“I am a typed director. If I made Cinderella, the audience would immediately be looking for a body in the coach.” – Alfred Hitchcock
Alfred Hitchcock is perhaps the greatest pioneer in cinematic history. He has paved the way for groundbreaking cinematography and action resulting from his innate eye for direction, brilliance, and ingenuity. However, I wish I could fight Hitchcock for never letting me shower in peace. Every time I do, I can hear the jarring music from Psycho in my head and feel the heightened anxiety of being stabbed by some unstable killer with mommy issues.
The master of voyeurism, suspense and thrillers, Hitchcock relied on very little dialogue and made use of all the cinematographic tools at his disposal to make brilliant works of art. What made him an auteur was his ingenious creativity and masterful brilliance in being able to manifest the psychological and physical on-screen horror y using unique camera movements, including dolly zoom, crane shot, POV shots and more.
Celebrated for his unsettling narrative and unique ideas, Hitchcock’s films had a distinct voice of their own. To simply call a film Hitchcockian would be derogatory to the legendary auteur’s contribution. Various filmmakers have tried to pay homage by incorporating elements that were characteristic of Hitchcock.
On the weekend of Alfred Hitchcock’s 122nd birth anniversary, let us look at some of the films streaming on Netflix that Hitchcock fans might love.
10 Netflix films Alfred Hitchcock fans will love
10. The Roommate (Christian E. Christiansen, 2011)
A college freshman named Sara is assigned a sweet and helpful roommate named Rebecca, who grows increasingly controlling and possessive and soon starts to develop an unhealthy attachment towards Sara, often resorting to various criminal methods to keep her friend to herself.
Jump scares galore; the film is extremely creepy. Imagine being assigned a roommate who likes to watch you sleep and takes a whiff of your clothes. Unlike poor Sara, I would have run for my life!
9. The Woman in the Window (Joe Wright, 2021)
An agoraphobic child psychologist becomes fixated on her neighbour’s murder after witnessing it from the window. However, when the police do not find a dead body, she decides to find out the truth herself and soon descends into a murky rabbit hole.
Adapted from Dan Mallory’s eponymous novel, the film shows an agoraphobic woman take recourse to voyeurism to stay in touch with the outside world. It is from there that she stumbles upon a sinister truth. The film itself pays tribute to Hitchcock by indulging in a dangerous rendezvous of thrill and voyeuristic discoveries.
8. House as the End of the Street (Mark Tonderai, 2012)
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, the film revolves around a girl named Elissa who moves into an upscale rural home with her newly-divorced mother. They befriend their neighbour before becoming victims to inexplicable and ominous events that reflect the spine-chilling secret the town tries to conceal.
Lawrence is joined by Elizabeth Shue and Max Thieriot who deliver outstanding performances that help accentuate the overall anxiety pervading the film. This psychological thriller is fast-paced with lots of graphic content and suspense, enjoying a nuanced twist-in-the-tale that heightens the viewer’s anticipation and excitement.
7. Don’t Breathe (Fede Alvarez, 2016)
To secure a better future, a group of young delinquents plan to rob an old, blind man’s house as he seems like an easy, unsuspecting target. That’s before they quickly discover his sinister subtext and must escape unscathed lest they become his latest victims of torture.
With a disturbing premise, the pervading horror makes the film quite unnerving. With brilliantly eerie performance from Stephen Lang, the director uses the atmospheric tension to his advantage and fills it with various twists and pervasive suspense that is more commonly seen in Hitchcockian ventures.
6. The Invisible Guest (Oriol Paulo, 2016)
A successful and affluent businessman is charged with the indefensible crime of murder, and a witness preparation expert races against time to come up with a suitable defence that can help the man escape unscathed.
The Spanish thriller is clouded by a thick and impregnable fog of mystery. With an incredible cast who provide stellar performances, the film is unpredictable, gloomy and bubbling with suspense. Psychologically stirring, the premise is intriguing and exceptionally well-constructed. The chic music helps add to the general air of doom.
5. The Invitation (Karyn Kusama, 2015)
After their son’s accidental death, Eden and Will divorce each other before meeting two years later at a dinner party that they attend with their respective spouses. As the night progresses, the dinner party turns into a sinister event.
An interesting take on grief, depression and vulnerability, it is the classic dinner party from hell. With a general air of suspense, the film is engulfed in cult-like insanity. A classic slow-burn, it is eerie and haunting.
4. Shutter (Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom, 2004)
Thun and his girlfriend narrowly avoid running over a stray woman on the road and soon begin to witness the appearance of mysterious shadows in their photos which are the supernatural result of disturbing events in the past.
This Thai film is celebrated as a dark and menacing slow-burn with creepy scares and psychological terrors that emanate from unsettling discoveries. Although an English remake succeeds it, the clever cinematography of the original text remains unparalleled, as do the jump scares.
3. Basic Instinct (Paul Verhoeven, 1992)
A detective is assigned the investigation into a brutal murder that happens during sex and soon finds himself being caught in a dangerous game of lust and lies where a seductress closely manipulates him while he tries to examine the evidence regarding the same.
Starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone in one of the classic thrillers, the film is a tantalizing investigation of a brutal murder, high on melodrama and adrenaline. The line between thriller and horror exists on thin ice in the film as it becomes a modern classic with an unresolved ending that shall make the audience’s mind be stuck in an ambiguous lingo long after the credits stop rolling.
2. Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese, 2010)
US Marshal Teddy and his partner Chuck travel to a psychological institution on a remote island where they investigate the disappearance of a patient before Teddy himself feels like he is losing his mind while trying to deal with past trauma and fears.
One of Scorsese’s more underrated works, the premise is quite intense, provocative and unsettling. The film challenges the viewer’s sanity and is engulfed by pervasive doom and anxiety, and ends with an incredible and unimaginable plot twist.
1. Seven (David Fincher, 1995)
Starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, the film sees two detectives pursue a deadly serial killer who punishes people in a unique manner for embodying the seven deadly sins. With a mind-bending climax, this film is easily one of Fincher’s finest yet darkest creations.
The entire film helps traverse the criminal mind amidst a gory and horrifying premise. The film is extremely thought-provoking and catches viewers off-guard. As Fincher himself said, “it’s psychologically violent It implies so much, not about why you did but how you did it.”