Thriller

Film Review: All The Old Knives is a conversational thriller intelligently carried by Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton

April 8, 2022

Despite both Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton proving their worth as action figures within the spy genre previously – Pine in Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Newton in Mission: Impossible II – All The Old Knives steps away from the action-driven physicality of the genre and opts for proceedings more in tune with a John […]

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Film Review: Measure of Revenge is a hopelessly pedestrian thriller that remains only mildly steady thanks to a solely committed Melissa Leo

March 22, 2022

Whilst it’s not uncommon for usually reliable, oft-Oscar celebrated actors to slip into filmic mediocrity, Melissa Leo must’ve really needed a healthy paycheck when she opted to commit to Measure of Revenge.  Perhaps at one stage offering a script worthy of her talents, but the final 92 minute result – one which mysteriously omits a […]

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Film Review: Asking For It is a grindhouse-inspired revenge thriller that’s sure to generate uncomfortable conversations

March 4, 2022

When detailing delicate subject matter – in this case, sexual assault and the most toxic of masculinity – some films have the insight and intelligence to do so with a certain nuance.  Asking For It is not one of those films!  No, this is as subtle as a sledgehammer, ripping through its surfaces with a […]

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Film Review: Gasoline Alley is a lazy, ugly thriller that furthers the sad decline of Bruce Willis’ career

February 28, 2022

Another day, another Bruce Willis direct-to-DVD effort that continues the odd, sad decline of his career.  Keeping in tune with the last dozen or so efforts he has sleepwalked his way through (that is if he decides to actually show up for filming that day), Willis barely registers in Gasoline Alley, the fourth collaboration with […]

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Film Review: Naomi Watts’ compelling turn can’t save The Desperate Hour from its offensive nature

February 27, 2022

The core narrative of The Desperate Hour (previously screened as Lakewood at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival) is one that is ripe with tension and despair.  It’s every parent’s worst nightmare come true.  It’s a true shame then that Phillip Noyce‘s initially well-intentioned thriller devolves into absurdity, taking its serious subject matter and exploiting […]

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Film Review: No Exit has fun embracing lunacy-driven thrills within its claustrophobic setting

February 26, 2022

Though there’s nothing particularly original about No Exit, the sheer commitment from lead Havana Rose Liu serves the film enough benefit that its genre simplicities and narrative lunacies are somewhat forgiven. Initially, Australian filmmaker Damien Power (Killing Ground) aims for a dramatic temperament, introducing Liu’s Darby as an addict in recovery who has all but […]

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Watcher is a formulaic, but no less tension-filled thriller carried by a striking Maika Monroe: Sundance Film Festival Review

January 22, 2022

A thriller that both leans into the formulaic mentality of the genre whilst simultaneously hoping to combat it, Watcher, from director Chloe Okuno (V/H/S/ 94), is a dread-filled effort that plays on the terrors of voyeurism. Gorgeously shot, though consistently lingering with uncertainty, Watcher lays focus on Julia (Maika Monroe, always a welcome presence in […]

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The Beta Test is a twisted, pitch black comedic thriller: Sydney Film Festival Review

November 4, 2021

On the surface you’d be forgiven for assuming The Beta Test is just another film industry picture, spending its minutes somehow justifying its existence as it hones in on the obnoxious and obnoxiously wealthy Hollywood players who wrongfully assume they’re untouchable in their town.  The film has that air about it, but this satirical-cum-unnerving thriller […]

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Film Review: Disappearance at Lake Elrod overcomes genre familiarity with an emotional edge

November 4, 2021

Though there’s perhaps a few too many “missing kid mystery” tropes adhered to in Disappearance at Lake Elrod – the grieving mother, the potentially corrupt police, the buried secrets coming to life – writer/director Lauren Fash injects enough character development and psychological complexity for it to get away with it. Centred around the disappearance of […]

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Film Review: Coming Home in the Dark is a menacing feature brimmed with horrific potential

September 9, 2021

It doesn’t take much for director James Ashcroft to create the most horrific of situations from the simplest of ingredients laid bare in the early stages of the eerie Coming Home in the Dark.  A loving family, an idyllic New Zealand locale, and a duo of passing strangers provide all that is needed for Ashcroft’s […]

