The 15 best thriller movies on Netflix (April 2021)

Thriller movies on Netflix
Training Day and Crimson Peak are both on Netflix. Pic credit: Warner Bros / Universal

It is always the perfect time to watch a great thriller movie, and Netflix has a ton of options to keep any viewer on the edge of their seats this July.

From the early days of cinema and the brilliance of Alfred Hitchcock to the action-packed movies of the high concept era of the ’80s, thrillers come in all shapes and sizes with something for every movie fan.

If you are someone who likes to be scared, there are plenty of thrillers with serial killers, sociopaths, and cannibals to keep you awake at night.

For someone who likes their thriller movies to be more action-based, there are plenty of murder mysteries, spy thrillers, and crime stories that will have you on the edge of your seat.

From some of the best movies in cinema history to great Netflix originals that have hit the streaming service over the past few years, here are 15 of the best thriller movies you can catch in April 2021 on Netflix.

Updated on April 3, 2021 – Every month, movies come and go from Netflix, and this month, there were two changes made to our list. It is a good thing that more movies arrive on Netflix all the time.

We added new movies to replace the departed ones, but if you are in the mood, here are more thrillers to hit Netflix this month once you complete our list: Mud, Gothika, Angels & Demons, Peppermint, Ava, Triple 9, and Braven.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series coming to Amazon
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by David Fincher. Pic credit: Sony

In 2011, David Fincher remade the 2009 Swedish film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, based on the 2005 novel by Steig Larsson.

The movie stars Rooney Mara as hacker Lisbeth Salander, who works with disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist, played by Daniel Craig.

The two sent out to investigate a decades old disappearance for a wealthy man named Henrik Vanger, who promises to help Blomkvist beat the libel case that has ruined his career.

However, when Lisbeth and Mikael dig into this case, they learn some people will kill to keep the secrets of the past hidden.

Crimson Peak (2015)

Crimson Peak
The cast of Crimson Peak. Pic credit: Universal

Guillermo del Toro returned to gothic horror in 2015 for the movie Crimson Peak.

The cast was top-notch, with aspiring author Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) moving to England with her new husband (Tom Hiddleston) and his sister (Jessica Chastain).

However, when the three move into the large creepy dilapidated mansion, Edith begins to see mysterious ghosts in the house and she begins to descend into madness as everything falls apart around her.

Miss Sloane (2016)

Miss Sloane (2016)
Jessica Chastain in Miss Sloane. Pic credit: EuropaCorp

Miss Sloane is a political thriller from 2016, directed by John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) and staring Jessica Chastain.

Chastain stars as Elizabeth Sloane, a lobbyist who is fighting to pass gun control legislation. However, as she works to achieve these goals, a gun manufacturing representative begins to dig into her past.

Sloane is so desperate to achieve her goals that she will go to any lengths, even if it means destroying her own life.

2012 (2009)

2012 (2009)
John Cusack in 2012, Pic credit: Columbia Pictures

Roland Emmerich returned for another disaster film in 2009, titled 2012.

In the movie, Emmerich has natural disasters start to destroy the planet, with major set pieces including volcanos, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes, and floods, wiping out most of the world.

John Cusack is the main star, trying to save his family as the world falls apart around him.

When he learns that the rich and powerful have been planning for this, and have built arcs to survive the disasters, he sets out to make sure he can get his family aboard one to save their lives.

Training Day (2001)

Training Day
Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke in Training Day. Pic credit: Warner Bros

Denzel Washington had made his name in several dramatic roles over his career, but in 2001 he took a huge left turn.

Washington took on a rare villain role in the crime thriller Training Day. Denzel starred as Alonzo “King Kong” Harris, a corrupt and deadly cop in Los Angeles.

Ethan Hawke co-stars as Jake Hoyt, a youngster assigned for an evaluation by Alonzo. The two then end up on a series of adventures where Jake realizes how corrupt Alonzo is and learns his life is in great danger.

Denzel won the Oscar for Best Actor, while Hawke picked up a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

I Am Legend (2007)

I Am Legend
Will Smith in I Am Legend. Pic credit: Warner Bros

Will Smith took a role in a classic horror story when he starred in the adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend.

In the movie, Smith is one of the few living survivors of a plague that turns most of the world into vampires. He spends his nights boarded up in his home while his undead neighbors torment him at his door.

He spends his days hunting down lairs of vampires and killing them while also hoping to one day find a cure that can save humanity.

However, the twist is who the real villain in this story is.

The Departed (2006)

The Departed
Leonardo Di Caprio, Matt Damon, and Jack Nicholson in The Departed. Pic credit: Warner Bros.

In 2006, Martin Scorsese remade a Hong Kong action thriller called Infernal Affairs. It was an unusual move by Scorsese, who chose to remake it almost extremely faithfully. There was even an elevator scene that was a shot-for-shot copy of the original movie.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, and Alec Baldwin star in this movie about the war between the police and the organized crime that runs the city.

Nicholson is the mob boss that sends an undercover mole played by Matt Damon into the police academy. Meanwhile, the police have sent an undercover police officer into the mafia family, and these two men play both sides against each other.

