Best Spanish Thrillers of Recent Times.
written by Souranath Banerjee
It seems that the Spanish film-makers/story-tellers have mastered the ‘art of suspense‘ for quite some time now. Be it the sudden moment of panic or the slow built tension, the latest Spanish thrillers are gaining popularity worldwide for their out-of-the-box concepts and precise execution that guarantees a certain adrenaline rush for the audience!
Intriguing storyline combined with powerful acting and clever direction are the traits of these superbly successful Spanish-language suspense-thrillers that promises to keep you guessing till the end.
And here, I have chosen some of the Best Spanish Thrillers of Recent Times and hope you have the thrill of your life watching them!
20. The Fury of a Patient Man (2016)
Tarde para la ira (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUs3snEcQNA
A patient man with vengeance in his heart is all set to accomplish a mission; he seems cool and compassionate outwardly but grief has made him brutal and merciless. And also a murderer!
Directed by Raúl Arévalo, this is an all in all revenge flick that has its share of intense violent moments and an overall suspense that looms over the audience and succeeds in making us pretty uncomfortable.
19. At the End of the Tunnel (2016)
Al final del túnel (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPc0SQyD-ac
A relatively underrated Spanish thriller that revolves around a paraplegic computer engineer who finds himself involved in the midst of a ruthless gang who have taken shelter right next door, planning to rob the bank.
Directed by Rodrigo Grande, this thriller is a decent blend of suspense and emotions, trust and deceit, and also the basic human need to survive out of any situation.
18. The Bar (2017)
El bar (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTazqyeYg3Y
A surprisingly engaging thriller that tells the story of an assorted group of people (all strangers) trapped inside a bar, who seem to be turning against each other in their desperate attempt to survive.
Directed by Álex de la Iglesia, the film is a decent study of human behavior, thrilling and full of plot twists perfectly punctuated by occasional comic moments.
17. May God Save Us (2016)
Que Dios nos perdone (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Ywx8kAviZA
Set in Madrid , summer of 2011 at the time of 15M (anti-austerity movement in Spain), and also the time of Pope’s arrival; two Police Inspectors are desperate to stop a series of murders and catch what appears to be a serial killer on the loose.
Directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, a crazy rollercoaster ride of a thrilling yet violent chase that ultimately reveals the true natures of the detectives as well.
16. The Night of the Sunflowers (2006)
La noche de los girasoles (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnUuVOJHiLo
Set in a small village of Spain where a virgin cave have been discovered and is been explored by a crew from the Geology Department. But then a sudden act of violence sparks a series of unexpected events that turns everyones lives upside down.
Directed by Jorge Sánchez-Cabezudo, a suspense thriller with a superb non-linear plot that reveals itself in a slow pace; often violent yet very entertaining.
15. The Hidden Face (2011)
La cara oculta (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afJ1h3Esoqo
The sudden disappearance of a Spanish orchestra conductor’s girlfriend leads to an unusual investigation with no satisfactory results; the perfect mystery with a twisted plot and an unexpected ending.
Director Andrés Baiz does set the mood for a perfect suspense thriller but then again better acting could have improved the audience experience to another level.
14. Killing Words (2003)
Palabras encadenadas (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehuB-DsMM0Y
A Word Game has to be played between a kidnapped victim (gagged and bound to a chair) and her deranged psychotic kidnapper, and the rules are simple enough – if she wins he will let her go but ‘if you lose, I’ll scoop out your eyes with a spoon. Pop!’
Directed by Laura Mañá, this is one innovative thriller with a superb script that guarantees many unpredictable twists and turns.
13. Marshland (2014)
La isla mínima (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Fpk3Lnc638
A classic serial killer case that has been investigated by a team of two homicide detectives who are of complete contrast in their nature and character.
Directed by Alberto Rodríguez, this thrilling drama is set in the backdrop of the marshlands – a highly entertaining and engaging crime drama shot beautifully along with the different moods of nature.
12. Burnt Money (2000)
Plata quemada (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUJVhhhiCps
Set in Argentina in 1965, this one is based on the true story that involves a ruthless bank robbery and a passionate gay romance!
Three men become permanent fugitives after robbing a bank but can they enjoy their loot and live the lives they fantasized?
Directed by Marcelo Piñeyro, an emotional take on the most infamous robbery in Buenos Aires.
11. Magical Girl (2014)
La niña de fuego (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V65u_XN0uq8
A dad who wants to fulfill his dying daughter’s last wishes; a psychologically disturbed girl who will go to any length to save her marriage – and these stories are connected in more ways than you can imagine!
