Suspense/Murder/Mystery movies have been a genre in film almost as old as film itself, one that has also seen continuous zeniths and nadirs, fighting and rising through the noir phase, to HItchcockian, neo noir, the popular thrillers of the 90s, followed by a quasi-resurgence in the form of cinema of directors including Fincher, especially, and even Nolan to some extent in the 21st Century. Through all these phases and continuously shifting styles, it wouldn’t be too farfetched to say that along with drama, this is the only genre that hasn’t experienced what one would term a paradigm shift. In fact, it is also one of the few genres in world cinema that despite being one of the oldest, remains insanely popular till date, and any well made murder mystery is lapped up even by the general cinema going public like a hungry leper. The lack of a largely tangible shift might be squarely due to the fact that people watch murder mysteries for the big reveal in the end that keeps them hooked, and while treatment and aesthetic is important and essential for modern cinema, what plays the major role here is the story.
No amount of visually dazzling imagery and stylistic treatment would be able to salvage a murder mystery that slacks off in its pacing, doesn’t have enough loins in the plot or presents a dud in the final reveal, especially in the case of whodunnits. Each year, a number of movies pertaining to this genre and redefining genre boundaries release, and despite the obviously dated nature of the genre, there are films that still manage to surprise and wow audiences, some of them truly innovative in their plot and its treatment. This article attempts to list out such movies from the murder/mystery genres that came out in 2018. It is important to remember that even murder mysteries aren’t necessarily inclusive of all mystery movies that may not involve a murder as their central plot, but are themselves more of a subgenre like thrillers, termed ‘whodunnits’ under a larger umbrella of mystery films, whose essential characteristic is an intentional concealing of facts until the revelations in the finale. With that distinction secured, here goes the list of the best mystery movies of 2018.
12. The Girl in the Spider’s Web
It would be better if I begin expressing my views on this film by foregoing that this film is in any way remotely related to the far superior ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’, even by virtue of a production house. David Fincher delivered what can clearly be considered one of the best murder mysteries/thrillers in recent times, even still. Even bereft of comparisons, one can easily conclude that ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ is the weakest ‘Millenium’ movie, and falls flat on a number of facets the original ones, including the Swedish versions starring Noomi Rapace, excelled in, especially the thrill part of it that seems toned down in the movie to appeal to a wider audience. However, to give fair credit, ‘The Girl in the Spider’s Web’ scores high on action and dark visual imagery that is shot rather well. Even Claire Foy is easy on the eyes, and mostly effectively embodies the social awkwardness and badassery of Lisbeth Salander, although never as iconic as Rapace’s or Mara’s portrayals. If you are too hung up on legacies, you might find it better to skip this. However, if you can leave the thought of the previous versions behind and watch the film for what it is, you might just have a good time watching this espionage-cyber-vigilante thriller.
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11. A Simple Favor