Genre: Thriller Films


My month of thrillers has come to an end and I have gained a lot of perspective about the different types of thrillers and how different the perception of what is thrilling can be. The films I watched had build and each one built at a different speed and reached a peak that came at various points throughout, or sometimes multiple times. This is one of the only genres that can have multiple climaxes and not feel stale. The thing that makes a great thriller is the ability of the actors to shock the audience, through their expressions or dialogue or juxtaposition. Thrillers rely on great acting, because without it, there is no way to sell it to the audience.

There are five subgenres of the thriller, each one is unique and each one crosses into a different genre. Political thrillers focus on the implications of a political scandal or event and revolve around the politicians or reporters or even businessmen connected with some major political event. Crime thrillers focus on the criminal, but his/her actions are not the main focus of the film, the main focus of the film is the response to the criminal’s actions. Psychological thrillers focus on the mentally fragile, often times the thriller comes into play simply because the character is reacting in a completely irrational way. Spy thrillers focus on exactly that, spies, who through the process of doing their jobs find themselves in intriguing situations with spine-tingling repercussions. Disaster thrillers focus on an event, either natural or man-made, that proves dangerous and even life-threatening and it falls to the protagonist(s) to stop it.

I have selected my favorite thrillers and ranked them. I have again selected the top 25, but if you agree/disagree, feel free to comment and let me know.

  1. The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – Crime
  2. Psycho (1960) – Crime
  3. Jaws (1975) – Disaster
  4. All the President’s Men (1976) – Political
  5. M (1931) – Crime
  6. Fight Club (1999) – Psychological
  7. Gravity (2013) – Disaster
  8. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011) – Spy
  9. Dial M for Murder (1954) – Crime
  10. Black Swan (2010) – Psychological
  11. Night Train to Munich (1940) – Spy
  12. JFK (1991) – Political
  13. The Handmaiden (2016) – Crime/Psychological
  14. Argo (2012) – Spy
  15. The Wicker Man (1973) – Psychological
  16. Nightcrawler (2014) – Political/Crime
  17. Π (1998) – Psychological
  18. Margin Call (2011) – Political
  19. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965) – Spy
  20. Shock Corridor (1963) – Crime/Psychological
  21. Contagion (2011) – Disaster
  22. Michael Clayton (2007) – Political
  23. North by Northwest (1959) – Spy
  24. The Game (1997) – Psychological
  25. Nocturnal Animals (2016) – Crime/Psychological

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