13. The Gift (2015)
Director: Joel Edgerton
Starring: Jason Bateman, Joel Edgerton, Rebecca Hall
IMDb: 7.0/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
A young married couple's life turns upside down when an old acquaintance of the husband introduces himself back into their lives after they relocate into their new house in California and he brings a series of gifts and a horrifying secret along with him.
You might remember Jason Bateman from many of his comic roles, e.g. Horrible Bosses 1&2, and this is such a beautifully executed exception. If you're a fan, you really need to watch this one, as his excellent performance reasons enough for you to be hooked to this surreal and horrifying thriller. Joel Edgerton and Rebecca Hall are great too.
This serves to be a great directorial debut for Joel Edgerton, who would've known?
The audience just like the husband never realizes what's about to hit them. The way in which the story unravels is commendable and worth your attention. This one really makes you think about how your actions could come back to bite you in your ass.
Another thing I loved was how the lines between the protagonist and antagonist keep on blurring throughout the plot. It also maintains a tense and unsettling tone throughout.
14. Coherence (2013)
Director: James Ward Byrkit Starring: Emily Baldoni, Maury Sterling
IMDb: 7.2/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
A bunch of strange and reality-bending events is set off when a group of friends meets up for a dinner party when a comet happens to be passing overhead. What could possibly go wrong?
What if you were a dark version of yourself?
The entirety of the movie is set in and around the house that all the lead characters have gathered in. In fact, the idea for the story came from wanting to tell a story that takes place only in one room.
This is one of my personal favorites and believes this to be the best kind of horror movie I've ever seen, also I have rarely ever felt this kind of indulgence before.
The way in which the story progresses and reveals answers is just a treat to watch.
I would also recommend everyone to check out the movie's trivia page on IMDb once you've watched the movie as the innovative way in which the movie is filmed is just something you don't see every day.
15. The Art Of Self-Defense (2019)
Director: Riley Stearns Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots, Alessandro Nivola
IMDb: 6.7/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Genre: Thriller/Dark Comedy/Mystery
Casey (Jesse Eisenberg) enlists in a local dojo led by a charismatic Sensei (Alessandro Nicola) after being mugged and almost beaten to death by a group of motorcyclists. He is left feeling unsafe, insecure, and afraid after the mentally scarring incident, so he decides to turn to Karate as a form of self-defense.
This is the most underrated movie of 2019 and I think it deserves much more praise. An instant classic.
The offbeat humor is eye-candy for the fans of dark comedy.
The sinister way in which the movie evolves is what makes it worthwhile.
16. The Butterfly Effect (2004)
Directors: Eric Bress, J. Mackye Gruber
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Logan Lerman
IMDb: 7.6/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 33%
Evan Treborn (Ashton Kutcher) has suffered blackouts through various significant events in his life. As he grows older, he eventually realizes that he has the ability to go back in time, specifically to those events, and alter these events thus changing his past and resultantly his future.
Despite being thrashed by critics, the movie has a very intriguing premise that makes you wonder.
One thing that the movie does right is to depict the butterfly effect and to show how the smallest interference drastically impacts the future. In the end, you are left questioning your own actions in life.
A directorial attempt by the writers of 'Final Destination - 2 (2003)', it exhibits a similar dark tone.
17. Being John Malkovich (1999)
Director: Spike Jonze
Starring: John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Keener, John Malkovich
IMDb: 7.7/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Genre: Comedy/ Drama/Fantasy
A struggling puppeteer discovers a hidden door that turns out to be a portal that leads literally into the mind of a movie star i.e. John Malkovich. If that sounds crazy just imagine how crazy the rest of the movie turns out to be!
Charlie Kaufman, the man responsible for the screenplay of this movie is a genius to the extent that this absurd tale feels believable. He is also the writer behind other offbeat and yet mind-blowing movies such as 'Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind' and 'Synecdoche, New York'.
It has some truly hilarious sequences and is also quirky throughout.
The sheer brilliance of the concept and the execution of the same is really worthwhile.
18. Primal Fear (1996)
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Starring: Edward Norton, Richard Gere, Laura Linney
IMDb: 7.7/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
An altar boy, at a church, is accused of murdering a priest. Martin Vail (Richard Gere) a hot-shot lawyer decides to defend him pro bono (free of cost) but as the trial proceeds several surprising secrets are revealed.
This courtroom drama marks Edward Norton's feature film debut and it also gained him his first-ever Oscar nomination.
With a twist that no one sees coming, the movie is widely regarded as one of the most riveting courtroom dramas.
