The Best Thrillers on Netflix Right Now

Sometimes you want Netflix to provide comfort food, and other times you want it to give you a jolt to the system. When it’s the latter, you’ll want a good thriller that may not go heavy on the blood and gore, but still manages to rattle you to your core. The streaming service has a solid selection of picks from the genre, but they’ve also got a lot of other movies labeled under « thriller » that wouldn’t be the best use of your time, so we’ve got an updated list of the best thriller movies on Netflix to save you some scrolling.


If you need a bit of guidance on what thrillers you should check out, look at our recommendations below.

RELATED: The Best Movies on Netflix Right Now

Editor’s Note: This article was last updated on November 16.

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Image via Netflix

Director: Joseph Kosinski | Runtime: 107 minutes

Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Miles Teller, Jurnee Smollett, Mark Paguio

Director Joseph Kosinski made quite a splash in 2022 with Top Gun: Maverick but his Netflix thriller Spiderhead is just as engaging. Set at a private research facility/prison, the film stars Chris Hemsworth as an enigmatic scientist who’s running chemical tests on the prisoners. Miles Teller plays one of the prisoners, who begins to question the purpose of the experiments they are being subjected to. It’s a gripping film that escalates slowly but surely toward a rather unexpected twist. Teller and Hemsworth share excellent chemistry and Jurnee Smollett‘s performance is both layered and endearing. With great acting and a gripping narrative, Spiderhead is one of the best movies Netflix has released this year. The fact that the film’s premise is one that could very well be a reality soon just makes it all the more powerful. – Remus Noronha

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Director: Zak Hilditch | Runtime: 101 minutes

Cast: Thomas Jane, Neal McDonough, Dylan Schmid, and Molly Parker

This is for when you want a real slow-burner, and we do mean slow. Based on the Stephen King novella of the same name, 1922 moves ever so slowly with a dark inevitability that draws you in. It’s not too heavy on the gore and yet manages to instill a terrible sense of fear in the viewer. The story is narrated by (and centers around) a farmer named Wilfred « Wilf » James (Thomas Jane), who decides to kill his wife Arlette (Molly Parker). Simple enough, right? But what follows is the story of good people consumed by the consequences of greed. It’s unsettling, macabre, almost on par with the most intense Edgar Allan Poe stories. This is easily one of the most gripping thrillers that Netflix has to offer. – Remus Noronha

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Image via Netflix

Director: John Madden | Run Time: 128 minutes

Cast: Colin Firth, Kelly Macdonald, Matthew Macfadyen, Penelope Wilton

Based on real-life events, Operation Mincemeat is a tense historical war drama about one of the most daring deceptions that won World War II. The movie stars Colin Firth and Matthew Macfadyen as two intelligence operatives who concoct a scheme to use a dead body to divert attention from the Allies’ attack on Sicily. While perhaps not as gripping as some of the other entries on this list, Operation Mincemeat does involve a lot of twists and turns. Numerous obstacles, both foreseen and otherwise, continuously pop up throughout the planning and execution of the operation. But the spy drama elements are balanced with character moments and some interesting exploration of the relationships that form between the people involved in the scheme. – Remus Noronha

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Rosamund Pike in I Care a Lot
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Director: J Blakeson | Run Time: 118 minutes

Cast: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza González, Chris Messina, Macon Blair

This 2020 black comedy movie earned Rosamund Pikea Golden Globe for her role as a ruthless con artist who preys on the elderly. I Care a Lot follows the story of Marla Grayson (Pike), a court-appointed guardian who uses her legal hold over her victims to take control of their assets. Her sordid scam hits a snag when her latest mark, a woman who calls herself Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest) turns out to be connected to a dangerous gangster, played by the iconic Peter Dinklage. With dark humor, biting satire, and a wild story, I Care a Lot should definitely be on every thriller fan’s watchlist. – Remus Noronha

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Director: Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia | Run Time: 94 minutes

Cast: Iván Massagué, Antonia San Juan, Zorion Eguileor, Emilio Buale, Alexandra Masangkay

A fabulous high-concept thriller that toes the line between genres, The Platform is set within the confines of an impossibly tall building where residents either feast or famine depending on which floor they’re on. Every day, a massive table is stuffed with a banquet of food and slowly dropped through the building, one floor to the next, with the folks on top thriving in gluttony while those far below them starve to death – but there’s a catch, every once in a while, the inhabitants are gassed, reshuffled, and they never know which floor they’re going to wake up on next. It’s a bit of a long set-up, but a tremendously effective vehicle, both for the social themes it explores and the non-stop suspense of investigating the beak world between these cramped walls. – Haleigh Foutch

