100 Word Review – Green Room (2015)

From Jeremy Saulnier, writer and director of Blue Ruin, comes a thrilling horror that hits all too close to home.

Pat (Anton Yelchin), Sam (Alia Shawkat) and their band mates find themselves performing to a group of right-wing extremist skin heads in America’s deep South. When they see something they shouldn’t have, they come face to face with the club’s owner, the terrifying Darcy (Patrick Stewart).

Tense and horrible in parts, this film hits a nerve in the current political climate and the darker side of the world of punk music. It’s currently on Netflix and definitely worth a watch.

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100 Word Review – Money Monster (2016)

Walking that fine line between socio-political commentary and thriller, this film stands out.

Lee (George Clooney), presenter of financial advice TV show Money Monster, is held up at gun point live on the air after some of his advice goes bad. Under the direction of his producer, Patty (Julia Roberts), Lee is forced to put his life where his mouth is.

Jodie Foster’s direction succeeds in adding extra dimensions to an already punchy script. Politically challenging, it manages to be a thought-provoking thriller that keeps an audience on the edge of its seats while poking holes in society’s capitalist greed.

100 Word Review – 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

Not quite sure what, if anything, this film has to do with Cloverfield, but it is worth watching for at least one thing; John Goodman.

After being involved in a car crash, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up to find herself locked in a fallout shelter being told by Howard (Goodman) and Emmett (John Gallagher Jr) that outside the world is ending.

Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) is among the screenwriters on this very strange film that sits somewhere in the thriller / comedy / Sci Fi / drama genre. Goodman is equal parts wonderful, hilarious and terrifying.

It also has a truly brilliant trailer:

100 Word Review – Saw (2004)

Although Cary Elwes will always be Westley, this has to be counted among his best performances. Ignore the rest of the franchise and consider this as a stand alone work of art and horror.

Two men (Elwes and Leigh Whannell) wake up in a dingy bathroom to find they are chained to the wall as part of a sick game set up by a notorious serial killer, with only a saw to help them escape.

It’s emotional, visceral and twisted, with enough plot to keep you on your toes throughout. This isn’t a slasher; it’s a psychological thriller with gore.

100 Word Review – The Voices (2015)

The best word to describe this film is ‘weird’.

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) is a likeable mentally unstable man working a dead-end job. When he follows the advice of his pets and pursues his office crush (Gemma Arterton) things get dark pretty quickly. And that’s just the beginning.

Written by Michael R. Perry (Paranormal Activity 2) and directed by Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) it sits on a very stylised fence between horror thriller and quirky comedy.

If you don’t like bloody films, this is not the one for you, but otherwise do watch it. Anna Kendrick costars and Reynolds is magnetic as always.

100 Word Review – Insomnia (2002)

Psychological crime thrillers don’t come much better than this. 

Homocide detective Will Dormer (Al Pacino) is sent with his partner (Martin Donovan) to investigate a murder in a small town in Alaska. Trapped in the perpetual daylight of an Alaskan summer and growing tensions, insomnia sets in…

Co-starring Hilary Swank and Robbin Williams and directed by the one and only Christopher Nolan (Memento, Inception, Interstellar), this film is tense beyond belief. It’s exhausting in the best possible way, placing you squarely in Will Dormer’s shoes.

Pacino and Williams are mesmerising, Swank’s sublime and Nolan’s clearly doing what he does best.

100 Word Review – Misery (1990)

Kathy Bates is extraordinary in this film.

Acclaimed writer Paul Sheldon (James Caan), whose car comes off the road on an isolated highway, is rescued by Annie Wilkes (Bates), his biggest fan.

A wonderful, terrifying thriller about the power of fame and idolisation.

I’ve never been more scared of anyone than I am of Bates in this film. She won an Oscar for her performance. Adapted by William Goldman (The Princess Bride, Marathon Man) from Stephen King’s novel and directed by Rob Reiner (The Princess Bride, This Is Spinal Tap), it’s a story constructed by master storytellers, delivered with perfection.

100 Word Review – Shutter Island (2010)

Another wonderful example of Martin Scorsese’s (The Departed, Goodfellas) attention to detail.

Set in 1954, Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) is partnered up with Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) and sent to Shutter Island, a hospital for the criminally insane, to investigate a patient’s escape.

Based on a novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone), this crime thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. Emily Mortimer, Michelle Williams, Ben Kingsley and Patricia Clarkson all co-star, each contributing brilliantly to the sense of dread and suspense present throughout. It currently sits at 194 in IMDb’s Top 250 list.

100 Word Review – Fight Club (1999)

Knowing that I am breaking the first rule of Fight Club just writing this, proves what a great film this is.

Edward Norton plays an insomniac office worker whose life is disrupted when he meets the formidable, effortlessly cool Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt).

Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf and Jared Leto make up part of the amazing supporting cast to this classic psychological thriller.

Based on the best selling novel by Chuck Palahniuk (Choke, Snuff), directed by the indisputably brilliant David Fincher (Se7en, Gone Girl); it combines paranoia, dark humour and violence and currently proudly sits at #10 of IMDb’s Top 250.

100 Word Review – Gone Girl (2014)

Not as good as the book, in part because of Ben Affleck, this is still one of the best films I saw in 2014.

Adapted from the novel by its author, Gillian Flynn, this film about a missing wife (brilliantly portrayed by Rosamund Pike) has the suspense of the best crime thriller and the emotional gravitas of a personal drama.

Neil Patrick Harris is superb as the eerie ex, which makes it even more of a shame that Affleck couldn’t bring the depth his character needed.

Despite this it’s truly fantastic and chilling, and will leave you on edge for weeks.