The Best Thrillers from January through June 2011 are filled with excitement, suspense and heart. From creepy monster indies and Hitchcock-inspired gems to lavish productions, each movie achieves excellence. Even though the best films of the year are often released closer to Oscar season, these movies deliver solid thrills. They are now playing or soon to be released on DVD and Blu-ray.
1. X-Men: First Class. Matthew Vaughn’s smart, exciting comic book thriller features big talent, engaging story, sci-fi and espionage. Freaks rule as the X-Men use their mutant powers to save the world.
2. Super 8. Friends making a zombie picture meet danger with imagination in this Spielberg-inspired thriller from director J.J. Abrams. A coming of age tale with a feisty kid’s heart, Super 8 blends sci-fi and horror with rousing action.
3. Incendies. A daughter investigates her mother’s life and her own roots. Denis Villeneuve writes and directs this suspenseful family drama that leads Jeanne (Melissa Desoreaux-Poulin) to the Middle East. Lubna Azabal plays Nawal. Best Movie Quote: “Death is never the end of the story. There are always details.”
4. 13 Assassins. Takashi Miike directs this taut action thriller about the way of the samurai. Shinzaemon Shimada (Koji Yakusho of Shall We Dance?) is called to lead a brave team of warriors to stop cruel Lord Naritsugu (Goro Inagaki). The samurai code remains relevant today with its loyalty, devotion, duty, respect and self-sacrifice.
5. Insidious. When gruesome voices cackle over a baby monitor, trouble begins for a young family. This weird fright-fest delves into paranormal science with it-could-happen-to-you realism. Rose Byrne, Patrick Wilson and Ty Simpkins star. Best Movie Quote: “I feel like the universe is just seeing how far I’ll bend before I break.”
6. Hanna. Hanna (Saoirse Ronan) claims her identity and kicks ass as a genetically engineered super girl with a warm heart. Leaving her spy dad in the Arctic Circle to seek out her mother’s killer, she learns about herself and others as she grows up. Cate Blanchett stars as a CIA operative.
7. Trollhunter. Deliciously scary mockumentary examines the legendary trolls of northern Norway. A band of film students accompanies a solitary hunter into danger. Government agents follow them. Andre Ovredal directs. A Hollywood remake by director Chris Columbus is planned.
8. The Double Hour. When a hotel maid sees a guest leap to her death, her own identity fractures in this romantic thriller. Giuseppe Capotondi’s first feature film flashes back and forward with shadowy twists and genuine passions that dovetail perfectly.
9. Limitless. Imagine getting literally everything you want as you live with ease and power. Bradley Cooper wins love, money and success – for a price – in this mind-bender.
10. The Perfect Host. Do we ever really know someone? Emmy and Tony Award winner David Hyde Pierce stars in this twisty, stylish crime thriller. Clayne Crawford plays an unlucky bank robber.