TOP 20 UNKNOWN HOLLYWOOD FILMS

For a long time I had wanted to compile a list of ‘LEAST UNHEARD OF FILMS’-those films which very few people have seen or even heard of. You will be surprised to know that there are so many of them. All of them are underrated gems, though not as popular as their award-winning counterparts. Here are some movies I came up with along with my brief analysis for each one of them. I truly believe they are worth checking out!

 

  1. MISERY- It’s the story of a novelist (James Caan) who finds himself at the mercy of an obsessed and unstable ‘fan’ after his car-crash. Kathy Bates won The Best Actress Oscar for her role.

  2. THE MACHINIST- The film is about a man (Christian Bale) who suffers from insomnia. It’s a dark, atmospheric, bizarre tale of salvation. A modern cinematic adaptation of the book ‘Crime and Punishment’. Bale’s best performance till date.

  3. CYPHER- A stylishly executed, visually stunning corporate espionage sci-fi thriller with a twist in the end. Well worth deciphering!

  4. THE RIVER WILD- Similar in theme to the over-rated ‘Deliverance’ but with superior content and performances (Meryl Streep, Kevin Bacon). This one qualifies as one hell of a family-entertainer adventure flick.

  5. ROGUE- A group of tourists encounter a man-eating saltwater crocodile in Australia. Their attempt to fight back and survive is what makes up the rest of the story. A must watch for everyone who is fond of ‘Jaws-like’ films. 

  6. THE THIRTEENTH FLOOR- The film deals with the concept of ‘virtual reality’. Inevitable comparisons with ‘Matrix’ ruined the movie’s performance as they released at about the same time. A thought-provoking, honest sci-fi thriller. A rare blend of style and substance.

  7. 12:01- A made-for-TV ‘time-travel’ movie with a first-rate script and decent performances. Much better than ‘Groundhog Day’. Need I say more?

  8. MEAN CREEK- When the teenage protagonist is beaten up by a bully, he and his friends seek revenge with tragic consequences. A gripping drama which is sadly based on a true story.

  9. HARD CANDY- An intense psychological thriller with a controversial premise.  Stellar performances from the two lead actors make this one a must-watch.

  10. ZERO EFFECT- Another undervalued film of the 90’s. A detective thriller, it’s a nicely done takeoff of Sherlock Holmes. Bill Pullman steals the show yet again for obvious reasons.

  11. A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE- Along with ‘Eastern Promises’ its one of Cronenberg’s best films till date. Don’t let the unoriginal plot and intentionally sleepy screenplay discourage you from watching it. You will not be disappointed.

  12. FRAILTY- The film starts off with a man who informs the FBI that his brother is a serial killer, involved in religious murders. A suspenseful-white-knuckler with supernatural elements, it’s bound to keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.

  13. TRADE- A 17-year-old boy tries to rescue his sister from the abductors in the slums of Mexico City. A dark thriller exposing the secrets of international sex slave trade. Not for the faint of heart. Everyone else just go for it.

  14. RED- Brian Cox plays an oldish man who sets out for revenge when a spoilt brat kills his dog for no good reason. A tutorial on how low-budget films should be made without compromising on quality content. You’ll love it if you liked Clint Eastwood’s ‘Gran Torino’.

  15. EDEN LAKE- This film is ‘disturbingly cruel’ and ‘brilliant’ at the same time. It makes SAW look like a cartoon film. It’s about a couple’s romantic getaway which turns into a brutal nightmare. Modern horror at its best.

  16. THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES- An absolute delight for viewers who are not perturbed by hand-held-camera documentary style filmmaking used in Paranormal Activity, Blairwitch Project etc. A welcome change from your run of the mill Serial Killer horror flicks.

  17. HUSH- A stylish British ‘road-thriller’ which bears a striking resemblance to Spielberg’s ‘Duel’ and to a certain extent Kurt Russel’s ‘Breakdown’. Nevertheless an effective entertainer.

  18. THE GOOD SON- Some critics call this movie ‘predictable’. I beg to differ. In fact a brilliant psychological thriller of the 90’s. Watch it and you will be pleasantly surprised esp. by some fine acting from the two young leads.

  19. HALF LIGHT- Like many other films in this list this one too will catch you      off guard. It’s a mystery-horror film and the combination of beautiful scenery, good music and a fine script (except the end) will take you by surprise.

  20. BROKEDOWN PALACE- This one is my latest discovery. Two girls vacationing in Thailand are wrongly convicted for Cocaine smuggling. Watch it for terrific performances and its universal appeal. You can thank me later.

Author:

  Pranshu Awasthi, IBS Gurgaon, Class of 2007

  You can reach him at: pranshumba@gmail.com