7. The Commuter
Released: January 12
Cast: Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra (The Shallows)
Why it’s great: The last thriller from the team of Neeson and Collet-Serra was Non-Stop, a bracing and clever whodunit on an airplane. The pair are back in high-octane Agatha Christie mode with The Commuter, a mystery that begins with Farmiga's chatty passenger Joanna presenting Neeson's haggard ex-cop (and loyal transit-enthusiast of the title) Michael MacCauley with a bizarre hypothetical: If you could perform a seemingly insignificant task that would have disastrous consequences for another commuter in exchange for a generous financial reward, would you do it? It's a convoluted twist on Richard Matheson's "Button, Button" short story, which was adapted into a classic Twilight Zone episode and the bonkers Richard Kelley movie The Box, but Collet-Serra is less interested in the moral dilemma. Instead, he simply wants to strip the giant locomotive -- and his star's lumbering frame -- for parts, finding Hitchcockian tension in each padded seat, empty corridor, and nervy patron. It's action filmmaking as controlled demolition -- and the best train potboiler since Steven Seagal's Under Siege 2: Dark Territory.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Amazon Prime; rent on iTunes, Amazon Video, VUDU, and YouTube (watch the trailer)