What are the most exciting short films

The 20 most exciting films: The best psycho, action and horror thrillers

These films let you slide to the end of the sofa in suspense and touch the TV with the tip of your nose! Recommendations across genres, countries and years.

From Oscar nominees like “Arrival” to blockbusters like “The Dark Knight” and “Shutter Island” to classics like the action film “Heat” or the horror thriller “Shining”, this list prevents a lack of inspiration at the movie night! International hits like France's “Hass” or “The Prophet”, “The Hunt” from Denmark and Sweden, South Korea's “Oldboy” or the Berlin drama “Victoria” are also there!

20 exciting films

You can find out more about the story, where you can get the DVD and how you can best watch the film in the stream under the links provided for the film.

Arrival - USA, 2016

With eight nominations at the Oscars 2017, including “Best Film”, “Best Director” and “Best Adapted Screenplay”, this science fiction drama stands out as one of the most exciting and also most intelligent films of 2016.

Fight Club - USA, 1999

A cult classic among Mindtwist movies: you have to watch the psychological thriller starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter at least twice to decipher all the hidden clues.

Victoria - D, 2015

A 90-minute film shot as a long sequence without cuts: the cinematic experiment by German director Sebastian Schipper is conceived as a rapid hunt through Berlin - from the club, to the Späti, into the underground. Improvised dialogues make the crazy story believable and when the downward spiral reaches its bottom we are as breathless as the characters who somehow have to find a way out.

Heat - USA, 1995

Michael Man's action crime thriller starring Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino is considered one of the best and most influential films of all time within the genre.

Prisoners - USA, 2013

An earlier work by "Arrival" director Denis Villeneuve about two family fathers (Hugh Jackman, Terrence Howard) who want to stop the kidnapper of their daughters themselves. A race against time begins, as the chances of finding the girls alive decrease with every hour. When things get out of hand, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) has to start investigating the fathers as well. The film is currently (as of February 2017) also available on Netflix Germany.

A Prophet - F / It, 2009

The prison drama by director Jacques Audiard ("The Taste of Rust and Bones") tells the rise of an illiterate Arab to become a drug lord within the prison walls. French genre cinema which, thanks to the severity and honesty of its plot, the power of the talented actors and the visual power, is already one of the masterpieces of younger European cinema.

Shutter Island - USA, 2010

As an investigator, Leonardo DiCaprio falls into the clutches of a psychiatric institution on an island that isolates him from the outside world and wants to render him harmless.

Memento - USA, 2000

"Inception" director Christopher Nolan proves himself a master of storytelling by telling the revenge campaign of the main character Leonard (Guy Pearce), whose wife was murdered, backwards. Scene by scene, the mosaic of the entangled investigation into the murderer, which is a race against time every day, is completed. Because Leonard has lost his short-term memory and has to teach himself every morning what happened in the days before. Through the wrong narration, the viewer discovers the future before the past. So the tension is not in figuring out what is going to happen but why something is happening.

Oldboy - South Korea, 2003

The original, badly copied by Hollywood, drives the viewer to the edge of the sofa for two hours of tension. Park Chan-Wook received the Grand Jury Prize in Cannes for his disturbing, but incredibly versatile and surprising revenge drama "Oldboy".

Hass - F, 1995

The character actor and currently the most successful French export Vincent Cassel celebrated his breakthrough with this social drama. Mathieu Kassovitz (“Gothika”, “The fabulous world of Amélie”) shot Cinemascope in black and white and in large format, but this stylish anachronism does not detract from the material's closeness to the present. On the contrary: the insight into the precarious conditions of petty criminal Parisian suburban boys and their destructive anger against the bourgeois establishment receive the necessary coolness and harshness in the colorless portrait.

