5 of the 80s Best Thrillers worth re watching!

5 of the 80s Best Thrillers worth re watching!

In this post we wanted to highlight some fantastic 80s thrillers we feel are totally rewatchable in 2023. Have a read and leave your thoughts in the comments below (we'd like to hear if you have any recommendations for us!)

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Dead Calm (1989)


"A couple alone at sea. When a stranger called for help, they made a fatal mistake… they answered."

Dead Calm is a 1989 Australian psychological thriller film directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman and Billy Zane. The screenplay by Terry Hayes was based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Charles Williams; the film represents the first successful film adaptation of the novel after Orson Welles struggled for years to complete his own film based on it titled The Deep. Filmed around the Great Barrier Reef, the plot focuses on a married couple, who, after tragically losing their son, are spending some time isolated at sea, when they come across a stranger who has abandoned a sinking ship.

The film was one of the final projects Nicole Kidman worked on in her native Australia before achieving mainstream international success with 1990's Days of Thunder. Dead Calm was generally well received, with critics praising Neill, Kidman, and Zane's performances and the oceanic cinematography, although some reviewers criticized elements of the script for being too sensational and the film's ending (Warner Brothers requested that it be reshot to provide a less ambiguous resolution for one of the characters) for being too over-the-top. Modern reviewers have tended to assess it even more favourably, with The New York Times naming it one of the 1000 best films ever made.

Predator (1987)

"If it bleeds, we can kill it…"

Predator is a 1987 American science fiction horror action film directed by John McTiernan and written by brothers Jim and John Thomas. It is the first instalment in the Predator franchise. It stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as the leader of an elite paramilitary rescue team on a mission to save hostages in guerrilla-held territory in a Central American rainforest, who encounter the deadly Predator (Kevin Peter Hall), a skilled, technologically advanced alien who stalks and hunts them down.

Predator was written in 1984 under the working title of Hunter. Filming ran from March to June 1986 with creature effects devised by Stan Winston; the budget was around $15 million. 20th Century Fox released the film on June 12, 1987, in the United States, and it grossed $98 million worldwide. Initial reviews were mixed, but the film has since been considered a classic of the action and science fiction genres and one of the best films of the 1980s.

The success of Predator launched a media franchise of films, novels, comic books, video games, and toys. It spawned four sequels: Predator 2 (1990), Predators (2010), The Predator (2018), and Prey (2022). A crossover with the Alien franchise produced the Alien vs. Predator films, which include Alien vs. Predator (2004) and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007).

Blow Out (1981)

"The Blow Out took them to the edge of terror … his questions took them way beyond "

Blow Out is a 1981 American neo-noir mystery thriller film written and directed by Brian De Palma. The film stars John Travolta as Jack Terry, a movie sound effects technician from Philadelphia who, while recording sounds for a low-budget slasher film, serendipitously captures audio evidence of an assassination involving a presidential hopeful. Nancy Allen stars as Sally Bedina, a young woman involved in the crime. The supporting cast includes John Lithgow and Dennis Franz. The film's tagline in advertisements was, "Murder has a sound all of its own".

Directly based on Michelangelo Antonioni's 1966 film Blowup, the film replaces the medium of photography with the medium of audio recording. The concept of Blow Out came to De Palma while he was working on the thriller Dressed to Kill (1980). The film was shot in the late autumn and winter of 1980 in various Philadelphia locations on a relatively substantial budget of $18 million.

Blow Out opened to minuscule audience interest at the time of release despite receiving a mostly positive critical reception. The lead performances by Travolta and Allen, the direction by De Palma and the visual style were cited as the strongest points of the film. Critics also recognised the stylistic and narrative connection to the work of Alfred Hitchcock, whom De Palma admires, and giallo films. Over the years since its initial theatrical release, it has developed status as a cult film and received a home media release by the Criterion Collection, a company which specializes in "important classic and contemporary film", which re-ignited public interest in the film.

War Games (1983)

"The only winning move is not to play."

WarGames is a 1983 American Cold War science fiction techno-thriller film written by Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes and directed by John Badham. The film, which stars Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, and Ally Sheedy, follows David Lightman (Broderick), a young hacker who unwittingly accesses a United States military supercomputer programmed to simulate, predict and execute nuclear war against the Soviet Union.

WarGames was a critical and box-office success, costing $12 million and grossing $125 million worldwide. The influential film was nominated for three Academy Awards. A sequel, WarGames: The Dead Code, was released direct-to-video in 2008.

The Dead Zone (1983)

"He can see the future. But can he escape it?"

The Dead Zone is a 1983 American science-fiction thriller film directed by David Cronenberg. The screenplay, by Jeffrey Boam, is based on the 1979 novel of the same name by Stephen King. The film stars Christopher Walken, Brooke Adams, Tom Skerritt, Herbert Lom, Martin Sheen, Anthony Zerbe, and Colleen Dewhurst. Walken plays a schoolteacher, Johnny Smith, who awakens from a coma to find he has psychic powers. The film received positive reviews. The novel also inspired a television series of the same name in the early 2000s, starring Anthony Michael Hall, the 2-hour pilot episode of which borrowed some ideas and changes used in the 1983 film.

In the novel, the phrase "dead zone" refers to the part of Johnny Smith's brain that is irreparably damaged, resulting in his dormant psychic potential awakening. When some information in Johnny's visions is beyond his perception, he considers that information as existing "in the dead zone." In the film adaptation, the phrase "dead zone" is that part of his psychic vision that is missing — a blank area that he cannot see. This "dead zone" refers to an outcome that is not yet determined, meaning Johnny can change the future.


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