The 39 best crime thrillers you can watch on Netflix right now

Jim Carrey, Robert Pattinson, and Matt Damon star in three thrillers available to watch on Netflix. Saban Films/A24/Paramount Pictures/Miramax Films
  • A good thriller film keeps you gripped, but a great one makes you think about it long after you’ve watched.
  • From tense independent films like Josh and Benny Safdie’s “Good Time” starring Robert Pattinson to stone-cold classics like “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” Netflix has plenty of great thrillers to sink your teeth into.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

There is nothing quite like a gripping thriller to keep you hooked for a couple of hours. Comedies make us laugh, horrors scare us, dramas make us cry, but thrillers sink their teeth into us in ways that can keep us thinking about the movie for days on end.

Netflix is home to an abundance of great thrillers, all of which you won’t be able to switch off after you click play. From arthouse independent films like the Safdie brothers’ “Good Time” or “Uncut Gems” to espionage spy flicks like “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” you’re sure to find a thriller you’ll love amongst this list.

Here are the 39 best thrillers (listed alphabetically) you can watch on Netflix right now.

Note: Numerous Netflix titles drop off the service monthly, so the availability of titles below may change.

Insider has many movie and TV show lists to keep you occupied. You can read them all here.

‘1922’ (2017)

Directed by Zak Hilditch. Netflix

Any Stephen King adaptation is well worth watching, and this dark Netflix film is one of the most recent. There’s a host of YouTube explainer videos about this one for a reason. Give it a go.

’47 Metres Down’ (2017)

Directed by Johannes Roberts. Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures

Shark movies have been popular ever since Steven Spielberg invented the blockbuster genre with “Jaws.” They’re fun, scary, and thrilling. And this one has a truly terrifying premise – getting stuck in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean. Yikes.

‘A Most Violent Year’ (2014)

Directed by J.C. Chandor. A24/Icon Film Distribution

Anything with Oscar Isaac in it is worth watching, and this 1980s-set thriller also features Jessica Chastain and David Oyelowo.

‘Along Came a Spider’ (2001)

Directed by Lee Tamahori. Paramount Pictures

This thriller based on James Patterson’s novel is pretty much a classic by now, and Morgan Freeman nails his role as detective Alex Cross – a role he first played in “Kiss the Girls.”

‘Anon’ (2018)

Directed by Andrew Niccol. Altitude Film Distribution.

This high-concept thriller, in which the world doesn’t have anonymity or crime, stars Clive Owen as a detective trying to work out a dangerous woman.

‘Bird Box’ (2018)

Directed by Susanne Bier. Netflix

While comparisons to “A Quiet Place” (just swap sound with sight) are inevtiable, director Susanne Bier manages to make this one movie unique, and Sandra Bullock leads a stellar cast including Tom Hollander,Sarah Paulson, and John Malkovich.

‘Brooklyn’s Finest’ (2009)

Directed by Antoine Fuqua. Overture Films

If you liked the Denzel Washington classic “Training Day,” you’ll like director Antoine Fuqua’s other cop thriller. Richard Gere, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke, and Wesley Snipes star.

‘Burning’ (2018)

Directed by Lee Chang-dong. CGV Arthouse

South Korean movies are very popular right now thanks to “Parasite,” and the slow-burner “Burning” is one of the very best. It’s intense and unsettling, and Steven Yeun delivers a great performance.

‘Black Sea’ (2014)

Directed by Kevin Macdonald. Focus Features

This submarine disaster thriller comes from “The Last King of Scotland” director Kevin Macdonald, and features Jude Law sporting a Scottish accent. It’s worth a watch for that reason alone.

‘The Coldest Game’ (2019)

Directed by Łukasz Kośmicki. Netflix

Bill Pullman is the kind of actor you recognise from a lot of different films but can never quite recall his name. It’s great to see him take centre stage in this chess-cum-soviet-spy-mission thriller.

