Crime thrillers as a genre offer the thrill of horror layered with the sensibility of drama. Over the years, due to the relentless expansion of OTT, a plethora of crime thrillers have surfaced on our screens that would never see the light of day. Gone are the days when good crime thrillers were rare; today, with the boom of OTT and the democratization of the whole cinematic process, the only apparent shortage is that of time. This phenomenon has largely loosened Hollywood’s stalemate as an authority figure on all things film and television and is mainly caused by the slow but steady rise of global cinema rapidly ushered in by various OTT platforms. Here’s a look at eight international thrillers everyone needs to see.
8 Revenge (2008) – Austria
Revanche is an Austrian thriller directed by Götz Spielmann, starring Irina Potapenko, Andreas Lust and Johannes Krisch in prominent roles. The film’s plot revolves around an ex-con, Alex, who robs a bank to help his sex worker girlfriend, Tamara (Irina Potapenko). After work at the bank, Alex seeks refuge at a nearby farmhouse, only to realize that his next-door neighbor is actually a policeman. This high-octane film is full of twists and turns, not leaving the viewer alone for even a second.
7 The Disappearance (1998) – Netherlands
After his girlfriend Saskia (Johanna Her Steege) goes missing on a cycling vacation in France, Rex (Gene Bervoets) becomes obsessed with her search. Three years after his disappearance, Rex is approached by Raymond, who claims to have details of the incident. Directed by George Sluizer, The Vanishing is a film that simmers under the guise of normality, creating an eerie atmosphere as it unfolds.
6 Gomorrah (2008) – Italy
Touted as a primary source of thematic inspiration for Anurag Kashyap’s war epic Gangs of Wasseypur, Gomorrah is often considered a bible for all things gore and gang warfare. The film sheds light on the underside of the Italian mafia, where the Camorra crime syndicate operates without caution or fear. Director Matteo Garrone, through several storylines, highlights the sprawling impact of the Camorra on the lives of slum dwellers in Campania. While some meekly accept their fate, others attempt to stage a rebellion only to finally realize that the Camorra are too big to defeat.
5 City of God (2002) – Brazil
City of God is the story of two boys who grew up on opposite sides of Rio de Janeiro. While one becomes a professional photographer, the other becomes a local drug lord. In this deeply moving tale of the endless chain of poverty steeped in violence and crime, director Fernando Meirelles paints a gory yet realistic portrait of life in Brazil’s unforgiving favelas.
4 Amores Perros (2000) – Mexico
Amores Perros is a Mexican drama thriller directed by master filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu, the man responsible for such iconic films as Birdman and The Revenant. Amores Perros is Iñárritu’s first installment in his “Trilogy of Death”, followed by 21 Grams and Babel. The film’s narrative structure is constructed as a triptych: linking three different stories through a central event of a car accident. Upon its release, the film was well received both critically and commercially, earning Iñárritu an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Language Film.
3 I Saw the Devil (2010) – South Korea
When psychopath Kyung-chul brutally murders a woman and her unborn baby on a cold winter’s night in South Korea, he unknowingly enters into a sadistic game of cat and mouse, which doesn’t end well for him. him. The woman Kyung-chul murders is the fiancée of Special Agent Kim Soo-hyeon, who is on a mission to kill Kyung-chul many deaths before her time. A sadistically seductive revenge saga that never simmers and boils, I Saw the Devil is one of the best crime thrillers to come out of Korea in recent times.
2 Memories of Murder (2003) – South Korea
Before Bong Joon-ho became a household name after creating the story with Parasite, he directed Memories of Murder, a fan favorite among crime connoisseurs. The film is based on a true story that revolves around the first confirmed serial murders in Korea, where, interestingly, the killer was still uncovered at the time of the film’s release. Even to this day, Memories of Murder is often considered one of the best crime thrillers ever made.
1 The Chaser (2008) – South Korea
The Chaser is a high-octane crime thriller that revolves around an ex-detective-turned-pimp, who comes face-to-face with a formidable enemy in the form of a psychopathic killer, when one of his call girls goes missing. . Directed by Na Hong-jin (The Wailing, The Yellow Sea), The Chaser is a cinematic, edge-of-the-seat experience, not recommended for people with heart conditions.