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Director: Alexandre Aja | Run Time: 101 minutes

Cast: Mélanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi

From High Tension to The Hills Have Eyes to Crawl, Alexandre Aja is responsible for some of the most pulse-pounding, skin-crawling, relentlessly intense movies of the 21st Century. With his 2021 Netflix original Oxygen, the filmmaker steps (slightly) back from the horror and leans all the way in on the thrills, following a woman (Mélanie Laurent) who wakes up in a cryogenic pod with no memory of who she is, how she got there, or – her biggest problem – what to do about her rapidly dwindling supply of oxygen. Aja doesn’t fully leave behind his horror touch and the flourishes of body horror only serve to further ramp up your adrenaline. Oxygen doesn’t always land its twists before you figure them out, but when a filmmaker is as attuned to dialing up the tension as Aja is, your stomach’s gonna wind up in your throat whether you see the next drop in the track coming or not. – Haleigh Foutch

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Image via Focus

Director: Tom Ford | Run Time: 116 minutes

Cast: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher

If you’re in the mood for an overlooked thriller with a tremendous cast, twisty plot, and gorgeous aesthetic, check out Nocturnal Animals. The film is the second directorial effort from Tom Ford after the critically acclaimed A Single Man and follows an art gallery owner (Amy Adams) as she reads the new novel written by her first husband (Jake Gyllenhaal). As she reads the novel, the events inside play out on the screen and you being to connect the dots between this supposedly fictional story and the gallery owner’s real-life – and the reason her marriage fractured in the first place. – Adam Chitwood

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Director: Mike Flanagan | Run Time: 103 minutes

Cast: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Kate Siegel, Henry Thomas

In novella form, Gerald’s Game makes for one of Stephen‌ King’s queasiest, most relentlessly gripping works. It’s the very definition of a page-turner, keeping you glued to the next word, following one woman’s seemingly impossible fight to survive a very slow, silent death while tending to the trauma she’s buried deep inside herself. It’s also entirely first-person, taking place inside the mind of a woman left handcuffed to the bed in a remote cabin after her husband dies of a heart attack in the middle of a tryst. Understandably, it was long thought unfilmable, but Mike Flanagan’s tender, terrifying 2017 adaptation proved the naysayers wrong with a heartfelt but oh-so-horrifying film that’s faithful to King’s work in all the right ways. Gore-phobes be warned though! At its core, Gerald’s Game is a lovely film about surviving trauma, but it is also a brutal survival film and one climactic scene (which was infamously hard to read, let alone watch) wins the gold star for the most vocal audience freak-out I’ve ever heard in a movie theater. – Haleigh Foutch

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Image via Netflix

Director: Dan Gilroy | Run Time: 113 minutes

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Zawe Ashton, Tom Sturridge, Toni Collette

If you liked Nightcrawler, you should check out writer/director Dan Gilroy’s kind of insane Netflix movie Velvet Buzzsaw. One part thriller and one part slasher, the movie is set in the art world and revolves around a cache of art that is found to have been created by a mysterious and deceased artist. Once it’s put on display, people begin dying in grisly ways. The film has a lot of dark humor to it, and Jake Gyllenhaal gives a really colorful performance as Gilroy goes for the jugular as far as the art world is concerned. – Adam Chitwood

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Image via Netflix

Director: Susanne Bier | Run Time: 124 minutes

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Jacki Weaver, Danielle Macdonald

Netflix squeezed in one last streaming sensation before the end of 2018 with Bird Box, the star-studded and meme-friendly new thriller starring Sandra Bullock as a mother trying to protect her children in an apocalyptic world Set across two timelines, Bird Box follows a group of survivors through the end of the world after a mysterious force starts causing people to kill themselves on sight. Naturally, that sets up director Susanne Bierfor plenty of thrills and gags based on the anxiety of trying to survive without sight (some more believable than others) and she uses the opportunity for all its worth, staging some pulse-pounding set-pieces in the fight for survival. Bullock carries Bird Box with a commanding performance that reminds you why she’s an old-school movie star and she’s matched by Trevante Rodes, who sets his charm level to “dangerously high” and John Malkovich, who leans into his gift for playing smart men of a nasty disposition that you just can’t help but love/hate. — Haleigh Foutch

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Director: Gareth Evans | Run Time: 129 minutes

Cast: Dan Stevens, Lucy Boynton, Michael Sheen, Mark Lewis Jones, Kristine Froseth