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Fantasia Film Festival Review: Baby Money sits comfortably within the subgenre of the “home invasion” thriller

August 11, 2021

A simple thriller that adheres to the mindset that not all genre efforts have to hone complicated narratives, Baby Money adjusts the home invasion subgenre enough for its familiarities to not feel habitual. The “baby money” of the title is the currency Minny (Danay Garcia) and her boyfriend, Gil (Michael Drayer), are in need of […]

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Melbourne International Film Festival Review: Coming Home in the Dark creates a horrific situation out of the simplest ingredients

August 6, 2021

It doesn’t take much for director James Ashcroft to create the most horrific of situations from the simplest of ingredients laid bare in the early stages of the eerie Coming Home in the Dark.  A loving family, an idyllic New Zealand locale, and a duo of passing strangers provide all that is needed for Ashcroft’s […]

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Film Review: Old is an embarrassing retreat in quality for M. Night Shyamalan

July 22, 2021

There’s really no other way to say it – M. Night Shyamalan‘s Old is bad.  It’s very bad.  In fact, in some instances it’s downright awful!  Mirroring the same career slump he experienced after the 1-3 punch of The Sixth Sense (1999), Unbreakable (2000) and Signs (2002) with such misfires as The Lady in the Water […]

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The Therapist

Book Review: Helene Flood is a new voice in Nordic noir with translated work The Therapist

July 21, 2021

Translated from the Norwegian by Alison McCullough, Helene Flood’s debut adult novel follows Sara, a Norwegian therapist, in the aftermath of her husband’s disappearance. Initially, Sigurd lies about his whereabouts in a voicemail left for Sara. Soon she uncovers a web of deceit that ultimately puts her in harm’s way. Originally published in 2019, English-speaking […]

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: Catch The Fair One is a vigilante tale of stark realism

June 15, 2021

Invoking notes of revenge thrillers like Death Wish and Taken, but adhering to a female edge that lends the film a more calculating temperament, Catch The Fair One is a gritty thriller that survives more on its emotional mindset rather than gratuitous violence. Headlined and anchored by real-life boxer Kali Reis (who also serves as […]

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Tribeca Film Festival Review: See For Me treads familiar ground with a welcome creativity

June 11, 2021

The elevator pitch narrative of “blind subject is targeted by home invaders” is one that’s been explored before in the cinematic realm.  The 2016 double offering of Don’t Breathe and Netflix’s Hush both utilised this logline to impressive effect, and though See For Me is treading familiar ground, it too is at least doing so […]

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Film Review: Spiral: From the Book of Saw is politically minded and incredibly grisly

May 13, 2021

Defying the critical odds in 2004 and spanning an unlikely 8-film-strong series in the process, the original Saw became much more of a phenomenon than expected, and, arguably, than originally intended.  Often synonymous with the horror sub-genre of “torture porn”, James Wan‘s grimy, low budget affair delighted in its gory aesthetics, but tried its best […]

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Interview: Sam Claflin on the emotional turmoil of playing the villain in Every Breath You Take

April 22, 2021

After making a name for himself in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Sam Claflin soon earned global recognition as Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games series.  Romantic leading roles and character driven projects followed, with his exercises in the dark psyches of his roles continuing with the release of Every Breath You Take. […]

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Film Review: Every Breath You Take delights in its trashy 1990’s thriller mentality

April 22, 2021

The spirit of the 1990’s thriller is alive and well within Every Breath You Take.  The upper-middle class family having their perfectly manicured lives upended by the arrival of a mysterious figure – this one British and in the form of the disarmingly handsome Sam Claflin – is a road travelled many times before; hell, […]

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Film Review: Ascendant harnesses its strength through its ability to surprise with both its story and psychology

April 8, 2021

Ascendant is one of those films that’s equally as difficult to write about it as it is deceptively simple.  A film that banks entirely on the fact that it unravels and reveals its narrative in an unexpected manner, Antaine Furlong‘s ambitious sci-fi-leaning action/thriller is a testament to the first time Australian filmmaker’s bold vision and […]

