What separates good suspense movies from the best suspense movies? A good suspense movie is fun to watch, but there’s no plan to see it again. You already know what happens, right?
With a great suspense movie, it doesn’t matter if you know the plot or even if you could recite the dialogue along with the characters on the screen. Although you know exactly what’s going to happen next, the movie still grabs you and takes you to the edge of your seat.
Alfred Hitchcock was undeniably the master of suspense. In “Psycho,” he outdid himself with this captivating blend of innocence, insanity, horror and a little bit of gore. Janet Leigh plays the perfect unsuspecting victim, but Anthony Perkins owns this movie. As Norman Bates, owner of the infamous Bates Motel, he is handsome, charming, charismatic, completely insane and creepy beyond belief. Hitchcock evoked more suspense and horror with a little fake blood in the shower scene than other directors could do with a mountain of gore. This is a number one must-see.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Directed by Jonathan Demme, this movie won five Academy Awards. Jodie Foster plays FBI Agent Clarice Sterling, forced to seek help from Anthony Hopkins, the imprisoned cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Clarice is trying to capture another serial killer who murders and skins women. Hopkins performance as the evil, manipulative Lecter steals the show. Foster is smart, sassy and enthralling. This movie is scary every time you see it.
Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman are always intriguing to watch. In “Seven,” Pitt and Freeman are two detectives tracking down a serial killer, Kevin Spacey, whose victims have each committed one of the seven deadly sins. The suspense of seeing how each murder has been committed is matched by the pure enjoyment of watching Pitt and Freeman. They were each at the top of their game in “Seven.”
No one knows how many people stayed out of the water after seeing the shark snatch hapless swimmers and drag them into the depths. That “da dum da dum” was burned into viewers’ memories. Director Steven Spielberg’s shark is still the scariest critter around. Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw turned in stellar performances as the oceanographer and the shark hunter.
There have been many great suspense movies. Grab a bowl of popcorn and enjoy.