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Why is this obscure 2020 James Patterson thriller so popular on Netflix right now?

A man listens to someone in The Postcard Killings.
RLJE Films

While there are certainly plenty of reasons for Netflix to prioritize new titles in its algorithm and across its service, the platform’s users sometimes have something else in mind. While the titles in Netflix’s top 10 most popular movies list often reflect what’s been released on the service recently, there are some times when a new title arrives on the platform and immediately jumps into the Top 10, even if it wasn’t super popular before.

That’s exactly what happened with The Postcard Killings, a movie that was first released in 2020 but has received a much bigger audience now that it’s arrived on Netflix. Here’s why the movie has become so popular on Netflix, and why you should take the time to check it out yourself.

It’s based on a riveting James Patterson novel

The Postcard Killings - OFFICIAL TRAILER

The film tells the story of a New York City detective who finds himself drawn to Sweden after he learns that his daughter was murdered on her honeymoon. The detective teams up with an American journalist already working in Sweden to find his daughter’s killer, even as he comes to understand that her death was not an isolated incident.

In what becomes a race against time with a refreshing international setting, the movie manages to translate much of the novel’s page-turning, propulsive energy to the screen.

It features two hugely reliable leads

The cast of The Postcard Killings.
RLJE Films

In addition to its riveting plotting, The Postcard Killings is anchored by the performances of The Walking Dead‘s Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Famke Jansson in the lead roles. These two both have seasoned careers, and they bring all of their years of experience to bear on this movie to keep you fully focused on the movie’s action.

It doesn’t hurt that the two also have great chemistry, and it’s that chemistry that will keep you both invested and grounded even as the movie wends its way toward its ultimate conclusion.

It takes advantage of its varied settings

Famke Jansson and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in The Postcard Killings
RLJE Films

Because the movie’s killer takes his criminal enterprise to cities all across Europe, the movie’s leads follow him to each destination. If you’re looking for an interesting way to see several European destinations through a slightly morbid lens, then The Postcard Killings may be the ideal vehicle for exactly that.

Because the movie is relatively short, we don’t get a ton of time in each destination, but it’s still refreshing that the movie is set in Europe, as opposed to New York, where so many of these kinds of stories are often set.

Walk in with the right expectations, though; The Postcard Killings is not like some of David Fincher’s best movies like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or Zodiac. Instead, it’s a perfectly competent B movie that does its job well. Yes, there are better movies out there, but you can also do far worse.

The Postcard Killings is now streaming on Netflix.

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Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.
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