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The 20 best Netflix thrillers to watch right now

Tom Holland in The Devil All the Time
(Image credit: Netflix)

Good thrillers will simply pass the time; the best Netflix thrillers will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire duration and will be gnawing away at you for the days and weeks to come. That's the difference, and it's one we aim to highlight here in all its breath-holding, sweat-inducing glory here. 

We've collected 25 of the best Netflix thrillers together in our curated list. Everything from the gothic horror of Tom Holland-starring The Devil All The Time through to mob epic The Irishman, and less-known (but no less brilliant) hits such as Blue Ruin and Hush are present and accounted for. So, scroll on down and get better acquainted. These are the movies you'll be telling your friends about once the credits have rolled.

I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore

I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore

(Image credit: Netflix)

We’ve all thought it when we hear of someone’s misfortune: I wouldn’t let that happen to me. That’s precisely what spurs Ruth into action in this darkly comic thriller that’s in a world of its own. Melanie Lynskey tackles the main role as a nursing assistant whose life gets upended after her home is burglarised. Dissatisfied with how the police handle her case, she steps in to rectify the problem herself, along with the help of her oddball neighbour Tony (Elijah Wood.)

Lynskey and Wood are perfect as a mismatched pair of pals who veer into some crazy territory, all in the name of friendship. A seriously unique movie, that bends back and forward into various genre tropes, it riffs on typical thriller moments and injects them with shots of black comedy. Lynskey’s constant barfing during one scene will make you nod, and go: 'Yep, that’s totally what I would do.'

I'm Thinking of Ending Things

I'm Thinking of Ending Things

(Image credit: Netflix)

Charlie Kaufman’s oeuvre tends to venture into the stranger, less obvious parts of the human experience. I’m Thinking of Ending Things, his first Netflix Original, continues that trend. Based on the acclaimed novel by Ian Reid, the movie follows largely the same story. Jessie Buckley plays a young woman whose interest in her partner Jake (Jesse Plemons) is currently waning – as evidenced by the title – yet she reluctantly agrees to a visit to meet his parents (Toni Collette and David Thewlis). 

As you might expect from Kaufman, this isn’t even remotely like… well, Meet The Parents. A head trip that refuses to adhere to any semblance of normality, this 130-minute mind-boggler must be seen to be believed. 

The Devil All The Time

The Devil All The Time

(Image credit: Netflix)

The cast is what draws you into this sprawling two-and-a-half-hour adaptation of Donald Ray Pollock’s brooding tale. Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Bill Skarsgard, Riley Keough, Sebastian Stan, Jason Clarke, and Haley Bennett are but a few of the topliners lurking in this Appalachian mystery which on the surface draws inevitable comparisons to Fargo, yet its telling is entirely fresh. 

While primarily concerned with the grimy comings-and-goings in two small towns in late 1950s Ohio, the film takes its time in unravelling its various threads. The plot bounces through time periods at a leisurely pace, kicking off with Skarsgard’s World War II vet Willard Russell returning home to wed Haley Bennett’s Charlotte. From there The Devil all the Time is led primarily by Holland’s youngster, yet still leans heavily on its batty roster of characters to tell a dark, uncompromising tale.

Hold the Dark

Hold the Dark

(Image credit: Netflix)

For his fourth feature, Jeremy Saulnier continues to disarm his fans by way of the unflinching darkness at the heart of human nature. Not exactly cheery, this time the action unravels in the cold, wintry Alaskan wilderness. Westworld’s Jeffrey Wright plays retired wolf expert Russell Core, who is lured back out into the cold by a young mother (Riley Keough) whose son was slaughtered by wolves. 

Core’s role to help locate the wolves responsible for his death, along with those of two other children, soon expands to greater mysteries out in the Alaskan winter. Isolation is the key ingredient that works to make the tale all the more haunting. Saulnier directs from a script by long-time collaborator Macon Blair, who succeeds in making you feel alone in your own skin. 

Message from the King

Message From The King

(Image credit: Netflix)

Fabrice Du Welz, the French filmmaker behind the blistering Calvaire, swings into action mode for this Netflix thriller. He enlists Chadwick Boseman, stepping outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as its triumphant Black Panther, as Jacob King, a South African who flies to Los Angeles at the behest of his sister, Bianca. When she informs him that she and her family are in trouble, he thinks nothing of flying out to check on her. 

