The suspenseful thriller “The Postcard Killings,” directed by Danis Tanovic, centres on Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character, NYPD detective Jacob Kanon, as he searches for a vicious serial killer. When Kanon learns of his daughter’s horrific murder while she is on her wedding in London, his life takes an extremely frightening turn. Remarkably, the crime scene is eerily similar to a string of other killings throughout Europe, all connected by enigmatic postcards that local media received and that each featured the crime scene. In an attempt to decipher the enigmatic clues underlying the postcard killings, Kanon partners up with journalist Dessie Lombard (Cush Jumbo) in a desperate search for answers.
The two follow a crafty serial murderer with unwavering determination as they dig deeper into the case and find a troubling trend. The thrilling and unpredictable 2020 movie explores the murky areas of loss, obsession, and seeking justice against a vicious foe. In many films, such as “The Postcard Killings,” the killer always seems to be one step ahead of the authorities, which heightens the tension as they race against the clock to stop him from killing anybody more.
“Copycat,” directed by Jon Amiel, is a psychological suspense thriller about a serial killer that thrives on it. After a horrific experience with a prior case, Dr. Helen Hudson (Sigourney Weaver), a gifted forensic psychologist, finds herself the target of a psychotic serial killer. After being attacked, Helen hides away from the public and becomes a fear cocoon. A new wave of horrific deaths that seem to be a mirror image of notorious crimes from the past throws the story into a grim twist. Helen is called back into the field of criminal profiling when detectives M.J. Monahan and Reuben Goetz ask for her assistance.
Helen discovers the copycat killer’s unsettling preoccupation with imitating the murders of well-known serial killers as she confronts her own anxieties. This makes Helen a target in his bizarre game of psychological torture and survival. The narcissistic traits of the murderers in “Copycat” and “The Postcard Killings” are similar in that they obsess over setting up intricate crime scenes for the police to find and challenge them with hints. We are kept on the edge of our seats in both films by the tangible tension between the murders and their pursuers.
In “Hangman,” directed by Johnny Martin, we meet retired investigator Archer (Al Pacino) and his sidekick Ruiney (Karl Urban). A young woman is brutally murdered at the beginning of the movie, which sets the stage for a string of murders that follow an unsettling pattern. At every crime site, the murderer assumes the role of the hangman, leaving mysterious clues behind. Haunted by a past unsolved case, Archer finds himself dragged back into the realm of criminal investigation with journalist Christi Davies. In a manner reminiscent of “The Postcard Killings,” the team must work quickly to understand the mysterious messages and identify the culprit before more lives are lost. Both films craft gripping stories that combine psychological suspense, detective work, and an unwavering quest for justice.
Kiss the Girls (1997)
“Kiss the Girls,” a terrifying psychological thriller with many turns and detours, is directed by Gary Fleder. Together with Ashley Judd, forensic investigator Alex Cross and detective Kate McTiernan investigate a series of kidnappings carried out by serial killer Casanova. As Cross learns that there is a link between the present crime and his niece’s previous kidnapping, the investigation gets more intense.
Cross and McTiernan decipher the ominous pattern underlying the kidnappings as one of the victims manages to elude the elusive murderer. Casanova imprisons his victims in a remote underground hideaway because of his sick obsession with gathering strong, independent women. Similar to parts of “The Postcard Killings,” the movie builds to a high-stakes game of wits in which the investigators must deal with a convoluted web of deceit while discovering startling facts.
The plot of “Se7en,” directed by David Fincher, centres on detectives David Mills (Brad Pitt) and William Somerset (Morgan Freeman), who become involved in a string of heinous killings motivated by the seven deadly sins. Grotesque crime scenes serve as warnings as the mysterious killer John Doe (Kevin Spacey) creates a nightmarish symphony of death. In an attempt to unravel the patterns behind the killings, the impetuous Mills and the soon-to-be retired Somerset collaborate. The investigators are used as puppets in Doe’s perverse moral game as they uncover the gory tableaus, each of which is connected to a grave sin.
The complex, nearly ritualistic killing sequences shown in “Seven” are also present in “The Postcard Killings,” where the murderers consistently appear to be one step ahead of their assailants. Any lover of serial killer films will never forget the most horrific story that “Se7en” tells, as it confronts us with a visceral examination of morality.
The Abandoned (2022)
“The Abandoned,” a film directed by Ying-Ting Tseng, plunges worried police officer Wu Jie into a sinister mystery after she discovers the lifeless body of a young Thai woman who is missing a finger and her heart. As Wu Jie is tasked with unravelling this sinister conundrum, she teams up with a perceptive rookie and battles her own deteriorating mental state following a personal tragedy. Aiming to stop more killings that target a vulnerable neighbourhood, the investigators deal with dishonest people and unsolved mysteries. Similar to “The Postcard Killings,” “The Abandoned” is a terrifying thriller that delves into the inner issues of the detectives in addition to a story of gruesome murders.
The Bone Collector (1999)
“The Bone Collector,” directed by Phillip Noyce, transports us to the unusual hunt for a serial killer terrorising New York City. A horrific accident has left quadriplegic former forensic detective Lincoln Rhyme (Denzel Washington) haunted. Rhyme teams up with a determined patrol police officer named Amelia Donaghy (Angelina Jolie) to take on a string of mysterious killings that a cold-blooded criminal has planned. The assassin leaves detailed clues at each crime scene, imitating well-known historical crimes.
Confined to his opulent Manhattan mansion, Rhyme helps Amelia figure out the killer’s patterns before he claims any more victims. Their alliance turns into a stressful game of cat and mouse with the mysterious killer, whose real intentions are still unknown. As demonstrated in “The Postcard Killings,” “The Bone Collector” pits the investigators against a serial killer who stages his murders and makes fun of their incapacity to apprehend him. The movies create a tense atmosphere that keeps us wondering what the bad guy will do next.
The Silencing (2020)
Under the direction of Robin Pront, “The Silencing” delves into a murky mystery as Rayburn Swanson (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), a reclusive ex-hunter, becomes caught in a macabre game of cat and mouse. A converted hunter, Rayburn is haunted by the disappearance of his daughter and, in her memory, looks after and examines a section of forest. He witnesses a girl being pursued through the forest he manages, so he steps in to save her. This sets off a series of events that force him and the relentless serial killer into a mutual hunting game.
In order to establish that this killer is the one responsible for the deaths of his daughter and multiple other people, Rayburn works with a local sheriff. The film grippingly takes us through a misty woodland terrain as the hunt heats up, with the killer’s shadow lurking over the detectives. Rayburn lost his own daughter to the killer, much like Jacob Kanon in “The Postcard Killings,” which made finding the monster and crafting a compelling story extremely personal.
The Snowman (2017)
“The Snowman,” a terrifying criminal thriller directed by Tomas Alfredson, is based on Jo Nesbø’s book. The movie centres on Michael Fassbender’s character, detective Harry Hole, as he looks into a string of horrific killings in Norway. At every crime scene, the murderer leaves a snowman as a calling card, leaving a sinister and gruesome mark. Haunted by his own past and struggling with personal issues, Hole teams up with a bright new recruit named Katrine Bratt to sort through the cryptic clues.
They discover a complicated network of sinister ties and hidden agendas as they probe further into the case, which brings them one step closer to the elusive murderer. Like in “The Postcard Killings,” “The Snowman” features tense turns and an ominous atmosphere as its serial killer taunts his pursuers, both of whom use brutal methods to defile their victims.