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Rian Johnson made murder fun again with his own version of the classic whodunnit Knives Out. In fact, the hilarious Academy Award-nominated crowdpleaser, about dysfunctional family put under suspicion after their novelist patriarch’s (Christopher Plummer) mysterious death, was so successful that the writer/director is planning a follow-up with Daniel Craig set to return as renowned private investigator Benoit Blanc.
However, at the moment, Knives Out 2 does not have a set release date, let alone an official title, and in today’s fast-paced world, fans can only wait so long to get their fix of movies rich in laughs as well as suspense. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of films spanning decades that indulge in that irresistibly devilish crossbreed of genres that you can access with the push of a button.
If Knives Out left you puzzled, shaking, in stitches, or all three and wanting more, these additional comedic thrillers should help fill that void. I narrowed the best of the bunch available to stream down to 10.
The Plot: Based on the classic board game of the same name, six eccentric socialites are invited to dinner it a luxurious mansion. When the wealthy party host, Mr. Boddy, suddenly turns up dead and it is clear the murderer is someone in the house, the six guests, the maid, and the butler (an always dazzling Tim Curry) must piece together the puzzling mystery of who among them is the culprit.
Why Fans Of Knives Out Would Like It: Clearly Knives Out takes a heavy amount of inspiration from the works of Agatha Christie. Yet, those comparatively earnest suspense novels do not match the playful tone of Rian Johnson’s comedic caper nearly as well as this film. From a story co-developed by John Landis, Jonathan Lynn’s Clue is one of the most beloved whodunnits that keeps you laughing as much as it keeps your guessing until the end which, in 1985, would vary by where your theater was located.
Where To Stream: Crackle
The Brothers Bloom (YouTube, Tubi, Vudu)
The Plot: Brothers Stephen (Mark Ruffalo) and Bloom (Adrien Brody) have mastered the art of the con, having practiced swindling since childhood. Bloom wishes for a life beyond his criminal past, but not without Stephen nudging him to reunite to relive the glory days. When they select quirky heiress Penelope (Rachel Weisz) as their target, it quickly becomes apparent that the last job for the Brothers Bloom may be their messiest.
Why Fans Of Knives Out Would Like It: Rian Johnson has a reputation for creating high-drama suspense thrillers, such as the high school-set noir Brick, the aggressively original time travel tale Looper, and his devastating Breaking Bad episodes. 2008’s The Brothers Bloom, only his second feature-length effort as writer and director, is his departure from that tone in attempt to create a clever, screwball comedy that he would perfect in Knives Out.
A Simple Favor (Hulu)
The Plot: “Plain Jane” single mother and parenting vlogger Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) envisions her life changing for the better when she befriends the elegant, but brutally honest, Emily Nelson (Blake Lively), who inspires her to break out of her comfort zone. When Emily suddenly goes missing, Stephanie takes advantage of her newfound confidence to investigate the disappearance, learning more about her friend than she bargained for.
Why Fans Of Knives Out Would Like It: Paul Feig, director of such comedies as Bridesmaids and Last Christmas, goes slightly against type with this 2018 adaptation of Darcey Bell’s mystery novel that is less of a comedy with a few elements of a crime thriller, a la The Heat or Spy (also by Feig), and more of a crime thriller with a few elements of a comedy. Like Knives Out, A Simple Favor succeeds at being a fun, stylized, and sexy guessing game, but it may be even the darker of the two. Brace yourself for some real hair-raising revelations throughout.
Where To Stream: Hulu
The Plot: A stolen diamond has gone missing and anyone who has come within ear shot of the madness surrounding this priceless artifact wants to get their hands on it. Guy Ritchie’s 2000 follow-up to Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a Pulp Fiction-style quasi-anthology thriller that chronicles a brainteasing treasure hunt through the streets of London from a unusual variety of various viewpoints that might require subtitles here and there.
Why Fans Of Knives Out Would Like It: Snatch is the kind of film Rian Johnson would make if he made British crime thrillers. For one, it’s got a star-studded ensemble cast, including Brad Pitt as an incomprehensible, but rambunctious, gypsy, Benicio del Toro as a bumbling jewel thief, and Jason Statham as an innocent boxing promoter who someone gets caught up in the mess, just to name a few). On top of that, every moment of this instant classic is pure zaniness wrapped up in a clever plot straight out of a Michael Mann film that only gets funnier every time you watch it.
Where To Stream: Crackle
Murder Mystery (Netflix)
The Plot: After an unexpected invitation onto a billionaire’s yacht, New York cop Nick Spitz (Adam Sandler) and his wife, Audrey (Jennifer Aniston), seem to be having the European vacation of their dreams, until they become the prime suspects of a murder on board. Now on the run from the law, Nick must use his bumbling detective skills and Audrey her mystery novel expertise to figure out who has framed them and clear their names.