19. Nightcrawler (2014)
Director: Dan Gilroy
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed
IMDb: 7.9/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a hustler, a small-time thief, a con man, and a street smart fox. While desperately trying to find a job, Lou finally discovers his true calling, not just something he can make a lot of money out of, but also something that he's really good at Nightcrawling i.e. gathering video footage of various crimes and accidents across Los Angeles and selling them to TV news channels and aiding the crime journalism. How exactly does he pull it off?
Source: The New Yorker
The finesse with which Jake Gyllenhaal pulls off such a twisted character is beyond praise. Lou is a sociopath who along with the movie just turns out to be downright scary with that creepy smile of his.
As he himself mentions several times in the movie, Lou is a quick learner, he is like a sponge who just absorbs everything he sees and uses that to go up the ladder. The way in which the character starts out from scratch and just grows into something so twisted and yet profitable is just a treat to watch.
Dan Gilroy's work as a writer and director is really impressive considering that this is his directorial debut.
Please do not miss out on this, Jake's exceptional performance reasons enough for you to watch this great movie.
20. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Starring: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette
IMDb: 8.1/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis), a child psychologist, feels that he has failed one of his former patients and he thus tries to help a young boy facing similar problems and symptoms in an attempt to redeem himself by trying to correct all the wrongs. Oh and by the way this boy "sees dead people".
As far as horror movies go, this has to be one of my favorites. A touching yet terrifying ghost flick that houses one of the greatest plots reveals in pop-culture and movie history.
The movie put M. Night Shyamalan on the map and he would go on to give us several such major hits.
Unlike other conventional horror movies, this is an engrossing drama as well as a thriller.
21. The Game (1997)
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger
IMDb: 7.8/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
A wealthy banker's life turns upside down when he's given entry to a mysterious and unusual game as a birthday present from his brother. This entertainment offered by the 'Consumer Recreation Services' (CRS) and the intentions of the organization are soon put to question when a series of weird events are set off and he is no longer able to distinguish between the game and reality.
The movie manages to keep us at the edge of our seats throughout its entirety and it also leaves us wondering while we keep on guessing what's next.
I think that the movie fails to live up to the expectations one might have from a David Fincher movie when compared to his other works such as 'Fight Club' or 'Seven'. Although the movie in itself is quite enjoyable and takes you on a ride-along with the protagonist.
Michael Douglas is great and the audience manages to share the same sense of puzzlement that his character faces.
22. 12 Monkeys (1995)
Director: Terry Gilliam
Starring: Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Madeleine Stowe
IMDb: 8.0/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Set in a dystopian future, a deadly virus has wiped out the majority of the population and the remaining few are forced to live underground while wild animals have reclaimed the surface. A convict is sent back in time with the task of gathering information and tracing the origins of the virus. The only clue he has is that the 'army of the 12 monkeys' is somehow responsible.
Brad Pitt and Bruce Willis showcase excellent performances that you wouldn't want to miss out on.
A real fine Sci-Fi thriller that never fails to amaze.
23. American Psycho (2000)
Director: Mary Harron Starring: Christian Bale, Jared Leto, Willem Dafoe
IMDb: 7.6/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a hotshot Wall Street banking executive who believes in taking care of himself, he eats a healthy diet and exercises regularly, he wears designer clothes, dines at fancy restaurants, drinks at gentlemen bars and even has a beautiful fiancé and yet he knows that the only human emotions that he is capable of feeling are those of greed and disgust. He tries to hide his psychopathic alter-ego but delves deeper into his violent fantasies at night.
Christian Bale as Bateman is extraordinarily good and fits perfectly into the character.
It depicts the shallowness and materialism of the 1980s American elite and humanity as a whole.
It's a cross-genre movie that has been described to be a black comedy, drama, horror, and mystery.
You feel Bateman's psychosis taking over you are left shocked at the end.
24. Adaptation (2002)
Director: Spike Jonze Starring: Nicolas Cage, Meryl Streep, Chris Cooper, Tilda Swinton
IMDb: 7.7/10 Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) is a lovelorn screenwriter who is currently struggling to adapt 'The Orchid Thief' by Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep) for a movie. We follow him as he desperately tries and fails.
Charlie Kaufman, the scriptwriter for the movie, does yet another exceptional job and the way in which he manages to weave himself into the story by making him a character is, for lack of a better word, just enticing.
From the makers of 'Being John Malkovich,' this one is equally mesmerizing and Charlie Kaufman is the star yet again. The screenplay is sensational and makes you fall in love with the writer. I would also recommend everyone to watch this after they've seen 'Being John Malkovich' for no particular reason, I just believe that you would appreciate this, even more, that way.
Also, Nic Cage has a double role. Need I say more?
Featured Image: Illustration by Stories by Freepik