If you’re a fan of thrillers and dark mysteries, these ten flicks will have you on the edge of your seat.
Do you ever feel as if you’re being observed? Is there a nagging suspicion that you’re being watched? As though mysterious forces are plotting to harm you in some way? Well, these movies aren’t going to help you with that, and a walk in the fresh air is going to be much more beneficial. There are, of course, a number of things you can do to increase the level of suspense in your life.
As far as paranoid-inducing movies go, these span from the 1940s to the present day. Be prepared to flinch as you close the drapes, turn off the phone, and shuffle anxiously in your seat.
There’s nowhere left to go in William Friedkin’s claustrophobic psychological horror film other than directly under your skin. An awkward young woman named Agnes (played by actress Ashley Judd) finds herself sucked into the bizarre world of a strange vagabond named Peter (played by actor Michael Shannon).
Agnes’s alone existence and frightening recollections of her traumatic past make Peter appear to be a step in the right direction on the surface. In the meantime, Peter’s obsession with ever more impossible government conspiracies exacerbates Agnes’ dependency issues, and this is when things start to get a little tin foil.
2. Three Days Of The Condor
Joe Turner’s life is turned upside down when the whole CIA codebreaking staff is slain while he is out to lunch. Joe is stranded on the streets of Manhattan with no one to turn to but a random woman he’s taken captive to help him live and find a way out of this predicament. As soon as he realizes that his own government is out to get him, though.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier for the 1970s was Sidney Pollack’s chilly conspiracy classic, featuring a considerably younger Robert Redford as the hero. Even though there were considerably fewer explosions, the threat and paranoia remained.
3. Side Effects
In the wake of a patient’s violent drug-induced crime, Steven Soderbergh’s critique on pharmaceutical culture in American middle-class life soon morphs into a gripping noir thriller of murder and seduction.
Unlike other conspiracy thrillers, in Side Effects, the institutions of its universe are portrayed as the good guys, as are the other scripts written by Soderbergh and Scott Z. Burns combined. The greatest danger comes from the person trying to manipulate the system, whose deceit and desire must be considered. Because of this, it’s natural to assume that a faceless villain would be even scary, yet Side Effects lends a stark humanity to an often-intangible sort of evil.
4. Ministry Of Fear
German director Fritz Lang, who was forced to depart his native country to escape the Third Reich’s clutches, tells a story of Nazi spy rings in aristocratic Britain with the precision and appropriate anxiety of Hitchcock.
An undercover Nazi spy accidently stumbles into a peculiar exchange of top-secret information between members of a secret cell, and he finds himself in the middle of an absurd adventure where no one is who they seem to be. Ministry of Fear is a near-incomparable work of art that is rendered all the more remarkable by the conditions under which it was made.
5. Les Diaboliques
This is proof that reducing the scope of the conspiracy only serves to amplify the fear. Headmaster’s wife and mistress plan to kill him when the school is closed and leave his body in the school’s swimming pool to be discovered. When his body mysteriously vanishes from the swimming pool, the game takes on a whole new level of tension.
Clouzot had not lost his touch with Les Diaboliques, his follow-up to The Wages of Fear (usually regarded as one of the most nerve-shredding pictures ever created). The ending of this film will live on in horror movie legend.
6. Eyes Wide Shut
With each passing year, Kubrick’s beautiful sets and use of color become more encompassing in his final film, which divides reviewers and audiences to this day.
It’s easy to read too much into a movie, but not with Kubrick, and not with a movie like Eyes Wide Shut. It’s impossible. As different generations try feverishly to decode the psychosexual commentary and visual meaning in the precisely reconstructed Manhattan that Kubrick made on soundstages in England, it is likely to remain under-analyzed for decades at the very least. Tom Cruise’s sexually dissatisfied doctor, threatened by an orgy culture, inspired its own conspiracy theories to this day in the dreamlike scenario of Tom Cruise’s sexually unhappy doctor.
7. Cutter’s Way
A treasure so well-kept that it was on the verge of being forgotten. With the help of his schizophrenic Vietnam veteran friend Alex Cutter, unscrupulous doctor Cutter finds himself drawn into a labyrinth of nebulous conspiracy theories in the noir novella Cutter’s Way.
It’s Cutter’s obsession with the invisible powers that sent him to war and damaged his body that spills out onto others around him, and becomes increasingly compelling the more Cutter is permitted to talk. With each new twist in the story, his incoherent ranting make a frightening amount of logic. Everything is haunted by the specter of ‘The Man’ and the shame of the conflict.
8. The Parallax View
Alan J. Pakula’s dread-soaked voyage into the heart of a secret political assassination group was created out of an era of lone gunmen and mind warping psychological warfare. It’s only getting more relevant as the years go by..
As a political parody, an absurdist comedy, or a surreal horror film, you’d be right every time. The Parallax View is a difficult film to categorize, from its cheery soundtrack to its sudden spurts of action. It isn’t forgettable in any way, shape, or form.
9. Blow Out
Adapted from Michelangelo Antonioni’s classic film Blowup, Brain De Palma’s Blow Out is a fresh presentation of a classic paranoid mystery. In the latter, John Lithgow gets to play one of his most frightful performances yet.
Filmmaker John Travolta’s cinematographer discovers that he has accidently taped proof of a political assassination in the course of making the film. As he listens to his recordings and dissects them using the unique tools and techniques of analog cinema, the mystery deepens. Despite its near-perfect quality, it’s a film that manages to be far too darkly humorous to be classified as purely paranoid, and, aside from Blowup, it owes a great deal to the film at the top of our ranking.
10. The Conversation
“The Godfather Part III” has endured the test of time as an all-too-detailed investigation of someone’s mind troubled with the knowledge of how easy it is to spy on others without their permission. That odd feeling that everyone knows everything about you, even if you don’t realize it yourself, brilliantly portrays the feeling in this song
As an audio surveillance expert, Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) is given the responsibility of interpreting his masterpiece: a single conversation between two people, recorded in public from numerous sources and without the subjects’ knowledge. A war for his soul is taking place as he progressively puts the pieces together and unravels the seemingly-endless spool of secrets just out of earshot.