Why Fans Of Knives Out Would Like It: The title of this 2019 Netflix original says it all. From Danny Boon’s performance as a clear counterpart to Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot (also heavily influential of Daniel Craig’s Benoit Blanc in Knives Out), the colorful cast of suspicious, high-class characters, and Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston’s break-neck race through Europe to prove their innocence, Murder Mystery hits the spot for fans of comedic suspense thrillers.
Where To Stream: Netflix
The Cabin In The Woods (Hulu, Amazon Prime)
The Plot: Five college students (including a young Chris Hemsworth) take a trip to a remote woodland cabin for a fun weekend getaway. If your guess of what happens next in this PG-13, 2011 release is “Terrible things begin to happen,” well, of course that is what happens, but for reasons that are unlike any “cabin in the woods” flick you have ever seen.
Why Fans Of Knives Out Would Like It: In the vein of the uniquely meta 1996 slasher Scream, director Drew Goddard and his co-writer Joss Whedon go for a more mysterious, wholly fascinating, and unabashedly insane deconstruction of the horror genre. What Knives Out did for the whodunnit by gleefully pulling the rug from under its audience, The Cabin in the Woods does the same for the teen thriller.
The ‘Burbs (Sling)
The Plot: All family man Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) wants to do is enjoy a peaceful staycation, but his friends will not stop bothering him with chilling theories about the never-seen family living in the creepy house next door. Yet, the more he tries to ignore it, the more he begins to suspect that his neighbors could mean danger for suburbia.
Why Fans Of Knives Out Would Like It: This 1989 cult classic is a highlight of Tom Hanks’ early years as a comic superstar, but also works as a fun mystery thriller for how well it taunts its audience by never fully letting on who the crazy next door neighbor really is. Sporting a tone that fuses the suspenseful imagination of Rod Serling with the cartoonish lunacy of Steve Martin, The ‘Burbs is one of director Joe Dante’s (Gremlins, Innerspace) most beloved dark comedies.
Where To Stream: Sling
Silver Streak (Sling)
The Plot: Average, somewhat clumsy LA book editor George Caldwell (Gene Wilder) finds unexpected romance with the beautiful Hilly (Jill Clayburgh) during a trip to Chicago on the titular train. His stroke of luck soon runs out after he witnesses a murder onboard and the perpetrators throw him off the side of the tracks. With the help of slick car thief, Grover (Richard Pryor), George must find a way back onto the Silver Streak to save his new love from danger.
Why Fans Of Knives Out Would Like It: Silver Streak is the first film to pair Gene Wilder with Richard Pryor in a string of comic capers, as well as the most widely acclaimed of the bunch. The Oscar-nominated 1976 hit boasts one of the best performances from the late iconic duo, who make an otherwise adventurous, high-energy action thriller a relentlessly hilarious romp that is fun for all ages.
Where To Stream: Sling
In Bruges (Max Go)
The Plot: After a job goes horribly wrong, Irish hitmen Ray (Colin Farrell) and Ken (Brenan Gleeson) are instructed by their ill-mannered boss, Harry (Ralph Fiennes), to hide out in the quaint Belgian town of Bruges. Ken struggles to make light of their situation by treating it like a vacation, but his younger partner refuses to see the bright side as the reason behind his abhorrence and hopeless guilt slowly becomes more clear.
Why Fans Of Knives Out Would Like It: It might come as no surprise that this mightily dark comedy, nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay, is the feature-length of playwright-turned-filmmaker Martin McDonagh, known for testing the limits of tragedy’s comedic appeal with 2017’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Knives Out looks like family matinee in comparison to In Bruges, yet both are rich in shocking twists, a dynamite cast, and a moving, character driven-plot that bends the rules of where the audience’s sympathies should normally lie.
Where To Stream: Max Go
Mystery Team (Hulu)
The Plot: Jason (Donald Glover), Duncan (D.C. Piersen), and Charlie (Dominic Dierkes) were their neighborhood’s top detectives, solving a slew of local “crimes” in their childhood. In adulthood, they prove to be not as successful as the trio attempt to crack a case that forces them realize that solving grown-up crimes takes some growing up first.
Why Fans Of Knives Out Would Like It: Mystery Team, which the immature sleuths call themselves, is the first feature-length writing, producing, and starring credit of Donald Glover (whose Atlanta co-star Lakeith Stanfield plays Lt. Elliott in Knives Out), and a counterpart of the internet comedy troupe through which he first gained notoriety, Derrick Comedy. While Rian Johnson’s whodunnit takes a, relatively, more earnest approach to its humorous elements, if you like to your crime thrillers served dark with a healthy side of engrossing absurdity, this lesser-known 2009 cult film just might be destined to become your new favorite mystery.
Where To Stream: Hulu
Does this list of movie suggestions similar to Knives Out meet your fancy? Let us know in the comments and, in the meantime, be sure to check back for news related to Rian Johnson’s mystery hit and other bloody funny crime thrillers here on CinemaBlend.