Thriller Queue

Michael Ossorguine, Staff Reporter

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There Will Be Blood (4.5 stars)

In this classic 2007 film, Daniel Day-Lewis owns the screen with a flawless performance of a self-proclaimed “family man,” ruthless psychopath and expert capitalist Daniel Plainview in the wild west at the turn of the 20th century.

As the antihero, Plainview becomes an oil tycoon by drilling in the small and devoutly religious town of Little Boston, abandoning morality for business deals. The casualties mount as fast as his profits. His son loses his hearing and workers die in drilling accidents. Plainview’s pride drives him to murder those who would oppose him on moral or religious grounds, or try to mooch off of his wealth.

It is a masterful character study and a profound portrayal of how far someone will go to achieve their selfish version of the American Dream. For those looking for an epic and symbolic drama film, this is an absolute must. 

The Babadook (4 stars)

If you’re looking for a real scare, look no further. This low-budget Australian-Canadian horror film, directed by Jennifer Kent, has frightening sequences that go far beyond the everyday jump scare. 

The plot revolves around a mother and her unruly child. Seven years prior, the father died in a car accident, and neither has put the loss to rest. After the appearance of a creepy children’s book, the kid becomes convinced that the Babadook is haunting their home. The lines between imagination and reality are blurred as the mother is driven mad by grief and the problems brought about by her violent toddler.

The Babadook is a creature out of a storybook. The film’s tagline, an eerie allusion to the creature’s supernatural existence, is: “If it’s in a word, or it’s in a look, you can’t get rid of the Babadook.”

The film’s low budget keeps it from reaching its fullest, hair-raising potential, but it will still leave a tangible chill in the room long after the credits roll.

The Blair Witch Project (3 stars)

Between the incessant whimpering and uncontrollable yelling of three reckless students that encounter a supernatural presence while filming a documentary in the woods, it is hard to discern why “The Blair Witch Project” became a cult classic. Some good found-footage direction and interesting scares, however, make for a decent, if not somewhat ridiculous, thriller.

This movie builds tension well through shaky camerawork that disorients the viewer, and makes us afraid of what lingers off camera. The haunting of the woods feels very real — so real that this movie has some (gullible) fans who believe these children actually went missing.

Despite this, the movie has some fairly annoying elements. We are treated to just over an hour of steadily escalating bickering between the dysfunctional documentary team. Eventually, the constant screams of terror become mind-numbing.

If you want an eerie atmosphere, however, this movie doesn’t disappoint.