HOW many of us grew up reading an epic book series which was then turned into a major blockbuster on the big screen? After all, some of the most successful movies and television shows have all been book adaptations (case in point: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and the ongoing Game of Thrones).
Sure, nothing beats cracking open the spine of a new hardback novel and spending hours poring through the text and exploring worlds created by the many talented authors. But seeing those stories brought to life by way of incredible movie sets, award-winning acting, and reality-bending visual effects provides for a great secondary experience, and a fresh one for those not inclined to drop fifty quid on a single title. Book-to-screen adaptations also let those of us who are more visually-attuned experience the same spine-chilling euphoria that bookworms do.
Of the genres though, perhaps none enjoy the silver screen treatment as much as the thriller or dark fantasy types, where the director has control over psychological elements such as suspenseful, morbid music, or subtle visual cues that may or may not be picked up by a galvanised viewer.
If this sounds like your cup of tea and you’ve already got a Netflix subscription handy, we’ve got a treat for you. We’ve put together a list of the best new thriller adaptations for you to digest. It’s niche, we know, but if the generous helping of fantasy and sci-fi flicks of 2018 have tired you out trust us and dive into the world of thrillers where you’re kept tensed up every few seconds. You won’t regret it.
Surely by now you’ve seen the hundreds of memes with Sandra Bullock blindfolded. For the uninitiated, all that comes from Netflix’s latest film, Bird Box. Based on the 2014 post-apocalyptic novel from Josh Malerman, it tells the story of how Bullock’s character, Malorie, must navigate to a sanctuary after a mysterious force starts decimating Earth’s population upon sight.
Bullock isn’t the only award-winning actress in this movie. The all-star cast also includes Trevante Rhodes, Sarah Paulson, and John Malkovich, and the Academy Award-winning director Susanne Bier.
You can watch Bird Box now on Netflix.
The Umbrella Academy
If you are old enough to have been exposed to My Chemical Romance and Gerard Way, this upcoming television series is perfect for you. It’s based on a series of comic books under the same name written by Way himself and is sort of a concoction between the superhero institute from X-Men and the wackiness of The Addams Family.
The Umbrella Academy features a ragtag cast including Robert Sheehan (one of our Actors to Watch in 2019), Tom Hopper, the award-winning Ellen Page, and David Castaneda as part of the Hargreeves family, a group of seven orphans that were born on the same day in 1989 to random, unconnected women. Following the death of their fathers, they must work together to solve his unexpected death in the midst of a looming global apocalypse.
The Umbrella Academy premieres on Netflix on 15 February 2019.
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
The Archie-verse, home to many evenings of binge-watching one of Netflix’s most guilty-pleasure-inducing shows. After three seasons seeing Riverdale spiral down into some really messed-up plotlines involving a certain Gargoyle King, this past October we finally stepped foot into Greendale and into the world of Sabrina Spellman.
Yes, this is the same Sabrina Spellman that you might have seen in passing a long time ago, whether it’s in the comics or the live action show that aired two decades ago. But this time, things take a darker tone into the fantastical realm of witches and warlocks. Cast aside all impressions that Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is anything like its frolicky, sunshine-filled predecessors. The Spellmans are in town for a campy, macabre start to your 2019.
You can watch Chilling Adventures of Sabrina now on Netflix.
Meteors striking the Earth are usually accompanied by further bad news in films. In Annihilation, it’s no different. In this adaptation of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel of the same name, Lena (played by Natalie Portman), sets out towards ground zero – “Area X” – to find out what happened to her husband when he vanished following a mission to investigate the zone. While inside “The Shimmer”, Lena’s team falls into paranoia and psychosis, as something in the air is altering their physical nature.
The movie, directed by Alex Garland, is a masterclass in tension. There are moments where silence is the only soundtrack needed to fill your mind with dread – that’s how
You can watch Annihilation now on Netflix.
Has any adaptation of a Stephen King novel gone wrong? Gerald’s Game is the name of both his 1992 suspense novel and the psychological horror film that was based on it. Directed by Mike Flanagan, it only fields three characters, which makes for more detailed visual storytelling.
As the novel goes, a couple (Gerald and Jessie) head to a remote lake house for a weekend away to reinvigorate their marriage. But when their sex game goes wrong, and Jessie is left handcuffed to the bed, curious hallucinations and figures of the night make way into her life and haunt her. Coupled with the threats of insomnia, dehydration, and solitude, you would start to wonder if this is all an elaborate set up by Gerald or something more insidious in nature.
You can watch Gerald’s Game now on Netflix.
Stephen King makes yet another appearance in this listicle with the adaptation of his 2010 novella, 1922. This time, we’re transported to rural Omaha in 1922, where Wilfred “Wilf” James and his wife, Arlette, are arguing about their future: should they sell their land and move to the city, or stay in their farm to preserve their pride, going through a divorce and custody battle in the process? Not happy with either option, Wilf murders his wife with the help of his manipulated son, Henry.
It sounds like a pretty typical family drama up until now, but wait till the rats enter the story. After devouring Arlette’s body (which was thrown down a well), the swarm of pests just can’t seem to leave Wilf and Henry alone. Moral of the story? Don’t murder your wife.
You can watch 1922 now on Netflix.
The title alone gives away the grim story that you’re about to set foot in. The Ritual is an adaptation of Adam Nevill’s novel in which four British backpackers embark on an adventure in the Scandinavian forest. After all, what could go wrong when hiking through a silent-as-hell, remote forest?
The tension starts with seeing mutilated elk and old runes carved into the barren trees. Then comes the trippy hallucinations and the dreadful feeling that someone, or something, is stalking their every move. Horror movie lovers will no doubt appreciate the isolation and unorthodox recipe that The Ritual follows. If there’s one movie that will make you swear off taking hikes in the woods, this is it.
You can watch The Ritual now on Netflix.