Arguably one of Netflix’s less showy Originals, Message From the King nevertheless boasts a solid cast (including Alfred Molina and Teresa Palmer) who elevate this above movie-of-the-week material. It certainly makes the most of its leading man.

Blue Ruin

Blue Ruin

(Image credit: Radius-TWC)

Non-Netflix original available in US/UK

Following up a string of low-budget thrillers, Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin continues down the same path of brutal, human experience. Once again, with few bells and whistles, this quietly haunting drama opens with a down-on-his-luck man Dwight Evans (Saulnier’s real-life pal Macon Blair) living in his car, traumatised after the murder of his parents years before. While that circumstance could easily have spawned a moving drama, Saulnier pivots that premise. 

It twists into a compelling revenge yarn, as Evans learns the man responsible is to be released from prison. Blair’s performance is what slowly morphs this startling, bloody thriller into a character piece dredged in questions of regret and pity. What’s the cost of seeking justice for our loved ones? Is it worth losing ourselves in the mire of vengeance? 

CAM

CAM

(Image credit: Netflix)

Imagine if you tried to log in to your digital presence one day, to find that not only were you locked out, but someone else, an impostor, had taken over your online identity. CAM revolves around that scenario, following the life of a camgirl named Lola (Madeline Brewer) who makes a living as a webcam model on a popular live girls site, racking up tokens and likes from her devout followers. Her hopes of hitting the site’s top ten are dashed when she wakes one morning to discover her profile has been taken over… by an exact copy of herself.

CAM is the extended Black Mirror episode you never knew you wanted. Brewer, who you’ll recognise from Orange is the New Black – or mistake for Anna Faris – is terrific as the terrified Lola, aware that something is drastically wrong and keen to uncover the truth. And this has some killer twists and turns as she delves deeper into the site’s seedy backstory.

Hush

Hush

(Image credit: Netflix)

We’ve all run through the scenario in our head: what would I do if someone broke into my home? Mike Flanagan’s taut thriller takes that premise and breathes new life into it, by casting Kate Siegel as a deaf-mute woman in that very predicament. Maddie Young is a novelist who lives by herself – well, she has a cat called Bitch – with a friendly neighbour down the way. One night a masked madman appears at her back door, clutching a bloody knife, desperate to break in and make Maddie his next victim. Little does he know she’s got a lot of fight in her.

This ain’t your typical home invasion flick folks. With barely any dialogue, Hush is brimming with nifty concepts and ideas that make Maddie’s hellish night a fresh experience for audiences. Cutting back and forth between her and her killer, as she attempts to outsmart him, there’s blood, guts, and thrills galore. 

The Invitation

The Invitation

(Image credit: Drafthouse Films)

Non-Netflix original available in US/UK

Hell is other people, so the saying goes. It also doubles as a nice summary for this swirling domestic headscratcher, that finds Will (Logan Marshall Green) in the uncomfortable position of attending a dinner party at the house of his ex Eden (Tammy Blanchard). Bringing his current squeeze along might seem like a way to temper the bitterness, as the night drifts between awkward chatter and uncomfortable activities, but beneath the evening’s banter lies a sensation that something’s not quite right. 

And that’s mainly down to the sinister behaviour of David (Michiel Huisman), Eden’s new partner. Is he luring people into a cult? Or something worse? Bubbling away like a semi-normal drama – albeit with some awkward-as-hell exchanges – the movie trips you up toward the ending when it makes a flat-out ballsy genre shift. All that simmered tension burns off in a way that’s utterly unexpected. 

Nightcrawler

Nightcrawler

(Image credit: Open Road Films)

Non-Netflix original available in US/UK

Your typical crime thriller splits time between the cops’ perspective and the crooks’ perspective. But what about the sinister people who linger somewhere on that boundary? The dark seedy underbelly of Los Angeles' crime world is explored in Dan Gilroy's frankly terrifying black comedy. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a petty thief-turned-wannabe crime videographer, Louis Bloom. 

He's a peculiar sort who'll do whatever it takes to become a hit, whether he's breaking into people's home to shoot footage of bloody murders before the police arrive, or bribing networks. Nightcrawler is much more than the trailers let on. Sure, it's a grim thriller, but it's also very funny and packed with insane twists. Gyllenhaal gives a haunting and creepy performance. 

