Tagged Thriller

Hotel Mumbai (Maras, 2018)

I don’t want to write too much about Hotel Mumbai because I got my fill of it in the theatre and thinking about it after the fact is like a PTSD trigger. On one hand, one can commend Anthony Maras for trying to render the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks as authentically as he could, doing extensive research…

Border (Abbasi, 2018)

This is quite the mish-mash. A heaping of Scandinavian folklore here, a sprinkle of gritty police procedural there. It ping-pongs between the two genres with intriguing results. Its feet are firmly planted in reality, but the folklore elements give it a sense of atemporality. It seems to exist in one time and in no time,…

Velvet Buzzsaw (Gilroy, 2019)

If Velvet Buzzsaw was going for incisive critique of the art world’s myriad frivolities, it doesn’t work well. The best it can do is to emulate the kind of dead air that’s generated by those who equate premium connoisseurship with maximum pretension. And even then it can only go so far without looking incompetently cartoonish—and oftentimes it…

A Simple Favor (Feig, 2018)

I’ve been sitting on this film for almost a day now, trying to figure out what to write about it. My mental list just has the words KENDRICK, LIVELY, COSTUMES and DIABOLIQUE scribbled in earnest, and I must say, I loved so much of it. So much of it, in fact, that I fear this…

Mission: Impossible – Fallout (McQuarrie, 2018)

Fallout brings little that is new to the Mission: Impossible franchise. It also brings everything that is new. It’s not a contradiction as you would assume. To the first point, it follows similar currents that the other films established, such as death-defying missions with death-defying stunts, villains wanting to overturn the current world order, the reliable sidekicks (Pegg,…

Upgrade (Whannell, 2018)

It’s not exactly sophisticated aesthetically or thematically, being another skeptical morality play on the dangers of biotechnological advancements that seek to erase our humanity, but Upgrade is quite a likable bit of pulp. There’s a Frankenstein quality to it that appeals. Like Grey Trace’s resurrection from traumatizing disability, the film revisits key sci-fi classics such as 2001: A…

The Guilty (Möller, 2018)

Move over, Searching. Papa’s got a truly great single-locale thriller to cheer for this year. I approached it cautiously at first, since it’s set in a police dispatch centre, with a focus on only one officer (commandingly played by Jakob Cedergren). As a rule, I’m not here for art that seeks to valorize the police, making the institution…

Searching (Chaganty, 2018)

Reader, when that Up-inspired prologue kicked into gear, with that inanely sentimental score blaring away as a mother was diagnosed with lymphoma and then swiftly killed off, I was tempted to switch this film off and go to bed. The moment I saw someone typing “How to fight lymphoma as a family” into Google, and heard…

Cam (Goldhaber, 2018)

This film does a good job of fooling you into thinking you’ve pressed play on a low-rent affair, with sets that look like they were assembled on a tight budget, and a premise that feels pulled from the dark recesses of the Internet. Camming (a form of online sex work) has not been an especially…

Nancy (Choe, 2018)

Christina Choe’s Nancy is surely one of the year’s most pleasant surprises. Its subject matter is familiar, dealing with a family who had lost their five-year old daughter to a kidnapper thirty years before, and a woman (the marvelous Andrea Riseborough) who steps forward as a possible solution to the trauma that has hounded their lives ever…

Suspiria (Guadagnino, 2018)

A bit of a disclaimer: I am not an Argento purist, so a reimagining of Suspiria was never going to drive me up the wall. I’ve only seen the original once, and that was but a month ago. I am about as new to this mythology as you can be, which allowed me to walk into Guadagnino’s…

Nocturama (Bonello, 2016)

I could ding Nocturama for being on the nose in its second half, when it gathers its group of youthful terrorists within the confines of an expensive shopping mall and has them ogle over all the brand names and couture creations while they wait out the mayhem they created outside. Bonello doesn’t explicitly spell out the contradiction…

Brawl in Cell Block 99 (Zahler, 2017)

Within the first ten minutes or so of Brawl in Cell Block 99, Bradley Thomas (Vince Vaughn) angrily dismantles his wife’s car after learning of her infidelity. Nearly two hours later, the guy drags a baddie face-first across a cement floor using his foot. When the man is turned right side up, all the flesh on…

Super Dark Times (Phillips, 2017)

The opening of Super Dark Times is so rich in promise, with a bizarre setup that could either be literal or symbolic in nature. It’s never mentioned again, and it could very well be because it happens after the events depicted in the narrative. An ominous flash forward in the guise of a prologue. Unfortunately, nothing else…