‘The Crying Game’ (1992)

Directed by Neil Jordan. Palace Pictures/Miramax Films

Neil Jordan’s film follows a British soldier kidnapped by the IRA. It was nominated for six Oscars, including best picture, and won best original screenplay.

‘Dark Crimes’ (2016)

Directed by Alexandros Avranas. Saban Films

Jim Carrey is best known for larger-than-life comic roles like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” or “Bruce Almighty,” but he’s got great dramatic chops, too. He gives a dark turn here as a detective on the trail of a killer.

‘Donnie Brasco’ (1997)

Directed by Mike Newell. TriStar Pictures

Johnny Depp x Al Pacino -t wo of the best actors in cinema history come together in the highly underrated classic “Donnie Brasco,” which follows an undercover cop (Depp) infiltrating the mob… and enjoying mob life.

‘Drive’ (2011)

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. FilmDistrict

Ryan Gosling does mysterious and moody like no one else, and this film is a cult classic. It also boasts a fantastic soundtrack, too.

‘El Camino’ (2019)

Directed by Vince Gilligan. Netflix

If you’re a “Breaking Bad” fan, this is must-watch viewing. If not, this is still a thrilling film in and of itself, and shows Aaron Paul continue his streak of great performances.

‘Enemy’ (2013)

Directed by Denis Villeneuve. Entertainment One/Alfa Pictures

Jake Gyllenhaal and Denis Villeneuve collaborated on “Prisoners,” which is a much better known film than this one. But if you loved that, you’ll enjoy this hidden gem, too.

‘Forgotten’ (2017)

Directed by Jang Hang-jun. Megabox Plus M

This dark, twisted film is unlike any other on this list. If you want to get completely caught up in a sinister mystery, put this on. It follows a man whose brother shows up after being missing for 19 years, but he turns up as a completely different person.

‘Gerald’s Game’ (2017)

Directed by Mike Flanagan. Netflix

Another Stephen King adaptation – something you can never have too many of. This is a great, simple concept executed well, and while its ending may prove devisive, it’s still essential viewing.

‘The Gift’ (2015)

Directed by Joel Edgerton. STX Entertainment

There’s lots of firsts in this one. It was Joel Edgerton’s feature film debut as a director, and also one of the first dramatic performances from comic actor Jason Bateman. If you like Bateman in Netflix’s “Ozark,” give this one a go.

‘Good Time’ (2017)

Josh and Benny Safdie directed ‘Good Time.’ A24

You’ve probably heard of “Uncut Gems” starring Adam Sandler by now, and if you enjoyed the intensity of that, you’ll love the Safdie brothers’ “Good Time.” Again, go in as a blind as possible, and enjoy another stellar Robert Pattinson performance.

‘The Hateful Eight’ (2015)

Directed by Quentin Tarantino. The Weinstein Company

This is a really tense, claustrophic film from Quentin Tarantino. It’s best viewed in one sitting with no distractions. Give it the time it deserves, though, and you will be sucked into the brutal world brought to life by its fantastic actors, including Tarantino regulars Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, and, the best of the bunch, Jennifer Jason Leigh.

‘I am Mother’ (2019)

Directed by Grant Sputore. Netflix

In this high-concept thriller – in which a teenage girl is raised by a robot after humanity’s extinction – Rose Byrne stars as Mother, the voice of the robot.

‘In the Tall Grass’ (2019)

Directed by Vincenzo Natali Netflix

Yep. Another Stephen King adaptation. Another couple of hours well spent. This monster movie is definitely worth a go if you liked “Bird Box.”

‘The Invitation’ (2015)

Directed by Karyn Kusama. Drafthouse Films

A man accepts an invitation from his ex-wife to attend a dinner party, and things don’t go so well. This is a tense, unsettling film that will grip its in claws into you and keep them there for the entire run-time.

‘The Last Thing He Wanted’ (2020)

Directed by Dee Rees. Netflix

Adapted from Joan Didion’s novel, Anne Hathaway stars as a journalist unwittingly becoming the subject of the very story she is trying to write. Ben Affleck costars.

