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15 best thriller movies on Netflix to add a little intensity to your life

15 best thriller movies on Netflix to add a little intensity to your life


15 best thriller movies on Netflix to add a little intensity to your life

Looking for some stress to go with your stress?

We’re basically living in the end times (ask anyone on Twitter), so there’s no better time to test the limits of your entertainment consumption. For the adventurous among us, that means cranking the tension up to its maximum with the best of the best in heart-wrenching thrillers. (No, not the best horror movies — that’s a different list). From psychological scares to dystopian hellscapes, any movie on this list will have you truly on the edge of your seat. Just don’t marathon them (or do, we’re not your boss).

Here are the top 15 best thrillers on Netflix streaming now.

1. El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie

Jesse (Aaron Paul) is in for it in "El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie."

Jesse (Aaron Paul) is in for it in “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.”
Credit: Ben Rothstein / Netflix

Dear Breaking Bad fans, if you haven’t watched the series’ victory lap yet, what are you doing? Coming right after the events of the finale, El Camino has Jesse (Aaron Paul) setting out on the run from both the law and his troubled history. While this epilogue might be unnecessary, it remains a riveting entry into the Breaking Bad universe.

How to watch: El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie is streaming on Netflix.

2. Shutter Island

Martin Scorsese adapts Dennis Lehane’s novel in this mind-bending 2010 film. Leonardo DiCaprio plays Teddy Daniels, a U.S. Marshal visiting the titular island which houses patients in need of special psychiatric care. As Teddy and partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) investigate a missing patient, they grow suspicious of a larger, more sinister truth on the island. Scorsese sets it all against the ominous aesthetics of a thunderstorm, creating constant tension for the entire runtime while building to a killer reveal.

How to watch: Shutter Island is streaming on Netflix.

3. Bird Box

Bird Box

Bird Box
Credit: Saeed Adyani/Netflix

Bird Box stars Sandra Bullock as a struggling survivor in a post-apocalyptic world dominated by mysterious entities that cause death upon being seen. Even though the audience, like the survivors, never actually sees the monsters that whittle away at the fantastic cast (Trevonte Rhodes, Sarah Paulson, and John Malkovich, oh my!), their presence looms large over the film’s horror-tinged thrills and twists.

How to watch: Bird Box is streaming on Netflix.

4. Cam

In this haunting Netflix original, Madeline Brewer portrays Alice, an ambitious webcam model working hard to nurture her flourishing career. But when a mysterious doppelgänger takes her place online and begins broadcasting without her, Alice begins to fear for her safety. Immensely intense and fabulously feminist, Cam is the perfect film when you want something closer to a horror movie.

How to watch: Cam is streaming on Netflix.

5. Velvet Buzzsaw

Rene Russo and Jake Gyllenhaal in Dan Gilroy's "Velvet Buzzsaw."

Rene Russo and Jake Gyllenhaal in Dan Gilroy’s “Velvet Buzzsaw.”
Credit: Claudette Barius / Netflix

From Nightcrawler writer-director Dan Gilroy comes Velvet Buzzsaw, a hugely underrated comedic thriller with just a smidge of horror at its center. Jake Gyllenhaal stars alongside Rene Russo, Toni Collette, John Malkovich, and more in a satirical exploration of the cutthroat Los Angeles art scene that’s laugh-out-loud funny but still tense, and full of fun visuals. Come for the promise of Gyllenhaal playing an art critic convinced museum installations are coming to life; stay for Billy Magnussen playing a gallery worker who gets attacked by a barrel of oil-on-canvas monkeys. Yeah, it’s a fun one.

How to watch: Velvet Buzzsaw is streaming on Netflix.

6. Uncut Gems

Adam Sandler put his comedy skills on the back burner to play New York City jeweler Howard Ratner in 2019’s Uncut Gems. Stuck with debts he can’t afford to pay, Howard sets out to recover a rare black opal that will make up for the price tag on his nasty gambling addiction. This journey is both anxiety-inducing and interesting, revealing a surprising, more serious side of Sandler along the way.

How to watch: Uncut Gems is streaming on Netflix.

7. I Care A Lot

IEiza Gonzalez, Dianne Wiest, and Rosamund Pike in J. Blakeson's "I Care A Lot."

IEiza Gonzalez, Dianne Wiest, and Rosamund Pike in J. Blakeson’s “I Care A Lot.”

J. Blakeson’s film about a legal guardian (Rosamund Pike) who targets the elderly for profit isn’t a flawless movie — but it is a helluva ride. Marla (Pike) finds the perfect mark to send to a care home while dissolving her assets, but she didn’t bargain for her new charge’s crime boss son (Peter Dinklage). Pike delivers a performance as sharp as Marla’s lethal bob, while Dinklage clearly enjoys a role equal parts dangerous and amusing. Everything escalates as the two square off, with Marc Canham’s score dialing the stakes up to 100. If you love the journey regardless of the destination, you need this on your list.

How to watch: I Care A Lot is streaming on Netflix.

