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.
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 this month on Netflix.
Updated in January 2022 – 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.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
In 2011, David Fincher remade the Norwegian action-thriller The Gril with the Dragon Tattoo.
The movie was very similar to the original, based on the Steig Larsson novel. Rooney Mara stars as Lisbeth Salander, a hacker who helps a disgraced journalist, played by Daniel Craig, investigate a disappearance from 40 years ago.
While looking into the disappearance, it opens up old secrets and puts both of their lives in danger.
The movie won an Oscar for Best Film editing, and Trent Reznor picked up a lot of acclaim for his score.
Law Abiding Citizen (2009)
Released in 2009, Law Abiding Citizen stars Gerard Butler in a torture-based revenge action movie.
Butler is Clyde Shelton, the victim of a home invasion where his wife and daughter are murdered. One of the killers (Christian Stolte) is released early thanks to a plea bargain, where he testifies against the other man.
Angry at the justice system failing his family, Shelton kidnaps the killer, tortures him in terrible ways, and kills him.
Jamie Foxx stars as the prosecutor, and when he has Clyde arrested for the murders, the deaths of those involved in the plea bargain continue to happen while he is behind bars, leaving the police trying to figure out what is happening.
Francis Ford Coppola created his own movie in the world of the classic Universal Monster Dracula. This was Bram Stoker’s Dracula, with Gary Oldman playing the role of the vampire.
While the cast was questionable in some areas, especially with a miscast Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker, the movie was a huge success.
Dracula brought a gothic atmosphere to the story and focused more on that than the actual horror. It ended up winning three Oscars, including one for Makeup and one for Costume Design.
It Follows (2014)
It Follows is a 2014 horror-thriller about a supernatural entity that stalks teens after sexual encounters.
The movie takes the old horror trope of teens dying after having sex and made the actual act of sex as the trigger device for this entity, which begins following the kids until it finally either kills them or they pass it on by having sex with someone else.
The movie was a success, making $23 million with just a budget of $1.3 million. It also has a fantastic 96% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.
Total Recall (2012)
In 2012, Len Wiseman remade the sci-fi thriller classic Total Recall.
Colin Farrell took on the role that Arnold Schwarzengger played in the original, as a man who goes through a fantasy experience where he was a spy, only for it to turn out he really was a spy in the past.
The big change here is that the action no longer takes place on Mars and is instead of an Earth devastated by chemical warfare. There was a great sci-fi device as an elevator went through the center of the Earth to make cross-planet travel quick.
Synchronic is a science fiction movie that had a 2019 festival release date but hit theaters during the pandemic and lost out on a deserving audience.
Directed by Jason Benson and Aaron Moorhead, the men behind The Endless, the movie stars Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan as paramedics who are called to a series of cases with strange circumstances.
The cases are linked to a designer drug called Synchronic. When Steve (Mackie) learns he has cancer and is dying, he buys all the Synchronic to keep it out of everyone’s hands.
He then realizes it is a time travel pill and he can use it to try to find his partner’s missing daughter.
Freaks is an original superhero movie that flew under the radar in 2018.
The movie is about a seven-year-old girl named Chloe who lives in a house and has never been outside or met any other person.
Her father (Emile Hirsch) has protected her from what he calls the “bad men,” but she longs for real life.
Soon, Chloe learns that there are abnormals in the world, which are people with superhuman abilities that the government is hunting down and capturing. Chloe is one of these abnormals, and the reason her father was so protective becomes apparent.
Mystic River (2003)
Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, Mystic River tells the story of three childhood friends who have grown up to become very different people as adults.
Sean Penn is Jimmy Markum, who is an ex-con running a convenience store. Kevin Bacon is Sean, a police detective working in their Boston neighborhood.
Tim Robbins is Dave, a problematic man kidnapped as a child and sexually abused for days before escaping. When someone kills Jimmy’s daughter Katie, Jimmy believes Dave killed her.
The movie is a powerful story of trauma and shows what a father will do to find justice.
Army of the Dead (2021)
Army of the Dead is Zack Snyder’s new movie as he leaves the superhero genre and moves back to the zombie genre.
Snyder gained his earliest acclaim with the remake of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and that movie proved to be a fantastic addition to the zombie genre.
In this new Netflix movie, Snyder has the zombie genre kept in one place, as all the zombies are in Las Vegas, surrounded by a wall keeping them contained.
However, when a team is put together (with Dave Bautista as the lead) to go in and steal money from a casino vault, they learn the zombies have developed intelligence and are ready for a fight.
Crimson Peak (2015)
Guillermo del Toro returned to gothic horror in 2015 for the movie Crimson Peak.
The cast is fantastic. 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 sees mysterious ghosts in the house and she descends into madness as everything falls apart around her.
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
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 Old Guard (2020)
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 entrepreneur 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)
For anyone who thinks that Adam Sandler only stars in juvenile sophomoric comedies, check out Uncut Gems to see a different side of the comedy actor.
Uncut Gems is not a comedy, and Sandler proves to be up to 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 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)
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 take a turn, and they believe 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.