‘Limitless’ (2011)

Directed by Neil Burger. Relativity

Bradley Cooper has earned eight Oscar nominations since this film came out, but it’s good to rewind a bit and see how he started out. This was one of his biggest films back then, and is a really fun thriller.

‘Mystic River’ (2003)

Directed by Clint Eastwood. Warner Bros.

Sean Penn won his first Oscar for this devastating thriller, starring as a father desperately searching for his lost daughter with the help of childhood friends Kevin Bacon and Tim Robbins (who also won an Oscar). Clint Eastwood directs.

‘Only God Forgives’ (2013)

Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. RADiUS-TWC

Ryan Gosling and director Nicolas Winding Refn prove to be a great combo again with this vibrant, violent thriller about a mother asking her son (Gosling) to find his brother’s killer in Bangkok, Thailand.

‘Pandora’ (2016)

Directed by Park Jung-woo. Next Entertainment World

A nuclear power plant explodes, causing an earthquake. In this out-and-out disaster movie, only the workers can prevent further destruction.

‘The Red Sea Diving Resort’ (2019)

Directed by Gideon Raff. Netflix

In one of his first post-MCU roles, Chris Evans reminds us that he is more than just Captain America. He’s actually a very talented, charismatic actor with a surprising amount of versatility. This film is worth a watch for him alone.

‘Secret in Their Eyes’ (2015)

Directed by Billy Ray. STXfilms

The triad of Julia Roberts, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Nicole Kidman is compelling enough, but this film is a twisting, thrilling ride, too.

‘Shot Caller’ (2017)

Directed by Ric Roman Waugh. Saban Films

Like Evans, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau proves he is more than just the character he has played for years – while he was excellent as Jaime Lannister in “Game of Thrones,” in this transformative post-GoT role, he is unrecognizable as a newly-released prisoner forced into further, brutal crime.

‘The Silence’ (2019)

Directed by John R. Leonetti. Netflix

Stanley Tucci is one of the most versatile actors out there, and he isn’t appreciated nearly enough. This Netflix original deserves to be watched for him alone, even if it is eerily similar to “A Quiet Place.”

‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’ (1999)

Directed by Anthony Minghella. Paramount Pictures/Miramax Films

Matt Damon is at his best when he plays manipulative characters who live through deceit. He was brilliant doing just that in “The Departed,” but he first did it in “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” a film with gay undertones that sees Damon fall for, and eventually want to become, the character played by Jude Law, who was Oscar-nominated for this film. Set in Italy, it’s as beautiful as it is captivating.

‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ (2011)

Directed by Tomas Alfredson. StudioCanal

Gary Oldman finally earned his first Oscar nomination in 2011 for this film after a career of near-perfect performances. He toned things down for this, and it’s a masterclass in restraint. Costarring in the movie is the cream of the British acting crop:Colin Firth, John Hurt, Mark Strong, Tom Hardy,Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Graham, Toby Jones, and more.

‘Uncut Gems’ (2019)

Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie. Netflix

Adam Sandler deserved an Oscar nomination for his performance in this film that is simply torturous to watch (in a very, very good way). You could almost imagine Al Pacino playing this role in the 1970s, and Sandler is perfect in this movie from the Safdie brothers.

‘Under the Skin’ (2013)

Directed by Jonathan Glazer. StudioCanal/A24

This strange film is hailed as a masterpiece by some, and as a joke by others. Scarlett Johansson stars, and it’s worth finding out what all the commotion is about.

‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ (2019)

Directed by Dan Gilroy. Netflix

Jake Gyllenhaal is a joy to watch in everything he does, and he is clearly having a ball playing art critic Morf Vandewalt. This is violent, satirical fun.

‘Zodiac’ (2007)

Directed by David Fincher. Paramount Pictures/Warner Bros. Pictures.

In the most accurate movie about the Zodiac killer ever, David Fincher brings together the talents of Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr, and Mark Ruffalo to create a spellbinding and often terrifying drama. It’s also interesting to see these three stars on screen together pre-MCU. This was even before “Iron Man.”