Monday, 22 August 2016


“The way to write a thriller is to ask a question at the beginning, and answer it at the end.” - Lee Child

I like to watch movies, and usually nowadays I tend to be quite selective of what I watch and when I watch it. It generally means that I watch movies at home on DVDs or blu-ray discs, in my own time and with the subtitles on (this has become increasingly necessary nowadays as I often find that there is a lot of poor sound design in movies with dialogue often masked by sound effects, music, background noise and horrible accents or diction by actors).

Although I find that I can like films in all genres, there are some that I will avoid, as for example absurdist or surreal films that are a self-serving indulgence of the film-makers (let them make it and watch it themselves!); zombie or zombie comedy films (there’s only so much zombie nonsense you can take – in my case, one film was enough); gangster films (violence for the sake of violence?); slasher horror movies (more violence for the sake of violence…); political movies (usually, they bore me); soppy romance movies (they too tend to bore me); slice-of-life movies (especially the unscripted type, they too can be frightfully boring!).

One genre that I generally enjoy is a good thriller. A thriller is a story that is usually a mix of fear and excitement. It has traits from the suspense genre and often from the action, adventure or mystery genres, but the level of terror makes it borderline horror fiction at times as well. It generally has a dark or serious theme, which also makes it similar to drama. These movies can keep you on the edge of your seat, can scare you or make you squirm with discomfort, can make you scream and cry. I enjoy the psychological thriller sub-genre the most, I think, but there are others.

Disaster-thriller: This has a plot revolving around mass peril, where the protagonist’s job is to not only survive, but also to save many other people from a grim fate, often a natural disaster such as a storm or volcanic eruption, but which may also be a terrorist attack or epidemic of some sort. Tony Scott’s 2010 “Unstoppable” starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pine, Rosario Dawson is an example of this genre.

Psychological thriller: Such movies emphasise the psychological condition of the hero that presents obstacles to his objective, rather than the action. Some psychological thrillers are also about complicated stories that try to deliberately confuse the audience, often by showing them only the same confusing or seemingly nonsensical information that the hero gains. Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 “Rebecca” starring Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, is a classic psych thriller.

Crime thriller: A story that revolves around the life of lawmen, detectives, law-breakers, criminals, or other groups associated with criminal events in the story. Quentin Tarantino’s 2015 “The Hateful Eight” starring  Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, is an example of this genre.

Techno-thriller: A story whose theme is usually technology, or the danger behind the technology people use, including the threat of cyber terrorism such as Pamela Yates’ 2005 “State of Fear” starring Peter Kinoy and Pamela Yates.

Adventure Thriller: A sub-genre that seems to straddle several plot devices and themes, but generally one where there is a lot of action, tension, terror and unpredictable situations all designed to thrill and chill. Henry Joost’s and Ariel Schulman’s 2016 “Nerve” starring  Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade is a good example.

What are your favourite genres of movies to watch?

No comments:

Post a Comment