The best thrillers on Netflix right now

What do you watch when you’re in the mood for drama, suspense, and intrigue, but don’t necessarily want to be scared out of your wits? This is the perfect time to curl up on the couch with some popcorn and queue up one of the many enthralling thrillers Netflix currently offers.

Here, we’ve rounded up the best available, whether you’re into Martin Scorsese’s brand of grit or have an appetite — no pun intended — for a cannibalistic cult classic designed to make you squirm.

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The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

One of the most psychologically terrifying movies of the ’90s, this film put Sir Anthony Hopkins’ talents on full display as the brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter. As FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster in an equally compelling performance) meets with him in hopes he can help her track down another serial killer named Buffalo Bill, he revels in the chance to manipulate and toy with her. Based on the Thomas Harris novel of the same name, it is one of many TV and film adaptations of the story, but remains the best.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Stars: Jodie Foster, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine
Director: Jonathan Demme
Rating: R
Runtime: 118 minutes

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Taxi Driver on Netflix

Taxi Driver (1976)

One of Martin Scorsese’s early movies remains one of his most poignant. In Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro plays Travis Bickle, a disillusioned cabbie with dreams of assassinating presidential candidate Charles Palantine. He also finds it in his heart to rescue a prostitute (played by a 12-year-old Jodie Foster) and assassinate her pimp. The backdrop of the Vietnam War looms large over the film, as Bickle’s vigilantism makes him a hero to some and an antihero to others, building toward a climactic shootout and an unforgettable ending that remains up for interpretation to this day.

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Stars: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel
Director: Martin Scorsese
Rating: R
Runtime: 114 minutes

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Calibre on Netflix

Calibre (2018)

When two lifelong friends, a businessman and his pal from boarding school, head out for a hunting weekend in the Scottish Highlands, things quickly turn ugly. The old friends find themselves unexpectedly panicked and dealing with dire situations they never thought they would face. The British thriller, originally released on Netflix, was described by Variety as an “intensely terrifying twist on Deliverance.”

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Stars: Jack Lowden, Martin McCann, Tony Curran
Director: Matt Palmer
Rating: TV-MA
Runtime: 101 minutes

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Icarus on Netflix

Icarus (2017)

While exploring and experimenting with the idea of illegal doping in sports and how easy it is to use performance-enhancing drugs and evade detection, Bryan Fogel uncovers an international doping scandal. The documentary follows Fogel through his journey in amateur cycling and the explosive allegations by Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of the Russian anti-doping laboratory. Rodchenkov started out by simply helping Fogel with his experiment before eventually revealing alleged Olympic doping programs and his involvement with them. The movie earned Fogel an Academy Award for Best Documentary Film.

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%
Stars: Bryan Fogel, Grigory Rodchenkov
Director: Bryan Fogel
Rating: TV-MA
Runtime: 121 minutes

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Uncut Gems on Netflix

Uncut Gems (2019)

In Uncut Gems, Adam Sandler stars as a jeweler with a gambling addiction on the hunt for an expensive gem he bought to pay off mounting debts. Sandler was lauded for his performance, proving once again that he can do far more than play characters that provide silly humor and cheap laughs. Critics praised Sandler’s dramatic chops upon the film’s release, as well as the Safdie brothers, who have an undisputed knack for delivering stress-inducing films at every turn.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Stars: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Idina Menzel
Directors: Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie
Rating: R
Runtime: 135 minutes

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Suburra on Netflix

Suburra (2015)

Financed by Netflix and RAI, this Italian-language neo-noir crime film is based on the Carlo Bonini and Giancarlo De Cataldo novel of the same name. The story is inspired by real events from the Mafia Capitale in 2011, involving organized crime and politics in Rome. If you really want to delve even deeper into the story, check out the 2017 prequel TV series, Suburra: Blood on Rome, before or after watching the flick. Set in 2008, the series looks at the events that led up to what happened in the film. There have been two seasons to date, with a third and final season set to debut in 2020.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Stars: Pierfrancesco Favino, Elio Germano, Claudio Amendola
Director: Stefano Sollima
Rating: TV-MA
Runtime: 135 minutes

