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30 Best Thrillers On Netflix

Few movies can suck us in as quickly and thoroughly as thrillers. And since all they need to offer is gripping suspense and a battle against the odds, they're tremendously flexible, crossing over with genres like horror and science fiction and alternating between gritty realism and gleeful implausibility. They can be grueling feats of endurance, so darkly dramatic that you can only watch them between your fingers, or they can be high-octane roller-coaster rides designed to make you scream with delight.

Whatever you want, there's a good chance Netflix has it. The service has assembled (and often created) a top-notch selection of thrillers from all across this exciting spectrum. The only downside of it all is that Netflix's huge catalog can make it hard to narrow down your choices, so we're determined to point out the absolute best. Any of these films should keep you glued to the screen.

Updated on April 3, 2023: From disturbing dramas to strange genre tales, these are the best thrillers that Netflix has to offer.

Army of Thieves

You might not expect a prequel to a zombie movie to be a lively comic thriller, and that's why you should watch "Army of Thieves." It depicts a world in the early stages of a zombie apocalypse — one that will eventually appear in "Army of the Dead" — but its professional thief characters are mostly interested in how all this social upheaval gives them a chance to snag a big score. Jewel thief Gwendoline assembles an expert crew — including amateur safecracker Sebastian, who falls for her — to break into a series of soon-to-be-decommissioned safes. Conflicts between teammates and the threat of Interpol closing in keep things lively.

  • Starring: Matthias Schweighöfer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ruby O. Fee

  • Director: Matthias Schweighöfer

  • Year: 2021

  • Runtime: 127 minutes

  • Rating: NR

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 68%

Bad Genius

"Bad Genius" is an inventive and wildly entertaining heist movie with an academic twist. At first, Lynn — a bright high school student from a poorer family — gives away test answers for free, just to help out a struggling friend, but she soon winds up with a cottage industry of lucrative cheating. Getting caught reduces her chances for legitimate success, but despite her tumultuous conscience, Lynn has to up the stakes. With the help of ambivalent golden boy Bank, she embarks on an ambitious, globe-trotting plan to memorize and distribute the answers to an internationally standardized exam.

  • Starring: Chutimon Chuengcharoen, Eisaya Hosuwan, Teeradon Supapunpinyo

  • Director: Nattawut Poonpiriya

  • Year: 2017

  • Runtime: 130 minutes

  • Rating: NR

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

The Bourne Identity

A fast-paced, walls-closing-in, high-stakes thriller, neither the audience or the main character know exactly what's going on at the outset of "The Bourne Identity" — which makes the stakes all the higher. A fishing boat pulls from the sea a man, and we soon finds out his name is Jason Bourne — but first he has to get over his amnesia and piece his life together. He realizes he must be some kind of spy or dangerous man because he's got innate warrior instincts and a remarkable set of combat and communication skills. He meets a mysterious woman named Marie, who becomes his companion in his frenetic journey to find out why a bunch of assassins want him dead.

  • Starring: Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper
  • Director: Doug Liman
  • Year: 2002
  • Runtime: 113 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 84%


A mistake leads to a crime, and a crime leads to a cover-up, and a cover-up leads to a conspiracy. That's the lesson in "Calibre," where an ordinary hunting trip in Scotland turns tragic. When inexperienced hunter Vaughn accidentally kills a boy instead of the deer he was aiming at, his friend, Marcus, kills the boy's vengeful father to protect them. Soon, the two of them are plunged into a dark cover-up where the complications keep multiplying. The movie looks at the tensions between rural people and the city tourists they need but loathe, using the isolated, close-knit nature of the area to heap the pressure on Vaughn and Marcus.

  • Starring: Jack Lowden, Martin McCann, Tony Curran

  • Director: Matt Palmer

  • Year: 2018

  • Runtime: 101 minutes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 95%

Coming Home in the Dark

The sins of the past come to powerful and ambivalent life in this dark horror-thriller. "Coming Home in the Dark" starts with a familiar premise when two armed robbers crash a family's picnic. There's no way to prepare for the escalation that follows when the robbers realize that they know Alan, a seemingly ordinary father and husband. They have an old and potent grudge against him: Years ago, he worked at their extremely abusive group home, and he never did anything to put a stop to what was happening. The movie's well-crafted drama and suspense make it as thrilling as it is thoughtful and morally complex.

