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The Movie Like The Lovely Bones That Supernatural Thriller Fans Need To See

Although it was not critically beloved on Rotten Tomatoes upon its initial release, "The Lovely Bones" has found its fans thanks in part to its popularity on streaming services. The movie, which was directed by Peter Jackson and stars Saoirse Ronan, Stanley Tucci, Mark Wahlberg, and Rachel Weisz, mashes up elements of a conventional murder mystery with other, more supernatural ideas.

Ronan plays Susie Salmon, a 14-year-old girl who is lured by one of her neighbors into an underground bunker and is then killed. After realizing that she is dead, Susie watches over her family and her killer from "the in-between," a realm that is neither heaven nor earth. From there, she has to reckon with her desire for vengeance, and she has to consider whether it's ultimately counterproductive if she also wants her family to be able to move on. 

The movie's fairly unique premise can make it difficult to find similar titles worth seeking out, but there are some slightly older films that deal with similar ideas, and one of the best is the critically-acclaimed 1973 horror film "Don't Look Now."

Don't Look Now follows a family in the wake of tremendous loss

The setup for "Don't Look Now" is a little more conventional than that of "The Lovely Bones". The movie stars Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland as a married couple who lose their daughter to a tragic drowning accident early on in the film. Sometime after their daughter's death, they travel to Venice after Sutherland's character takes a commission to restore an ancient church. 

Once there, they meet a pair of sisters, one of whom claims that their daughter is trying to contact them from beyond the grave. Although the couple is initially dismissive of these claims, they eventually come to believe they are real, and the film begins to adopt the style of precognition, showing viewers moments from the future interspersed with scenes from the present. 

"Don't Look Now" can be hard to track temporally, but the overwhelming sensation is of a family who's been set asunder by a terrible and tragic loss that they can never really return from. 

Don't Look Now is like The Lovely Bones' evil twin

Although "The Lovely Bones" is more literal with its depiction of the afterlife, and more hopeful in its ultimate conclusion, both "Don't Look Now" and "The Lovely Bones" are about reckoning with the unspeakable loss of a child, and how it can break people apart. 

"Don't Look Now" functions a bit like the evil twin of "The Lovely Bones," a film that curdles all of the nice sentiments of healing and new beginnings and suggests that they're difficult, if not impossible to achieve. Grief is what unites these movies, but what separates them is whether they see any path back from it. 

"The Lovely Bones" is a thriller, and "Don't Look Now" is a bleak horror movie. The latter is an artful, beautiful movie about the pain of losing a child, but it's also a thrilling tale that literalizes the grief its characters are feeling and stabs them in the gut with it.