The Card Player (2004) Director: Dario Argento

Argento's The Card Player doesn't beat around the bush - only a few minutes in and Italian detective Anna Maria (Stefania Rocca) has an online poker game thrust upon her where the stake is a girl's life. The serial killer 'The Card Player' will release the girl if the police win the game; for every hand they lose, he will amputate a part of her. If they lose completely, she dies. The police tit about a bit about whether to take part, which results in the 'too slow' cry from The Card Player and girl's throat slit. This all happens about ten minutes into the film.

The Card Player is brutal; each poker game opens with a webcam on the bound and gagged victim, whilst she wriggles, cries and screams. It's not very nice viewing. But what saves The Card Player is a thrilling storyline and Argento's typical stylised vision. He builds up the tension expertly, especially when the serial killer is in Anna's apartment. It's a 'who dunnit' and sends you off in many directions, always guessing right until the end. The end, when it comes, is a great set-piece of one final poker game between Anna Maria and the killer, whilst they are chained to some train tracks. And yep, the train is a coming...

This is well worth checking out, even if you're not a horror film fan. It's an exceptional thriller and Argento once again proves he's the king of suspense and terror.