There’s nothing like the mighty rush of watching a captivating thriller film. Whether fast hitting or slow burning, budgeted on millions or on a shoestring, there are plenty of variations to the formula, but many fundamentals remain the same. In a genre that keeps bringing audiences to the theaters and our at-home screens, Netflix is the king of the latter. Featuring an ever-changing library of some of the greatest thrillers from today and years past, the streaming service offers no shortage of flicks to choose from. As Netflix experts and lovers of quality cinema, we aim to make your viewing experience as seamless as possible. To start you off right, we’ve put together this roundup of the best thriller films on Netflix this month.
Green Zone (2010)
Based in part on journalist Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s 2006 nonfiction book Imperial Life in the Emerald City, Green Zone stars Matt Damon as U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller, a man tasked with unearthing Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. As Miller discovers most of his intel to be false leads, a larger coverup begins to present itself. Building on the strengths of Matt Damon’s leading-man persona, Green Zone is an edge-of-your-seat thriller from a director who has made more than one cinematic contribution to the American post-9/11 zeitgeist (United 93 being the previous feature).
Rotten Tomatoes: 53%
Stars: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Brendan Gleeson
Director: Paul Greengrass
Runtime: 115 minutes
Mystic River (2003)
Perhaps one of director Clint Eastwood’s most macabre and moody films, Mystic River follows three friends: Ex-con Jimmy Markum (Sean Penn), Massachusetts state trooper Sean Devine (Kevin Bacon), and disturbed blue-collar worker Dave Boyle (Tim Robbins). When a tragedy unfurls over Boston, one specifically connected to Jimmy, the grief-stricken mobster takes matters into his own hands. Melancholic, heavy, and featuring mighty performances from the entire ensemble, Mystic River will keep you guessing for the film’s entire runtime. And even when we get answers, there are plenty of loose ends for the characters to contend with.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Stars: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon
Director: Clint Eastwood
Runtime: 137 minutes
Under Siege (1992)
In Under Siege, Steven Seagal stars as Chief Petty Officer Casey Ryback, the chef aboard the battleship USS Missouri. After being provoked by Commander Krill (Gary Busey), Ryback’s fight with his superior ends with him being imprisoned in a food freezer. It turns out that Krill is in cahoots with a formidable mercenary group, led by William “Bill” Strannix (Tommy Lee Jones), with plans to make off with the ship’s nuclear weaponry. What the operatives didn’t consider is that Ryback is an ex-Navy SEAL who cannot be contained. An action thriller that delivers at every turn, Under Siege is an excellent vehicle for Seagal and, even 30 years later, is a whole lot of fun.
Rotten Tomatoes: 79%
Stars: Steven Seagal, Tommy Lee Jones, Gary Busey
Director: Andrew Davis
Runtime: 102 minutes
The Call (2020)
In Chung-hyun Lee’s The Call, we follow two different timelines, with a telephone call linking both eras. Seo-Yeon (Shin-hye Park) spends her days in the present while Young-Sook (Jong-seo Jun) lurks in the past. One is a serial killer, the other the victim. A bizarre amalgam of sci-fi-meets-psychological-thriller, The Call scores high with us for its nail-biting narrative, moody tone, dedicated performances, and plenty of originality.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Stars: Shin-hye Park, Jong-seo Jun, Dong-Hwi Lee
Director: Chung-hyun Lee
Runtime: 122 minutes
Red Dot (2021)
David (Anastasios Soulis) and Nadja (Nanna Blondell), a set of young newlyweds, lead a stressful life of work, school, and poor communication skills. When Nadja learns that she’s pregnant, she decides to save the news for an adventurous ski trip to Sweden’s far north with David. As the couple begins to lose themselves to nature’s bounty, a hidden assailant begins stalking David and Nadja. It’s a nightmarish fight for survival in the merciless winter wilderness, as the infamous red dot of a rifle-sight follows every move the married couple makes. An energy-packed survival thriller, Red Dot is effective in making us feel just as lost and drenched in paranoia as the film’s leading talents.
Rotten Tomatoes: 67%
Stars: Nanna Blondell, Anastasios Soulis, Thomas Hanzon
Director: Alain Darborg
Runtime: 86 minutes
The Night Clerk (2020)
In The Night Clerk, Tye Sheridan stars as Bart Bromley, a reclusive hotel clerk who is on the autism spectrum. After witnessing a tragedy unfold through hidden cameras he placed in a guest room himself, Bart becomes a prime suspect in the police investigation of the incident. The plot only thickens when Bart’s boss transfers him to a second hotel where Bart forms a new connection with a woman named Andrea (Ana de Armas). As a friendship and subsequent romantic feelings blossom, it turns out the aforementioned tragedy may have more to do with Bart than even he knows. While the narrative ebbs and flows at its own pace, powerful lead performances from both Sheridan and de Armas make this a worthwhile entry for your next weekend.
Rotten Tomatoes: 36%
Stars: Tye Sheridan, Ana de Armas, Helen Hunt
Director: Michael Cristofer
Runtime: 90 minutes
I Care a Lot (2020)
Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) is a daring and destructive Massachusetts con artist. Malicious in ways most of us could never be, Marla targets the elderly. Her modus operandi? A court-appointed legal ward, she and her lover, Fran (Eiza González), make their living by funneling the assets of their octogenarian clients via legal means. That is, until they cross paths with Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest), a wealthy senior with no living family — the perfect target for Marla and Fran. It just so happens that Jennifer comes with some not-so-forgiving mafia connections. What unravels is a vicious game of sharks versus sharks as the mob closes in on Marla’s daring exploits. Featuring a fantastic performance from Pike and a nail-biting script, I Care a Lot dares to be bold and does so more than effectively.
