10 Best Beloved Actors Who Portrayed Unforgettable Cold-Blooded Killers in 2023


10 Best Beloved Actors Who Portrayed Unforgettable Cold-Blooded Killers in 2023

In the dazzling world of acting, it’s an unwritten rule that even the biggest stars must keep hustling. They do it for all sorts of reasons – to push their boundaries, fatten their wallets, or simply to dive into uncharted territories. It’s not unusual for actors to defy expectations and venture into unexplored territories.

Every now and then, there are performances that etch themselves into our minds, leaving an indelible mark. Yet, amidst the glitz and glam, there are also instances where even the most gifted actors’ attempts to embrace unconventional roles quietly slip away. So, let’s embark on a journey to rediscover a handful of adored actors who cunningly played the parts of icy assassins, their incredible performances fading from our collective memory.”

1. Michael Keaton In ‘Desperate Measures’

Michael Keaton In 'Desperate Measures'
Michael Keaton first gained fame for his impressive comedic skills, which he brilliantly showcased in iconic roles like Beetlejuice and Batman. Despite his later success in dramatic roles, playing a remorseless villain is not something we often see from Keaton. However, he did take a rare detour into villainy in the 1998 thriller Desperate Measures. In this film, he portrays Peter McCabe, a sociopath imprisoned for multiple murders. When an FBI agent discovers that McCabe is a perfect bone marrow match for his son, who has leukemia, the killer seizes this opportunity to plan a bloody escape.

Unfortunately, Desperate Measures was a major box-office disappointment and quickly faded from the public’s memory. However, this failure allowed Keaton’s surprising villainous performance in more recent Spider-Man movies to be a thrilling and unexpected delight for audiences.

2. Drew Barrymore In ‘Poison Ivy’

Drew Barrymore In 'Poison Ivy'
Drew Barrymore has always been known for her likable on-screen persona, despite her real-life controversies as a teenager. From her innocent character in E.T. to the charismatic superspy in Charlie’s Angels, Barrymore’s charming and witty appeal has always been undeniable. However, Poison Ivy was a departure from her usual roles, as she consciously embraced the bad girl image that was associated with her during her tabloid era.

In the movie, Barrymore plays Ivy, the new best friend of Sarah Gilbert’s character Sylvia. Ivy is envious of Sylvia’s stable home life and develops an unhealthy attraction to her father. She starts to insert herself into the family’s lives in dangerous ways, including committing murder. While Barrymore’s bad girl phase is remembered with nostalgia, Poison Ivy has become somewhat of a forgotten pop-culture oddity, often found in discount bins.

3. Jeff Bridges In ‘The Vanishing’

Jeff Bridges In 'The Vanishing'
Jeff Bridges is known for his iconic roles, whether it’s the grizzled yet kind-hearted character in “True Grit” or the laid-back stoner in “The Big Lebowski.” He has a unique ability to bring beloved characters to life, even when playing villains like in “Iron Man.” However, his performance in the 1993 English-language remake of “The Vanishing” is quite different from his usual roles.

“The Vanishing” is a film that is often forgotten, as it didn’t do well at the box office. In this movie, Bridges takes on the role of Barney Cousins, a kidnapper and serial killer. It’s a departure from his usual likable characters, as Cousins is a straightforwardly menacing character. Despite Bridges’ commendable performance, the movie was met with criticism upon its release for not living up to the standards set by its predecessor with the same title. As a result, it quickly faded from public consciousness.

4. Cary Elwes In ‘Kiss the Girls’

Cary Elwes In 'Kiss the Girls'
Cary Elwes, widely recognized as the iconic hero Westley in the timeless fantasy film The Princess Bride, or for his hilarious portrayal of Robin Hood in Robin Hood: Men in Tights, is undoubtedly best known for these roles. With his charming and amusing depiction of classic leading men reminiscent of Errol Flynn, Elwes possesses comedic talents that cannot be underestimated. However, his more recent fame stems from his involvement in the dark and intense Saw series, although an earlier venture into the world of brooding thrillers in Kiss the Girls hinted at his future career paths.

During the late 90s and early 2000s, when only three things seemed certain – death, taxes, and Ashley Judd neo-noirs – Kiss the Girls achieved enough success at the box office to secure a sequel. However, it has since lost its relevance in popular culture. While it may not be considered a modern classic, Elwes’s performance in the film adds to its undeniable watchability. He capitalizes on the audience’s expectations of his infectious charisma, enhancing the impact of his character, particularly the shocking revelation that he is the movie’s central serial killer.

5. Steve Zahn In ‘A Perfect Getaway’

Steve Zahn In 'A Perfect Getaway'
Steve Zahn, known for his range and versatility as a performer, often played memorable “best friend” or stoner characters in broad comedies and lighthearted romantic dramedies. However, in the little-known 2009 thriller A Perfect Getaway, alongside Milla Jovovich and Timothy Olyphant, Zahn breaks free from his typically cheerful image. The film tells the story of two vacationing couples in Hawaii who find themselves caught up in a series of murders on the island, supposedly committed by another couple.

