Must Watch Netflix Thriller Movies

Reality Bites Differently on Netflix

Excitement for thrillers on Netflix has been growing since the company started streaming in 2007. What sets these movies apart are the characters, complex plotlines and unexpected twists that build up to a gripping climax. There’s an almost instinctive desire to keep watching, to find out what happens next. Thrillers deal with the elements of fear and danger, as well as suspense and suspenseful anticipation, and much more.
Netflix offers a wide selection of thrilling films with tension-filled plots and scenes. While some of these films have been forgotten, there are many gems that instantly transported viewers to a state of suspense. Here are some of the must-watch thriller movies on Netflix that viewers should check out.

The Danish Girl

The Danish Girl is the true story of artist Einar Wegener who is living a comfortable life in Copenhagen with his wife Gerda. Their life dramatically changes when Einar begins to realize that he’s really a woman named Lili Elbe. But in the early 1920s, society had no understanding of gender identity, so Einar has to contend with the fear and isolation of becoming who she really is.
It’s a groundbreaking movie that shows viewers what coming out used to mean, back in the days. It offers insight on the topics of gender identity and social acceptance. Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander deliver memorable performances as the leads and the movie will give viewers chills.


Spotlight is a 2015 film which tells the story of The Boston Globe journalists whose investigation on the Catholic Church’s coverup of sexual abuse by priests caused a massive stir and forever changed the Church.
The film keeps viewers at the edge of their seats as it captures the investigative process and the nuances of the story. It also highlights the struggles of the journalists in awe-inspiring ways and shows viewers why this story is still so relevant today. Plus, the performances by Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams are top-notch.

Gerald’s Game

Director Mike Flanagan adapts the Stephen King novel and the result is a movie that will keep you on your toes. Gerald’s Game follows Jessie and Gerald who, while on vacation together, decide to engage in a little role-playing game. But when Gerald dies out of a heart attack, Jessie is left handcuffed to the bed, with no hope of escape. We then follow her journey of psychological and physical escape, with plot twists that will keep you wondering what will happen next.
Gerald’s Game features some of the best psychological thrills that any viewer can experience. And Carla Gugino’s Oscar-worthy performance is not to be missed.

American Gangster

American Gangster is the story of Harlem drug kingpin Frank Lucas, who built an empire that stretched from the heart of New York City to Vietnam. The film tells a true story, as well as the story of a corrupt cop, Richie Roberts, who was determined to bring Lucas down.
The movie dives into the criminal underworld in an effortlessly exciting way. It keeps viewers at the edge of their seats throughout, as it follows both Lucas and Roberts on their journeys. Plus, Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe’s performances are Oscar-worthy.

A Simple Plan

A Simple Plan pushes viewers to the extremes, as it follows brothers Hank and Jacob and their friend Lou, who stumble across a crashed plane in the woods with a large sum of money.
The movie showcases the moral struggles as well as the psychological implications, as the characters struggle to decide what to do with the money. What follows is a suspenseful journey full of tension and gripping action that will have viewers’ eyes glued to their screens until the very end.

Gone Girl

Gone Girl may already be a classic, but it still deserves recognition. This movie follows Nick Dunne, whose wife Amy goes missing mysteriously. What makes this movie so captivating is that it’s as much a psychological thriller as it is a crime thriller, as viewers grapple with the big question: did Nick do it?
David Fincher’s meticulous direction creates an atmosphere of dread, propelling viewers to a conclusion that will leave them stunned. Rosamund Pike earned an Oscar nomination for her outstanding performance as the mysterious Amy.


Seven is a cult classic that still makes viewers squirm in their seats. The movie follows detectives David Mills and William Somerset as they try to catch a serial killer who murders his victims in a particularly twisted way.
The movie captures the human evil’s darkness and off-kilter energy in ways that will stay with you long after. Plus, the powerful performances by Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and Gwyneth Paltrow will leave you speechless.

Panic Room

Jodie Foster stars as Meg, who is forced to protect her daughter Sarah from intruders who enter their new home. Their only escape is a reinforced “panic room” which they must get to before the burglars catch up with them.
What makes this movie so gripping is how possibilities escape the family and how they desperately cling to the hope that their plan will work. Foster’s performance is brilliant, and the movie will keep you at the edge of your seat until the very end.

The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense is a classic that was released in 1999. It still stands out as one of the best thrillers of all time. Bruce Willis stars as a psychiatrist who spirals down into madness when he discovers that his patient, a little boy, can see and communicate with the dead.
The movie is full of scenes of gripping suspense that will have viewers hooked from the first minute. M. Night Shyamalan’s intelligent direction creates a chillingly tense atmosphere that will stay with viewers for some time after the movie is over.


Prisoners is a psychological thriller that tackles the issue of child abduction in a heart-breaking way. When two young girls go missing, their parents, Keller and Grace Dover, are thrust into a nightmare and will stop at nothing to get their daughters back. The movie follows the search and discovers unsettling secrets along the way.
The movie will take viewers through all sorts of twists and turns throughout, leaving them trying to guess what’s going to happen next. Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal’s performances are mesmerizing and greatly contribute to the movie’s tension and suspense.


Hush is a nail-biting horror movie that follows Maddie, a deaf writer living in the middle of the woods. She has to protect herself from a masked intruder who is determined to kill her.
What makes this movie so gripping is that Maddie’s inability to hear adds an extra layer of tension, as she has to use her wits and her deafness to her advantage. So, the audience is left on the edge of their seats, hoping that Maddie can make it out alive.

The Invitation

The Invitation is a psychological thriller that follows Will, who decides to attend a dinner party at the house of his ex-wife. He soon starts to realize that things are not as they seem, and delves further into uncovering the mystery of the evening.
The movie keeps viewers guessing, as Will starts to suspect that something sinister is happening and attempts to uncover the truth. The suspense builds up nicely and the twists in the plot will keep viewers hooked until the very end.

Memories of Murder

Memories of Murder is based on the true story of South Korea’s first serial murders. It follows two detectives as they track down a killer and try to put an end to the murders.
The movie is full of suspense, as the detectives race against the clock to catch the killer. The movie is based on a true story and provides the audience with a convincing glimpse of the chaos that occurred in South Korea at the time. Plus,Song Kang-ho’s performance is Oscar-worthy.


Tunnel is a South Korean thriller that follows a man who gets trapped in a tunnel and must find a way to escape. It dives into the psychological depths and captures the man’s struggle against despair, something that is all too familiar to many viewers.
The movie takes viewers through numerous twists and turns, and keeps them guessing whether or not the man will make it out alive. Plus, the movie showcases the beauty of South Korea in an awe-inspiring way.


Mudbound follows a white and a black family living on a farm in Mississippi in the 1940s. Even though the movie offers an unflinching look at racism and gut-wrenching moments throughout, it also shows the complicated relationships between the characters and how they discover the beauty within each other.
Jason Mitchell and Mary J. Blige shine in the movie, delivering performances that will stay with viewers long after they finish watching. The movie also has a great suspenseful vibe that will keep viewers hooked throughout.

Vicki Strouth is a life-long film enthusiast, having grown up watching classic cinema in her childhood. She has since gone on to pursue writing about films and movie news, with her work being published on various online platforms. She is passionate about supporting independent filmmakers and highlighting important stories from around the world. She has also written a successful book about classic movies from Hollywood's Golden Age era. Vicki currently lives in Seattle, where she continues to explore films of all genres and eras.

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