Texas Killing Fields (2011, dir. Amy Canaan Mann)

Detectives struggle with a series of murders. Based very loosely on real-world unsolved crimes, this noir-ish thriller can’t decide whether to go for procedural or for obsessive cop angst. It tries both, and so doesn’t gel. Decent performances from an up-and-coming cast and an OK look make this a not-uninteresting curio though.

Here’s the trailer.

What Keeps You Alive (2018, dir. Colin Minihan)

A woman taking a first anniversary break with her wife discovers she is psychopathic. While some of the story beats are a little off, this is nevertheless a well-sustained and confident variation on the backwoods survival thriller. Decent performances, solid direction and some quirky moments all help.

Here’s the trailer.

The Little Things (2021, dir. John Lee Hancock)

A veteran cop and an ambitious detective collaborate to catch a serial killer. Well-made and acted if slightly over-familiar neo-noir with procedural aspects. Its deliberate pace and quiet style may not be for everyone, but Denzel Washington is as good as ever and LA is made to feel unfamiliar: no easy feat.

Here’s the trailer.

Jolt (2021, dir. Tanya Wexler)

A woman who controls her extreme anger issues via a high-tech electrical device investigates a murder. Poor sub-Crank action-comedy: a decent cast helps (several in one-set cameos), but (some OK) quips, poor action, over-direction, the world’s most guessable villain, and stagey visuals don’t. Feels like a TV pilot: has that Nu Boyana aesthetic.

Here’s the trailer.

Rust Creek (2018, dir. Jen McGowan)

A young woman takes a wrong turn and ends up on the run from a pair of backwoods Kentucky meth dealers. An interesting take on a well-worn premise, spending as much time on character and relationships as on in-peril thriller/horror melodramatics. Lots of promise here from all involved.

Here’s the trailer.

The Woman in the Window (2021, dir. Joe Wright)

An agoraphobic and alcoholic psychiatrist believes she witnesses a murder. A strong cast and at-times confident direction can’t save this attempt to emulate a De Palma-ish emulation in turn of Hitchcock. A silly script is the main issue: good actors have little to do, though Amy Adams clearly relishes the chance to play vulnerable. Copycat did this better.

Here’s the trailer.

Big Sky (2015, dir. Jorge Michel Grau)

A young woman with an agoraphobic condition is forced to get help in the desert when her vehicle is attacked. Muddled little thriller with some trippy elements. It can’t focus on the core story: the result is scattershot where it should be direct.

Here’s the trailer.

Ride (2018, dir. Jeremy Ungar)

A private hire driver picks up an unorthodox passenger. LA-set mashup of Collateral and The Hitcher for the Uber/Lyft generation. Okay performances (it’s basically a car-set three-hander), and some good moments, though the movie suffers from a lack of story: at 75 minutes, though, it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

Here’s the trailer.

Silk Road (2021, dir. Tiller Russell)

A tech wiz develops an online trading portal for drugs: a burnout agent begins to investigate. Loosely based on a true story, this thriller/drama plays off opposites – digital/analogue, young/old – to generally OK if at-times soapy effect. No real surprises, but some effective playing from a decent cast. Paul Walter Hauser shines in a key supporting role.

Here’s the trailer.

Escape Room (2019, dir. Adam Robitel)

A group of strangers are invited to play a new escape room. Well-mounted though straightforward post-Saw horror/puzzle movie, part of a cycle of similar flicks. Nor really scary or especially horrific, but entertaining in the moment. A sequel – Escape Room: Tournament of Champions – follows.

Here’s the trailer.