10 Tense Thrillers to Watch in the Green Room
Writer/director Jeremy Saulnier’s taut thriller Green Room has smashed its way into cinemas. The no-holds-barred film takes no prisoners and has as much grit as it does brains, and it cuts your hand open instead of holding it. After the film breaks your bones though, you may be looking for something just as gnarly and unsettling to hold you over, so we’ve picked ten tense thrillers for you to watch when you have your back against the wall. You can find your nearest cinema and book tickets at GreenRoom.film and play the Escape the Green Room game at Escape.GreenRoom.film.
Assault on Precinct 13
In John Carpenter’s second feature film, a police Lieutenant is tasked with holding down the fort in a precinct in a bad part of Los Angeles which is set to close its doors for good. Unbeknownst to him, however, events have been placed in motion where a deadly gang is out for blood against the LAPD and the group attempts to lay waste to the unsuspecting cops inside. Trapped like rats, the cops have but one way to get out: arm the prisoners in the jail. What unfolds is exploitation cinema at its finest.
The debut feature of the Coen Brothers is a mix of back-stabbing and small-town crookedness with enough of the title bodily fluid to keep your eyes glued to the screen. Blood Simple also has the trademark plot contrivance of the Coens, a great device when they use it, to create a slick and mind-bending crime story with very few players.
A History of Violence
David Cronenberg’s adaptation of the hit graphic novel sees Viggo Mortensen as the owner of a small town diner with a secret past. After stopping two robbers, his face is plastered all over the local media, and when the people from his past see him they come looking, forcing him back into old habits. The film is the best noir of the 21st century and the film that Mortensen himself calls “one of the best movies (he’s) ever been in.”
Mad Max: Fury Road
George Miller’s high-octane action movie is a 100-minute chase scene set to some of the most killer music. Fury Road is punk rock not only in its themes and ideals but in its mostly-practical execution. The film doesn’t stop once it starts and even the quiet moments have the pedal to the metal, making it a perfect companion to Green Room.
No Country for Old Men
Another Coen Bros. romp, the one which finally earned them an Academy Award for best directing, No Country for Old Men is a game of cat and mouse and cat. Set against the barren plains of Texas, No Country has a simple world where the good guys die, the bad guys thrive, and violence begets even more gruesome violence.
Chan-wook Park’s critically-acclaimed film presents the most twisted tale of revenge to ever hit movie screens. The film also doesn’t shy away from the nastiness at the heart of such a tragedy and puts it all front and center. Plus its stylized fight scenes are unlike anything else you’ll see, and you’ll never forget them either.
The all-star cast that populates Prisoners might make it seem like a perfect feel-good ensemble but few films will leave you as drained and hollow as this soul-torturing film. An examination of the monsters and darkness inside normal people, Prisoners has an edge and bite that are unparalleled. Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal also deliver highlight-reel worthy performances and features Roger Deakins’ Academy Award-nominated cinematography.
Kubrick’s portrait of madness might be a love letter to the supernatural, but the film’s slow burn spiral into psychosis is what earns it a spot on this list. The film’s rural isolation, though snowbound, is also a poignant connector between the 1980 masterwork and Green Room. It also has violence as a tool seldom but effectively used, with the right amount of wretched gore.
Sam Peckinpah’s controversial thriller is the granddaddy of the home invasion thriller, and it set the foundation for the foreseeable future in similar films. Nothing is shied away from in the movie and Dustin Hoffman’s performance keeps the movie grounded in its inherently nasty world. It’s not for the faint of heart, but if you’re looking for more things like Green Room, then you’re in the right neighborhood.
Walter Hill’s 1979 film is a seminal work of American cinema. A quintessentially human story of a group forced to run for their lives from every possible enemy and pray that they can survive the night. The Warriors is a brash and messy thriller where New York is a maze and the walls close in tighter than a subway car door. It’s fundamental viewing.