Queer Thriller Films

9 min read

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Just in time for Halloween, this month’s theme is queer thrillers! Murders, political games, terrorism, and more all unfold within each of these five films. Each have certain elements that make them all great films to watch – however, while they all list themselves as a queer thriller… one does not match the others. Is it actually a thriller film? Hmm…

To be fair, when I selected this month’s films I had only seen three of the five. The other two were selected based on the usual premise: an intriguing synopsis that captures the essence of the theme I’m compiling – and high ratings on IMDb. However after watching the other two, I was left a bit puzzled. The first film was certainly a thriller – but beyond an LGBTQ character, it really was not a queer thriller… The second film was certainly a queer film, yet while there is subtle aspects of a thriller it’s very subdue and overall the film didn’t strike me as a queer thriller film.

But aren’t we jumping the gun a bit? After all, what determines the thriller genre? It’s not necessarily one that you’d think of when thinking of queer films either. According to IMDb, a thriller film is one that contains numerous sensational scenes or a narrative that is either sensational or suspenseful. While they often align with Mystery and Horror genres, they do not always go hand in hand. So with this in mind, is the off film actually a queer thriller film? Personally, I still don’t think so. But what do you think? And of course – have fun guessing which of these five queer thrillers is the one I’m unsure of! Hehe!

[Note: Not all of these films have full reviews yet – but they’re added to the quickly growing list of films I plan to tackle soon!]

5 Queer Thriller Films

Nimer (Nicholas Jacob), an ambitious Palestinian student in the West Bank, dreams of a better life abroad. One fateful night in Tel Aviv, he meets Roy (Michael Aloni), an Israeli lawyer, and the two fall in love. As their relationship deepens, they are both confronted with the harsh realities of a Palestinian society that refuses to accept Nimer for his sexual identity, and an Israeli society that rejects him for his nationality. When Nimer’s close friend is caught hiding illegally in Tel Aviv and sent back to the West Bank, where he is brutally murdered, Nimer is forced to choose between the life he thought he wanted and his love for Roy.

I absolutely LOVE “Out In The Dark”! Though I have to confess that there’s something appealing to me about migrant/foreign romance stories, perhaps because I’m a migrant myself. However the scene that’s set up here amid the Palestinian & Israeli conflicts alone sets a very powerful stage for any queer romance – definitely the setup for a queer thriller film. It’s a romance that is likely either to succeed despite facing such insurmountable difficulties – or one that will end tragically á la Romeo & Juliet. The cinematography is a bit rough and raw, but that gives the film even more of an edge that enhances the thriller aspect. This queer thriller film is one that you watch with full focus, not merely because most of us need the subtitles, but because it’s a powerful and captivating thriller & romance right until the end!

Watch “Out In The Dark” on Amazon or Prime Video.

Irish Republican Army member Fergus (Stephen Rea) forms an unexpected bond with Jody (Forest Whitaker), a kidnapped British soldier in his custody, despite the warnings of fellow IRA members Jude (Miranda Richardson) and Maguire (Adrian Dunbar). Jody makes Fergus promise he’ll visit his girlfriend, Dil (Jaye Davidson), in London, and when Fergus flees to the city, he seeks her out. Hounded by his former IRA colleagues, he finds himself increasingly drawn to the enigmatic, and surprising, Dil.

After watching “The Crying Game”, I’m a bit torn about my perceptions of this film. It most certainly is a thriller, and while I certainly can concur that Dil’s trans character makes this film worth of entry in the LGBTQ niche, I’m not quite so sure that the film itself is actually a queer film let alone a queer thriller film. To start, other than the mention and quick glance a a photo, Dil’s character isn’t even in the first half of the film! She absolutely gets involved in the latter half, directly with Fergus and even gets caught up in all the IRA debacles that follow Fergus to London. But something feels… off. Jaye Davidson does a fabulous job portraying Dil’s trans character – but it truly feels like her trans character is merely being used as a plot device rather than making any sort of a stand on trans folk. Regardless, “The Crying Game” revealed a trans character in a supporting role to mainstream audiences in this Oscar winning film.

Watch “They Crying Game” on Amazon, Prime Video, and HBO Max.

