Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

12 Winter Thrillers To Get You Into The Cold-Weather Spirit

In many parts of the world, the air is beginning to turn crisp and chilly. It all hearkens to the moment when Old Man Winter settles into his recliner and is here to stay for at least three solid months (or more, depending on your geographic location). While summer has long been a hallmark period in the movie industry for the cash-cow blockbusters and family films, winter is the perfect stay-at-home timeframe when viewers can cozy up on their couches to watch movies on-demand with a blanket and a cup of warm cocoa — or whatever beverage you fancy.

In terms of seasonally-adjacent films, there are countless Christmas classics to warm the heart at the start of the blustery season. Additionally, animation has families covered with fun romps such as "Frozen," "Ice Age," "Happy Feet," etc. So why not fill the time leading up to the wintry season with gripping thrillers or dramas to pique the imagination and get your blood pumping amid plunging temperatures? There are plenty of cold-weather adventures that can help movie fans settle into the season. Fortunately, we've got you covered when it comes to some of the best thrillers and winter dramas that you may have never heard of.

In Order of Disappearance

Everyone loves a solid revenge film. Only, this Norwegian action thriller also includes a tinge of dark comedy in its multi-layered approach. The film stars Stellan Skarsgård as Nils Dickman, a snow plow driver in Norway. The film starts off heavy as it depicts the death of Nils' son due to a heroin overdose. But of course, Nils knows his son is no drug user, and he learns that a criminal organization had him murdered. Angered by the death, Nils tracks down one of the gangsters. After learning further information about the next man up the chain of command, he summarily kills the thug. The entire film is about Nils wading deeper into this criminal organization killing each man he can get his hands on. The film takes a chaotic turn in the third act that is sure to please viewers.

"In Order of Disappearance" is a real treat. In fact, it did receive an American adaptation starring Liam Neeson entitled "Cold Pursuit." However, as is tradition (more times than not), the original is far better. Skarsgård is a talent to behold, making this narrative wholly believable — one where a snow plow man causes a vast amount of vindictive carnage aimed at those who are deserving.


This nail-biter is based on real events. The 1996 Mount Everest disaster is recreated in this survival epic that stars a hefty ensemble cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Robin Wright, Jason Clarke, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, and Emily Watson among others. The film follows multiple expeditions to the summit of Mount Everest. Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) is one of the primary expedition leaders who helped pioneer commercial experiences to Everest such as this one.

The story takes a turn for the worse when the expeditioners in Rob's group attempt to descend the mountain. A blizzard strikes that ultimately proves to be deadly for many of the crew. It's the kind of cold-weather movie that you can appreciate since you're not in that situation. A warm blanket in a temperature-controlled home makes the encroaching danger of the icy elements unfolding on screen all the easier to swallow, don't you think? Despite the entertainment value of the film, it's also hard not to think of the actual lives of the people who experienced this cold nightmare, many of which died, and their bodies still remain unrecovered from the slopes of Mount Everest to this day.


This post-apocalyptic film from South Korean director Bong Joon-ho ("Parasite") is an adaptation of the French graphic novel "Le Transperceneige" by Jacques Lob, Jean-Marc Rochette, and Benjamin Legrand. In the wake of a global environmental disaster as the result of mankind's attempt to stop global warming with a mass aerosol injection, a self-sustaining train known as the Snowpiercer cuts through the snow of a new ice age. This train travels around the world in an endless loop while sustaining the passengers on board. Because the remaining human civilization is stuck on this massive train, the tendency for humanity to develop a class system and social hierarchy is all too prevalent. The back of the train houses the poor, who are fed scraps and monitored by armed guards. Each car forward represents a climb up the social ladder, so to speak, with the most elite and wealthy occupying the front cars.

Like any sect of people forced to live in squalor, the population at the back of the train begins to revolt and make their way toward the front of the train. This revolution, seemingly led by Curtis Everett (Chris Evans) and his father Gilliam (John Hurt), uncovers all sorts of horrible truths as they fight for their dignity and freedom from poverty. "Snowpiercer" is a harrowing tale that will have you gripping your jaw in suspense as the disgraces and indignities of the elite are unveiled, and as Curtis takes lives in his quest to escape his own.

The Mountain Between Us

Framed as a feat of survival, the fates of two unlikely individuals are intertwined as they must brave the harsh, wintry elements in the High Uintas landscape in Northeastern Utah territory. This film stars Idris Elba in the role of neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Bass and Kate Winslet as Alex Martin, a photojournalist who is attempting to travel to New York for her wedding. Ben is needing to attend a medical procedure on the East Coast. The two hire a private pilot to get them to their destination after their flights are canceled due to inclement weather. As (bad) luck would have it, their pilot suffers a stroke during the flight and they crash land on a mountaintop. The pilot's dog, Ben, and Alex manage to come out of the harrowing moment alive, but bruised and injured.

