Best Stalker Thrillers

'Fatal Attraction' spawned the stalker thriller genre. 

Best Stalker Thrillers

What made Fatal Attraction one of Hollywood’s biggest hits and spawned an entire stalker triller genre was the simple intensity of the relationships. Coupled with a subtle level of violence that steadily rose throughout each film, the genre was a dark look at obsessive personalities. The protagonist, typically a female was either obsessed or the object of obsession.Fatal Attraction spawned a stream of knock offs. While none could ever recapture the original feel, each offered an entertaining twist of the iconic film.

The Boy Next Door follows the story of a handsome, charming teenager named Noah moving in next door to the newly separated sexy high-school teacher Claire Peterson, played by Jennifer Lopez. She encourages his friendship and engages in a little bit of harmless, or so she thinks, flirtation. Although Noah spends much of the time hanging out with Claire's son, the teen's attraction to her is palpable. One night, Claire gives in to temptation and lets Noah seduce her, but when she tries to end the relationship, he turns violent.

This is a weird one. It feels like the entire film got a green light in production due to the taboo nature of plot. I’ll be honest, it’s pretty tough to sit through alone. But with a bunch of friends ripping into every plot hole in the movie and pointing out every tight shirt Jennifer Lopez slips into, it isn't half bad.

An extremely graphic sex scene makes this one of the most risque clones of stalker thriller, Fatal Attraction. A medical student, obsessed with her school’s star basketball player, pursues him and finally manages to get him to spend a weekend with her. However, when his girlfriend finds about his escapades with another girl, her anger causes her to go insane and place both him and the medical student in grave danger. Molly Ringwald gives the weirdest performance of her career, and looks hot doing it.

With a fulfilling career and a loving relationship, lobbyist Leah Vaughn (Sanaa Lathan) seems to have it all. Things come crashing down when Dave, her long-term boyfriend, questions her future plans for marriage and a family. The resulting breakup leaves Leah heartbroken, until she meets the charming and handsome Carter Duncan (Michael Ealy). Soon, the budding romance turns dangerous as Carter reveals his volatile stalker nature, forcing Leah to turn the tables on the man she thought was Mr. Right.

When a ‘single white female’ places an ad in the newspaper for a similar woman to rent a room all the applicants come across as straight up strange. Then, out of the blue arrives a seemingly well balanced woman who couldn’t be a better roommate. However, the new lodger has a secret past that haunts her to this very day.

What annoyed me a little about this movie is that the plot has a lot of potential in my eyes. It’s cheesy and generic and overplayed to the extreme, but there is some genuine chance for character interaction or maybe a tense closed room drama.

You can probably guess that Single White Female didn’t live up to my expectations. At best, we get to see great actors like Jennifer Jason Leigh strut their stuff with a mediocre script. Another relic of the early 90’s stalker thriller gone to waste. Really makes you wonder what stalker thrillers would have looked like without Fatal Attraction.

Ok, this is your official warning. The plot to this movie is straight up creepy.

A journalist becomes the unwanted center of attention for a 14-year-old girl, played by stalker, Alicia Silverstone, whom proceeds to sabotage his life after he refuses her sexual advances.

Yep, that’s right. The entirety of this movie’s plot is surrounded by the fact that the main character refused to engage in sex with a minor. There’s no way to spin that apart from it being a far more immature, and less professionally crafted version of a movie like Lolita. However, the script runs with the risqué nature of its content, and because of the inherent uncomfortableness of the subject matter makes some of the high tension scenes (that the sub-genre has become known for) hold some real dramatic weight in this stalker thriller.

Oh, I see you thought we were out of the early 90’s quagmire of sub-par stalker thriller movies. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong, as the next entry is yet another microcosm of a whole strange sub-genre of film.

An executive's administrative assistant takes paternity leave, and he gets a temp, Lara Flynn Boyle, who is too good to be true, doing tasks at a fast pace and doing quite a bit of creative work for the project. However, the executive starts noticing that all the obstacles to his climb up the corporate ladder are disappearing, including the death of some of his rivals, and he can’t help but suspect the mysterious new temp. She turns out to be an efficient stalker as well.

Look, to be brutally honest, none of these movies are good. What I’m judging them on now is less their objective quality (because they are all just terrible) but rather, the narrative potential in their premises. And “The Temp” has got a good one, and even throws up some questions about morality.

Hold on, did I just suggest that a stalker thriller proposes deep thematic questions? I think I did.

Thank GOD! We made it out of the 90’s. Gone are the parachute pants and the woeful hair dos. Not that Obssessed is of any greater quality than the other films, but damn if it isn’t steamy as all hell. I miss Ali Larter.

A successful asset manager, who has just received a huge promotion, is blissfully happy in his career and in his marriage. But when a stalker temp worker starts stalking him, all the things he's worked so hard for are placed in jeopardy.

Hmm… temps, boys who’ve just moved in, male ascension in the workplace… a lot of these films seem to have similar premises. When I was thinking about why it is, I can only imagine that Hollywood executives can see the dollar bills roll into their bank accounts at the thought of these movies going out, because they sell like hotcakes. Why they sell, I have no idea. Maybe you can tell me?

A first blatant copying of a premise from a previous film on this list. Coming out in 2011, The Roommate did exactly what Malicious did about 20 years earlier.

When college freshman Sara arrives on campus for the first time, she befriends her roommate, Rebecca played by Leighton Meester, unaware that the girl is becoming dangerously obsessed with her.

I mean, come on. This stalker thriller is just a little depressing at this point. However, the writing is better, if not still cringing, and I can’t help but not enjoy the modern setting slightly more. What can I say, the early 90’s were dark days indeed.

Hey! Look who it is! Jennifer Lopez is back! She must really have a knack for stalker thrillers. However, 2002's Enough offered a far more interesting premise than The Boy Next Door.

An abused woman discovers that the dream man she married isn't who she thought he was. She and her daughter try to escape, but he pursues her relentlessly. Fearing also for the safety of her daughter, she decides that there's only one way out of the marriage: kill him.

I actually really like this movie, even if it is just for the premise. There’s a lot of undercurrents of female empowerment, and the movie is chock full of catharsis.

Ah, a favorite of mine—the one and only Swimfan. Coming out the same year as Enough, 2002 seems to have been a great year for the stalker thriller. A high school senior with a promising swimming career has a one-night stand with consequences. Generic as all hell, yep, but all I can say is to give it a watch. Some of the surprises may actually catch you off guard.

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Stephen Hamilton

Definitive movie buff. Quickly realized that it was more financially prudent to write about film than trying to beg for millions of dollars to make his own.

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