Guillermo del Toro has evolved from a cult favourite director to the creator of acclaimed franchise films such as Blade 2 and others, as well as the Oscar-winning The Shape of Water. His most recent picture, the brilliant Nightmare Alley, may have been a box office flop, but it is the latest in a long line of genre-bending best Neo-Noir thrillers. The flicks below, which range from a pulpy, horror-filled private investigation storey to a large-scale therapy experiment gone tragically wrong, are set in the same bizarre world as del Toro’s masterwork.

1. Memento (2000)

Best Neo-Noir Thrillers
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Director- Christopher Nolan

Leonard is an insurance investigator whose memory gets impair. Because of a head injury he received when intervening in his wife’s death. His quality of life gets significantly affect as a result of this incident. He can now only make sense of things by tattooing notes on himself and photographing them with a Polaroid camera. The film is a narration via flashbacks of future events to compensate for his shaky memory. As he has encounters with a diverse cast of characters. Leonard is desperate for vengeance for his wife’s murder. But as several others point out, it may be pointless if he won’t remember it.

2. Lost Highway (1997)

Best Neo-Noir Thrillers
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Director- David Lynch

Guilt, denial, distrust, and fear have crept into the sunny City of Dreams and the minimalist home of Fred Madison, an affluent jazz tenor saxophonist. His soft-spoken wife, Renee, signalling the marriage’s slow disintegration. Someone has been delivering odd unmarked videotapes at the reticent couple’s front door for the past three days. It is causing a succession of bizarre hallucinations, dissociation, and murder as their content has become progressively frightening. Now, an amnesiac Fred is on death row, while Pete Dayton, a young, recently released auto mechanic. He plays deadly love games with the statuesque femme fatale and trophy girlfriend of the short-fused criminal boss, Mr Eddy, somewhere in the city. Seduction, treachery, and death collide on the darkened lost roadway of shattered hopes and unmet promises.

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3. Shutter Island (2010)

Best Neo-Noir Thrillers
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Director- Martin Scorsese

Troubled US Marshal Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, head to Ashecliffe Hospital, Shutter Island’s fortress asylum for the criminally ill, to investigate the inexplicable disappearance of a demented child-murderer. Soon, inexplicable nuances of medical negligence appear behind the gloomy purgatory’s thick stone walls, implying that the institution’s cryptic top psychiatrists must be concealing something. Then, in the dark off-shore prison, a violent storm trapped patients and investigators alike, triggering Teddy’s severe headaches and grisly recollections from the past.

4. Mulholland Drive (2001)

Best Neo-Noir Thrillers
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Director- David Lynch

Betty, the wide-eyed actress, arrives in bustling, sun-kissed Hollywood, untarnished by the predatory film industry’s false promises. Betty comes into Aunt Ruth’s fancy apartment, brimming with hope and anxious to spread her wings and prove her value. Unbeknownst to her, fate has other plans in store for her, setting the stage for life-altering experiences with the unexpected, the indecipherable, and the unknown. A strange key to a mysterious keyhole, an even stranger indigo-blue cube, the young director, Adam, and one cryptic woman: the amnesiac brunette and devilishly seductive car-crash survivor, Rita, now lie at the heart of an elaborate labyrinth of half-truths, faded memories, unrequited loves, and dangerous encounters with the city’s ugly face. However, time passes, and Rita’s enigmatic past demands answers. Both ladies, after all, are entitle to the truth.

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5. Dark City (1998)

Best Neo-Noir Thrillers
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Director- Alex Proyas

John Murdoch wakes up alone in a foreign hotel, having lost his memories and being sought for a series of cruel and odd killings. While trying to piece together his past, he stumbles onto a dark underbelly ruled by The Strangers, a group of beings with the power to put people to sleep and change the city and its residents. Murdoch now has to find a means to stop them before they take over his mind and kill him.

6. Blue Velvet (1986)

Best Neo-Noir Thrillers
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Director- David Lynch

The grisly discovery of a severed human ear crawling with ants begins to plague the inquisitive college student, Jeffrey Beaumont, in the picture-perfect suburban village of Lumberton, North Carolina. Where is the remainder of the body, though? Who, above all, might be the owner of the startling discovery? Unable to find answers to these uncomfortable issues, and with local cop Detective John Williams refusing to reveal crucial evidence, Jeffrey embarks on a fascinating but perilous expedition to uncover the truth, accompanied by Williams’ beautiful daughter, Sandy. And now the two are increasingly immerse in the dingy, dimly light world of Dorothy Vallens, the troubling nightclub singer with the velvety voice, and her crazy, gas-huffing, drug-dealing beau, Frank Booth.

7. Angel Heart (1987)

Best Neo-Noir Thrillers
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Director- Alan Parker

Harold Angel, a small-time private detective, is sent by attorney Herman Winesap to visit his client Louis Cypher in New York in 1955. When Angel discovers that a popular pre-war crooner, Johnny Favorite, had a contract with Cypher and then vanished, Cypher gives him a substantial sum of money to find Johnny. Angel travels to the facility where Johnny was last seen and meets with the addicted Dr. Albert Fowler, who explains that Johnny was shot in the face and arrived with amnesia and abnormal behaviour. Johnny was taken with a man and his daughter one day, and he was paid to falsify the reports. When Angel returns to see Dr. Fowler, he discovers that he is no longer alive.

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Then he pays a visit to Johnny’s former lover Margaret Krusemark, hoping to learn more about Johnny’s whereabouts, only to discover that she is no more. Then he goes to see Toots Sweet, a musician and Johnny’s former collaborator, and kills him right away. Angel leaves a trail of blood, but when he meets Margaret’s father, Ethan Krusemark, he discovers Johnny Favorite’s terrible fate.

8. Lord of Illusions (1995)

Best Neo-Noir Thrillers
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Director- Clive Barker

In 1982, a crew led by Swann infiltrates a cult in the Mojave Desert in order to save an adolescent from Nix the Puritan, the organization’s terrible leader. Thirteen years later, private detective Harry D’Amour of New York is ordered to track down an embezzler who is spending money in Los Angeles, and he comes across fortune teller Quaid, who has been tortured and murdered by two men. Soon after, Dorothea Swann, the wife of famous illusionist Philip Swann, hires him to investigate Quaid’s death. She invites D’Amour to accompany her to her husband’s magic show. When Swann is killed on stage while doing an illusion, D’Amour meets other illusionists in the Magic Castle, where he discovers that magic does exist, and thus begins his strange voyage to Nix’s terrible world.

If you’re looking for a fun, exciting experience and an easy way to get your film fix, we highly recommend taking a look at our picks for the best neo-noir thrillers. Something tells us that these movies will thrill you in more ways that one.

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