The temps just drastically dropped here in Kansas City, and all I want to do is curl up under a quilt and get the good kind of movie shivers. I’m a sucker for screen suspense. There’s nothing like getting so caught up in a story that you find yourself clutching the person/dog/pillow next to you and yelling at characters who never take your advice: “Don’t! Go! In! There!”
That said, I’m pretty picky about my sources of celluloid scares. I like my goosebumps delivered artfully. I’d rather be creeped-out than grossed-out. And I want there to be a why behind the whoa. Put simply, I want horror with a heart and suspense with a story. Here are several examples you can stream right now over Netflix or Hulu Plus. And if you’re too scared to watch alone, come over to my place. I’ll have a quilt waiting for you.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman in Prisoners. © 2013 – Warner Bros. Pictures
Prisoners, the first studio flick from indie helmer Denis Villeneuve (Incendies) is a taut crime thriller that allows for deeper interpretations. The script by Aaron Guzikowski (Contraband) slithers and twists, solidly satisfying who-done-it genre rules. The film follows the case of two missing girls, the frustrated officer trying to find them (Jake Gyllenhaal), and their increasingly desperate fathers (Hugh Jackman and Terrence Howard). The deep-bench cast also includes personal favorites Paul Dano, Melissa Leo, Viola Davis and Maria Bello.
@2011 Film District
Maybe you’re a half of a content pair who believes love should be celebrated every day…without so much emphasis on buying stuff. Maybe you’re currently flying solo and loving your independence…and hating how Heart Day enthusiasts assume you’ll be watching Sleepless in Seattle and sobbing tonight. (I mean Sleepless is great; sobbing, not so much.) Maybe you’re a mysterious stranger with serious stunt driving skills who breaks out of a hermit-ish existence to help his beautiful neighbor…knowing there will be price to pay.
Yep, I’m suggesting you watch Drive today, in celebration of the international day of lovey-dovey-ness. Here’s why the 2011 Nicolas Winding Refn-directed, Gosling-starring wheeled thriller is a great Valentine’s Day choice.
If Friday’s wide opening of Zero Dark Thirty (see my review here) has you craving more Bigelow ASAP, here’s what’s available on The Internets right now:
The Hurt Locker
© 2008 Summit Entertainment, LLC
The 2008 six-Oscar-winning film was Bigelow’s first outing with screenwriter Mark Boal. You could say the partnership was a success.
In honor of the new biopic Hitchcock, here’s a filmmaker flashcard to start your week. A prolific master of suspenseful storytelling, Hitchcock’s name has become synonymous with shivers, and rightly so. I have a lot of his early British works to catch up on, but have been a big fan of the later Hollywood films since high school. Rear Window (with Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly), Vertigo (with Kim Novak and Jimmy again) and North by Northwest (with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint) are all on my drop-everything-if-this-is-on-and-watch list.