  • Starring: Daniel Gillies, Erik Thomson, Miriama McDowell

  • Director: James Ashcroft

  • Year: 2021

  • Runtime: 92 minutes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

The Decline

A training session at a survivalist camp goes disastrously wrong in "The Decline." Alain is convinced that society could easily collapse at any moment and that everyone needs to know how to survive on their own — up to and including killing their enemies with homemade pipe bombs. When one of his students dies during this training, Alain is determined to cover it up. The last thing he wants is the government's attention on his camp. The rest of the students don't necessarily agree, and soon, the collapsing society is here in miniature as they all scramble to survive this high-stakes conflict. This tightly paced thriller makes great use of its creative premise.

  • Starring: Marc Beaupré, Réal Bossé, Marilyn Castonguay

  • Director: Patrice Laliberté

  • Year: 2020

  • Runtime: 83 minutes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

"El Camino" might only be for "Breaking Bad" fans, but it's the perfect postscript to the hit series. This gripping thriller follows Jesse Pinkman's attempt to get out of town in the midst of a firestorm of press and police attention — and all the while, he's still struggling with his recent nightmarish trauma. He needs money and safety, and both are hard to come by. "El Camino" offers audiences closure for a beloved character, but it also serves up plenty of tension and inventiveness in its own right.

  • Starring: Aaron Paul, Jesse Plemons, Krysten Ritter

  • Director: Vince Gilligan

  • Year: 2019

  • Runtime: 122 minutes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Emily the Criminal

Emily Benetto has a huge amount of student loan debt, and the few jobs she's able to get — mostly gig work delivering food — barely keep her afloat. There's no way to put a dent in everything she owes ... until she falls in with a credit card fraud ring, which promises to net her $200 for an hour's work. Emily gradually embraces her newfound criminality (and her attraction to Youcef, who teaches her the ropes), but it's still a dangerous operation. "Emily the Criminal" provides a sharp, relevant look at the limited opportunities available in the contemporary economy and grounds its criticism in wonderful lead work by Aubrey Plaza.

  • Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi, Megalyn Echikunwoke

  • Director: John Patton Ford

  • Year: 2022

  • Runtime: 93 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Eye for an Eye

This ruthless revenge thriller goes to some dark places, and it keeps the plot moving at a breathless pace. Drug lord Antonio Padin moves into a nursing home, where he deals with his physical decline and the constant demands — and sometimes deceptions — of his son and organization. He forms a kind of friendship with head nurse Mario ... but what he doesn't know is that he irreparably damaged Mario's life years ago. Now that Mario has the infamous Padin at his mercy, he intends to exact his revenge. "Eye for an Eye" is a brutal and surprising meditation on the dangerous allure of payback.

  • Starring: Luis Tosar, Xan Cejudo, Ismael Martínez

  • Director: Paco Plaza

  • Year: 2019

  • Runtime: 108 minutes

  • Rating: NR

  • Rotten Tomatoes: 89%


"Forgotten" is a complicated, layered mystery with twist after twist. Jin-seok witnesses his brother's kidnapping, and when his brother comes back, Jin-seok can't shake the nagging sense that something here is horribly wrong. The sense of disorientation goes deeper and deeper until he begins to doubt that his family is his family at all ... and when he tries to convey all this to the police, he's blindsided by another shocking revelation. Repressed memories, elaborate deceptions, guilt, and family all intertwine to create a thriller that will keep you guessing.

Gerald's Game

A weekend at the lake goes wrong when Jessie's husband, Gerald, takes out a pair of handcuffs — just to add a little spice. Jessie doesn't want to play-act this particular fantasy, but Gerald refuses to take no for an answer. A struggle ensues ... and ends with Gerald on the floor, dead of a heart attack, and Jessie still handcuffed to their bed. Helplessly stuck in the middle of nowhere and frantically trying to think her way out of the problem, Jessie has to figure out how to escape both her predicament (including a very hungry stray dog and a possible intruder) and her own haunted past. "Gerald's Game" is agonizingly tense, and Carla Gugino turns in a spectacular performance that's both vulnerable and charismatic.

