A Thriller movie, also known as suspense movie, suspense thriller or simply Thriller, is a movie genre that creates excitement and suspense in the audience. The suspense in the plot of most movies is a main part of this genre. Tension is created by delaying what the audience knows is going to happen. It is built through situations that are scary or where the characters cannot escape.
Methods[change | change source]
Fight and chase scenes are common methods. Life is usually threatened in a thriller. This happens often when the protagonist does not see that they are entering a dangerous situation. The protagonist must usually deal with a problem, such as an escape, a mission, or a mystery.
Relation with other genres[change | change source]
Screenwriter Eric R. Williams lists thriller movies as one of eleven super-genres in his screenwriters' taxonomy. He says that all feature length movies can be classified by these super-genres. The other ten super-genres are action, crime, fantasy, horror, romance, science fiction, slice of life, sports, war, and western. Thrillers are commonly combined with other super-genres. The most common combinations are action thrillers and science fiction thrillers. Thriller movies have a close relationship with horror movies. Both use suspense as they tell the story. In plots about crime, thriller movies deal more on creating suspense than on the criminal or the detective. Common themes include, terrorism, political conspiracy and romantic triangles leading to murder.
History[change | change source]
One of the earliest thriller movies was Harold Lloyd's comedy Safety Last! (1923). It included a character performing a stunt on the side of a skyscraper. Alfred Hitchcock's first thriller was his third silent movie The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1926). It is a suspenseful Jack the Ripper story. His next thriller was Blackmail (1929). It was his first sound movie and the first British sound movie .
One of the earliest spy movies was Fritz Lang's Spies (1928). It had an anarchist international conspirator and criminal spy character named Haghi (Rudolf Klein-Rogge), who is pursued by good-guy Agent No. 326 (Willy Fritsch)/ This movie was an inspiration for the future James Bond movies.
Hitchcock made more his suspense-thrillers during the 1940s. He directed Foreign Correspondent (1940), the Oscar-winning Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941) **Saboteur (1942) and Shadow of a Doubt (1943). Notable non-Hitchcock movies of the 1940s include The Spiral Staircase (1946), Sorry, Wrong Number (1948), and The Third Man (1949).
In the late 1940s, Hitchcock added Technicolor to his movies. Hitchcock's first Technicolor movie was Rope (1948). He reached the top of his career with several classic movies such as Strangers on a Train (1951), Dial M For Murder (1954), Rear Window (1954) and Vertigo (1958). Non-Hitchcock thrillers of the 1950s include The Night of the Hunter (1955) and Orson Welles's crime thriller Touch of Evil (1958).
After Hitchcock's classic movies of the 1950s, he made Psycho (1960). It is the story of a lonely, mother-fixated motel owner. He also produced . J. Lee Thompson's Cape Fear (1962), with Robert Mitchum, as man trying to get revenge.
The 1970s saw an increase of violence in the thriller genre. This began with Canadian director Ted Kotcheff's Wake in Fright (1971). It is almost completely a horror movie. Frenzy (1972) was Hitchcock's first British movie in almost two decades. It was given an R rating for its strangulation scene.
One of the first movies about a person being obsessed with their idol was Clint Eastwood's Play Misty for Me (1971). It is about a California disc jockey who is being stalked by a female listener (Jessica Walter). John Boorman's Deliverance (1972) tells the story of four Southern businessmen on a weekend trip.
In the early 1990s, thrillers were often about obsession and trapped protagonists who must find a way to escape a villain. Rob Reiner's Misery (1990) featured Kathy Bates as a fan who terrorizes an author (James Caan) who is in her care after an accident. Other movies include Curtis Hanson's The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992) and Unlawful Entry (1992).Detectives or FBI agents hunting down a serial killer was another popular movie idea in the 1990s. A famous example is Jonathan Demme's Best Picture–winning crime thriller The Silence of the Lambs (1991). In it, FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) needs the help of a cannibalistic psychiatrist named Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) to find the serial killer Buffalo Bill. David Fincher's crime thriller Seven (1995), about the search for a serial killer whose murders are bases on the seven deadly sins.
In recent years, thrillers have often overlapped with the horror genre. They have more elements that are common to horror movies. Examples of this include Disturbia (2007), Eden Lake (2008), The Last House on the Left (2009) , and A Quiet Place (2018).
Sub-genres[change | change source]
The thriller movie genre includes the following sub-genres, with examples:
Notes[change | change source]
- Konigsberg 1997, p. 421
- Konigsberg 1997, p. 404
- Dirks, Tim. "Thriller – Suspense Films". Filmsite.org. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
- Williams, Eric R. (2017). The screenwriters taxonomy : a roadmap to collaborative storytelling. New York, NY: Routledge Studies in Media Theory and Practice. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-315-10864-3. OCLC 993983488.
- Richard Allen, S. Ishii-Gonzalès. Hitchcock: Past and Future. p.xv. Routledge (2004). ISBN 0415275253
- Music Hall Mimesis in British Film, 1895–1960: on the halls on the screen p.79. Associated University Presse (2009). ISBN 9780838641910.
- "Thriller and Suspense Films". Filmsite.org. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
- "Thriller/Suspense Subgenre Definitions". Cuebon.com. Retrieved June 24, 2010.