The Departed was a success, with Scorsese winning Best Director and ht movie winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

The Da Vinci Code (2006)

The Da Vinci Code
Tom Hank’s and Audrey Tautou in The Da Vinci Code. Pic credit: Sony

Based on the bestselling novel by Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code stars Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, a professor of religious symbology from Harvard who is the prime suspect in a murder investigation.

Langdon slips away from the police and starts to work with a cryptologist (Audrey Tautou), trying to find out more about what happened and why.

This leads him down a wormhole where he finds evidence that the Church has been hiding controversial truths from the world since the times of Jesus Christ.

Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Nocturnal Animals
Amy Adams in Nocturnal Animals. Pic credit: Focus Features

Nocturnal Animals is a 2016 neo-noir thriller starring Amy Adams as Susan Morrow, an art gallery owner who received a novel written by her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal).

She is in a deteriorating marriage to a man named Hutton (Armie Hammer). She becomes consumed by the novel, dedicated to her, and even named after her old nickname.

The movie flips between the fictional story from the novel and Susan’s life and the parallels she sees.

The Impossible (2012)

The Impossible
Naomi Watts and Tom Holland in The Impossible. Pic credit: Summit Entertainment

Fans of Tom Holland from the Spider-Man movies and the recent Netflix hit movie The Devil All the Time now have a chance to see his big-screen debut.

And it was a big one.

A 16-yar-old Holland co-starred in the thriller The Impossible as the son of Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts. The film is based on the true-life Indian Ocean tsunami from 2004.

McGregor and Watts are a husband and wife who goes on a vacation to Thailand with their three sons for Christmas in 2004. However, while they are there, the 2004 tsunami blasts the beach resort they are at.

The movie separates Watts’ Maria and one son, Holland’s Lucas, from her husband and the other two kids. While McGregor’s Thomas sends his two younger kids with another family to the mountains for safety, he remains behind to search for Maria and Lucas.

Casino Royale (2006)

Netflix: Casino Royale
Daniel Craig in Casino Royale. Pic credit: Sony

In 2006, the James Bond franchise replaced Pierce Brosnan with Daniel Craig, and he sparked new life into the franchise with Casino Royale.

The series went back to a darker, more violent era, more similar to Timothy Dalton and Sean Connery than Brosnan and Roger Moore. However, it also owed a lot to the Bourne movies, which changed how people looked at spy movies.

This film had Craig as 007, as he set out at the start of his career. He set out with the order to assassinate two targets. When this leads to the villain La Chiffre as the real threat, Bond goes undercover at a high stakes poker game with the orders to bring him down.

Mad Max (1979)

Mad Max
Mel Gibson in Mad Max. Pic credit: Warner Bros.

Before anyone ever heard of Mel Gibson, he appeared in the 1979 dystopian thriller movie Mad Max.

This Australian film had Gibson star as Mad Max Rockatansky, a highway patrol Pursuit Specialist who is a master driver behind the wheel of souped-up cars.

However, the violence gets too much for him with the rising violence of motorcycle gangs, and after his partner is killed, he tries to resign. Instead, he asked to go on vacation and think about it.

When his family is killed on this vacation, his rage sends him over the edge, and he takes the Pursuit Special and heads out to kill every member of the gang.

The Old Guard (2020)

The Old Guard on Netflix
The Old Guard on Netflix. Pic credit: Aimee Spinks/Netflix

The Old Guard is a new Netflix movie based on a comic book about a group of immortal warriors tasked with helping people through centuries.

Charlize Theron stars in the lead role as the oldest of them, all while Kiki Layne stars as a newly resurrected immortal that shows up just in time.

After years of fighting terrorists and pure evil, the group now face their greatest enemy — a big pharm businessman who wants to replicate their gifts to become richer.

Check out our review of The Old Guard here, as this is one of the best new thriller movies on Netflix.

Uncut Gems (2019)

Uncut Gems
Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems. Pic credit: A24

For anyone who thinks that Adam Sandler only stars in juvenile sophomoric comedies, check out Uncut Gems to see a very different side of the comedy actor.

Uncut Gems is in no way a comedy, and Sandler proves to be up to the task of changing genres in this thriller that hit theaters in a limited release in 2019 before arriving later on Netflix.

Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie had previously created a dark and disturbing thriller where they changed everything people knew about Twilight actor Robert Pattinson in Good Time. It made sense that Sandler would trust them in Uncut Gems.

Sandler stars as a New York City jeweler who does anything he can to stay afloat when his gambling debts start to rise. Sandler picked up several critics awards for his role, including winning the Best Male Lead Award at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Shutter Island (2010)

Shutter Island
Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo in Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island. Pic credit: Paramount

Martin Scorsese made a genre movie with Shutter Island, a horror-thriller that plays with the viewer’s expectations.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo are two special agents sent to Shutter Island to investigate a disappearance at a mental asylum for the criminally insane.

As they investigate, things begin to take a turn, and it appears that something supernatural might be to blame.

With Scorsese at the helm, the movie is a masterclass, and everyone involved leads the audience on a twisting and turning masterpiece.

Shawn S. Lealos

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