  • Starring: Carla Gugino, Chiara Aurelia, Bruce Greenwood

  • Director: Mike Flanagan

  • Year: 2017

  • Runtime: 103 minutes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 91%

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Benoit Blanc — the master detective from "Knives Out' — returns in the playful "Glass Onion," where he's invited to a murder mystery party thrown by shady tech billionaire Miles Bron. Unsure why he's there, Blanc watches the dynamics play out between Bron, his toadies (which includes the likes of a politician, a YouTube influencer, and an actress on the verge of getting canceled), and Andi Brand — Bron's former partner, who was betrayed and cut of their company. As the night plays on and things reach a boiling point, the murder mystery party turns into a true murder mystery. Good thing Blanc is there ... but again, why was he invited in the first place? With plenty of twists and turns, "Glass Onion," like its predecessor, boasts a stacked cast, a stunning setting, and a fiendishly clever mystery.

The Guilty

A 911 call comes in, and Joe, the operator who takes it, winds up getting swept into a terrifying family tragedy. Joe, a cop, craves distraction from his own worries about the professional consequences of an upcoming hearing, so he throws himself into finding Emily, the caller who claims to have been abducted. While Joe tries to save Emily through an endless series of phone calls and favors, he learns that the scenario is more complicated than he could have imagined. The real story may force him to face some truths of his own. Like the Danish film it's based on, "The Guilty" is a creative use of a limited setting, and it's a great showcase for Jake Gyllenhaal's considerable skills.

The Hater

Intense, contemporary, and viscerally uncomfortable, the Polish thriller "The Hater" provides an up-close-and-personal look at a man who makes it his life's mission to cultivate online viciousness. Tomasz has always been unscrupulous and driven by obsessions — especially when it comes to Gabi Krasucka, the girl he longs for — but his tendencies are amplified and refined once he starts his new job: running smear campaigns, drumming up social unrest, and prodding people towards violence. When he narrows his sights to Gabi's family and the politician they're championing, the personal and the professional collide, and that's when the pot really starts to boil.

  • Starring: Maciej Musiałowski, Vanessa Aleksander, Agata Kulesza

  • Director: Jan Komasa

  • Year: 2020

  • Runtime: 135 minutes

  • Rating: NR

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Hold the Dark

Wolf expert Russell Core gets in over his head when he travels to a remote part of Alaska where a woman named Medora Slone is claiming that wolves are responsible for multiple missing children. It doesn't fit with what Core knows of wolf behavior, and what he finds with Medora and her husband, Vernon, might not fit with what he knows of humans either ... especially once a search uncovers their son's body. "Hold the Dark" is a transfixing, uncanny look at the depth — and strange draw — of darkness.


"Hush" is a home invasion thriller with a lot of twists. They serve to make the film more immersive, and that much more unsettling. Maddie is a deaf-mute writer who's moved into a well-appointed home in the woods, in the hopes of living life entirely on her own. Large parts of "Hush" are silent or near-silent, which means viewers are right there with Maddie when she finds herself running and hiding from a relentless and seemingly unkillable masked man. Soon enough, though, she stops hiding and starts fighting back.

  • Starring: Kate Siegel, John Gallagher Jr., Michael Trucco

  • Director: Mike Flanagan

  • Year: 2016

  • Runtime: 87 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 93%

I Care a Lot

The darkest of humor is at the heart of this vicious thriller where the amoral Marla makes her living framing elderly people as incompetent and assuming control of their assets. It's a cruel and nightmarish situation, but Marla is always able to make it at least technically legal. She unexpectedly meets her match in Jennifer Peterson, a wealthy woman who doesn't seem to have any connections — but who turns out to have a powerful criminal son who takes it very personally when she falls under Marla's control. The characters are brutally unlikable, but the story is compelling, and the acting is top-notch.

I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore

Equal parts funny and quietly sad, "I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore" is the story of Ruth, a nursing assistant whose modest life is interrupted by a burglary that the police refuse to seriously investigate. Ruth teams up with her neighbor, Tony, to try to get the job done themselves. They're exhausted by the world and fed up with everything, and this might offer catharsis. Before solving the theft can bring Ruth too much closure, however, she accidentally gets herself embroiled in more than she can handle — and she's being forced into criminal activity of her own. It's all handled with intelligence and emotional complexity.