Calibre

Calibre

(Image credit: Netflix)

Who doesn’t love an “Oh no that seemingly-normal scenario has now turned utterly horrible within five minutes!” sort of movie? They’re perfect for wandering down all sorts of hazy moral roads, and Calibre sets out to do just that. Out in the Scottish Highlands for a hunting weekend, Vaughn and Marcus, two childhood friends plan to cut loose and enjoy themselves. Taking in the sights, and boozing it up with the locals for their first evening, early the next day the pair set out for the woods to try and bag themselves a deer. Yeah, it doesn’t quite work out that way.

Through your fingers or from behind a cushion you’ll watch it one of these ways. Taut, well-paced, and tense as hell, the real payoff for Calibre is when you realise you’ve been holding your breath. Many of the major moments here are recognisable, yet this is so well-crafted, and with SUCH an effective sound design, you’ll be wracked by the weight of it all by the time the credits roll. 

Uncut Gems

Uncut Gems

(Image credit: Netflix)

Non-Netflix original available in US/UK

What’s left to be said about the Safdie brothers nerve-shredding Uncut Gems? This tale gifted Adam Sandler the role of a lifetime that should have rightly landed him an Oscar. We’re nevertheless given a superb performance from the former jokester who plays Howie Ratner, a chatty New York City jeweller on the verge of scoring big. Of course, that’s always how it goes in the movies right? 

The Safdies ramp up the tension through remarkably simple means. Howie balances a colossal gambling debt, with a missing rare Opal, along with a girlfriend, wife, and a bunch of debt collectors locked in his storefront. There’s no showy camerawork or discernable CG that contribute to the chaos, just good old-fashioned panic in Sandler’s stunning turn as the clock counts down on a frantic day. 

Good Time

Good Time

(Image credit: Premier)

Non-Netflix original available in US/UK

The Safdies' compelling knack for making you unable to look away from the grimiest, heart-punchingly mad shit kicked off before Uncut Gems. Good Time takes one of the previous decade’s shiniest movie stars and takes him down a peg or two. Robert Pattinson plays Connie Nikas, a wannabe crook whose bank robbery aspirations go awry when his brother Nick (played by Benny Safdie) is caught and put into police custody. 

The rest of the movie follows Pattinson’s last-ditch attempts to free his sibling, no matter the cost. While Uncut Gems received more acclaim, Good Time is equally as worthy of the same praise. Pattinson well and truly torches his matinee idol persona, throwing himself into the role of Connie whose goals and motivations appear sketchy at best. It’s a tense, taut thriller that’s all the better for its blunt approach to the lives of its struggling characters. 

The Decline

The Decline

(Image credit: Netflix)

A Quebecois survivalist thriller that’s stacked to the rafters with knuckle-biting moments, no mean feat considering its brisk 83-minute runtime. This thing moves. It's as lean as the stiff, icy rabbits skinned and gutted by its doomsday internet star, Alain. A prepper readying for the apocalypse, Alain maintains his own 500-acre compound out in the snowy Canadian wilderness which is where he regularly runs workshops for those seeking the same lifestyle. Well, civilisation is on… the decline

While the movie’s soft open introduces us to one of the workshoppers, Antoine, running through a series of preparation techniques with his wife and daughter, the movie belongs to its solid ensemble who aren’t afraid to get their hands messy and beards frost-bitten. This is an impressive debut by Patrice Laliberte, whose bloodlust finds gallons spilled long before the film’s explosive ending. You’re barely given time to register the film’s more shocking moments before you’re onto the next. Ambitious and fresh, this is one of the best thrillers of recent years. 

Circle

Circle

(Image credit: FilmBuff)

Non-Netflix original available in US/UK

50 strangers wake in a giant circle. Each person stands in their own smaller circle which they cannot leave or a machine will kill them. Every two minutes, the machine kills one of them depending on who the group designates to die. If they pick no-one? The machine chooses at random. A hellish premise, certainly, that’s loaded with cunning as every inhabitant slowly succumbs.

