Travel: Films That Make It Terrifying

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Travel: Films That Make It Terrifying

1. THE HOST (2020) – AVAILABLE FRIDAY 17 APRIL ON DEMAND AND DIGITAL IN THE UK 

Director: Andy Newbury 

Cast: Maryam Hassouni, Mike Beckingham, Dougie Poynter, Derek Jacobi, Nigel Barber, Ruby Turner, Suan-Li Ong, Togo Igawa, Daniel Boissevain 



Synopsis: For fans of good old fashioned thrillers and twisted mysteries, a trip into a world of intrigue is possible as THE HOST comes to Amazon Prime, Google Play and iTunes. The Host follows the deadly paths that corrupt criminals, un-suspecting detectives and secretive heroes take when all roads lead to Amsterdam. The European city is shown off with Oona Menges’ stylish cinematography, but the darkness beneath the pleasant exteriors is mined for tense shootouts, hostile dinners and terrifying cellars. The Host is compelling viewing for Hitchcock fans, promising a journey alongside troubled London Baker Robert Atkinson, who is caught in the affairs of international travel parties as he tries to pay his debts. A daring trip, that starts at home. 

2. Berlin Syndrome (2017)

Director: Cate Shortland

Cast: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt and Lucie Aron 

Synopsis: Berlin Syndrome is less nightmarishly surreal that Roth’s backpacker bloodbath. Cate Shortland’s take on one girls date gone wrong with a stranger in the city of her solo gap year travels has chilling real-life parallels for young female film fans. The grounded camerawork and claustrophobic dialogue between an unhinged bachelor and his new, “live-in” guest keeps hearts racing even as the film grinds to an excruciatingly sharp standstill. A psychological trip as lengthy as our plucky heroines route in and out of Berlin, Berlin Syndrome examines the way one young girl can get out of any scenario with imagination and courage. 

3. Sully (2016)

Director: Clint Eastwood 

Cast: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney 

Synopsis: Nothing inspires more fear than true stories captured well. The first of two Tom Hanks performances on this list, Sully references the heroic real act of a an American pilot achieving an emergency landing that saved the lives of his passengers and crew. The Hudson may save the day but the episode of turbulence and panic beforehand is a brilliantly acted moment of the high stakes of commercial travel. A film that hits home – thankfully – with grace and style. 

4. The Lobster (2015) 

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos 

Cast: Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Olivia Coleman 

Synopsis: Did Yorgos Lanthimos envision the most terrifying holiday resort of all time? Maybe so. A grim holiday hotel on the barren edge of the countryside is the destination. But it offers little relaxation or recuperation for a series of emotionally constipated guests, who must partner up into stale, forced marriages or be turned into an animal and have to hop, fly, or crawl back home through the woodland. With a pre-Oscar appearance by the great Olivia Coleman as the hotel manager – before she reunited with Lanthimos for The Favourite years later – The Lobster puts a desperate, gut-churning spin on the idea of the whirlwind holiday romance. 

5. Wild (2014) 

Director: Jean Marc Vallee 

Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski 

Synopsis: Sometimes the unknown parts of the world beckon, sometimes they threaten. The outback did both for solo hiker Cheryl, portrayed by Reese Witherspoon in the screen account of her long journey. Cheryl encounters wild animals, untamed landscapes and powerful storms – but the scariest thing the Witherspoon captures all too well is the fear of really seeing all your weakness when you’re left far from home, all alone. In the end, Wild is an unnerving, but ultimately rewarding travel journey through one women’s psyche – proving you have to go far away to, one way or another, to find yourself. 

6. Flight (2012)

Director: Robert Zemeckis 

Cast: Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly 

Synopsis: Keeping with the theme of airborne fear – Denzel Washington’s smash hit pilot blockbuster redefined the meaning of an actor’s’ “vehicle” picture. When a the pilot of an airliner must turn his passenger’s worlds, quite literally, upside down, fans of air-travel will find their hearts in their mouth. Screen smashing visuals and ingenious use of perspective puts audiences in the mouth of a flight falling out of the sky: a trip from the clouds to the ground has never been more painful, or more visceral. 

7. Hick (2011) 

Director: Derick Martini 

Cast: Chloe Grace Moretz, Eddie Redmayne, Blake Lively 

Synopsis: Derek Martini left a mark on the Hitchhiking story with a sordid tale of increasingly worse rides for Nebraskan runaway Luli. Grabbing a ride from a stranger has gone out of fashion, for good reason, but care-free travellers will be starkly reminded of a bullet, a cage or another type of monster that might be waiting along the road to freedom. Chloe Grace Moretz is convincingly fierce and afraid at the wheel of untrustworthy journeymen: audiences will be glad when she finally reaches home. 

8. Hostel (2005) 

Director: Eli Roth 

Cast: Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson 

Synopsis: Eli Roth booked a space in the audience subconscious with a devastating display of every backpackers worst nightmare. 3 guests head to Eastern Europe with a promise of a luxury, adventure and hedonism. Instead, they’d be hard pressed to leave with all their limbs. Last minute trips have never lead to trickier traps. 

9.  Red Eye (2005) 

Director: Wes Craven 

Cast: Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox 

Synopsis: Flights can be challenging at the best of times. Cramped seating, extreme altitudes, and limited snack choice. Throw in a threat upon your family’s life and an intense Cillian Murphy stare targeting you from the aisle over and we’d all be as uncomfortable as Rachel Mcadam’s character Lisa gets on what would otherwise be her routine flight. Red Eye makes a stunning use of transport as setting, weapon and part of an antagonist’s plan all in one. 

10.  The Terminal (2004)

Director: Steven Spielberg  

Cast: Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta Jones, Stanley Tucci 

Synopsis: Coming in to land with a classic Tom Hanks heart-breaker, The Terminal broke the mould with an introspective, fully felt portrait of people in transit. Stuck in an airport with an unusable VISA, Tom Hanks’ sweet-natured Viktor (based on the real life 2 decade stay of Mehran Karmini Nasseri) has his travel immigration halted indefinitely by the world in unrest. The Terminal explores the ways characters, friendships and curiosity can thrive in stasis, and as much as it is about every restless traveler’s worst scenario (becoming a prisoner of the migratory system) it also proves one of Steven Spielberg’s greatest adventures, teaching us how to appreciate the worlds to discover in the people and surroundings closest. 


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