As the plot unfolds, we are introduced to three different couples on the island, all of whom begin to fear for their lives as suspicions arise that the killers may be among them in this relatively small group. Unsurprisingly, these suspicions are confirmed, and it is revealed that Zahn’s character, Rocky, is a meth-addicted serial killer, working in tandem with Cydney, played by Jovovich. We discover that their modus operandi involves assuming the identities of their victims, with Rocky being the mastermind behind this operation ever since he stole Cydney’s heart years ago. A Perfect Getaway cleverly capitalizes on Zahn’s inherent likability, making the twist twice as surprising and unexpected.

6. Keanu Reeves In ‘The Watcher’

Keanu Reeves In 'The Watcher'
Keanu Reeves, known as the internet’s boyfriend, has always been recognized for his roles as a straightforward hero. Whether he’s portraying a troubled loner, an undercover cop, or a character in a techno-dystopia, he almost always plays the hero. However, there are a few exceptions, including his role as a serial killer in the 2000 thriller, The Watcher.

In the film, Reeves takes on the role of David Allen Griffin, a notorious serial killer who relentlessly torments his investigating officer after retirement by committing murders that directly involve him. The movie didn’t do exceptionally well at the box office and received harsh criticism from reviewers. One of the main points of contention among the negative reviews was Reeves’s performance as the villain, which even earned him a Razzie nomination.

7. Kevin Costner In ‘Mr. Brooks’

Kevin Costner In 'Mr. Brooks'
Kevin Costner, a Hollywood golden boy for a long time, was at the top of the leading man hierarchy. After a successful stint as a director, his career hit a slump. It was during this period that he took on the role of Mr. Brooks, a character with a split personality, in the underrated film of the same name.

In the movie, Costner plays the charming and successful businessman, Mr. Brooks. However, he also has a dark alter-ego, portrayed by another former Hollywood golden boy, William Hurt. When Brooks’ plan for what he believes will be his final murder goes awry, he finds himself at the mercy of a sadistic voyeur and pursued by a relentless detective. Brooks must find a way to escape before he is caught.

The film cleverly utilizes Costner’s all-American charm, casting him as the not-so-innocent Dr. Jekyll to Hurt’s Hyde. It is a thrilling and intriguing exploration of a character torn between good and evil.

8. Jeff Daniels In ‘Blood Work’

Jeff Daniels In 'Blood Work'
Jeff Daniels, known for his versatile acting skills, has gained a mainstream reputation in recent years. However, he first caught attention as a charming dramatic actor in films like “Something Wild” and “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” while also showcasing his comedic talent in beloved movies like “Dumb and Dumber.” Despite this, one standout example of Daniels’s ability to deliver a darker, creepier performance can be seen in Clint Eastwood’s 2002 thriller “Blood Work.”

In the film, Daniels takes on the role of Buddy, Eastwood’s seemingly friendly neighbor who resides on a houseboat. However, beneath his amiable demeanor lies a sinister secret that connects him to the heart transplant undergone by Eastwood’s character, a retired FBI agent. While Daniels has mostly taken on straightforward dramatic roles in recent years, often gravitating towards Aaron Sorkin scripts, “Blood Work” remains an intriguing departure from his usual repertoire. Although he has portrayed villains in other films, this role stands out as particularly twisted and surprising.

9. Greg Kinnear In ‘The Gift’

Greg Kinnear In 'The Gift'
Greg Kinnear, known for his roles in romantic comedies, ventured into a different genre with Sam Raimi’s supernatural thriller, The Gift. This film allowed Kinnear to showcase his good looks and his unique blend of charismatic arrogance and charm. Throughout the 1990s, he had successfully carved out a niche for himself in the industry, gaining popularity and critical acclaim. In fact, his performance in The Gift earned him a best supporting actor Academy Award nomination.

In The Gift, Kinnear’s natural likeability is utilized in a chilling manner. He portrays a psychopathic killer who manages to hide in plain sight, cunningly shifting blame for multiple murders onto an unsuspecting individual who is neurodivergent.

10. Tommy Lee Jones In ‘Eyes of Laura Mars’

Tommy Lee Jones In 'Eyes of Laura Mars'
Directed by Irvin Kershner and with an early writing credit for John Carpenter, Eyes of Laura Mars is a forgotten horror-thriller starring Faye Dunaway as a fashion photographer who gains the ability to see through the eyes of a serial killer. However, what makes this movie truly interesting is the appearance of Tommy Lee Jones, a silver screen living legend known for his gruff trustworthiness and grouchy kindness.

In Eyes of Laura Mars, Jones’s performative persona is cleverly utilized as he takes on the role of a detective. He joins forces with Dunaway’s photographer to track down the elusive serial killer. However, as the story unfolds, the truth about Jones’s character is eventually revealed, exposing his nefariousness.

Despite its imperfections, Eyes of Laura Mars offers a unique twist on the typical detective narrative by casting Jones against type. This inversion of his persona adds an intriguing layer to the film and showcases his versatility as an actor.

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