How Long Should Thriller Movies Be

Thriller movies have been enjoyed for decades around the world. They incite fear and emotion in viewers, influencing how we think and how we feel; manipulating our choices and changing the way we understand our world. But, how long should a thriller movie be?

The length of a thriller movie depends on a few factors – the amount of suspense and tension desired, the focus of the story and the number of characters involved. If the focus is on the characters and their relationships, it may make sense to have a longer runtime. This allows the audience to delve deeper into the characters, fueling the suspense and tension. On the other hand, if the focus is more on the action, it’s likely that a shorter runtime will create more suspense and tension, and be more satisfactory overall.

Experts in the industry advise that the ideal length of a thriller movie is between 90-120 minutes. This timeframe is appropriate for the story to have enough time to develop and have sufficient suspense and tension for viewers. Many popular thriller movies such as Get Out and Inception were each around 100 minutes, which is said to be the ‘sweet spot’ for a thriller movie.

Aside from the recommended run-time, it’s also important to look at a thriller movie’s pacing. When the length of a scene is too long or too short, or there are too many slow scenes, it can make it difficult for the viewer to stay invested in the story. As such, it’s essential for the writer and director to strike the right balance of long and short scenes, and keep a consistent pace throughout the movie.

Similarly, the right music and sound effects can affect the length of a thriller movie. An effective score adds to the suspense and tension, creating an atmosphere of fear which can be beneficial and even necessary. If a thriller movie succeeds in creating an atmosphere of fear with the score, it is likely to gain more views and more popularity.

Therefore, it’s clear that the length of a thriller movie impacts the overall experience. Depending on the type of story, focus and characters, the ideal length could vary. Experts typically advise a runtime of between 90 to 120 minutes, and pacing, music and sound effects should be taken into consideration for a successful thriller movie.


The characters play an essential role in thriller movies. Without good characters, the movie can be lacking in suspense and tension. Furthermore, the characters must be relatable for viewers in order for the audience to be able to project themselves in the film. When viewers can relate to the characters, they feel an even greater sense of fear and tension.

It’s important to create characters with depth so viewers can understand their motivations. As the story progresses, viewers should get a better understanding of the characters and their relationships. This helps to keep viewers engaged and may even reveal unexpected plot twists.

In order to create believable characters, the writer and director must have a solid understanding of the characters’ backstories. Knowing where the characters are coming from and how they communicate with each other builds a believable and realistic environment where the characters interact with each other.

Having the right cast is also essential for engaging characters. Having strong actors that the audience can connect with gives the movie a greater chance of success. The casting should be carefully considered to ensure the movie captures the essence of the characters and their story.

Plot Twists

Plot twists can create suspense, surprise and even shock the audience. The unexpected events that occur in the plot catch the viewers off-guard and cause them to question their previous assumptions. Without plot twists, the movie may be predictable and lack something that makes it unique.

Plot twists are a great way to keep viewers engaged and guessing. Writers and directors should be creative in their plot twists and ensure that they don’t disrupt any existing plot points. The plot twist should also be realistic, so that it can be justified with evidence presented in the movie.

Keeping plot twists a surprise is essential for an effective thriller movie. Writers can achieve this by using red herrings and misleading clues to deceive viewers and lead them to draw wrong conclusions. Furthermore, giving the viewers only limited information can lead to confusion and can create a genuinely thrilling viewing experience.


Action sequences in thriller movies can add a sense of excitement and uncertainty to the story. When action is added in the right places, it can keep viewers on the edge of their seats and increase the tension. On the other hand, too much action can be overbearing and make the movie difficult to follow, especially if it’s not relevant to the plot.

By carefully planning when and where action sequences occur, the story can remain engaging and easy to follow. Choosing the right locations, setting the right tone and acting, and casting the right stunts can all help to create a more tension-filled and exciting movie.

An action sequence can also draw attention away from other parts of the story, so it’s important to find the right balance between action and plot. If done successfully, a thriller movie can benefit from the inclusion of action, allowing viewers to be fully immersed in the story and its characters.


It’s clear that the length of a thriller movie needs to be taken into consideration in order for the movie to be successful. Following experts’ advice of a runtime between 90 – 120 minutes and paying attention to the pacing, music, sound effects and characters can help create a thrilling atmosphere. Furthermore, plot twists, red herrings and action sequences must be planned carefully in order to add suspense and surprise. By understanding the various elements that create a successful thriller movie, it’s possible to create a movie that viewers will be left speechless with.

Vicki Strouth is a life-long film enthusiast, having grown up watching classic cinema in her childhood. She has since gone on to pursue writing about films and movie news, with her work being published on various online platforms. She is passionate about supporting independent filmmakers and highlighting important stories from around the world. She has also written a successful book about classic movies from Hollywood's Golden Age era. Vicki currently lives in Seattle, where she continues to explore films of all genres and eras.

Leave a Comment