"The Mountain Between Us" is, of course, a standard survival affair that underscores the will to live shared between its two leading stars. After all, it isn't only the cold, mountainous terrain that the pair have to survive. Other hostilities include hunters' traps, a cougar, and the threat of starvation all throw a wrench in their push for a rescue. Of course, the film wouldn't be as interesting without the chemistry between Alex and Ben, who are almost forced into companionship thanks to their predicament. The film is marked with an air of romanticism despite Alex already being engaged to wed. It's a simultaneously thrilling and heartwarming flick that'll help you run the full gamut of human emotions in its nearly two-hour runtime.


If you are ready for crime and deception amid a below-zero climate, "Transsiberian" is the film to watch. No, this isn't "Fargo," but fans of that film might be pleased all the same. "Transsiberian" follows Roy (Woody Harrelson) and Jessie (Emily Mortimer), a Christian couple who are just returning from a mission in China. During a train ride to Moscow, they strike up a friendly encounter with two other passengers in their cabin, Carlos (Eduardo Noriega) and Abby (Kate Mara). Of course, appearances aren't everything. Their connection to Carlos sends them down a well of misery as they inadvertently become connected with unsavory deals between scheming crime lords. Jessie is even put in a peculiar situation that could prove to upend her relationship with Roy, and possibly spell trouble for the couple.

There are plenty of twists and turns that we don't want to uncover for you. Just know that this is a film marked as a stellar member of the thriller genre, with capably vexing performances from its stars, and an engrossing narrative.

The Road

As far as post-apocalyptic films are concerned, "The Road" is relentlessly bleak. However, it also cultivates a glimmer of hope in an otherwise darkened world. The story features a father, simply credited as Man (Viggo Mortensen), and his son, credited as Boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee), as they traverse a lawless wilderness sometime after humanity has fallen into ruin. The air is cold and brisk, and all the man and boy want is to find the coast in hopes of reaching a warmer climate. The cause of humankind's demise? We don't know. However, that's about as important to this narrative as the father and son's names. What is important is the enduring love on display that the man and the boy share. It may not be apparent with the film's darkened themes, but everything that the man does is for his son.

In a world ravaged by the remnants of humanity whose overwhelming majority has embraced depravity and selfish attitudes toward survival, it feels as if all hope is truly lost. The man and boy must struggle against roaming gangs, thieves, and cannibals who all seek to do harm or steal to keep themselves sustained. But just when viewers might think that any kind of redemption for mankind is totally lost, well, let's just say that there's a point where we can all rest easy after this soul-crushing ride.

The Hunter

This 2011 Australian film stars the inimitable Willem Dafoe as a mercenary named Martin David. He is hired by Red Leaf, a seemingly corrupt biotech company bent on claiming an allegedly extinct animal's DNA, all for greedy purposes. The animal is a rare Tasmanian tiger believed to have gone extinct in the 1930s. Undercover in Tasmania as a biologist, Martin shares a home with the Armstrong family. Lucy (Frances O'Connor) and her two children, Katie (Morgan Davies) and Jamie (Finn Woodlock), are reeling from the disappearance of the Armstrong patriarch, Jarrah. The film follows Martin's exploits as he heads into the wilderness day-in and day-out to set traps and hunt for the elusive tiger. Martin begins to form a connection with the Armstrongs as he stops in to rest periodically. Eventually, he uncovers some of Red Leaf's unsavory misdeeds and learns the level of the black operation he's engaged in.

Some of the best sequences in the film are the moments of man versus nature. Dafoe's Martin must brave the elements as well as the conspiracies that are working against him. Tasmania's terrain is home to some rather harsh climates, including icy temperatures at higher altitudes. As a mercenary, he's capably adept in wilderness survival, but he's not prepared for the secrets he uncovers out in the wilderness — secrets that ultimately are connected to both the family he has befriended and Red Leaf. Sure, it's another film commenting on environmentalism, shadowy corporations, and greed — but it's a thrilling one, to say the least.

Edge of Winter

As the title implies, this tense thriller takes place during a dangerously cold winter and at the edge of your seat. It stars Joel Kinnaman in the role of Elliott Baker, a recently divorced husband and father reeling from the stress of losing his family, most notably his sons Bradley (Tom Holland) and Caleb (Percy Hynes White). At the start of the film, he's afforded an opportunity to spend time with his sons. At one point, he decides to teach them how to fire a shotgun and properly care for and maintain the weapon. Of course, it doesn't work out exactly as he'd hoped. As they leave, Elliott gives Bradley a quick tutorial on how to drive given that Elliott has been drinking. Anyone could see trouble coming a mile away. The car slides off the road and the trio is forced to spend the night in the vehicle. Caleb, Elliott's youngest son, reveals to his father that the boys' step-father landed a promotion and is moving their family away to London — a revelation that angers Elliott.

In order to obtain shelter and supplies, Elliott and the boys take refuge in a hunting cabin. Either due to their predicament of being stuck in the cold wilderness or the stress of his failures, Elliott slowly descends into madness. The second night, a pair of hunters arrive seeking shelter. Elliott demands they disarm amid heightened paranoia. What eventually follows is a struggle against the rage of a madman as Brad, Caleb, and these two men fight to survive Elliott's rampage. One thing is for certain, Elliott is never going to win a father-of-the-year award after this.


