Dad Thrillers share certain thematic and narrative concerns. They are generally stories of men, often with families, professional degrees, and successful careers, who find themselves unexpectedly battling bureaucracy, conspiracy, irrational violence, imminent natural disaster, or some combination of the above as they confront an existential threat to their, their family, their country, or their planet’s safety.’90s Dad Thrillers: a List
Notes toward a theory of the Dad Thriller
I have to admit that I do carry a secret torch what the above author terms as ’90s Dad Thrillers and, in some ways, mourn their passing. I’ve have, over the past few years or so, had the chance to dip back into some of the movies he references – films like The Hunt for Red October, Enemy of the State and Dante’s Peak, films that have just enough ersatz smarts to make you feel like your not watching mind-rotting trash, but dumb and kinetic enough that the eternal twin distractions of a beer and a laptop don’t feel like they’d overwhelm the entire story.
Perhaps – once Covid and the MCU and influence of China have all faded – one glorious day they’ll see a resurgence and a renewal. I think I’m probably already ready for that day.