The 2010s witnessed the release of thriller movies like Parasite, Gone Girl, and Arrival. However, amidst such exceptional films, several movies released during the same decade didn’t receive the recognition they deserved, overshadowed by their more prominent counterparts.
Nevertheless, the 2010s proved to be a fantastic decade for movies, especially thrillers. Alongside the aforementioned blockbusters, this era introduced a range of underrated gems that have aged gracefully. So, without further ado, grab some popcorn, pour yourself a drink, and prepare to be captivated by these hidden gems:
10. Searching (2018)
“While seeming like a typical missing person-type of thriller on paper, Searching is so much more due to its treatment and cinematic style.”
Directed by Aneesh Chaganty, Searching stands out by blending genuine emotions with its innovative cinematic style. John Cho delivers a brilliant performance as a father who navigates a digital maze of screens and tabs to find his missing daughter. The film’s effort to focus on authentic emotions rather than cheap thrills is commendable.
9. You Were Never Really Here (2017)
“Lynne Ramsay’s modern-day take on Taxi Driver is a mood piece that’s nothing like the original, but still a fun film to watch.”
In You Were Never Really Here, Joaquin Phoenix portrays a traumatized and confused man named Joe, disconnected from the modern world. When a young girl gets involved in a child-trafficking scandal, Joe finds himself in a violent thriller intertwined with the essence of humanity. Lynne Ramsay delivers a unique and captivating film that diverges from the original Taxi Driver while still offering an enjoyable viewing experience.
8. Headhunters (2011)
“Headhunters is one of the best films to have come out of Norway in the 2010s, with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Aksel Hennie ably leading the film.”
Headhunters presents a deadly game of cat and mouse when a corporate headhunter, who also moonlights as an art thief, steals a valuable painting from a former mercenary. Directed by Morten Tyldum, this Norwegian film features a nail-biting climax, dark humor, and compelling performances by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Aksel Hennie.
7. Blue Ruin (2013)
“Blue Ruin paints a realistic picture of revenge, transcending beyond rage and violence into logic and practicality.”
Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin stands out among the many entries in the revenge thriller genre by exploring the practicality and logic behind seeking vengeance. The film portrays the rage and ineptitude associated with loss and murder. With its serious intent and somewhat clumsy execution, Blue Ruin offers a messy yet captivating portrayal of revenge.
6. 71 (2014)
“Instead of going the Rambo route, 71 throws light on the human side of a soldier, exploring fear, abandonment, and the frivolous nature of violence.”
Set in 1971 Belfast, 71 delves into the story of a British soldier left behind by his unit in the midst of a violent riot. Instead of relying on typical action tropes, the film examines the human aspect of a soldier’s experience, emphasizing the fear and abandonment he faces. Directed by Yann Demange, 71 meditates on the consequences of violence and its impact on those involved.
5. The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015)
“Based on the real-life experiment, The Stanford Prison Experiment takes a close look at the dynamics of power and its effects on individuals.”
Directed by Kyle Patrick Alvarez, The Stanford Prison Experiment delves into a controversial study conducted by Stanford University professor Philip Zimbardo. The film explores the impact of authority on individuals by dividing students into prisoners and guards. It presents an uncomfortable experience that uncovers the dark side of humanity and power dynamics.
4. The Vast of The Night (2019)
“The Vast of The Night offers a fresh take on the alien invasion genre, leveraging a taut script, brilliant performances, and atmospheric tension.”
Set in 1950s New Mexico, The Vast of The Night delivers a unique approach to the alien invasion genre. Directed by Andrew Patterson, the film follows a switchboard operator/DJ who discovers strange sounds in the area, leading to a terrifying revelation. With its small-scale production, one-shot sequences, and atmospheric tension, The Vast of The Night captures the essence of classic Amblin movies.
3. Wind River (2017)
“Part social commentary, part thriller, Wind River tackles the mysterious kidnappings of Indigenous women, highlighting the flaws in the law and the mistreatment of Indigenous people.”
Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River combines social commentary and thrilling storytelling as Elizabeth Olsen’s FBI agent Jane Banner teams up with wildlife tracker Cory Rambert, played by Jeremy Renner. Together, they investigate the mysterious kidnappings of Indigenous women. The film sheds light on the mistreatment of Indigenous people while incorporating elements of structured crime. Olsen and Renner deliver a palpable and powerful performance in this underrated gem.
2. Burning (2018)
“Burning approaches its story with a poetic gaze, delving into themes of love, loyalty, and social standing in the modern world.”
Directed by Lee Chang-dong, Burning captivates viewers with its slow-burning intensity. The film initially presents a creepy tale of ghosting before transforming into a mysterious murder mystery. Rather than relying solely on thrilling elements, Burning explores love, loyalty, and social dynamics in a poetic manner.
1. Good Time (2017)
“Good Time is a testament to Robert Pattinson’s acting prowess and the Safdie brothers’ directorial talent, utilizing various techniques to accentuate the sense of paranoia.”
Directed by the Safdie brothers, Good Time showcases Robert Pattinson’s exceptional acting skills. The film takes audiences on an acid trip gone wrong, with Pattinson’s character at the center of a downward spiral. The Safdie brothers employ long zooms and jarring handheld shots to heighten the sense of paranoia, creating a visually captivating experience.
FAQs about Underrated Thrillers from the 2010s
1. What makes these thrillers underrated?
These thrillers are considered underrated because they didn’t receive the same level of recognition and acclaim as other movies from the same decade. Despite their quality, they were overshadowed by more prominent releases.
2. Can I watch these movies now?
Yes, all of these movies are available for viewing. You can check various streaming platforms, rental services, or physical copies to watch these underrated thrillers.
3. Are these thrillers suitable for all audiences?
These thrillers vary in terms of content and themes. Some may contain violence, intense scenes, or mature subject matter. It is advisable to check the film’s rating and review to determine their suitability for individual viewers.
4. Why should I watch underrated thrillers?
Underrated thrillers often offer unique perspectives, innovative storytelling techniques, and exceptional performances. Watching these films allows you to discover hidden gems that provide a refreshing and captivating cinematic experience.