8. Good Time

From the geniuses behind Uncut Gems, Good Time is a panic-inducing nightmare movie that refuses to let up for any moment of its 101-minute runtime. Robert Pattinson stars as Connie, a criminal willing to do anything to get his vulnerable brother (co-director Benny Safdie) bailed out of a New York City jail. Heart-breaking and jaw-dropping, this character study will devastate you.

How to watch: Good Time is streaming on Netflix.

9. Andhadhun

Loosely based on the French short “L’Accordeur,” Andhadhun is a serpentine adventure starring Ayushmann Khurrana as a blind pianist, Aakash. What begins as a romance between Aakash and Sophie (Radhika Apte) takes endless twists before an admittedly deflated ending — but it’s well worth the ride.

Andhadhun will keep you on the edge of your seat with each turn of the plot, never leading where expected.

How to watch: Andhadhun is streaming on Netflix.

10. The Platform

The Platform

The Platform
Credit: Netflix

Prison cells stacked one on top of the other, with holes in the floor and ceiling and randomly assigned levels that change each month. And a platform of food that gets slowly lowered from the very top, getting sparser and sparser with each floor it descends.

This is the concept at the centre of Spanish director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s The Platform, a disturbing sci-fi thriller that wears its capitalist analogy plainly on its prison garb sleeve. It’s one of those rare gems where the execution is as strong as the idea at its core, driven by an excellent screenplay from David Desola and Pedro Rivero that’s dripping with horror and suspense. If you’re a fan of movies like The Cube or Saw, this is well worth checking out. – Sam Haysom, Deputy UK Editor

How to Watch: The Platform is streaming on Netflix.

11. Training Day

Denzel Washington has been nominated for an Academy Award nine times, but he’s only won twice. His performance as corrupt narcotics detective Alonzo Harris in Training Day earned him one of those wins.

This 2001 thriller is a morally fascinating, fast-paced, and wonderfully directed journey that follows one young cop’s discovery of how deep the rabbit hole of the LAPD’s corruption goes and how easy it is to cross the line between police officer and textbook villain. Training Day is one of director Antoine Fuqua’s best films and a thrilling crime classic.

How to watch: Training Day is streaming on Netflix.

12. The Net

This 1995 film is a wonderful and entertaining time capsule about the early days of the internet and Americans’ emerging fears about online spying.

With the intensity and vulnerability that made her an A-lister, Sandra Bullock stars as a reclusive hacker who follows a mysterious glitch down a rabbit hole of conspiracy, identity theft, and a ruthless syndicate that’s wants to delete her. To best her sinister foes, she’ll have to use her computer savvy, her fast-dwindling friend list, and her wits. Pitching his protagonist out from behind the comfort zone of her computer screen, director Irwin Winkler creates a web that’s world-wide and full of threats, from Cancun beaches, to sterile retirement homes, to sprawling convention centers, and the arms of a handsome stranger (Jeremy Northam).

The look of the old-school internet might cause chuckles, but the chills of this espionage thriller still hold up. – Kristy Puchko, Deputy Entertainment Editor

How to watch: The Net is streaming on Netflix.

13. Zodiac

Hey, Jake.

Hey, Jake.
Credit: netflix

The Zodiac killer is one of the United States’ most notorious and dramatic serial murderers. The 2007 movie Zodiac follows a fictionalized version of the initial 1969 manhunt starring Robert Downey Jr. as crime reporter Paul Avery, Jake Gyllenhaal as political cartoonist and Zodiac letter decoder Robert Graysmith, and John Carrol Lynch as prime suspect Arthur Leigh Allen. The chilling details of Zodiac’s crimes are only part of the appeal of this ripped-from-the-headlines thriller, especially since the enduring mystery of Zodiac’s identity leaves the movie and the case on a real-life cliffhanger.

How to watch: Zodiac is streaming on Netflix.

14. The Perfection

The Perfection

The Perfection
Credit: Netflix

From cellos and foreplay to hallucinations and hiking, The Perfection does absolutely whatever it wants. Featuring Allison Williams in her best role since Get Out and Dear White People‘s Logan Browning in her best part ever, this vibrant genre blend will get a reaction out of you. Not necessarily a good reaction, but a reaction nonetheless. It’s body horror meets psychological thriller meets occult drama meets classical music. With bugs. And vomit. I, for one, loved it!

How to watch: The Perfection is streaming on Netflix.

15. Freaks

Mashable Image

Credit: netflix

A secret lurks beneath the surface of this claustrophobic thriller. Written and directed by Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein, Freaks begins with a surly little girl and her harried father hiding in a ramshackle house. Despite paternal warnings, Chloe (Lexy Kolker) is determined to venture outside, befriend the girl across the street, and get a frosty treat from the ice cream truck that’s always just out of reach. But she’s only beginning to understand the dangers beyond her door. Why they must hide hangs on a sci-fi twist that makes this mysterious movie distinctly satisfying and marvelously mind-blowing. — Kristy Puchko, Deputy Entertainment Editor 

How to Watch: Freaks is streaming on Netflix.

This article was updated with recent picks on Oct. 14, 2021.


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