Seeking a scary film that won’t keep you up at night? Maybe a story that’s terrifying without being overly graphic, or one with a twist that defies comprehension? And now for the elusive thriller. This genre is ideal for those who enjoy a little bit of everything in one spine-tingling movie: drama, horror, action, and occasionally even humor. Although the genre has become very broad over time, a great thriller still requires three essential components: a twisting story, a creepy character, and just enough mystery to keep you guessing.
We have everything you need to watch a thriller on your next movie night. For your convenience, we have compiled a list of the top thrillers available on Netflix.
1. Under the Shadow (2016)
One of the few feature debuts that ever crosses the line between supernatural fear and the horrors of the real world is writer/director Babak Anvari‘s masterfully conceived and incredibly unsettling chiller. The War of the Cities, which takes place in Tehran in the 1980s and is set against the backdrop of Anvari’s terrified upbringing, stars Narges Rashidi as medical student Shideh, who is forbidden from continuing her education because of her engagement in revolutionary politics. Shideh’s husband leaves for the front lines, leaving her to watch over their small daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi) while the explosions and fighting intensify all around them. When it appears that things cannot get any worse, Shideh and Dorsa find themselves under the sway of a malicious genie.
2. Cam (2018)
In this Daniel Goldhaber-directed Netflix original film, an adult webcam performer finds out that a malevolent force has taken over her online persona. Cam explores the topic of sex work with the proper care and consideration, and it features some terrifying moments. The main performance is particularly noteworthy since it features Madeline Brewer, who frequently plays numerous characters on television at once, in a head-turning role. Thanks to a shrewd script written by Isa Mazzei, a real-life former cam girl, Cam frequently examines broken identities—a topic that is undoubtedly not exclusive to the adult entertainment industry. Although Cam falters a little bit in the end, Brewer astounds you with a thought-provoking conclusion.
3. I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020)
Jessie Buckley debuted in Charlie Kaufman’s darkly comedic psychological thriller a year later, quite simply, shocking us all with her transformation from Scottish bad girl to country singer in Wild Rose. I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a road trip story that centers on a young couple and is based on a 2016 novel of the same name. The movie is an interesting puzzle movie that’s worth seeing, even though it may be a bit too clever for its good.
4. Gerald’s Game (2017)
An outstanding effort that topped his career Carla Gugino plays the lead role in Mike Flanagan’s Netflix original film, a Stephen King adaption about a lady whose husband suddenly passes away and leaves her shackled to a bed. This is a very high-concept psychological dread; it’s riveting rather than eerie, and it has a strong ick factor.
5. His House (2020)
South Sudanese immigrants are shown in Remi Weekes’ critically praised supernatural horror debut as they learn to adapt to a dangerous life in small-town Europe. Similar to Under the Shadow or The Babadook, this is horror as theatrical art as opposed to a sequence of objects that suddenly become ominous. Lead actors Wunmi Mosaku and Sope Dirisu deliver powerful performances that convey the twisted and devastating nature of the real-world subject matter.
6. Fair Play (2023)
The most sophisticated, masterfully written sensual thriller to come out in a while is Fair Play. Alden Ehrenreich from Solo: A Star Wars Story and Phoebe Dynevor from Bridgerton play an engaged pair who coincidentally work for the same poisonous hedge fund. However, the rivalry starts to erode their ostensibly happy relationship when a senior position becomes available. In this crazy-plotted journey, one thing leads to another, and every moment is strangely more thrilling than the last. Among the top thrillers on Netflix and one of the greatest films of 2023.
7. The Killer (2023)
Michael Fassbender plays a hired murderer in David Fincher’s assassin drama who meticulously completes his work. But when things go wrong on a job and the people who hired him start attempting to get rid of him, “The Killer” has to find and kill the individuals who are keeping him employed to rescue himself. The movie goes to new heights with several amazing action scenes and some amazing Tilda Swinton moments.
8. Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
Origin of Evil, which opened well at the box office and is a promising film from Mike Flanagan, is light years above Ouija, the film’s precursor, and light years beyond anything you would anticipate from a film bearing that name. In this spooky thriller, a widow, her family’s phony seance business, and a malicious ghost who takes a shine to her daughter are the main characters.
9. Berlin Syndrome (2017)
Although Melanie Joosten‘s novel, which tells the story of a tourist who is imprisoned by a handsome teacher after a passionate one-night stand, is a thriller (at times quite heart-pounding) and much of the woman’s mistreatment is very difficult to watch, Australian director Cate Shortland’s highly absorbing psychological drama stands out because it’s all about the characters and what’s going on in their heads.
10. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019)
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, which stars three-time Emmy winner Aaron Paul as the drug kingpin Jesse Pinkman, gave one of the best television series ever a deserving epilogue. A Netflix original, Breaking Bad is the much-awaited continuation of Vince Gilligan’s crime drama.
Undoubtedly, fan service is being played here, but it’s fan service from industry veterans. It’s difficult to imagine any fans of Breaking Bad being dissatisfied with this gripping, unvarnished, and even darkly humorous sequel. Of course, Paul is incredibly captivating.
For those seeking a thrilling movie without the sleepless nights, Netflix offers a curated selection of top-notch thrillers. These films, while delivering spine-tingling moments, avoid excessive gore and graphic content, making them perfect for a captivating yet manageable viewing experience. The key elements of a great thriller—twisting plots, eerie characters, and a touch of mystery—are masterfully embodied in these recommendations. These carefully selected thrillers on Netflix promise to offer suspense, mystery, and a thrilling viewing experience without crossing into excessive graphic content.