One-night stand can lead to fatal results! Tom (Scott Speedman) is a living proof! He’s a straight family guy whose life turns upside down when he finds out that he has AIDS so he tricks his ex-gay lover Dan (James Marsden) into an empty flat & ties him up awaiting his blood test results.

There are two things I can positively state about “The 24th Day” – it is a queer film, and it absolutely is a queer thriller! A film adaptation of the same play by director , this is one powerful film that hinges almost entirely upon the incredible performances of the two leading actors. While the synopsis gives away the film’s major twist, the slow and gradual build up to Dan realising what’s actually happening removes any preconceived thoughts you might have knowing of the twist in advance. And in true thriller format – there’s an even bigger twist as they both await the result of Dan’s HIV test! I must confess that the film does have some slower portions, and despite being a queer thriller, the two even get into a smooth banter at some points. However, Tom quickly brings the reality back to the forefront that catches even us off guard. There’s a lot of deep conversations between Tom and Dan that make all of us think about sex, HIV, and our sexual responsibilities.  I’ll leave you to watch “The 24th Day” to discover the actual ending – but there’s another shocking twist! Give this queer thriller film a watch, it’ll captivate you!

Watch “The 24th Day” on Amazon or Prime Video.

Running toward God but away from his sexuality, Adam (Andrzej Chyra) became a priest at age 21. Now the head of a rural parish, he’s still tormented by desire. When Father Adam attempts to help a troubled teen, long-suppressed feelings begin to surface.

“In the Name Of” is a different kind of film. And frankly, while the film is listed as a queer thriller film and it is quite captivating once the story gets going, I’m struggling to see how exactly it’s a thriller. Even though the film is nearly a decade old now (2013), the storyline of a closeted gay priest falling in love with young boys whom he works with is nothing new. If anything, such a storyline is more common and quite scandalous – as the Catholic Church is still plagued with accusations of just sweeping it under the rug! However, that’s not the approach Co-Writer & Director takes. Instead, she approaches the story as something real, a very humanistic approach as she instead deals with the internal and even external struggles & loneliness of repressing one’s sexuality within the confines of the Church and the collar. While Father Adam is naturally transferred yet again after the rumours start, we even get the hint of a possible romance and potential happy ending!

I must confess (pun intended!) that the film is slow-paced, and even a bit chaotic at first before the story gets underway. The rough handheld camera also leaves you wanting a bit more… But once the story truly starts to unfold, it is quite captivating. Despite all of this though, I cannot see how “In The Name Of” is a queer thriller film. Give the film a watch and let me know your thoughts!

Watch “In The Name Of” on Prime Video, Peccadillo Pictures, and Plex.

Young Tim Cornish’s (Lee Williams) life has begun with great promise. Blessed with extraordinary good looks, Tim enjoyed much attention and cared little of broken hearts. At university he was a favored student in a prestigious creative writing course, but a chance meeting, a stolen kiss and a sudden flare of passion sets Tim on a journey of betrayal, heartbreak and murder.

“No Night is Too Long” is perhaps the most captivating of the five queer thriller films I’ve selected. Unlike most films, this thriller starts towards the end of the story – with Tim running scared from something. The actual story unfolds via flashbacks interspersed with Tim recounting the story to someone offscreen. It’s a captivating tale of Tim’s passionate desire for a sexy professor, Ivo, that quickly becomes a romance. However on a trip to Alaska together, Ivo leaves him alone resulting in Tim having an affair – with a woman! Things continue to unfold quickly, but the real thriller starts to unravel with a bit of dramatic irony that adds an unexpected twist! However the film builds the uncertainty and drama in the juxtaposition between Tim’s nonchalant recounting of the story and the actual drama of the flashbacks. We end up having so many questions, many which aren’t answered until the very end – a surprise ending that is unexpected and shocking. If you’re after a queer thriller film, “No Night Is Too Long” certainly provides the suspense you’re after!

Watch “No Night Is Too Long” on Amazon or Prime Video.

So what did you think – do you agree with these five Queer Thriller Films? Have you seen all of them yet? If so, let me know which one was your favourite. And if you haven’t watched them all yet, I highly encourage you to add these Queer Thriller Films to your watch list ASAP!