Sunday, October 25

The Best Small-Town Murder Mystery Movies

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The dark mysteries of ‘The Calling’ will finally be unveiled when the new small-town crime thriller arrives on DVD here in the UK on 16 February courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The story, directed by Jason Stone, is based on the novel by Inger Ash Wolfe and it is a journey to the shadowy landscape between faith and fear. We follow Detective Inspector Hazel Micallef (played by Susan Sarandon) who stumbles upon a gruesome murder that shatters her peaceful existence and leads her to unearth a series of similar killings across the country. So we thought this would be a good time to take a look at just some of the other best small-town murder mystery movies out there.

Susan Sarandon in 'The Calling'

Fargo (1996)

Set in North Dakota, this very dark crime comedy from the legendary filmmaking siblings Joel and Ethan Coen introduced us to a whole host of memorable characters. When car salesman Jerry Lundegaard finds himself in dept he hires a couple of oddball criminals to kidnap his wife and for his father-in-law to pay the ransom with plans to share the money. Unfortunately things don’t go as simply as they thought. We then follow Marge Gunderson, a heavily pregnant local police chief, who is investigating a series of murders that links to the kidnapping and it’s highly skewed outcome. The movie has been critically hailed and even picked up a couple of Oscars for both Best Actress in a Leading Role (for actress Frances McDormand) and Best Original Screenplay for the Coens themselves. ‘Fargo’ also recently spawned a special spin-off TV series based on the movie.

Steve Buscemi and Peter Stormare

Blue Velvet (1986)

Based in the fictional town of Lumberton this dark and truly disturbing mystery thriller from surrealist filmmaker David Lynch lives long in the mind after each viewing. Featuring an absolutely unforgettable performance from actor Dennis Hopper as well as Isabella Rossellini and Kyle MacLachlan the movie features sexual deviance and sickening criminal activity. MacLachlan plays Jeffrey Beaumont who comes across a severed ear in a field in his home town of Lumberton. Along with help from high school student, Sandy Williams (played by Laura Dern), Beaumont attempts to find out more about the origins of the ear which eventually draws him deeper and deeper in the towns dark and seedy underbelly.

Blue Velvet

The Gift (2000)

Award winning Australian actress Cate Blanchett starred in horror maestro Sam Raimi’s (‘The Evil Dead’) back in 2000. The supernatural thriller set in Brixton, Georgia, pitted small-town psychic Annabelle Wilson up against a mysterious killer responsible for the brutal murder of young local Jessica King (played by Katie Holmes). Annabelle is forced to experience disturbing visions of the murder and the victim as she tries to uncover the murderer’s true identity using her paranormal powers. The movie co-stars Hilary Swank, Keanu Reeves, Giovanni Ribisi and Greg Kinnear.

Cate Blanchett in The Gift

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