When nothing goes according to plan, you can still count on a murder mystery movie to keep you rooting for justice. Murder is a tried and tested vantage point of fiction, and the cinematic medium has taken the cult of the corpse to new heights. The killer often hides in the unlikeliest people, and their motive for murder makes the viewers probe into the darkness inherent in human nature. When the dead body comes to the public, it is often a vehicle for unmasking another deep-rooted societal flaw. In its extensive library of movies spread across all genres, HBO Max offers some very intriguing films in the genre that stay with the audience long after the mystery has been solved.
8. Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017)
In her documentaries, Erin Lee Carr is often known for dealing with the fringes of justice with an impactful voice. Her actual crime documentary movie follows the infamous case of the murder of Dee Dee Blanchard with a drive towards facts and levelheaded judgment. After years of abuse and mistreatment, Gypsy Rose Blanchard and her boyfriend conspired to murder Dee Dee in 2015. While you may be familiar with the case from Hulu’s fictional treatment, ‘The Act,’ the documentary is more nuanced and bolder in dealing with this morally complex case. If you are looking for a complicated murder mystery that concerns more with the reason behind the murder, here is a film that would fascinate you. You can watch it here.
7. Eastern Promises (2007)
‘Eastern Promises,’ directed by David Cronenberg and starring Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts, and Vincent Cassel, is a gripping murder mystery set in the Russian mafia’s dark underbelly in London. The film follows a midwife who discovers a young Russian girl’s diary, leading to a perilous web of human trafficking and murder. Mortensen’s standout performance and the authentic characters make it a must-watch in the murder mystery genre. You may watch the film here.
6. See How They Run (2022)
‘See How They Run,’ a comedy mystery directed by Tom George and featuring an ensemble cast including Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, and Adrien Brody, stands out as an intriguing murder mystery. Set in the glamorous but sordid theater world of 1950s London’s West End, the plot takes an unexpected twist when a crew member is brutally murdered, abruptly halting plans for a movie adaptation of a successful play. Sam Rockwell’s Inspector Stoppard, a world-weary detective, and Saoirse Ronan’s eager rookie Constable Stalker embark on a captivating journey to unravel the murder. As they dive deeper into the theater’s dark underbelly, they become entangled in a puzzling whodunit, putting their own safety on the line. ‘See How They Run’ combines comedy with an enthralling murder mystery, offering a unique and engaging cinematic experience. Feel free to check out the movie here.
5. Gone Girl (2014)
‘Gone Girl,’ directed by David Fincher, is a riveting murder mystery film that stands as a masterclass in suspense. Starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, it delves into the perplexing disappearance of Amy Dunne (Pike), leading to a nationwide media frenzy and a relentless police investigation. As secrets unravel and the plot takes unexpected turns, the audience is kept on the edge of their seats. Fincher’s impeccable direction, coupled with stellar performances from the cast, particularly Pike’s haunting portrayal of Amy, contribute to the film’s success. ‘Gone Girl’ is a chilling exploration of deception, manipulation, and the darkness that can lurk within the confines of a seemingly idyllic marriage, making it a top-notch murder mystery. You can check out the film here.
4. Animal Kingdom (2010)
‘Animal Kingdom,’ directed by David Michôd, is a gripping crime thriller that unfolds as a tense murder mystery. This Australian film boasts a stellar cast, including James Frecheville, Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, and Guy Pearce. The plot revolves around a teenager named Joshua “J” Cody, played by Frecheville, who is pulled into his family’s dangerous criminal world after the death of his mother. Guided by his cunning grandmother, played by Jacki Weaver, J becomes embroiled in a series of crimes orchestrated by his uncles, including armed robbery and murder. The movie masterfully combines intense family drama with elements of mystery and suspense. You can watch ‘Animal Kingdom’ here.
3. The Batman (2022)
After Christopher Nolan‘s stint with the caped crusader, director Matt Reeves brings his gloomy menace to the iconic comic superhero in ‘The Batman.’ The narrative follows the emergence of a new villain in Gotham City who goes by the name of Riddler. While the killer takes his prey one after another, he leaves a few clues for Robert Pattinson‘s Batman. Gradually, the perpetrator’s plans become apparent to the latter as he makes friends with Catwoman. While stripped down of Nolan’s epic vision, Matt Reeves’ Batman is more of a noir detective. And thus, the value of the superhero movie as a murder mystery may astonish you. You may watch it here.
2. Beware the Slenderman (2018)
‘Beware the Slenderman,’ directed by Irene Taylor Brodsky, is a chilling murder mystery documentary that delves into the disturbing case of two 12-year-old girls who stabbed their friend in 2014, claiming they were influenced by the fictional internet character Slenderman. The film meticulously explores the psyche of the young perpetrators, unraveling the complexities of their actions and the power of online folklore. Through interviews, court footage, and expert analysis, the documentary raises thought-provoking questions about mental health, morality, and the impact of the digital age on impressionable minds. Brodsky’s masterful storytelling, combined with the compelling real-life narrative and insightful commentary, makes ‘Beware the Slenderman’ a gripping and thought-provoking murder mystery that goes beyond the crime, offering a disturbing yet fascinating glimpse into the minds of young individuals influenced by internet myths. You can stream the film here.
1. Rashomon (1951)
Akira Kurosawa‘s masterful storytelling technique makes the mystery thriller movie ‘Rashomon’ one of the lasting artifacts of film history. By chronicling the tale of a man’s murder and the rape of his wife through four accounts varying much from each other, the movie investigates the fleeting and subjective nature of truth itself.
Be it for the set design or the immersive performances, the essentially black comedy movie became influential enough in popular culture to give rise to a phenomenon after its name. The Rashomon effect delineates how the brain creates memory due to previous experiences and internal bias. Still, if you are looking for the killer’s identity, you must watch the classic until the end. You can stream it here.
Read More: Best Murder Mystery Movies