On paper, Circle plays like a Saw sequel that got sidetracked with less emphasis on the gory traps set by Jigsaw and more on the moral trappings of its sprawling ensemble. Its short runtime adds to the briskness of the proceedings that vary from the hideous vulgarity of human existence to its best kindness, and back again. At one point, characters debate the rest of the group for their chance to survive and plot together to outsmart (i.e. kill) others. 

Bad Day For The Cut

Bad Day For The Cut

(Image credit: Northern Ireland Screen)

Non-Netflix original available in US/UK

Loaded with brutal violence from the off, Bad Day For The Cut is a genre exercise that makes you wonder why we’re not treated to more Irish genre dishes like this. Donal (Nigel O’Neill) is the seemingly-mild farmer at the heart of the story, a middle-aged man whose days revolve around work, taking care of his ailing mother, and kicking back with a few beers down the local. That is until his mum is killed during a home invasion.

The sight of her killers escaping sends him into a frenzy, that launches the film’s meaty middle acts, as Donal’s landscape shifts from a pastoral countryside vista to one of gritty urban crime. While the film might like the smell of blood, it’s also not shy about its comedic heart with a slew of wit dished out alongside the gore. 

Bird Box

Bird Box

(Image credit: Netflix)

Also known as the Sandra Bullock Netflix movie everyone watched that one Christmas. Two years on and Bird Box remains a solid thriller that packs a novel premise; unless you cover your eyes a supernatural entity will show you something that drives you insane. The kicker is that everyone is apparently shown a specific, bespoke image that causes them to immediately commit suicide. 

Strange that this was a “holiday must-see” but it nevertheless scored big for Netflix. Bullock’s dedicated performance as Malorie serves as the backbone of the movie, which leaps back and forth between the present-day where she leads two children downriver on a boat and five years earlier when the apocalypse begins. It’s those earlier scenes that stuff in the real gasp-inducing moments as the regular world is beset by otherworldly nasties.

In the Shadow of the Moon

In the Shadow of the Moon

(Image credit: Netflix)

On their own, time travel and serial killers are two enticing concepts embraced so tightly by Hollywood over the years it’s hard to imagine a way to invigorate either. Director Jim Mickle (Cold in July, We Are What We Are) mashes the two into one plot-heavy thriller that runs circles around the audience and its weary detective. As a result, In The Shadow of The Moon plays like a mix of Time Traveler’s Wife, Seven, and Terminator. 

The story opens with a young beat cop Thomas Lockhart (Boyd Holbrook) and his partner Maddox (Bokeem Woodbine) as they visit a string of bizarre crime scenes across the city one night. Lockhart makes it his mission to find the person responsible, no matter the cost, with the movie continuing to check in with him every nine years. 

Gerald's Game

Gerald's Game

(Image credit: Netflix)

A horror that's very much thrilling, this Stephen King book was once said to be unfilmable. Mike Flanagan's film, however, proves those naysayers wrong. This is perhaps the most loyal King adaptation yet, bringing a tome shuddering to life that consists mostly of a woman chained to a bed, alone, in the middle of nowhere. That woman is Jesse (Carla Gugino), whose husband, Gerald (Bruce Greenwood), drives her to a peaceful retreat for a weekend of nookie and $200 steak. 

His ticker gives up and she's left handcuffed to the bedposts with a strange dog for company... oh, and a creeping demon with red eyes that lurks in the shadows when night falls. Carla Gugino's stunning performance piles on the layers of horror from throughout Jesse's past, until the sting in the tail you won't see coming.

The Irishman

The Irishman

(Image credit: Netflix)

Scorsese’s adaptation of I Heard You Paint Houses, Charles Brandt’s book chronicling the life of mob underling Frank Sheeran, is LONG. Packed with a show-stopping cast, Robert DeNiro leads the show as the former truck driver who falls in with a Pennsylvania crime family led by Joe Pesci’s Russell Bufalino. This is a classic Scorsese pic, bringing in Al Pacino as Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa, alongside stalwarts Pesci and De Niro who shine in two of their best roles to date.

This is quintessential Scorsese with a twist: more people get shot in the face than you can count, and yet, it’s less concerned with the bravura of its mobsters. Unlike Goodfellas and Casino, The Irishman ruminates on the consequences of a lifelong dance with casual crime, how Sheeran’s commitment to violence not only destroyed the lives of his enemies but his own as well.