In his new film AndhaDhun, Sriram Raghavan, a lover of crime dramas and lurid thrillers, goes back to one of the potent tropes of the genre: A blind protagonist in the middle of a murder plot. The stakes are higher when the the blind hero fights the villain, the pay off bigger. Or what if she is no hero? Can you rely on a person, who can’t see and who is the last person among the suspects, to be a witness?
From films featuring cornea transplants, violin players and impossible heists, here’s a list 6 thrillers that feature blind protagonists.
Wait Until Dark (1967)
Audrey Hepburn plays a housewife blinded from a recent accident. There is a heroin-filled doll in the house (brought unknowingly by her photographer husband.) One day, when she is at home alone, three dangerous thugs break in. Led by a sadistic criminal, played by Alan Arkin, they impersonate police officers and pretend to be her husband’s friends. How she outwits them results in what is considered to be one of the scariest films of all time. It earned Hepburn an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
In Broad Daylight (1971)
In this American TV movie, a blind man discovers his wife cheating on him with his best friend, and plans to murder them. The 1986 Hindi film Qatl, starring Sanjeev Kumar and Shatrughan Sinha, was based on the same premise. Both are available on YouTube.
The twenty-something Emma (Madeleine Stowe) partially regains her eyesight after a corneal transplant. But a strange phenomenon starts to afflict her – sometimes she sees something which she doesn’t register until later. What she saw as part of an everyday scene in the afternoon, for instance, could strike her as murder at night. A cop (Aidan Quinn) helps her out. She has to get the murderer before he gets her.
The Eye (2002)
In this creepy piece of Asian horror, when 20-year-old violinist Wong (Lee Sin-Je), blind since she was 2, regains her vision through a corneal transplant, she starts seeing things that others don’t. There has been sequels and a remake, but nothing has matched with the success of the original.
Amitabh Bachchan’s disgraced bank manager takes revenge by plotting the mother of all heists by putting together a team of three blind men: Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal and Arjun Rampal. Watch it on Netflix.
Don’t Breathe (2016)
In Fede Alvarez’s taut, genre-bending smash, three robbers barge into the home of a visually impaired veteran. He has won a prize money; they think it’ll be an easy one. The tables turn soon, as they realise that this is a man who is much worse than they are. A man whose senses, in the absence of eyesight, are so heightened that the only way to stay alive maybe to not breathe. Available for streaming on Amazon Prime.