Category Archives: thriller

Angel Heart – Alan Parker (1987)

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A young and not too convincing Mickey Rourke as private detective is hired by the nicely creepy Robert the Niro to find out if a certain man is dead or alive.

The film unfolds as a descent, gloomy thriller in which Harry Angel (Rourke) slowly walks into a swamp of black American culture with first music and later Voodoo.

This works just fine until the very weak end in which Satanism is dragged in and the film has its obligatory ‘surprise’ final. The last third pretty much kills what started off nicely.

Crying Freeman – Christope Gans (1995)

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I thought that I bought some hip action film as a ‘spare film’, but only when I put it on, I noticed that it was directed by Gans who made some more descent films.

The freeman from the title is a killer for the Chinese maffia. When a woman sees him working, she is supposed to be killed too, but the freeman has second thoughts.

Then we jump forward to a feud between Japanese and Chinese maffia and the freeman’s mythical reputation. The film being based on a comic gives it a somewhat ‘poetical vibe’.

What really adds to the atmosphere are the slow, stretched scenes with 1990’ies synth music, very moody. The scenes are often dark. There are some weaker scenes, but overall I found “Crying Freeman” unexpectedly moody with here and there a violent shootout.

Under The Silver Lake – David Robert Mitchell (2018)

The shallow lives of rich Hollywood kids circles around fast sex and elaborate parties providing the director the opportunity for lots of sex and nudity. Then the main character, Sam, goes to find a neighbor that disappeared and stumbles into a puzzle leading to some sort of mystery which is equally shallow.

The film is pretty awful. If it was the director’s idea to show the shallowness of this type of living, he succeeded. Did he want to make a mystery thriller for adolescents he failed, at least, to me by and long no adolescent anymore.

Better leave this one on the (virtual) shelf.

Shadow Conspiracy – Georges P. Cosmatos (1997)

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A typical, yet descent, spy action thriller for its time.

Bobby Bishop (Charlie Sheen) is a rapidly rising star in American politics. Under the tutelary of Jacob Conrad (Donald Sutherland) he became senator and special adviser of the president.

Then suddenly he becomes the subject of a violent hunt. Chased by a contract killer and later all federal forces, Bishop tries to figure out who is behind it all.

Willard – Glen Morgan (2003)

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The film starts in a promising way. After the amusing (but rather long) opening credits, the first scenes suggest that this will be a weird and gloomy comedy reminding of the films of Jeunet.

Willard from the title is a nerdy man living with his elderly mother and working for an asshole boss who now runs the company that Willard’s father founded. He grows a friendship with the rats in his basement. A white rat he calls “Socrates” who becomes his only friend. A big, grey rat is (Big) Ben.

The concept soon runs off to silly, even childish scenes with rat training and eventually Willard terrorizing his boss with his rats. Then Ben starts to turn against Willard. In big steps the film runs away from what I like and it turns out to be quite awful. The stars below are mostly for the first 10 minutes.

Let Me Make You A Martyr – Corey Asraf & John Swab (2016)

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A moody drama thriller in which for a reason that eludes me, a man returns to his drug abusing town after six years. He is not exactly welcomed with open arms.

He looks up old friends and foes apparently looking for something, but on his departure he took something himself making him a wanted man too. His foster father even hires the contract killer Pope to get rid of him.

Now Pope is played by Marilyn Manson which is the main reason why this film gets the attention that is gets. It must be said: Manson is casted perfectly and he plays his part convincingly.

The film is a little big vague and weird here and there. Perhaps that is the reason it is only rated 4.8 on IMDb. Personally I found the film quite good. The music is well done and the atmosphere is good. Not every actor is as good as the next, but hey, this is an independent film.

Certainly not bad.

The Caveman’s Valentine – Kasi Lemmons (2001)

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Produced by Samuel L. Jackson and having him in the lead part. I guess Jackson really wanted to make this film.

He plays a once promising piano player who lost his mind and went to live in a cave in a park in New York. When he finds the body of a young man, he starts to investigate the murder, both aided and thwarted by his paranoid mind with its vision and inner voices.

Of course Jackson can play a mad man, but he also has to perform some drama which worked out less good. Even though the story is somewhat amusing at times, the obligatory unexpected plot twist towards the end is rather thin.

The Traveller – Michael Oblowitz (2010)

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On a rainy Christmas eve a man walks into a police station saying that he killed six men. After some initial chaos the man is detained and the men present start to try to figure out what is what.

The film has got quite a cast. Val Kilmer, John Cassini, Paul McGillon. Kilmer is quite unrecognizable as the alleged killer. The entire film he tries to look tough, but this only works in a handful of scenes.

The story is not that bad and the film has got some descent tension here and there, making an alright ‘supernatural thriller’ that deserves a bit more credit than the 4.1 on IMDb, but on the other hand, it is far from a masterpiece. I give it a:

You Were Never Really Here – Lynne Ramsay (2017)

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A great, slow, minimalist and gloomy thriller with a magnificent Joaquin Phoenix as psychologically damaged contract killer Joe who looks quite a bit like Thomas Ekelund of Trepaneringsritualen.

Joe is hired to find the daughter of a politician and wanders into the dark world of child prostitution. He is not exactly an easy person himself. Flashbacks suggest that this has something to do with his childhood, especially his relation with his father, but this is not really worked out.

The film has a very nice and weird soundtrack and a very good atmosphere.