There’s no shortage of great thrillers in the world. They’re the kinds of movies that smell of impending doom the whole time you’re watching, whether it’s because you can’t trust someone onscreen, the cinematography is intentionally disorienting, or the score is built to haunt. If you’re a fan of the genre and have an Amazon Prime subscription, you’ll be pleased to hear that the streaming service offers some of the best thrillers to watch in the comfort of your home. We’ve dug in to see what picks are worth a watch this month. Read on to see what flicks we dig the most.
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Leave No Trace (2018)
Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) and Will (Ben Foster) live a tranquil but off-the-radar existence in the deep woodlands of the Pacific Northwest. Surviving off nature’s bounty and camping by fireplaces, the duo lead a quiet existence until they’re discovered by park authorities. Forcefully relocated from their forest-dwelling, the father-daughter team faces a cold world of displacement, systematic rigor, and no home to truly call their own. Debra Granik’s film is a heartfelt drama as much as it is a slow and subtle thriller, one where each minor misstep opens a bigger and deeper pit for its characters to crawl out of.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Stars: Ben Foster, Thomasin McKenzie, Dale Dickey
Director: Debra Granik
Runtime: 108 minutes
When a paratrooper squad is dropped behind enemy lines hours before the D-Day invasion of Normandy, what they discover is beyond description. A hidden underground bunker in the German-occupied villa reveals a cavern of horrid experiments. Chief amongst the atrocities are a vile serum that when injected turns a normal man into a ravenous superhuman. With most of their support dead, the displaced soldiers must fight for their lives against the rampant reborn. Less a slow burn and more a wild shoot-’em-up, Overlord delivers the kind of over-the-top thrills that even the best Hollywood thrillers tend to shy away from. It’s no Oscar film, but it’s a hell of a good time.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Stars: Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, John Magaro
Director: Julius Avery
Runtime: 110 minutes
Mostly comprised of a cast with no formal acting experience, Gasper Noé’s Climax is a hallucinogenic thrill-ride like no other that follows members of an up-and-coming dance troupe who get together at an abandoned school to practice their latest routine. After the rehearsal, all share in the same refreshment — sangria that just happens to be spiked with LSD. What follows is a brutally unhinged Pandora’s box of nightmarish images, violent personality clashes, and one or two demises too many. Those familiar with Noé’s catalog will feel more than at home with his latest bizarre entry to his canon.
Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Stars: Sofia Boutella, Souheila Yacoub, Kiddy Smile
Director: Gasper Noé
Runtime: 95 minutes
The Man From Nowhere (2010)
Every so often, a South Korean thriller breaks through to American audiences. (Parasite, anyone?) But in 2010, that was exceedingly rare. The Man From Nowhere was an exception. The action-thriller stars Won Bin as a former special agent turned pawnshop owner who befriends his neighbor’s daughter. But when the girl’s daughter steals a large amount of heroin at the behest of her lowlife boyfriend, the special agent is drawn into the Korean underworld to protect his young friend and her mother. They’re taken hostage by a gang and weaponized in a war against a rival gang, only to trigger the agent’s past and release all of the fury he’s pent up and hidden for years.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Stars: Won Bin, Sae Ron Kim, Tae-hoon Kim
Director: Jeong-beom Lee
Runtime: 119 minutes
The Report (2019)
A star-studded cast, including Adam Driver, Annette Bening, and Jon Hamm, tackled this film’s deep-dive into the investigation of and controversy around torture used by the CIA following the terrorist attacks on September 11. Examining the full 6,700-page report by Daniel Jones of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the story is based, in part, on Katherine Eban’s Vanity Fair article “Rorschach and Awe.” Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2019, the Amazon Studios movie had a brief theatrical release then went straight to the streaming service.
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Stars: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Morrison
Director: Scott Z. Burns
Runtime: 119 minutes
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
College students head to a remote cabin in the forest where they think they’ll be able to enjoy some quiet fun and relaxation. Instead, they end up being controlled and manipulated by technicians in an underground lab who are watching them, feeding them drugs, and watching as monsters and zombies attack the students. The plot sounds silly but the film was very well received by critics and audiences alike, who called the Joss Whedon-produced flick “funny, strange, and scary,” often all at the same time.
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Stars: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison
Director: Drew Goddard
Runtime: 95 minutes
To Catch a Thief (1955)
Go way back in time for this Alfred Hitchcock classic, based on the novel of the same name by David Dodge. Cary Grant is a retired cat burglar who, in an attempt to save his reputation, catches an imposter targeting wealthy tourists in the French Riviera. It marked the last film project for Grace Kelly, who starred as Grant’s love interest, before she retired from acting to become Princess of Monaco.
