Underrated Thrillers You Might Have Missed In Recent Years

Bad Times at the El Royale

With so many films being released it’s easy to miss some great ones – here is a list of recent thrillers that are well worth watching that flew under the radar.

Possessor (2020)

Possessor (film)
Possessor // Credit: Signature Entertainment

A horror-sci-fi-thriller from Brandon Cronenberg, son of film legend David, which suggests he’ll be working in a similar space to his father and not going off to make rom-coms. Tasya Vos is an assassin who uses new technology to take control of the bodies of others – to possess them – to carry out her assassinations, then having the possessed body kill itself and her consciousness returns to her own body. The film focuses a lot on what these murders and the experience of switching bodies and going through the process of suicide does to Vos. Each mission has a debrief where Vos goes through a series of tests and procedures to re-establish herself in her own reality and who she is. The tension escalates after a mission goes wrong, and Vos finds herself not in control of the body she possessed.

Black Bear (2020)

Black Bear (film)
Black Bear // Credit: Momentum Pictures

More of a psychological thriller than an action-filled movie, the tension in Black Bear builds throughout and there is the feeling something terrible could happen at any moment. Despite having a very small cast, most of the time revolving just around three actors, and taking place in a beautiful open area of the countryside, it feels very claustrophobic and that it’s almost impossible for the characters to escape.

Those Who Wish Me Dead (2021)

Those Who Wish Me Dead (film)
Those Who Wish Me Dead // Credit: New Line Cinema

First off, it has a great title, but also an interesting setting, Angelina Jolie plays Hannah, a firefighter specifically tasked with dealing with forest fires, whilst also coping with the trauma of previous firefighting incidents. She crosses paths with Connor, a young boy who had been travelling with his father, a forensic accountant whistleblower, who is murdered, and whilst dying hands the evidence to Connor. Naturally, Hannah tries to protect the child but this is complicated as the assassins spark a forest fire, knowing that will prevent help from coming. It is an enjoyable film with the added carnage and intense cinematography of a forest fire.

Black ’47 (2018)

Black ’47 // Credit: Element Pictures

A great revenge thriller set against the backdrop of the Great Irish Famine (with 1847 being the worst year of the famine and the year often referred to as Black ’47). Feeney is returning home to Ireland after serving with the British army and sees the terrible state of his country. There are people starving, thrown out of their homes, persecuted by the authorities and facing all manner of oppression. Feeney soon reaches his limit and there ensues a bloody revenge rampage against the British state. It is an interesting thriller with a different mindset to many films of the genre.

Ready Or Not (2019)

Ready or Not // Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

A horror-thriller-comedy, Ready or Not tells the story of Grace who marries into the wealthy Le Domas family. The family has made their money through games and a tradition is that those marrying into the family must play a game on their wedding night. Unfortunately, Grace has to play hide and seek. This is a problem as it turns out the family fortune is based on a deal with the devil, and this is the price, in a game of hide and seek where the rest of the family must hunt and kill the newcomer before sunrise. Grace undergoes an onslaught of running, hiding, and fighting follows with many of the family not actually that good at hunting people.

Bad Times At The El Royale (2018)

Bad Times at the El Royale //credit: 20th Century Fox

A very good movie that seemed to pass most people by unnoticed, Bad Times At The El Royale takes place in a nearly empty hotel where an odd group of disparate guests all come to check-in at the same time. It soon becomes clear that not only are the guests not quite who they appear to be but the hotel itself is not what it appears to be. The film has a large cast and focuses on one character at a time- giving the audience their story – and then cutting to another character, with their stories intertwining when they arrive at the hotel.

Also Read: Six Underrated Movie Sequels

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Posted by
Richard Norton

Gentleman, podcaster and pop culture nerd, I love talking and writing about pretty much all pop culture.