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Film Review: The Courier is an emotionally fraught thriller balancing its emotional and educational mentality

April 3, 2021

British businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) doesn’t have the most suave persona.  And it’s because of this very reason that MI5 and the CIA have collaborated in their bid to maximise the potential of an insider during the time of America and Russian intensifying their nuclear arms race. “You drink too much and you’re not […]

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Film Review: The Mauritanian is a factual-based thriller grounded by Tahar Rahim’s central performance

March 23, 2021

As much as The Mauritanian can boast Jodie Foster (in her Golden Globe-winning role), Benedict Cumberbatch and Shailene Woodley as its headliners, it’s the central performance from the lesser-known Tahar Rahim that ultimately impresses and grounds the film around him. A factual-based dramatic thriller detailing some of the supposed inner workings of the 9/11 terrorism […]

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SXSW Film Review: Here Before utilises its supernatural premise and twists it when we least expect

March 18, 2021

Creepy children are always good fodder for horror-leaning films, and Here Before, whilst more psychological thriller than all-out horror, is no exception with writer/director Stacey Gregg utilising the premise and twisting it just so. Andrea Riseborough leads the charge as Laura in this small, gradual thriller that focuses on young Megan, a seemingly friendly school […]

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SXSW Film Review: Executive Order is an often infuriating and incredibly timely film

March 17, 2021

Literally adopting the phrase “Go back to where you came from” and structuring a thriller-leaning narrative around it, Lazaro Ramos‘s Executive Order is an often infuriating and incredibly timely film given the racial prejudice that has framed the last 12 months. Set in a near-dystopian future in Rio de Janeiro, the film starts on the […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: Coming Home in the Dark is a menacing feature that doesn’t take full advantage of its eerie potential

January 31, 2021

It doesn’t take much for director James Ashcroft to create the most horrific of situations from the simplest of ingredients laid bare in the early stages of the eerie Coming Home in the Dark.  A loving family, an idyllic New Zealand locale, and a duo of passing strangers provide all that is needed for Ashcroft’s […]

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Sundance Film Festival Review: John and the Hole is an ambiguous thriller that refuses to spoon-feed its audience

January 30, 2021

There’s a series of odd interludes dispersed throughout Pascual Sisto‘s unnerving thriller John and the Hole that suggest the story at hand has been passed down over time as something of a fable, one that impressionable young children may construe as a challenge on how they view their own relationship with their supposed elders.  It’s […]

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Film Review: Brothers By Blood is an all-too ordinary mob story that seems unfortunately content with coaxing by on familiarity

January 24, 2021

Despite a talented cast that consists of such reliable names as Matthias Schoenaerts, Joel Kinnaman, Ryan Phillippe, and Maika Monroe, Brothers By Blood (originally known as The Sounds of Philadelphia) is an all-too ordinary mob story that seems unfortunately content with coaxing by on familiarity. Masculinity, faith, loyalty, redemption, brotherhood, a criminal underworld…it’s stock standard […]

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TV Review: The Sister elevates a standard premise with a supernatural element

January 24, 2021

A nonlinear storyline, a dash of supernatural suggestion, and committed performances across the board, The Sister switches enough of the standard murder-mystery thriller concept for it to earn viewer interest over the course of its four sharp episodes. Within minutes of Neil Cross‘s screenplay unfolding on the screen – the writer adapting from his own […]

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Film Review: The Dry is a tension-laced thriller that stays true to its source material

December 28, 2020

Suitably gripping from the opening images of the bloody aftermath of a supposed murder-suicide – made all the more unsettling to the sounds of an infant crying – Robert Connolly‘s The Dry, an adaption of Jane Harper’s best-selling novel, is a tension-laced thriller that stays true to its source material. The murder-suicide that initially garners […]

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Film Review: I’m Your Woman is a slow burning thriller anchored by a phenomenal Rachel Brosnahan

December 10, 2020

You’d be forgiven for assuming I’m Your Woman is going to be a ferocious, revenge-driven thriller going off the simple, yet striking poster art that accompanies.  Rachel Brosnahan, decked in a long trench coat, a baby on one arm, clutching a gun with the opposing hand.  It’s a hell of an image – provocative, even […]

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