Upcoming psychological thriller Side Effects has been getting rave reviews (see our own opinion on the movie right here), but one of the highest compliments the movie has been receiving is its Hitchcockian nature. Intelligent, sexy and very unpredictable, Side Effects represents the best elements of a Hitchcock movie, and is very much the kind of movie he would make if he were still around today.
Hitchcock was never above making a horror movie - The Birds, for example, or one of the grandparents of the modern slasher, Psycho - but it was in the genre of the more heady psychological thrillers that he soared. Today, horror movies tend to be hit and miss (mostly miss, let's be honest), but when a psychological thriller is released and it happens to be good, we can't help but rush to compare its greatness to good old Alfred.
To that end, we've come up with a list of ten movies we think Hitchcock would've made if he were still about today:
A writer trapped in the house of his number one fan, completely at her mercy, which is unfortunate considering just how squirrel-poop crazy she is. Hitchcock enjoyed keeping the action in a confined space - pretty much the whole movie takes place inside one house - while having his hero in a wheelchair would've been a nice call back to his own Rear Window.
BASIC INSTINCT (1992)
Hitchcock enjoyed nothing more than pushing the envelope when it came to what he could get past the censors, and this tale of explicit sex and violence would've tickled him just right. Add to that his love of killer blondes, complicated plots and the opportunity to misuse an ice-pick, and you've got a perfect Hitch-cocktail.
ARLINGTON ROAD (1999)
A lecturer, who lost his wife in a terrorist attack, believes there's something not quite right about his new neighbours, and so takes it upon himself to find out exactly what that something is. Tim Robbins and Jeff Bridges are fantastic in this, plus the plot goes to places you would never expect. An over-looked gem.
WHAT LIES BENEATH (2000)
Michelle Pfeiffer and hubby Harrison Ford think that their neighbour may have killed his wife, especially when Pfeiffer begins to believe the wife's ghost is beginning to haunt her. More blondes, more spying on neighbours, more untrustworthy spouses, more fantastic rug-pulling plot twists. Plus, What Lies Beneath does to baths what Psycho did to showers.
THE OTHERS (2001)
Nicole Kidman (another blonde!) hires some new house-keepers to help her look after her giant house and her two small children, who have an allergic reaction to sunlight. Obviously all is not as it seems, and figuring everything out is half the fun. The other half is jumping out of your skin as the frights roll in. If the world were a fairer place, The Others would have the same level of recognition as The Sixth Sense.
PANIC ROOM (2002)
Following up the thematically-heavy Vertigo/Se7en and the technically complicated North By Northwest/Fight Club, Alfred Hitchcock/David Fincher decided to set up shop with something small to return to basics, get reacquainted with new camera techniques, and have some fun. What he got was Psycho/Panic Room.
THE PRESTIGE (2006)
A movie that demands multiple viewings to properly peel away the layers of the plot, the story of two magicians - Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman - who used to be bezzie mates but are now sworn enemies is constantly trying to attack you psyche. Toss in some sci-fi influences, as well as ScarJo as yet another mysterious blonde, and you've got a must-watch from modern genius Christopher Nolan.
BLACK SWAN (2010)
Admittedly there are no blondes here, but what we've got is a constant state of mistaken identity, with some folk even unsure of themselves. Another mix of sex and violence as Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis are best frenemies in the ballet world, with Portman convinced that Kunis is either trying to kill her, make her question her sanity, or is she just losing it all on her own?
With the likes of Lifeboat, Rear Window and Rope, we know that Hitch enjoyed keeping the action in some of his movies to keep tensions running high. And what could possibly cause a higher tension than setting an entire movie inside a coffin, with our protagonist Ryan Reynolds waking up to find he's been buried alive.
SHUTTER ISLAND (2010)
Martin Scorsese's one-man tribute to the Best Of Hitchcock and psychological thrillers in general: the blonde woman (Michelle Williams), an innocent man (Leo DiCaprio) caught up in a situation he doesn't fully understand, mistaken identities, questions of sanity, body doubles, conspiracy theories and more than a few shocks. Smart and hugely entertaining all at once.
Side Effects hits Irish cinemas on March 8th.