Directed by Carlos Vermut, a superb neo-noir (again much underrated) that has the capacity to capture the attention of the audience till the last frame.
10. Julia’s Eyes (2010)
Los ojos de Julia (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v0ImiRLFlSs
A woman named Julia (Belén Rueda) who is slowly loosing her eyesight starts investigating her sister’s death which is believed to be a suicide (until proved otherwise).
Directed by Guillem Morales, this one has a thrilling first half that completely gets you and an unexpected ending that will keep you in the edge. A crime mystery totally worth your time.
9. The Aura (2005)
El aura (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2Vrnp9knJY
Planning a perfect crime is never easy but for a taxidermist with a gifted memory nothing seems impossible. But will he succeed in his articulate scheme till the very end?
Directed by Fabián Bielinsky and brilliant performance by Ricardo Darín, this film is a unique thriller, slow paced and moody, with very distinctive atmospherics that so perfectly blends with the plot.
8.The Uninvited Guest (2004)
El habitante incierto (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQWN6L-gttc
A story about the mysterious disappearance of a stranger who comes into an architect’s house to use the telephone. Is he hiding somewhere inside the house or is it all just a fragment of his imagination?
Directed by Guillem Morales this film will certainly give you the creeps specially when you are alone at your own place. Is there someone else with you in the house?
7.The Body (2012)
El cuerpo (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyE5LnY3dT0
‘Every death is a homicide until proven otherwise’ but then how can you prove a crime if the body disappears?
The body of a femme fatale mysteriously goes missing from the morgue and thus there begins a search for it. Brilliantly directed by Oriol Paulo, a clever script well complemented by decent performances, and then a few unexpected twists in the plot makes it a must watch thriller.
6. Thesis (1996)
Tesis (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4RfdjNHrrvI
A young student at a film school in Madrid while researching for her thesis on ‘violence in films’ finds a snuff video where a girl is tortured until death. Can the identity of the girl be traced? And who made the snuff video?
Directed by Alejandro Amenábar, this is one of the most popular Spanish thriller across the world and indeed a very cleverly made film as well.
5. The Invisible Guest (2016)
Contratiempo (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epCg2RbyF80
A young successful businessman faces the charge of killing his lover but his shrewd lawyer wants him to tell his side of the story in details so that she can get him out of this mess.
Directed by Oriol Paulo, certainly the best Spanish thriller of recent times. It has all the basic ingredients of a murder mystery along with superb performances and some brilliant plot twists!
4. The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)
El secreto de sus ojos (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFF8wXGF9Yw
A retired legal counselor who is haunted by his past unsolved cases (and also his love life) writes a novel which he expects will help him solve all his issues.
Juan José Campanella‘s flawless direction and Ricardo Darín‘s powerful performance makes this one an Oscar winning film and a truly memorable experience. It won as the Best Foreign Language Film of the Year!
3. Sleep Tight (2011)
Mientras duermes (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHzUJWogDIs
Have you ever met a psychotic person who cannot bear to see other people’s happiness? And do you think you are safe from such a man in the comfort of your home? Think again!
A gripping tale dominated by awesome performances by Luis Tosar and Marta Etura.
Directed by Jaume Balagueró, this is undoubtedly the most creepy film ever made.
2. Nine Queens (2000)
Nueve reinas (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9Les56e22c
The film revolves around a few con artists who try to hustle and swindle their way out of every situation and almost get away with it too. Almost.
Directed by Fabián Bielinsky and such brilliant performances by Ricardo Darín and Gastón Pauls; probably the most popular and twisted Spanish thriller till date and certainly the most entertaining one too!
1. The Skin I Live In (2011)
La piel que habito (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EolQSTTTpI4
From one of my all time favorite director Pedro Almodóvar comes a terrific thriller – a mastefully written mysterious and innovative plot that revolves around a plastic surgeon and his muse.
Philosophical and yet very much real, a film about power, obsession and revenge.
Superb performance by Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Jan Cornet.
and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch).
+1. Wild Tales (2014)
Relatos salvajes (original title)
Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUnXv6R2HI8
An anthology with six brilliant individual short films, all of which having the common theme of retribution and vengeance!
Directed by Damián Szifrón, starring some of the best Spanish actors, each of these stories are stretched to their extreme possibilities and yet they seem to be believable enough!
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Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com, www.imdb.com.