Three suspense/thriller documentaries you must see

14 de desembre de 2018

The following films do not necessarily fit in the horror genre as we know it, but they use suspense in such a creative and intelligent way that leaves you clinging to your seat until the last minute. 

Addressing problematic social issues such as life in prison, threats against freedom of speech, the imminence of a terrorist attack, the ghosts of past wars or the latent fear of the death of our parents, this list of the best thriller documentaries to watch online manage a tension that will not leave us indifferent to reality. 

What are thriller documentaries?

Suspense or narrative suspense began as a literary technique that has its origin in the very limitation of linear narratives: the progressive way with which information is given.

Stories cannot be told immediately, they need time and space to give one piece of information after another and thus build, in a progressive way, a gripping tale. 

The great storytellers of history, from the African griot or the classical Greek authors to the writers and filmmakers of today, such as Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg or M. Night. Shyamalan, have a great command of the techniques of suspense enhancement.

Suspense documentaries or documentary thrillers are films that use narrative tension and an atmosphere of intrigue and mystery to hide and dose information in such a way that we find it impossible to leave. We want to see how it ends!

Watching mystery documentaries usually generates feelings of fear, curiosity and even insecurity or vulnerability. It is common to say that a thriller movie to watch online is one that makes us forget we are watching a movie on our computer or cell phone.

What are the best thriller documentaries to watch online?

Those Who Met Me Did Not See Me

Filmmaker Bruno Bigoni delivers an envelope to a woman

In this documentary, the Italian filmmaker Bruno Bigoni becomes the protagonist of his own real life thriller.

After receiving a call from a mysterious woman who offers him to be the privileged buyer of an unpublished photograph of the famous French poet Rimbaud, Bigoni begins an incessant investigation to confirm the veracity of this precious -or not- relic.

Bigoni decides to film each step he takes and each character he approaches in his detective adventure with the lens of hidden cameras, a small one that he hides under his scarf and another one operated by a confident cameraman who films everything from the anonymity of distance.

Watch this documentary now on Guidedoc

Arrested Lives 


A painting of two human eyes crying


How does it feel to emerge from the prison where you lived - or survived - for many years to be reunited with the one you love? During 66 minutes of tense calm, Louis and Annette revisit a painful past to awaken those ghosts of their separation during Louis' years-long imprisonment.

A vanished prison, an evaporated relationship, vivid and blurred memories. All these ingredients make this dramatic documentary have a kind of phantasmagoric layer, where the loss and the sense of what could have been in the past gravitates in every shot.

Watch this documentary now on Guidedoc

Fatum: Room 126


An army colonel is interrogated by Jim Smith

Of course, a crime documentary could not be missing from this list. En Fatum: Room 126, we are in an interrogation room at a police station in Ontario, Canada. One of the men is detective Jim Smith, the other, an army colonel suspected of murder.

What brings these two men together in the room is the case of Jessica Lloyd, a woman who has been missing for several days and whose police search increasingly points to this married, middle-aged military man.

Through a subtle discursive strategy, Detective Smith gets the suspect to progressively reveal the whereabouts of the body of the young woman he murdered, even telling the details of his crime with a cold calm during his statement.

The film is composed only of the material filmed by the security cameras of the interrogation room, images that spin a document about the mystery of the criminal impulse and the power of words to find the truth.

Watch this documentary now on Guidedoc

The Black Listed


A serbian journalist seeing through a window

A group of Serbian journalists covering bilateral relations between Serbia and China suddenly find themselves harassed by their country's intelligence police during the visit of a high-ranking Chinese official to Belgrade.

When pressure and threats turn into kidnapping, their only weapons are their cameras, cell phones and the truth they are trying to uncover: the Chinese government's gross human rights violations. 

Watch this documentary now on Guidedoc

From The Depths


The italian miners of the last coal mine in Italy looks at us

Determined to maintain their activity in the mine where they have worked for years, the miners of Italy's last coal mine decide to take control of its depths to face the threat of closure by the authorities.

Halfway between the observational documentary and a horror film, Director Valentina Zucco Pedicini builds a sensory journey that suggests an existentialist dimension about what it is to live within the cracks of the earth.

Wrapped in the richness of the sound universe of the film, the viewer feels like a passenger on a ship to the center of the earth. A precious cinematography turns our protagonists into romantic heroes of the last trench they are trying to defend.

Watch this documentary now on Guidedoc



A croatia theatre artist crying


How necrophiliac is it to make a play inspired by the murder of a little girl 25 years ago?

We are in Zagreb, Croatia. A theater group is preparing to face the most difficult play of their lives. The play is loosely based on the case of a twelve-year-old girl murdered on the eve of the Yugoslav wars.

To play their roles, the actors confront their most shocking childhood memories. In this kind of intensive group psychotherapy, the wounds of a population scarred by war begin to emerge.

Watch this documentary now on Guidedoc

The Grenade Man


A mysterious man with a hat in a snowy landscape


In February 1965, a series of booby traps set up in the city of Oslo explode grenades, killing several innocent people. The terrorist attacks soon paralyze a population filled with fear.

As Constitution Day approaches, all of Norway fears that the worst of the attacks will be perpetrated. Will the worst happen?

This documentary directed by Karianne Berge, made sixty years after those fateful attacks, represents a necessary visit to that time of terrorism amidst the recent neo-Nazi waves in Nordic territory.

Watch this documentary now on Guidedoc

The Battle With Satan


A woman undertaking an exorcism


Heart-rending screams, possessed people, crucifixes, prayers and cassocks. We have already seen these elements in iconic movies like The Exorcist or Poltergeist. But what happens when exorcism stories can be found just around the corner?

This horror documentary is a portrait of the phenomenon of the wave of exorcisms in Poland, a country where these cases are increasingly common in a society heavily influenced by the Catholic religion.

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Project 55


A group of photographs taking pictures in an old photograph


Following the trail of a recurring dream in which machine guns kill a large group of people, Argentine filmmaker Miguel Colombo embarks on a quest that leads him to unpredictable corners of his ancestral past.

Images of old wars, family myths and the filmmaker's own reflections intermingle in a kind of film essay full of suspenseful war phantasms.

Watch this documentary now on Guidedoc

The Valley Of Salt


A landscape of the pyramids in El Cairo


When young filmmaker Christophe M. Saber arrives to visit his parents' home in Cairo, he never imagined that his family's life would begin to be in danger

A phone call from another Muslim man threatening to kill Saber's father, who is Catholic, sets off a period of tension that soon escalates to unpredictable consequences.

It all takes place in the midst of a chaotic Egypt a few months after the overthrow of the dictator Mubarak, anarchy seems to be the only law everywhere.

Watch this and more great documentaries now on Guidedoc

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