2020 peaked on February 9th when the best thriller movie of the previous year, Parasite, won the Oscar for the best movie of the year. Since then, the biggest thriller—the most unwelcome thriller—was the one which came on every night during the news, and, for many of us, the thought of putting on an actual thriller (especially of the ravaging disease variety) kinda just made us depressed.
But “thriller” doesn’t have to mean zombie apocalypse or plague, and there’s plenty more escapist opportunities in the genre. So while 2021 plays on as the uncalled-for sequel to 2020, we’re embracing thrillers as the antidote. Sometimes, a good thriller can actually make us forget our real terrors.
What’s the difference between thriller and horror? While horror makes The Scare the end in itself, thriller tends to use The Scare and it’s techniques (anticipation, suspense, false reprieve) for other ends—for mood, to quicken the pace of plot, or to just make the film extra bad ass.
Thriller also lurks behind so many other genre films, like crime and war. For instance, the film ’71 (now on Prime), which takes place over the course of a day in Troubles-torn Belfast, follows a British soldier trapped in the Catholic sections of the city. While the film’s veneer is war, the execution of the storyline is full thriller, as the soldier tries to escape hostile apartment complexes and NRA members knocking at the door. In short: the thriller is versatile.
So here are all the many thrillers we’re most excited to see in 2021. If they’re even half as good as Parasite, they’ll be worth a watch.
The Marksman (January 15)
Let’s start the year off with a few action thrillers. The Marksman looks to be standard Liam Neeson fare, but, hey, the man is the king of the action thriller.
Wrath of Man (January 15)
Another solid bet for the action thriller is Guy Richie’s upcoming Guy Richie movie Wrath of Man, which reunites him with Jason Statham for what’s sure to be another total Guy Richie Guy Richie movie.
Don’t Tell a Soul (January 15)
Two boys encounter a man trapped at the bottom of the well. Look for stellar performances from the two brothers (Fionn Whitehead and Jack Dylan Grazer) and the well man (Rain Wilson).
No Man’s Land (January 22)
A man flees to Mexico after a murder. On the run, pursued by rangers, he seeks forgiveness in a foreign land.
The Little Things (January 29)
Cops chasing s