In a year when comic book movies, remakes, and sequels ruled the box office, Rian Johnson delivered an original film that is also one of the year's most entertaining movies. Knives Out is styled after classic whodunit murder mysteries about a wealthy family whose elder patriarch dies at a family get-together.
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With an all-star cast, a clever script, and a lot of great humor, the movie proved to be a real crowd-pleaser. Though it feels like a very unique film that plays brilliantly with genre expectations, there are some other great movies that capture the same appeal feel of the mystery.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Updated on October 25th, 2021 by Colin McCormick: With the fall season now arrived, fans are looking for movies perfect for this time of year. Quite unexpectedly, Knives Out has become a quintessential fall movie while also delivering a terrific murder mystery story. While there aren't too many movies that capture the season's unique vibe and lovely sweaters as effectively as Knives Out, there are some great options for fans of the Rian Johnson comedy to check out, especially with several sequels now on the way.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
Though Daniel Craig is iconic as James Bond, he has starred in a number of exciting projects outside of the 007 franchise. And for fans that love seeing him solve crimes as Benoit Blanc in Knives Out, they might also enjoy the remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Craig plays a journalist hired by the patriarch of a wealthy family to investigate the murder of his niece decades earlier. To add another Knives Out connection, Christopher Plummer plays the patriarch in this movie as well. However, fans should be warned that this is a much darker mystery story.
Mystery Team (2009)
Rian Johnson clearly drew a lot of inspiration from the novels of Agatha Christie when making Knives Out. Likewise, Mystery Team seems influenced by mysteries like the Hardy Boys but adds an R-rated twist to those more wholesome stories.
The movie follows a group of three friends whose childhood obsession with solving neighborhood crimes has made them outcasts in their high school years. But the young men find themselves in over their heads when they are hired to solve a murder. It is a hilarious and quirky dark comedy that more people should seek.
The Brothers Bloom (2008)
Though Rian Johnson has directed big genre movies including Star Wars: The Last Jedi, he seems drawn to smaller mystery stories. The Brothers Bloom was Johnson's second feature film which stars Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody as a pair of con artist brothers who decide to take on one last daring job.
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The movie is another great example of how Johnson can pay loving homage to a genre while also playing around with the tropes. The result is a really fun caper that is elevated by its fun characters.
Murder By Death (1976)
Though Knives Out certainly plays around with the murder mystery formula in hilarious and clever ways, it never goes into parody territory. However, for fans looking for a full-blown comedy in the genre, Murder by Death is a terrific option.
The movie follows the classic dinner party murder mystery plot only the guest list is filled with the world's most famous detectives. When a mystery does indeed present itself, it is great fun watching these various sleuth archetypes battle each other the solve the case.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
With the success of Knives Out and its upcoming sequels, Benoit Blanc could very well become one of the great fictional detectives of all time. However, it is hard for any character to beat Sherlock Holmes in that category.
While there have been many adaptations of Holmes's adventures, the character was given the big-budget treatment with Robert Downey Jr. in the role. It is a stylish and fun period action movie with some compelling mystery elements thrown in. But the highlight of the movie is the pairing of Downey Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson.
The Nice Guys (2016)
Rian Johnson did a fantastic job of creating a film that fits into the murder mystery genre yet still plays with the conventions of the genre in some fun and unexpected ways. Another film that achieves a similar trick is Shane Black's hilarious crime-comedy The Nice Guys.
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The film stars Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe as two low-life private eyes who team together to solve a missing-person case. Black is clearly a big fan of the hard-boiled detective genre and that passion gives him a unique perspective on how to play with the rules of those kinds of films.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
One of the best aspects of Knives Out is the dysfunctional family element at its center. The Thrombey's are a family of wealthy and intelligent people who immediately turn into children when they don't get what they want.
Though there is no murder mystery at the center of Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums, the titular family feels very similar to the Trombeys. The Tenenbaums are also a group of talented and wealthy people who come together into one big dysfunctional gathering where their own personal struggles come to light.
While there are a number of movies that can feel similar to Knives Out in a variety of ways, there are some specific movies that directly inspired the film. Rian Johnson has talked about a number of these inspirations, including Sleuth.
The 1972 film stars Laurence Olivier as a famous author of detective novels who invites his wife's lover (Michael Caine) to his home where the two men engage in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse. Johnson has acknowledged the setting of a remote and massive mansion something he borrowed for his own films.
There seems to be something about people involved in the creative process that makes them interesting characters within a murder mystery. Deathtrap is a 1982 film directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Michael Caine as a struggling playwright for plots to murder a more talented up-and-coming writer (Christopher Reeves) and steal his work.
The movie is another clever and unique take on the genre. It also is hilarious in a very dark way which is one of the aspects that makes Knives Out such a fun movie as well.
Ready Or Not (2019)
Knives Out manages to be a hugely entertaining murder mystery while also making some interesting commentary about those who have the privilege and those who do not. That was a theme shared by a lot of 2019 films, including the horror-comedy Ready or Not.
The film features a star-making role for Samara Weaving as a young woman who is marrying into a family who made their wealth in board games. However, on her wedding night, she finds herself in a deadly game of hide-and-seek. It is a wild, hilarious, and bloody romp worth seeking out.
