25 Best Thrillers on Netflix 2021

Thrillers

When it comes to film, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything more engaging than a thriller. Sure, an action movie is going to get your blood pressure up. A drama is going to draw you in with narrative and dialogue, but a thriller? Well, that’s the best of both worlds. That’s a film that requires your attention, and if you invest, you get story, action, and at least a couple of jump scares.

We dare you to half-pay attention to any Safdie Brothers movie on this list—Uncut Gems or Good Time. You’ll miss everything in the span of one whirlwind second. Go ahead and attempt to follow Yorgos Lanthimos’s Killing of a Sacred Deer while sneaking a moment to doomscroll. You can’t do it! So, go ahead and take your cell phone and bury it under some blankets in another room, because it’s not going to serve you well during a watch of any of the great thrillers below.

Netflix offers a massive library of movies at your fingertips, but the best of them when you need a real, absolute distraction is a good thriller. Below, we’ve rounded up the best thrillers on Netflix, which include true crime, horror, noir, comedy, action, and more. When your’e done with that, go ahead and browse our list of best movies of all time, which has a fair share of classic thrillers to keep the thrills coming.

Somewhere between terrifying and hilarious lies I Care a Lot: the thriller starring Rosamund Pike as a legal caregiver who manipulates the judicial system to scam elderly people out of everything they own. Things are going great until she nabs someone with ties that bind a little more tightly than she’s used to. The movie will literally have you asking if you’re more comfortable with human trafficking or elder abuse, which is really a no-win situation. And yet, the film is so damn good.

Thrillers Movies

Ava

Tate Taylor’s Ava stars Jessica Chastain as an assassin who starts doubting her choice to enter into this chaotic world when a job goes awry. Turns out, having a family while you’re, well, killing people is even more complicated than it reads on paper.

Nightcrawler

In this greatly under-appreciated 2014 noir-thriller, Jake Gyllenhaal plays a small-time criminal who lands a job filming gruesome accidents and crime scenes for an LA TV station. Directed by Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler weaves a twisted tale of consumerism and unethical journalism.

Quantum of Solace

No movie franchise has been more consistently thrilling for generations of Hollywood than James Bond. And sure, Quantum of Solace might not be the best film of the Craig era, but it certainly will keep you entertained. And if that’s not enough, GoldenEye and Tomorrow Never Dies are currently available on the streaming platform.

Uncut Gems

Sometimes the most terrifying thrillers are the ones that feel like they could legitimately happen. Well, that is, if you’re constantly seeking the thrill of big, risky bets. Adam Sandler shines (no pun intended) as the star of Uncut Gems, playing Howard Ratner, a jeweler who makes a big bet that could either reset him financially or put his life on the line.

Burning

This Korean-language film seems innocent on the front end, but when a writer goes to the airport to pick up his high school friend, everything begins to change when he sees her with another man who has a really strange side project he likes to do: burning greenhouses. The film, which has received critical acclaim, shouldn’t be ruined by elaborating any more…

Sweetheart

Being shipwrecked on an island seems like it would be thrilling (is that the right word?) enough, but being shipwrecked on a deserted island and then finding out you’re not alone? No thanks. Sweetheart follows one woman’s desperate attempt at survival. Bonus: it’s a quick one hour and 22 minutes.

Bad Genius

Lori Loughlin? Child’s play. In Bad Genius, a group of highly gifted students set up a college entrance exam scam that leads to higher and higher stakes the more successful they become. The 2017 Thai heist film (more! heist! films!) has a 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and is critically acclaimed, so flex on your film buff friends with that.

See You Yesterday

You might have slept on this Spike Lee-produced film, but it’s on Netflix and waiting on your binge. The 2019 thriller sees two science prodigies who are experimenting with time travel, but when one of their brothers ends up murdered by an officer, their experiment becomes more important than ever before.

93 Days

Sometimes, the best thrillers are just sourced from the moments when the world outdoes itself with terrifying disease. Sound familiar? This African film dives headfirst into the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Nigeria, when someone arrives from Lagos with the disease. The thriller focuses on real life events and how (spoiler?) the Nigerian government’s response ultimately saved countless lives.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Acclaimed director Yorgos Lanthimos won for best screenplay at Cannes for this psychological thriller starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman as a married couple whose family starts falling apart after inviting an orphaned boy into their home.

Gerald’s Game

Directed by new horror master Mike Flanagan (the mind behind Doctor Sleep and The Haunting of Hill House), Esquire ranked Gerald’s Game as one of the top 10 best Stephen King adaptations. It’s the story of a woman whose husband dies suddenly of a heart attack but she’s left handcuffed to the bed and must find a way to survive

Taxi Driver

This Martin Scorsese masterpiece stars Robert De Niro as an unhinged cab driver who can no longer handle the filth and corruption of ’70s New York City. You talkin’ to me?

Fractured

This Netflix psychological thriller shows a family on a road trip for Thanksgiving. When his young daughter suffers an injury, Ray takes her and his wife to the nearest emergency room and waits as the two are taken to get a CT scan. However, the two disappear, and Ray becomes convinced that the hospital is hiding something.

Good Time

Before the Safdie brothers created Uncut Gems and before Robert Pattinson would star as the new Batman, the three collaborated in Good Time. Pattinson stars as a street hustler and bank robber desperately trying to get his brother (played by Benny Safdie) out of prison after a job goes wrong.

1922

1922 follows a farmer to Nebraska, where he sets on the path to write a confession for a murder from his past. The Netflix film is adapted from a Stephen King novella.

Bird Box

Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, Trevante Rhodes, and John Malkovich star in this dystopian thriller (and Netflix original film) about a woman who must travel blindfolded along with her children to safety as an unseen force stalks them on their journey.

Cam

Madeline Brewer plays an enterprising camgirl who discovers that she’s somehow been replicated in various videos that have been uploaded to her own website in this Internet-inspired horror thriller and Netflix original.

The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino delivers an Agatha Christie-style mystery set in the American West just after the Civil War with a stellar cast that includes Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Hush

This is the O.G. A Quiet Place. That’s that.

I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House

Lily (Ruth Wilson) is a live-in nurse who moves into the remote New England mansion owned by her patient, an elderly horror novelist who suffers from dementia. Soon Lily starts to question if the unsettling things that are taking place in this house came straight from one of her patient’s books.

The Invitation

A gathering of friends at a swank Hollywood Hills mansion turns deadly in Karyn Kusama’s chilling and unsettling thriller, which sees a seemingly innocuous dinner party devolve into a cult-inspired killing spree.

The Perfection

The Perfection is absolutely bonkers, so when it comes to thrillers, it fits the bill perfectly. If you’re looking for unnerving twist and turns, you’re going to be hard pressed to find one with more than this film about two cellists vying for the top spot in a conservatory.

Secret Obsession

Brenda Strong deserves one insane Netflix thriller a year, and Secret Obsession is her entry for 2019.

Velvet Buzzsaw

This horror satire from Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy is a mix of The Square and Eyes of Laura Mars, with Jake Gyllenhaal starring as an art critic who discovers that the mysterious paintings by an unknown artist have supernatural abilities—and take their revenge on anyone attempting to profit off of them.

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