© 2004 Miraxmax Films
"One of us in this very room is in fact the murderer."
- Agatha Christie, And Then There Were None
Without Agatha Christie, the world may not have one of the most popular niches of horror today: slashers. She refined everything that eventually evolved into slasher tropes. These same devices would be used in giallo and other mysteries.
In Christie's most popular work, And Then There Were None, a group of people are brought together for a reason unbeknownst to them at first. As the story continues, people start to die. And the killer's identity and motive are both revealed by the end.
This simple formula gave way to and shaped many horror movies people love today. While not every one of the entries on this list faithfully adhere to the blueprint, the inspiration from And Then There Were None is undeniable.
This movie differentiates itself from the basic formula by 1) confining most of the movie's main story to one "bottle" location and 2) adding a supernatural twist. That being said, Devil is a surprisingly entertaining thriller despite the main characters never leaving the confines of the elevator.
This Amicus Production film is based on James Blish's 1950 short story "There Shall Be No Darkness." It combines And Then There Were None with The Most Dangerous Game while adding a werewolf for good measure. The Beast Must Die is a kooky mystery movie that is most memorable for its gag of adding a thirty second interlude near the finale, asking viewers if they can determine who the werewolf is. If you enjoy vintage British horror and suspense, this one is worth at least one watch.
Mindhunters is a slick-looking psycho-thriller that appeals to a younger, more hip audience. It boasts some questionable acting and a dated music video filming style, but the movie is more entertaining than it deserves to be. What do you expect from the director of Deep Blue Sea and The Covenant? A lot of stupid fun. That's what.
The original Saw is considered to be an inventive if not gory breath of fresh air for horror in a post-slasher revival era. Then Liosngate decided to amp things up by adding even more torture and victims. So if there was a movie in the whole franchise to blame for kickstarting the trend of splatter films from that decade, Saw II is more guilty than its predecessor. Without a doubt, there is an undeniable trashier element to this sequel, but if you want cheap thrills, this early sequel in the Saw collection isn't the worst way to fill that need.
So off the bat, Fear Island isn't a good movie if you want to be snobby about it. If you were expecting it to be, then you're naïve. But if you're okay with a Canadian whodunnit with a surprising twist ending and a Duff sister (not Hilary), then Fear Island is for you. The movie takes inspiration from A Perfect Getaway as well as Agatha Christie's works. There is a bit of a slasher element, too.
A Million fails not because it's a bad movie, but because it doesn't adhere to the simplest part of Agatha Christie's formula. While there is a connection between the contestants, the identity of the killer is made clear way ahead of the ending. The reason why the contestants were selected is thankfully withheld until toward the finale.
Identity is known for its clever twist ending. It also boasts taut suspense and a more than adequate cast. The story isn't a direct adaptation of And Then There Was None, but the basic structure is there at the very least.
The South Korean import Death Bell combines mystery with gorno. The director used to make music videos so audiences are in for at least a polished-looking slasher. Also, the killer's identity and motive are both thankfully saved until the end. Due to the movie's modest success, a sequel called Death Bell 2: Bloody Camp was released in 2010.
Directed by Jonathan Lynn
A group of strangers are invited to a dinner by a mysterious host. Once the host's intentions are revealed, he is murdered. But by whom? The guests now figure out which of them is the killer before the police arrive.
This classic comedy inspired by the board game of the same name seems like it would be directly based on Agatha's work, but it only borrows from it when convenient. The connection between the guests is revealed early into the movie. And that connection isn't one out of revenge necessarily. So the "murder mystery" concept is more generalized here. It's still a fun movie well regarded by many for good reason.
|FINAL DESTINATION 2
Directed by David R. Ellis
When a group of strangers evade dying in a highway accident, they are each killed off by an unseen entity in the order they originally should have died. Now, they must consult a survivor from a similar chain of events. Or else they will be killed, too.
Believe it or not, Final Destination fits into the And Then There Were None formula better than you would expect. Group of strangers come together for a united cause or reason? Check. Someone (or in this case, something) is picking them off one by one? Check. They share a connection revealed at the end? Check. The only thing it's lacking is a killer's reveal. Everyone knows that the antagonist in this franchise is simply Death itself.
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