  • Starring: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood, David Yow

  • Director: Macon Blair

  • Year: 2017

  • Runtime: 96 minutes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%

I'm Thinking of Ending Things

It's never totally clear what's really going on in the absolutely mind-bending "I'm Thinking of Ending Things." As off-putting as it is frightening, this engrossing psychological thriller plays with time loops, different points of view, and surrealism to tell the story of a nameless young couple who visit the man's desperately sad parents for dinner. They soon find they can't get away, due to a snowstorm. A stopover at an all-night ice cream store and an encounter with a high school custodian suggest truly bizarre things at work in their reality. This is a movie as complex as it is fascinating.

  • Starring: Jesse Plemons, Jessie Buckley, Toni Collette

  • Director: Charlie Kaufman

  • Year: 2020

  • Runtime: 134 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%


A brainteasing plot twister of a movie, viewers of "Inception" can never be quite sure what they're seeing is really happening to the characters on the screen or if it's merely a dream ... or a dream inside of a dream. The elegant, reality-questioning Best Picture-nominated "Inception" is essentially a heist movie, where a mysterious businessman recruits master thief Dom Cobb to do what he does best, which is enter a target's subconscious. But instead of stealing memories, he'll have to do the impossible — plant a new one. Of course, the subconscious mind has a way of fighting back, which makes for a dangerous task through the mind of a stranger.

  • Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Elliot Page, Joseph Gordon-Levitt
  • Director: Christopher Nolan
  • Year: 2010
  • Runtime: 148 minutes
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%

Level 16

Vivien has grown up in a strange, claustrophobic all-girls school. The school — especially in the form of the icy Miss Brixil — tells the girls many things: The air outside the school is poisonous, girls must be obedient at all times, and one day, they'll all be adopted by high-society families. But as Vivien enters Level 16, the final stage of her "education," she finds out that nothing at the school is as it seems. The "vitamins" the girls are given are actually high-grade sedatives, and both Miss Brixil and the superficially affable Dr. Miro have sinister plans for them. "Level 16" is a smart, creative thriller with a dystopian sci-fi atmosphere.

  • Starring: Katie Douglas, Celina Martin, Peter Outerbridge

  • Director: Danishka Esterhazy

  • Year: 2018

  • Runtime: 102 minutes

  • Rating: TV-14

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 83%

Nocturnal Animals

Stories are buried within stories in "Nocturnal Animals," where a woman becomes engrossed in her ex-husband's dark thriller novel. Years ago, Susan left Edward to start a new life with the more driven and successful Hutton, but now she might regret that decision. Meanwhile, we also see inside Edward's novel, where a man devotes himself to revenge after his family is destroyed by a random act of violence. The two stories support each other in curious ways, each adding emotional resonance to the other. Sophisticated, bleak, and powerful, this twists the genre in new ways and gets strong results.

  • Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon

  • Director: Tom Ford

  • Year: 2016

  • Runtime: 116 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

The Perfection

A love affair between two cellists — Charlotte, who had to leave her training at a young age, and the successful Lizzie, who still admires her — takes a dark turn in this unpredictable horror-thriller. Beautifully shot and deliciously, gothically over-the-top, "The Perfection" combines a jaw-dropping plot with two terrific lead performances. The balance of power between Charlotte and Lizzie is constantly shifting, and new revelations about the situation they're really in continue to shock, making audiences question everything: Is Charlotte jealous of Lizzie? Who is playing whom? And what's really going on at this prestigious musical academy? 

  • Starring: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Steven Weber

  • Director: Richard Shepard

  • Year: 2018

  • Runtime: 90 minutes

  • Rating: TV-MA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 71%


Two families are put through a grueling moral test when their young daughters, Anna and Joy, go missing. Keller Dover and Franklin Birch believe they know who took these girls: Alex, a disabled man who was seen near the scene of the crime. When the police investigation seemingly clears Alex, Keller sets out to extract his daughter's location out of the man he still believes is guilty. Meanwhile, Detective Loki follows a different path. Together, they slowly unravel a dark, tangled history involving religion and revenge. This bleakness makes "Prisoners" rough viewing, but its exceptionally talented cast means you won't want to look away.

  • Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis

  • Director: Denis Villeneuve

  • Year: 2013

  • Runtime: 153 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 81%

Red Dot

Swedish thriller "Red Dot" dials up the intensity by eliminating everything unnecessary. Its simple plot and tiny cast prove to be more than enough to hold viewers in suspense. On the eve of their first child's birth, Nadja and David attempt to reconnect by going on a hiking trip in rural Scandinavia. Following some weird interactions with the locals, the couple find themselves lost in the icy woods. Soon, a mysterious and violent contingent is hunting them like prey. Nadja and David must survive them — and the punishing elements.

  • Starring: Johannes Kuhnke, Nanna Blondell, Anastasios Soulis

  • Director: Alain Darborg

  • Year: 2021

  • Runtime: 86 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%

The Stranger

"The Stranger" is a gripping thriller that looks at the psychological toll of a prolonged undercover operation aimed at securing a confession. Henry Teague, the prime suspect in a notorious abduction case, finds himself drawn into a well-connected criminal empire — one that promises they can wipe any slate clean. What he doesn't know is that Mark Frame, his closest friend in the organization, is an undercover cop, one who hopes to get a confession out of Teague by lulling him into a false sense of security. That secret is just the tip of the iceberg in this dense, layered film.

  • Starring: Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris, Jada Alberts

  • Director: Thomas M. Wright

  • Year: 2022

  • Runtime: 117 minutes

  • Rating: NR

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Time Share

Pedro and Eva's family vacation has gone strangely and unsettlingly awry: Their resort, Everfields, has accidentally double-booked the bungalow they're staying in, and they're stuck reluctantly sharing space with strangers they don't particularly trust. That isn't the only troubling aspect of the resort either. Everfields exudes a rapacious corporate greed that makes everything there seem slightly askew. Just ask Andres, who works in the laundry and whose wife has thrown her heart and soul into selling Everfields' time shares — he's had his own weird and tumultuous experiences with his long-time employer ... and things might be getting worse. Dark comedy, a sense of building pressure, and striking cinematography help make "Time Share" an attention-grabbing thriller.

  • Starring: Luis Gerardo Méndez, Cassandra Ciangherotti, Miguel Rodarte

  • Director: Sebastián Hofmann

  • Year: 2018

  • Runtime: 96 minutes

  • Rating: NA

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 86%

The Vanishing

This atmospheric thriller holds that found money brings bad luck. Three lighthouse keepers come across a washed-up corpse and his trunk full of gold bars, but the opportunity of a lifetime starts going wrong before they even get the trunk open. All too quickly, bodies and secrets start piling up. Soon, it's no longer a question of how they're going to get away with their opportunistic crime — it's a question of how they're going to live with what they've done. A classic, well-executed plot and an intriguing and vivid setting combine to make "The Vanishing" a force to be reckoned with.

  • Starring: Gerard Butler, Peter Mullan, Connor Swindells

  • Director: Kristoffer Nyholm

  • Year: 2018

  • Runtime: 107 minutes

  • Rating: R

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

A Walk Among the Tombstones

Ex-cop Matt Scudder takes a private case that leads him into pitch-black territory in the gripping "A Walk Among the Tombstones." Scudder's mission is to find out who kidnapped, killed, and dismembered a drug dealer's wife. It's a brutal crime that turns out to be part of a series — hunting down the cold-blooded men responsible leads him to the fresh kidnapping of a different drug trafficker's teenage daughter. It's all grim, violent material, which makes the funny and tender friendship between Scudder and his homeless teenage assistant TJ a welcome ray of light.

The Wolf's Call

When it comes to claustrophobic suspense, it's hard to beat a submarine movie, and "The Wolf's Call" is one of the great recent examples of the form. The film centers on the sharp-eared Chanteraide, a gifted sonar operator on a French sub. Chanteraide winds up at the center of complex and deception-filled intrigue that could wind up triggering a nuclear war, and deciphering the significance of the sounds he's hearing — and connecting them with new military intelligence — is only the first step in resolving things. The task demands courage and the willingness to make sacrifices, and Chanteraide will have to put himself on the line to finish it.

  • Starring: François Civil, Omar Sy, Mathieu Kassovitz

  • Director: Antonin Baudry

  • Year: 2019

  • Runtime: 115 minutes

  • Rating: NR

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%