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Stars: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Runtime: 106 minutes
A Simple Favor (2018)
A widowed single mother and vlogger from a small town befriends a wealthy fashion executive after their kids have a playdate. Next thing she knows, she’s trying to solve the friend’s mysterious disappearance. The plot sounds simple but the film was a box office success thanks to performances by the leads Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, earning over $97 million on just a $20 million budget.
Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Stars: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Andrew Rannells
Director: Paul Feig
Runtime: 117 minutes
The Handmaiden (2016)
Dubbed an erotic psychological thriller, this South Korean film, also known as Ah-ga-ssi, is inspired by the novel Fingersmith by Sarah Waters, with a change in setting from the Victorian era to Korea during Japanese colonial rule. At the heart of the story is a con man with a sinister plot to seduce a Japanese heiress so he can have her committed and steal her money.
Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Stars: Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong
Director: Park Chan-wook
Runtime: 145 minutes
Knives Out (2019)
In a family gathering that ends in tragedy with the death of the patriarch, a master detective must figure out who the perpetrator is. A classic thriller whodunit trope with a modern twist, the star-studded cast alone makes this film a must-watch. Performing well at the box office and receiving plenty of accolades for the screenplay, direction, and story, the movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and was dubbed one of the top movies of 2019 by the National Board of Review.
Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
Stars: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Christopher Plummer
Director: Rian Johnson
Runtime: 130 minutes
Mission Impossible IV — Ghost Protocol (2011)
In the fourth film in the Mission Impossible franchise, Tom Cruise returns as IMF agent Ethan Hunt who is presented with yet another mission, should he choose to accept it. The plot of this film sees Hunt purposely imprisoned in Moscow in an attempt to track down a man known as Cobalt who is about to receive a file containing Russian nuclear launch codes from an assassin. Filled with high-tech scenes and high-flying action, as is par for the course with any of the Mission Impossible movies, it’s no surprise the film was a roaring success at the box office. It’s edge-of-your-seat, popcorn-in-hand, movie-night-at-home material.
Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Stars: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton
Director: Brad Bird
Runtime: 133 minutes
Break out the popcorn and turn down the lights to enjoy the high-velocity action that characterizes any Jason Statham film. In this one, he stars as Luke, an ex-cop who also, of course, has a background in cage fighting and a deep desire for revenge against the men who killed his pregnant wife. By chance, he comes across one of them chasing down a gifted child to use for their criminal activities, and he takes it upon himself to not only seek vengeance once and for all, but also to protect the little girl. Predictably, she has nothing to worry about because Luke will do what needs to be done with gusto, flare, and a grimace that has enemies shaking in their boots. There’s plenty of gun-wielding and epic fight scenes to make for a thoroughly entertaining watch when you’re in the mood for an escapist flick.
Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Stars: Jason Statham, Catherine Chan, Chris Sarandon, Robert John Burke
Director: Boaz Yakin
Runtime: 95 minutes
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
Lionel Shriver’s psychological thriller, We Need to Talk About Kevin, was adapted for the screen by director Lynne Ramsay with Ezra Miller in the title role. Regardless, this movie belongs to Tilda Swinton, who plays Kevin’s mother, Eva. John C. Reilly also has a rare dramatic turn as Eva’s husband and Kevin’s father, Franklin. The story begins in the present, as Eva struggles to deal with the enormity of Kevin’s crime against society and herself. But as Eva examines her past, she begins to wonder what part she had to play in raising a monster under her own roof. Swinton’s performance is electric, and it carries the film all the way to its conclusion. However, Miller’s Kevin is the rare screen monster who is all too human with the evil he inflicts upon the world.
Rotten Tomatoes: 75%
Stars: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Runtime: 112 minutes
You Were Never Really Here (2017)
Joaquin Phoenix is on point in Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here. The Oscar-winning actor plays Joe, a brutalizer-for-hire, with a specialty in rescuing trafficked girls. Suffering from suicidal thoughts and years of trauma from his childhood through his military career, Joe agrees to a new mission. It’s standard fare: Rescue a senator’s daughter and take down anyone that gets in the way. The only trouble is that those involved are part of a much deeper political conspiracy, and Joe lands right in the middle of the villains and their victims. You Were Never Really Here has teeth, and it bites — a lot. Those uneasy with gore may want to choose something else on this list. For those that can stomach Joe’s reign of hammer-blows, you’ll be rewarded with a brilliantly directed character study and a mesmerizing lead performance from our latest cinematic Joker.
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov
Director: Lynne Ramsay
Runtime: 89 minutes
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