Irreversible - F, 2002

The director of the aesthetic excesses, Gaspar Noés, creates the French counterpart to the Hollywood hit “Memento” with “Irréversible” - and goes even further: backwards he tells the chase of a vengeful man (a towering, testosterone-spraying Vincent Cassel), his girlfriend (Monica Bellucci) was a rape victim. With every dose of cocaine, the main character becomes more restless, hectic, panicked - and the pulse of the film rises and rises. The discharge comes in the form of a violent sex scene. In a 10-minute rape, the camera comes to a standstill for the first time, the music breaks off and the viewer is mercilessly exposed to the unbearable images. Nobody had dared to do that before Noé. The scene sparked a scandal in the film press and is controversial to this day.

The Silence of the Lambs - USA, 1991

As an FBI agent, Clarice Starling (Jody Foster) has to face her investigation into Dr. Put Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins in his prime role) into his psychopathic, cannibalistic mind and runs the constant risk of succumbing to the skillful manipulation of the former psychiatrist.

Mary full of grace - Colombia / USA, 2003

A young Colombian woman dreams of a better future in the US, but before it begins, the pregnant woman has to smuggle drugs into New York - in her stomach.

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The eternal gardener - D / GB, 2005

Justin Quayle (Ralf Fiennes) travels to Africa to investigate the mysterious murder of his wife, a political activist. But during his research he comes across a scandalous intrigue: pharmaceutical companies seem to be carrying out illegal drug tests on the poor population. Anyone who shares this secret with the press is risking his or her life.

Snowpiercer - South Korea / F / USA, 2013

The world is bathed in ice and snow. This dystopian end-time science fiction takes place on a speeding train that is not allowed to stop - otherwise it and all its occupants will freeze. A strict hierarchy regulates the coexistence of the last survivors of mankind in a small space until a class struggle breaks out. An impressive parable on the submissive, dominant, revolutionary, selfish, good, bad, i.e. complex nature of humans. Here you can read on, how it stands with "Snowpiercer 2" as a series adaptation!

Shining - GB, 1980

Stanley Kubrick's adaptation of the novel by the horror cult author Steven King has not only become a highly acclaimed classic because of its symbolic staging, which assigns a certain meaning to every detail. When Jack Nicholson slowly loses his mind and brings his family into disaster, the viewer is held in suspense between horror and fascination.

The Hunt - Denmark / Sweden, 2012

Thomas Vinterberg stages Mads Mikkelsen in the role of a man accused of pedophilia. The drama turns into a psychological thriller as the allegations tighten around the man and take away any space for him to defend his truth. The tense atmosphere persists throughout the entire film and becomes an acid test for the main character as well as for the empathetic viewer.

The Dark Knight - USA, 2008

Another Christopher Nolan film in the list, because yes, this exceptional director knows how to tell complex scripts in an exciting way. In 152 minutes, Christian Bale and Heath Ledger duel as Batman and Joker in a superhero film that raised the genre to a new standard.

Crank - GB / USA, 2006

A drug cocktail flows through Chev Chelio's (Jason Statham) body, which stops his adrenaline supply. He still has an hour to live and during this time he will try to find the poisoner, take revenge and say goodbye to his girlfriend. Carpe Diem in action format!

127 Hours - GB / USA, 2010

Dany Boyle's drama based on real events shows the nerve-wracking struggle for survival of an extreme athlete stuck in a crevice for 127 hours.

From "Seven", "Burried" or "96 Hours - Taken" to "Illuminati" or classics like "The Godfather" The list of exciting films is far from over here and could still fill up through the different countries and years. Because there are no genre boundaries for exciting films: action, drama, crime, psychological thriller or horror can be exciting, but even comedic animated films can in their own way contain exciting moments such as car chases or dangerous last-minute rescues.

You can find more inspiration for movie nights in our genre lists for the funny films of 2017 in the cinema, the most romantic love films of 2017 or the best animated films of 2017-2020. If you had little time for the cinema in 2016, you can see the compilation of the best films of 2016 here again, almost all of which you can now purchase on DVD or stream.

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