Are you ready for another crime thriller? This one is told from the perspective of the criminals. "Deadfall" follows a sibling duo who are on the lam in Michigan for robbing a casino. Addison (Eric Bana) and Liza (Olivia Wilde) find themselves in a car crash that results in Addison murdering a state trooper. The pair split up in order to shake any potential pursuers looking out for the duo. Of course, a blizzard sets in, threatening their plan. Meanwhile, Jay (Charlie Hunnam), a former convict and boxer, is released from prison and plans to be home with his parents for Thanksgiving. 

The real drama begins once these two storylines intersect. Jay finds Liza suffering in the cold and aids her, while Addison attempts to survive the frigid temperatures and reconnect with his sister. Liza secretly messages Addison to meet her at Jay's parents. During their travels, however, Jay and Liza spark a romantic connection, developing feelings for one another. She divulges her history to Jay, sharing with him that her brother Addison always protected her from her abusive father. Of course, Addison's murderous ways and protective instincts prove to be catalysts for the drama that unfolds when everything comes to head.


Stephen King has been a household name for decades. His stories delight, haunt, and thrill us. The author is known for his fixation with the macabre, as his characters are often dark and twisted in their own way. "Misery" is one prime example of this. The film adaptation stars the late, great James Caan as the novelist Paul Sheldon, who grew in popularity thanks to his series of novels featuring the character of Misery Chastain. Kathy Bates portrays the unhinged and obsessive fan of Misery, nurse Annie Wilkes. One fateful day, Paul gets into an accident during a blizzard while traveling home to New York City. When he awakens, he finds that a woman by the name of Annie Wilkes has recovered him and brought him to her home. Instantly, she shows her fandom and can stop gushing over his work. She offers to let him stay and recover until the roads are re-opened and the phone lines are functioning again. Grateful, Paul lets Annie read a manuscript for his new novel, which she abhors. Her anger is further fueled when she learns that his famous character Misery is killed off.

She forces Paul to burn his new manuscript and write a new novel featuring a reprisal of his hit character Misery Chastain. While still suffering from his injuries, he learns about Annie's sordid history. What happens next, solidifies her aggressive behavior as she breaks Paul's ankles with a sledgehammer to keep him from escaping. It's a horrific journey for this poor author who attempts to outwit his captor and find freedom. There's nothing quite like a blizzard, two broken ankles, and the looming specter of death in the form of an obsessive fan to really cement the pains of cabin fever.

Enemy at the Gates

Most would argue that "Enemy at the Gates" is a war film, which automatically lumps it in with the heavy action dramas like "Saving Private Ryan," "Black Hawk Down," and "We Were Soldiers," among others. But "Enemy at the Gates" actually plays out a little differently. It's a bit slower and steadier in its surgical game of cat and mouse playing out between two proficient snipers. The film centers around Vasily Zaitsev (Jude Law), a soldier for the Red Army of the U.S.S.R. He is sent to the front lines of the Battle of Stalingrad. Vasily finds himself alone among countless dead comrades. He hides among the bodies alongside Commissar Danilov (Joseph Fiennes). The two are saved as Vasily uses his expert marksmanship to take out occupying German soldiers. From the experience, Danilov markets Vasily as a hero in the papers and begins publishing stories of his wartime exploits. Vasily becomes a celebrity, and he is then transferred to be a sniper for the Red Army.

The Germans become aware of the threat that Vasily has become and commission their own sniper, Major Erwin König (Ed Harris) to terminate Vasily. Once Vasily and the Red Army find out that the Germans are targeting him, the narrative becomes a game of wits and skill. The Soviets make use of a double agent to attempt to feed the German sniper bad intel. It's a tense standoff that has a rather satisfying conclusion.

Let the Right One In

This Swedish film is positioned as a thriller buoyed by horror themes. The film centers around a young 12-year-old boy named Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) who befriends a supposed young girl named Eli (Lina Leandersson), who moves into the adjoining apartment to Oskar and his mother. Oskar suffers from relentless bullying and loneliness. Eli provides him with the friendship that has so often eluded him. What he learns about Eli, however, is that she is a vampire. The man she lives with, Håkan (Per Ragnar), is her caretaker. He poses as her human guardian and goes out into the night frequently to find fresh blood to sustain her.

As the film progresses, so does Eli and Oskar's relationship. Eli isn't the purely evil creature of the night we know vampires to be. This is a vampire story unlike any other, and is often most impactful during its quieter moments. "Let the Right One In" was remade for American audiences by "The Batman" director Matt Reeves. The remake is titled "Let Me In" and stars Chloë Grace Moretz as Abby, the vampire, and Kodi Smit-McPhee as Owen, the tormented 12-year-old boy. The story plays out similarly. Both films are worth your time and will ultimately deliver a biting (see what we did there?) storyline befitting of the cold-weather season.