Brace yourself for some bloody, brutal thrills with Apostle, the horror-thriller from The Raid director Gareth Evans, who turns his attentions from breathless action to stomach-churning tension. Legion star Dan Stevens delivers another swing-for-the-fences performance as a man who infiltrates a rural cult that’s taken his sister hostage and discovers some deeply disturbing truths behind the utopian facade. Evans’ slow-burn pays off with a mighty explosion of viscera, and a strong stomach is required for the blood-soaked finale, which veers from suspense to full-on carnage. — Haleigh Foutch

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Director: Daniel Goldhaber | Run Time: 95 minutes

Cast: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Samantha Robinson, Melora Walters, Imani Hakim

A tense thriller about ambition, identity, and survival in the internet age, Cam stars Madeline Brewer as Alice, a successful cam girl intent on climbing to the top of the ranks — an ambition that’s going rather well until she logs on one day to find she’s been replaced by a cheerful doppelganger who’s taken her face and her career. From there, Cam follows Alice down a surreal rabbit hole as she tries to discover who’s behind her new web clone and how to reclaim her life, building a growing sense of unease and sick helplessness as Alice’s reality drops out from under her. Screenwriter Isa Mazzei and director Daniel Goldhaber are a dynamite creative team, who bring a refreshing sex-positive, non-exploitative approach to the often untouched subject matter while staging a dazzling and disorienting plummet through the pitfalls of internet identity and the intensity of ambitious careerism. — Haleigh Foutch

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Image via Vertical Entertainment

Director: Cate Shortland | Run Time: 116 minutes

Cast: Teresa Palmer, Max Riemelt

Clare Havel (Teresa Palmer) is a young Australian photojournalist on vacation in Berlin. She’s living the dream. Taking in the sights, falling in love with a new city, and just maybe falling in love with a handsome local man, Andi (Max Riemelt), who strikes up a passionate romance with her. But after she goes back to his place for a romantic night, she wakes up to the next morning to realize he’s locked her in his apartment on his way to work, and with a slow dawning terror, she understands that he never intends to let her out. This is how we enter Berlin Syndrome, Cate Shortland‘s taut thriller, which takes us through every step of their courtship and Clare’s subsequent imprisonment in a slow-burn portrait of psychological terror and the human capacity for survival.

Palmer is excellent in the role of a smart woman in captivity, who discovers new depths of strength with each passing day, and Shaun Grant‘s script gives her great material to work with, never treating Clare like a fool. She makes clever, assertive choices the whole way through, a fact that incites you to root for her and drastically notches up the tension at the same time. Her instinct for survival is met by Andi’s capacity for cruelty, unfolding a bit each day as Clare realizes how dire her predicament truly is. Consummately tense and emotionally challenging, Berlin Syndrome kicks up a slow boil battle of the wits that constantly notches up the dread and pays off in a breathless finale. — Haleigh Foutch

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Image via the Orchard

Director: Patrick Bice | Run Time: 77 minutes

Cast: Mark Duplass, Patrick Bice

Who knew Mark Duplass could be so damn creepy? Duplass worked with director, co-writer and co-star Patrick Bice to explore the psyche of « Josef » a mysterious and deeply unsettling man whose need for intimacy spurs him to post a Craigslist ad in search of a filmmaker to chronicle his strange story. There’s just one problem — he may or may not be a killer. Bice stars as Aaron, the young filmmaker who lands the job and once he sets foot on Josef’s turf, Aaron is immersed in an uncomfortable and unusual situation that always threatens to go off the rails. As Josef, Duplass channels the charming, disarming and freaky as hell disposition of corporate snakes and thriving sociopaths. Is he a killer or just a weirdo you can’t say no to? Bice and Duplass have fun playing with audience expectations all the way up to the finale payoff — a fantastic, earned moment that cements the tension for long after the film. And here’s even more good news: If Creep gives you the thrills you’re looking for, the sequel is just as good.– Haleigh Foutch

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Image via Netflix

Director: Jim Mickle | Run Time: 115 minutes

Cast: Boyd Holbrook, Cleopatra Coleman, Michael C. Hall, Rachel Keller

Jim Mickle‘s sci-fi crime thriller mixes up time travel, Zodiac-like levels of obsessive detective work, and a dash of politics with this underseen Netflix original. Boyd Holbrook stars as a police officer who stumbles into horrendous series of crimes and winds up locked in the cat-and-mouse change that will define decades of his life… and mix him up in some twisted, tragic time-travel saga that could save the future of the country. An obsessive crime drama that mostly keeps it lowkey despite the extreme stakes, In the Shadow of the Moon has an occasional unfortunate habit of thinking it’s more ahead of the audience than it really is, but its still an intriguing, engrossing, and damn good-looking time-travel saga that’s well worth a watch. — Haleigh Foutch

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