily to him. Balan himself does not believe anything is wrong with him but the village folk, his school colleagues and family members slowly start poisoning his mind. Mammootty’s slow descent from a normal fun loving family into a person affected by all these accusations is brilliant. The family has no money at all, but still go ahead with making arrangements to perform another round of rituals to appease the devis to arrest his decline. Brilliant climax by the Director, which no one saw coming.

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Housebound

A New Zealand psycho thriller which actually starts as a ghost story. Kylie attempts to rob a roadside ATM but fails, as a punishment she is sent to live with her estranged mother’s house for 8 months with a police bracelet. She starts hearing voices and seeing things at the house which are unusual. Her mom confirms that it has been so for many years. Kylie digs deeper and finds that the house has been one in which murder has taken place in the past. The cop helps her in locating a few mysterious things. A psychiatrist doctor tries to rally her around with his pompous statements about the brain, then she locates something on her neighbour’s compound which confirms some doubt in her mind. Morgana O’ Reilly has done a good role as Kylie. There is suspense in the end.

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