The Most Underrated Thrillers of the 1990s, Ranked
They might not have raked in hundreds of millions at the box office, but ask any discerning movie buff – these thrillers pack a punch as potent as their more renowned peers, if not more.
10. Dark City (1998)
Enter John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) who wakes up in a bathtub, having no memory but surrounded by the sinister aura of a murdered woman. A chase through a perpetually dark city ensues, with a group of pale men in pursuit who possess the power to manipulate reality.
Murdoch, grasping at straws of fragmented memories, is determined to unveil the truth of the city, his identity, and the macabre killings, while evading the sinister 'Strangers' and the manipulations of a city that never sees the light of day.
9. Stir of Echoes (1999)
Kevin Bacon as Tom Witzky wasn't keen on believing in the supernatural, but a hypnotic suggestion from his sister-in-law awakens a sixth sense in him. Suddenly, he's haunted by cryptic visions of a ghostly young girl.
Reality and delusion blend, and his suburban life turns into a psychological puzzle. The ghost, adamant and persistent, unveils clues leading Tom to unearth a dark, hidden secret buried within the confines of his seemingly peaceful neighborhood.
8. The Ninth Gate (1999)
Dean Corso (Johnny Depp), a rare book dealer, is hired to authenticate a sinister book rumored to summon the Devil, written by Aristide Torchia who was burned for witchcraft.
As Corso steps into a world teeming with ancient symbols, enigmatic figures, and occultist collectors, each page turned drags him deeper into a mystical conspiracy. Two other copies of the book exist, and Corso's obsessive search, marred by eerie enigmas and murders, leads him to cross European borders, unveiling cryptic secrets each more alarming than the last.
7. Sneakers (1992)
Robert Redford stars as Martin Bishop, leading a team of security specialists hired to retrieve a cryptic black box. Initially, it appears to be a straightforward heist, but quickly unravels into a complex web of deception and intrigue. The black box can decrypt and invade any computer system, making it a highly sought-after prize with catastrophic potentials if in the wrong hands.
6. Ransom (1996)
Mel Gibson plays airline owner Tom Mullen, whose world crumbles when his son is kidnapped. Initially adhering to the FBI's standard procedure, Mullen's hope withers with the realization that conventional methods are futile against the cold, calculating kidnapper, portrayed chillingly by Gary Sinise. Mullen turns the table, offering the $2 million ransom as a bounty on the kidnapper's head.
5. The Game (1997)
Nicholas Van Orton, a wealthy and cold investment banker played by Michael Douglas, gets a peculiar birthday gift from his estranged brother Conrad (Sean Penn). It's a voucher for a game hosted by a company called CRS (Consumer Recreation Services).
Nicholas finds himself embroiled in a personalized, real-life game that infiltrates every aspect of his meticulously orchestrated life. Each event is crafted to psychologically and physically challenge him. As the stakes amplify, Nicholas becomes paranoid, unable to differentiate between the game and reality.
4. Breakdown (1997)
Meet Jeff and Amy Taylor, the central figures of this high-voltage thriller. Kurt Russell, embodying Jeff, and his wife Amy, portrayed by Kathleen Quinlan, are driving across the country when their car breaks down in the middle of the desert. A truck driver offers Amy a lift to the nearest diner to call for help. Simple enough, right? Wrong. Jeff fixes the car but discovers Amy is missing, and the truck driver claims ignorance.
3. Fallen (1998)
Denzel Washington stars as detective John Hobbes, who watches Edgar Reese, a notorious serial killer he captured, being executed. However, the murders don't end there. They continue in a similar vicious pattern. Hobbes digs deeper and discovers an ancient, malicious spirit, Azazel, who can possess humans by touch.
It's a chilling cat and mouse game, with Azazel singing the Rolling Stones' "Time Is on My Side" to taunt Hobbes.
2. Copycat (1995)
In the world of criminal psychology, Dr. Helen Hudson (Sigourney Weaver) is a star. But after surviving an attack by a serial killer, she becomes agoraphobic, confined to her apartment, with the outside world infiltrating via computer screen. That's until Inspector M.J. Monahan (Holly Hunter) seeks her expertise to catch a killer replicating infamous murders. Hudson, battling her inner demons, becomes the lynchpin to unravel this macabre mystery.
1. The Relic (1997)
A cargo ship arrives in Chicago, carrying a curious crate from a recently concluded scientific expedition in Brazil. The crate, meant for a museum, contains a strange statue infused with a mythical creature's DNA. As the museum prepares for a grand opening, a detective and an evolutionary biologist discover a security guard's gruesomely mutilated body.