A short story is often limited by but also rendered intensely beautiful because of its restricted form. This holds true even more for the suspense genre. A writer here has no time or space to build suspense, and must be able to create a taut, pared-down version of a novel, with a sharp-eyed focus on only the most essential elements.
But isn’t that what suspense is all about? A breathless mood that blocks out every other thought except the sense of something dark and terrible closing in on you? Alfred Hitchcock, the master of suspense, once said, “There’s no terror in the bang; only in the anticipation of it.”
If you’re in the mood for a movie that keeps you guessing for the most part, or simply need some options while staying-in at home (considering the current world scenario), here’s our curated line-up for the weekend:
1. In the Tall Grass (Netflix)
Based on a novella written by Stephen King, enfant terrible of the suspense genre, In the Tall Grass will make you hold your breath. Brother and sister duo Becky and Cal hear a child calling for help from the depths of a field of grass. They rush into the grass to help, but there’s something very evil about the field. What follows is a series of time-loop confusion, gruesome deaths, mysterious resurrections, and a tale as twisted as the only King could make it.
The movie is written and directed by Vicenzo Natali, who also adapted the screenplay. It premiered at Fantastic Fest, Texas, in 2019 and is now available for you to stream.
2. If Something Happens (Amazon Prime Video)
What would you do if someone promised you large sums of money if someone died, but you didn’t have to do any killing or hiring of assassins? Would you let events unfold, or would you take the money? That’s what happens to Julie Reynolds in If Something Happens, and you’ll find yourself debating the question long after the movie is over.
If Something Happens is a feature film adaptation of When This Man Dies, a short story written by bestselling New York-based crime writer Lawrence Block in 1964. The original version was aired in the mid-80s, in the second season of the popular television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
If Something Happens is an independent feature produced and directed by Rajiv Whabi, who also co-wrote the film adaptation with Italian screenwriter Sara Beinat. Speaking of adaptations, Rajiv Whabi was also an executive Producer in the digital film The Yellow Wallpaper (2011) written and directed by Stuart Hackshaw, based on Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s classic story by the same name.
3. Sleepy Hollow (Netflix):
American writer Washington Irving published The Legend of Sleepy Hollow as far back as 1820, but Tim Burton adapted it into the mist-swathed Gothic thriller that we all love. It was released in 1999 (and won the Academy Award for Best Art Direction) but is still a delight to watch today.
Sleepy Hollow follows Ichabod Crane, police constable, to the small village of Sleepy Hollow, where he is to investigate a serial killer who likes to behead his victims. Ichabod falls in love with a pretty young girl in the village, but must first catch the killer. Headless horsemen, digging up corpses, a pact with Satan – all the right ingredients for a weekend afternoon binge!