Alfred Hitchcock is long gone, but filmmakers continue to try to recapture the signature style of the master of suspense. “The Woman in the Window,” based on A.J. Finn’s novel, is one of the best and most involving of the many Hitchcock imitations. Amy Adams is excellent as an emotionally disturbed agoraphobic psychologist who may or may not have witnessed a murder out of her front window. A terrific cast, sharp dialogue by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Tracy Letts and skillful direction by Joe Wright all add up to a solid and involving thriller. Hitchcock would have approved.
If you thought that the grisly torture porn “Saw” franchise had run its course, think again. “Spiral” is the ninth installment in the series with a Jigsaw Killer copycat taking over the bloody mayhem. This time out, Chris Rock stars as a police detective who tries to figure out why his colleagues are being mutilated in a mysterious revenge spree. Although skillfully directed by Overland Park native Darren Lynn Bousman, “Spiral” adds little to the genre in spite of its attempts at social relevance. “Spiral” is for hardcore “Saw” fans only.
“Oxygen” is a taut French sci-fi thriller that is definitely not for the claustrophobic. Melanie Laurent stars as a woman who wakes up in a cryogenic pod with no idea why she’s there. In fact, she doesn’t even know who she is. With her pod running out of oxygen, she must quickly try to figure out what’s going on and regain her memory. The only entity she can interact with is with an artificial intelligence named MILO. Laurent gives an enterprising performance and director Alexandre Aja does a commendable job of making the confined space cinematically interesting. “Oxygen” is an appropriately breathless thriller.
Your local art house theaters are offering online viewing options for a number of intriguing movie titles. More information is available at nelson-atkins.org, Screenland.com, fineartsgroup.com and drafthouse.com.