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El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, on Netflix

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (2019)

For fans of the AMC series Breaking Bad, this flick is the epilogue they’ve been waiting for to address the unanswered question of what happened to Jesse Pinkman. For others who might not have seen Breaking Bad, it’s still a fabulous film about a young man on the run from a clearly sordid past. It wraps Pinkman’s story up with a nice little bow and delivers plenty of cameos and throwback references from the original series to make it a worthwhile watch for any fan who has been missing the show.

Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Stars: Aaron Paul, Jonathan Banks
Director: Vince Gilligan
Rating: TV-MA
Runtime: 122 minutes

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District 9 on Netflix

District 9 (2009)

The scene is an alternate 1982, when an alien spaceship has landed on Earth with sick and malnourished insectoid aliens that are sent to an internment camp called District 9. Two decades later, while being relocated, one alien escapes with his son and tries to return home. Inspired by Cape Town’s District Six during the apartheid era, the film is designed, in part, to feature what looks like found footage, including interviews, news broadcasts, and surveillance videos, and it highlights themes like xenophobia and social segregation.

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Stars: Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, David James
Director: Neill Blomkamp
Rating: R
Runtime: 112 minutes

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The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

Matthew McConaughey is Mickey Haller, a criminal defense attorney who discovers that a high-profile murder case he has recently taken on might be connected to one he handled in the past and that his client might have murdered others. The story is adapted from Michael Connelly novels, including the 2005 book of the same name and others featuring the character of Haller. McConaughey was praised for his charming performance as the lawyer who conducts most of his business from the backseat of his car, and the film itself has been called “briskly enjoyable entertainment.”

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%
Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, Michael Pena, John Leguizamo, Bryan Cranston, William H. Macy
Director: Brad Furman
Rating: R
Runtime: 118 minutes

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Rukh on Netflix

Rukh (2017)

Offered in Hindi, this film tells the story of an 18-year-old young man who is sent to boarding school after injuring another student in a fight, who then receives word while he’s away that his father has died in a car accident. As he searches for the truth about what really happened, he uncovers more than he bargained for. His father was not only likely murdered, but his family was caught up in activities he could never have imagined.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Stars: Manoj Bajpayee, Smita Tambe, Kumud Mishra, Adarsh Gourav
Director: Atanu Mukherjee
Rating: TV-MA
Runtime: 106 minutes

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Every Time I Die, on Netflix

Every Time I Die (2019)

In a theme that’s been explored in many different ways of late through both TV series and movies, this film is about a man whose consciousness is transferred to the bodies of others after his death. Each time he enters the body of a new friend, he tries to warn them about the person who killed him and protect them from the culprit and harm. While the movie only has nine reviews thus far on Rotten Tomatoes, it has been universally lauded by all who have watched it. So it might be worth checking out if you’re looking for something beyond the typical Hollywood-backed films.

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Stars: Drew Fonteiro, Marc Menchaca, Michelle Macedo, Tyler White, Melissa Macedo
Director: Robi Michael
Rating: TV-MA
Runtime: 98 minutes

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Nightcrawler on Netflix

Nightcrawler (2014)

Journalism ethics remains a hot topic today, but it has never been fictionalized better than it was in Nightcrawler. Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a stringer who will go to any lengths necessary to capture raw footage on his camcorder and sell it to the local TV station in Los Angeles. Bloom isn’t above manipulating the crime scene or even taking a larger personal stake in the action if it maximizes his recordings — not to mention his leverage over Nina, the morning news director. Ethics are cast aside by the power of the almighty dollar, reminding the audience “if it bleeds, it leads.” Jake Gyllenhaal is as compelling as ever in a film that was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards.

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo
Director: Dan Gilroy
Rating: R
Runtime: 117 minutes

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