Knives Out was not Johnson's first foray into the mystery genre. In fact, his feature directorial debut was an underrated mystery noir called Brick. The movie stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a high school kid investigating the disappearance of his ex-girlfriend.
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Though it is set in a modern high school setting, the movie is presented as an old-school detective film. The stylized approach avoids feeling like a gimmick and gives the film a unique and compelling feel. And like all good movies of the genre, the central mystery keeps you guessing throughout.
Horror movies can often use the "whodunit" mystery in their stories as the group of targeted teens try to determine who the killer is as they get killed off one by one. Scream follows the same path with a Ghostface killer stalking the heroes. However, the film brilliantly uses horror tropes to its advantage.
This film cleverly features characters who have seen all the typical slasher films and know all the clichés. The movie does a great job of playing with those expectations to keep the audience guessing until the killer is finally revealed in an effective fashion.
Bad Times At The El Royale (2018)
Part of the great fun of Knives Out is seeing all these great famous actors sharing the screen and playing characters with their own little secrets. Another movie with a similar setup is the o overlooked gem, Bad Times at the El Royale. The movie stars the likes of Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Jon Hamm, and Chris Hemsworth as strangers who converge on the titular motel.
The movie slowly reveals what each of these people is hiding beneath the surface and how their own journeys start to collide with one another.
Like Bad Times at the El Royale, Identity also follows a group of strangers who find themselves staying at the same motel on a rainy night. Before long, the guests begin to get picked off one by one as the others try to determine which of them is the killer.
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The movie is a twisty thriller with a great cast including John Cusack, Amanda Peet, and Ray Liotta. While the final twist was disappointing to some, the movie maintains an effective dark and threatening feel that keeps you hooked.
Green For Danger (1946)
Green for Danger is an older murder mystery that fits quite in line with the kids of movies Johnson would have taken inspiration from. The movie stars Alastair Sim as a detective investigating a group of doctors after a death during surgery is ruled as a murder.
Much like Daniel Craig's Southern detective in Knives Out, Sim plays an unusual detective who adds a lot of levity to the murder investigation. The movie slowly reveals layers to its mystery until the final, satisfying reveal that was staring you in the face the whole time.
Game Night (2018)
Though Knives Out deals with an apparent murder, it is not light on its comedy. Another fun mystery comedy that mixes the laughs with suspense is Game Night. The film stars Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as a couple who host a game night with friends. However, when their murder mystery turns out to be real, they find themselves in a world of danger.
The fantastic cast help bring a lot of energy to this clever and hilarious story. As the stakes continue to rise and things get more ridiculous, the laughs just get bigger.
Murder On The Orient Express (2017)
Agatha Christie is a big and obvious influence on Knives Out by Johnson's own admission. The legendary author is responsible for some of the most famous mystery novels, including Murder on the Orient Express.
There are a few versions of this story worth checking out with Kenneth Branagh's 2017 remake being the most recent. Branagh plays renowned and eccentric detective Hercule Poirot who investigates the murder of a passenger onboard a luxury train. The all-star cast, the stirring mystery, and Branagh's fun performance make for an exciting adventure.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
The hard-boiled detective stories share a lot of similarities with the whodunit genre. As Knives Out cleverly plays with its own genre, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang also follows a similar mystery setup while subverting the genre clichés.
Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer star as a mismatched pair who find themselves investigating the death of a young woman which grows into a larger conspiracy. The hilarious script from Shane Black mixes the irreverent humor with a complex and compelling mystery and a great buddy action ride.
Gosford Park (2001)
While the premise of a murder at a party in a posh English country home sounds very cliched, in the hands of a master filmmaker like Robert Altman, the film becomes much more interesting. Great actors like Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren, and Clive Owen lend a lot of talent to the familiar but engrossing story.
The movie is not merely a typical mystery but also a dissection of class differences and who holds the power in a household like this. It is a clever, funny, and charming story despite the deadly aspect of the story.
Making a movie out of a board game sounds dubious, but Clue proved there is a way to do it well. The movie follows the set up of the classic game with characters like Colonel Mustard and Miss Scarlet who attend a party at a mansion where the host is killed and the others must discover the identity of the killer.
The movie has a lot of fun with the premise and the cast of funny people, led by a fantastic performance by Tim Curry as the butler. The movie has a fast joke-a-minute pace that makes for an incredibly fun watch.
NEXT: Clue & 9 Other Darkly Entertaining Movies To Watch If You Liked Knives OutShareTweetEmailRebel Wilson Is A Cheerleader In New Netflix Movie First Look ImageRelated TopicsAbout The AuthorColin McCormick(1908 Articles Published)
Colin McCormick is a Senior Writer with Screen Rant and has been a proud member of the team since 2019. In addition to his work as Screen Rant, Colin is also a writer of News, Feature and Review pieces at Game Rant. Colin has had a long passion and obsession with movies going back to the first time he saw The Lion King in theaters. Along with movies, Colin stays up-to-date on the latest must-see TV shows. While he loves to find interesting projects in any kind of genre, he has a special movie of crime stories that are infused with a little dark humor much like the work of his favorite author, Elmore Leonard.More From Colin McCormick