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Stars: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza González
Director: J Blakeson
Runtime: 118 minutes
Killing Gunther (2017)
In director and former Saturday Night Live cast member Taran Killam’s feature debut, the formidable Arnold Schwarzenegger is the titular Gunther, one of the world’s most dangerous assassins. Blake (Killam), an embittered assassin, is tired of Gunther’s infamous trail of destruction. Assembling a hodgepodge team of like-minded assassins and other merchants of menace, along with a documentary crew, Blake and his team give taking down Gunther their very best. But Gunther is Gunther, of course, and the leading hitman for hire is always one step ahead of the belligerent second-bests. Combining Christopher Guest-style mockumentary filmmaking with explosive set pieces and hammy character acting, Killing Gunther is a mayhem-laced action thriller that keeps kicking through its 90-minute runtime.
Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
Stars: Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan, Arnold Schwarzenegger
Director: Taran Killam
Runtime: 93 minutes
Shutter Island (2010)
It’s a windy and rainy Boston Harbor, circa 1954. When Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), two U.S. Marshals, are sent to investigate a patient’s disappearance at the notorious Ashecliffe Hospital on Shutter Island, a convoluted mystery unfolds. Facing off against the elements, the unwilling staff of the facility, and its deranged patients, Teddy begins to have painful migraines and flashbacks of his days in military combat. A neo-noir whirlwind, Shutter Island is lesser-known among Scorsese’s best, but certainly worthy of a weekend watch without the lights on.
Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley
Director: Martin Scorsese
Runtime: 139 minutes
The Occupant (2020)
In The Occupant, Javier Gutiérrez stars as Javier Muñoz, a high-ranking executive who falls on hard times. Forced into unemployment, the big earner watches as his luxurious penthouse home is put on the seller’s market. When new tenants move in, the psychologically troubled Javier becomes obsessed with the occupants and begins making himself known to them in unsavory ways. Gutiérrez is a standout in The Occupant, packaging corporate greed, intellect, and a touch of humanity into a chilling lead performance that truly steers the film.
Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
Stars: Javier Gutiérrez, Mario Casas, Bruna Casi
Director: Àlex Pastor, David Pastor
Runtime: 103 minutes
Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)
The art world is a strange one to live in, particularly when the tortured spirits of dead artists start wreaking havoc on the outside world. These are the cards we’re dealt with Dan Gilroy’s insanely odd Velvet Buzzsaw, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Morf Vandewalt, an eccentric art critic that comes in contact with the possessed paintings of Vetril Dease (Alan Mandell). Death, dismemberment, and other macabre occurrences soon descend on the principal players, leaving us to wonder where the line is drawn between reality and fiction. Big, odd, and loaded with color, Velvet Buzzsaw is one you won’t forget.
Rotten Tomatoes: 61%
Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette
Director: Dan Gilroy
Runtime: 113 minutes
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
Dr. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a cardiovascular surgeon who leads a Stepford-esque life. He has a beautiful wife, two beautiful children, and a spotless household. But one thing is out of place. Martin (Barry Keoghan), a fatherless teen who seems intent on inserting himself into the doctor’s life in increasingly frightening ways. Martin, it soon comes to pass, has truly menacing intentions.
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Stars: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Runtime: 121 minutes
It Comes at Night (2017)
It Comes at Night is a slow burn that is as creepy and unyielding as its name suggests. The film picks up in medias res, an untold time after a mysterious apocalypse has left the world with few survivors. Outdoors, an unspeakable horror exists, plaguing the entire planet. Two families are forced to share a home, caught in an uneasy alliance against the evil that lurks outside.
Rotten Tomatoes: 87%
Stars: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo
Director: Trey Edward Shults
Runtime: 97 minutes
Reed is a near-homicidal family man who needs an outlet for his inner rage. So, he decides on a prostitute. Not for sex. For murdering. What he didn’t expect was Jackie (Mia Wasikowska), a call girl just as cunning, sadistic, and merciless as Reed himself. When the two get together, Reed’s killer plan disintegrates before his eyes, and a wicked game of cat and mouse begins. Piercing is an adaptation of Ryū Murakami’s novel of the same name, source material that writer-director Nicholas Pesce pays great respect to. This vision is only furthered by the perfectly-cast Abbott and Wasikowska, two versatile actors who flourish as the wretched psychopaths of Piercing.
Rotten Tomatoes: 72%
Stars: Christopher Abbott, Mia Wasikowska, Laia Costa
Director: Nicholas Pesce
Runtime: 121 minutes
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
Runtime: 101 minutes
The Guest (2014)
In The Guest, Dan Stevens is so charming as David Collins that we don’t want to believe that he’s got dark secrets that will threaten everyone else around him. As the Peterson family grieves over the loss of their son, Craig, in the Afghanistan War, David presents himself as a close friend of Craig who has just returned home. The Petersons welcome David into their lives, and he becomes a surrogate son for Spencer (Leland Orser) and Laura (Sheila Kelley), while acting as a big brother to Luke (Brendan Meyer). However, Anna (Maika Monroe) becomes suspicious about David’s story and she begins to investigate his past. But David doesn’t tolerate threats from anyone, and when his cover is blown, no one is safe from his reach.
Rotten Tomatoes: 91%
Stars: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Leland Orser
Director: Adam Wingard
Runtime: 100 minutes
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
Runtime: 121 minutes
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
Runtime: 135 minutes
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
Runtime: 122 minutes
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
Runtime: 98 minutes
Journalism ethics remains a hot topic today, but it has never been fictionalized better than 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
Runtime: 117 minutes
- What is Disney+ Premier Access, and how much does it cost?
- The best iPhone 12 Pro leather cases
- The best movies on Disney+ right now
- The 50 best movies on Netflix right now
- The best shows on Disney+ right now