There are several ways to build a good suspense. For a long time, cinema believed that it would be enough to put some supernatural element and that’s it, but the truth is that the genre is much broader than that. It’s a murderer on the loose, an unsolved crime or even that bizarre and poorly explained phenomenon that makes you sleepy just thinking about it. A good suspense is part of the tension that is built in parallel to its mystery.
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And HBO Max has a weighty catalog of the genre, with some very classic and memorable productions to this day. With immersive plots and unpredictable twists, these are stories that deserve to be checked out or revisited — after all, there is always a secret that goes unnoticed at first glance.
So, to help you choose which one will be the reason for your biting nails, the
Canaltech has listed the best thrillers to watch on HBO Max.
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13. The gift
The Present unfolds, showing how school games can have consequences for life, the point of destroying everything you love and showing the world that you are not who you appear to be.
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What kinds of secrets a childhood friend can bring up after decades apart? It is from this questioning that
The film starring Rebecca Hall and Jason Bateman is part of this proposal to create your suspense. Upon meeting an old schoolmate, the newly married couple start receiving strange gifts in their home and are confronted with a secret that their husband has carried all his life. And this will undermine the relationship, especially when the wife realizes that she simply doesn’t know the man she married.
The Present is a beautiful example of how suspense doesn’t need supernatural elements to be tense and reminds us how our lives can come crashing down for very little.
9. The Panic Room
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Few things make us more nervous in a movie than a threat that can hit us in real life. That’s why
The Panic Room is so effective at building your suspense, since any of us could be in that situation with relative ease.
In the story, mother and daughter have just moved into a new apartment, when the property is invaded by criminals. To protect themselves from the bad guys, they hide in a panic room — a virtually inviolable room that leaves them isolated from the outside world. The problem is that the bandits’ target is right inside this room and they need to find a way to escape before they can break in.
8. Doctor Sleep
The sequel to the classic The Enlightened One
took everyone by surprise. The film is more inspired by Stephen King’s book than necessarily by Stanley Kubrick’s film and takes place decades after the tragedy at the Overlook Hotel, showing the consequences of those events in the life of Danny Torrance (Ewan McGregor). But the thing goes down a totally unexpected path when he meets a young man who has the same extrasensory abilities — such brilliance.
This is where a kind of sect that hunts people like them comes in. in search of a path to immortality. And it is from this alliance between Danny and his new friend that she will have to face this new threat and the ghosts of the past.
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Speaking like that, it looks like a huge messy salad, but it’s kind of suspenseful supernatural in which King excels and revisiting this iconic universe of cinema history is something really unmissable.
But of course I couldn’t missing a good supernatural thriller on our list of those who flirt with terror and make you cringe in front of the TV. In fact, the device is a fundamental part of the story of
Poltergeist and the ghostly imagery he introduced. After all, who has never died of fear when they saw a television turn on by itself or just stay in static?
In the film, a family is visited by ghosts who have a strange preference for manifesting themselves in objects of the House. They are chairs that move by themselves, glasses that break… But things start to evolve to the point where a child is swallowed by the TV. So, what can you do to get rid of these spirits from your house?
Another thriller that flirts a lot with horror, Hereditary is one of the most tense films in this new wave of the genre. Instead of monsters and people dying in the most violent ways possible, the film bets on psychological tension and the supernatural to build fear and does it all very well.
On the face of it, the story is even relatively simple, with a family discovering the secrets of their ancestors. But things get deeper and heavier until they get completely out of control, in a way we don’t expect.
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5. The Vulture
Brown journalism also yields a good suspense, especially when showing what happens when ethics becomes the first victim of ambition. The feature film starring Jake Gyllenhaal tells the story of a young man who discovers how to make money by filming accidents, fires, murders and other police cases in order to sell the footage to TV shows. But the thing quickly gets out of control.
Thus, the film creates its tension by presenting how a person can be consumed by this unscrupulous ambition and the consequences of this hunt for tragedies.
4. The name of the Rose
A classic of cinema and literature,
The Name of the Rose recreates the good old murder mystery in a very peculiar context. Instead of putting death in the middle of a city or something similar, the crime takes place inside a convent in the Middle Ages.
So, as the monks begin to be murdered the eve of the Pope’s visit, the race begins to find out what is going on. While part of the religious believe that it is the work of the devil to stop the work of the servants of God, a Franciscan friar — played by the legendary Sean Connery — develops a real detective work using logic to decipher the crime.
The highlight here goes beyond the suspense itself, but the excellent recreation of the Middle Ages and the always phenomenal acting of Connery. Of course, Umberto Eco’s original story is wonderful, but its transposition to the screen manages to maintain the level of classic with ease.