- Many best-selling thriller novels have been adapted into films and television shows.
- The film “Gone Girl” (2014) and the HBO series “Sharp Objects” are both based on popular Gillian Flynn books.
- “Murder on the Orient Express” is an iconic mystery novel that has been adapted into two different films.
- Netflix has adapted several popular thrillers into both series and films, like “The Haunting of Bly Manor” and “Bird Box”(2018).
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There’s something satisfying about reading a great thriller and then watching its screen adaptation. Fortunately, many suspenseful novels have been turned into hit TV shows and films.
Here are some of the best thrillers that you can read and watch:
Gillian Flynn’s novel “Sharp Objects” was adapted into a hit HBO miniseries.
Gillian Flynn’s debut novel, “Sharp Objects,” follows journalist Camille Preaker as she returns to her hometown to cover a story about a series of murders. While she’s there, Camille must face her critical mother and come to terms with her personal demons.
Amy Adams starred as Camille on the eight-episode HBO miniseries. The television adaptation captured the dark essence of Flynn’s book, and it was praised for its visual appeal and powerful performances.
“Sharp Objects” can be streamed on HBO Max.
Flynn’s “Gone Girl” (2014) was adapted into an award-nominated film.
“Gone Girl” is a New York Times best-selling novel by Flynn that follows the disappearance of Amy Dunne. As her husband Nick copes with this tragedy, he simultaneously becomes a suspect in the investigation.
Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike starred in the adaptation, which was written by Flynn herself. The movie, like the book, is moody, dark, and mysterious, making it a perfect pick for fans of suspenseful thrillers.
“Gone Girl” is available to stream on DirecTV, and it can be rented or purchased online.
Emily Blunt starred in the film adaptation of “The Girl on the Train” (2016).
“The Girl on the Train,” a psychological thriller by Paula Hawkins, centres on Rachel. After consistently watching a couple on the commuter train that she rides every day, she begins to feel as if she knows them. Rachel thinks their life is idyllic, until one day when she sees a shocking exchange between the couple.
After going to the police to report what she’s seen, she becomes far more entangled in the investigation than she intended.
The book was adapted into a film starring Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, and Lisa Kudrow. Like the novel, the movie will keep viewers guessing and drag them through the entangled lives of the main characters.
“The Girl on the Train” is available for rent or purchase online.
The 2018 film “A Simple Favour” is based on a novel by Darcey Bell.
Darcey Bell’s “A Simple Favour” is a suspenseful mystery about a mummy blogger named Stephanie who befriends a fellow parent named Emily.
When Emily suddenly disappears, Stephanie is faced with the harsh realities of her friend’s seemingly perfect life as she becomes deeply involved with her family and the investigation.
The 2018 film adaptation starred Anna Kendrick as Stephanie and Blake Lively as Emily. There are constant twists throughout the plot and an underlying sense of suspense that is sure to please thriller fans.
Jennifer Lawrence starred in the movie adaptation of the spy thriller “Red Sparrow” (2018).
Jason Matthews’ “Red Sparrow” is a spy thriller about former Russian ballerina Dominika Egorova who is forced into becoming a spy for the Russian government. The Sparrow School trains its students to seduce their targets, so Dominika learns the tools of the trade and becomes known as Red Sparrow.
The novel is the first in a trilogy series by Matthews, who formerly worked with the CIA.
In 2018, the book was adapted into a film starring Jennifer Lawrence as Dominika. Although the film received mixed reviews from critics, Matthews told NPR that it accurately depicted what it’s really like to be a spy.
“Red Sparrow” can be streamed on DirecTV.
Agatha Christie’s classic murder-mystery novel “Murder on the Orient Express” has been adapted for the screen more than once.
“Murder on the Orient Express” is a classic novel by legendary mystery writer Agatha Christie.
The book is a part of Christie’s series on detective Hercule Poirot, and this instalment follows the detective as he finds himself hunting for a killer on one of the world’s most famous and luxurious trains.
The story is perfect for fans of mystery and suspense and has been adapted for the screen twice. The first film was released in 1974, starring Albert Finney as detective Poirot alongside an all-star cast: Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, and Vanessa Redgrave.
The 1974 version of “Murder on the Orient Express” can be streamed on Amazon Prime through Cinemax.
The second adaptation, starring Kenneth Branagh as Hercule Poirot, was released in 2017. It also featured Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
The 2017 film is available to rent or purchase online and is available on-demand through Sling.
The Golden Globe-winning HBO series “Big Little Lies” is based on the mystery-thriller novel by Liane Moriarty.
In 2014, Liane Moriarty released her mystery-thriller novel “Big Little Lies.” The novel follows a single mother named Jane and her son, Ziggy, as they enter a new community filled with women and families who seem perfect from the outside.
As she befriends fellow mothers Madeline, Celeste, Bonnie, and Renata though, she soon discovers that the lives of these women are not as perfect as they seem. And before long, the group finds themselves in the midst of a murder investigation.
The book was adapted into an HBO series starring Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoë Kravitz, and Laura Dern, and it ran for two critically acclaimed seasons. With award-winning performances, dark and moody imagery, and constant twists, the show is a must-see for fans of Moriarty’s novel.
“Big Little Lies” can be streamed on HBO Max.
Netflix’s “Bird Box” (2018) is based on a novel by Josh Malerman.
Josh Malerman’s “Bird Box” is a horror-thriller novel about a version of our world that is suddenly terrorised by a mysterious force that drives people to suicide if they look at it.
The novel follows a woman named Malorie and two children as they attempt to escape to one of the few remaining safe places. The group travels blindfolded down a winding river and through the wilderness in search of safety as they are chased by the evil force.
Austin Wright’s novel was the inspiration behind the hit film “Nocturnal Animals” (2016).
Originally published as “Tony and Susan,” the now renamed novel “Nocturnal Animals” tells the story of Susan Morrow, a woman who leaves her first husband and begins a new life in the suburbs with her second.
When her ex-husband suddenly reenters her life and asks her to read his latest manuscript, she becomes enthralled with the main character and begins to see the similarities between the plot and her former relationship. In the end, Susan must confront the darkness of her past before it seeps too far into her new life.
Dubbed a neo-noir psychological thriller, the 2016 film adaptation starred Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal as the lead characters. It also featured Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer, and Laura Linney.
The film is available on HBO Max and DirecTV.
Shirley Jackson’s novel inspired the Netflix series “The Haunting of Hill House.”
In the novel, three strangers visit the creepy house under the guidance of Dr. Montague to try and prove the existence of supernatural beings.
The story led to a film adaptation in 1963 and a remake of that adaptation in 1999 – but today, the most popular retelling is the Netflix series “The Haunting of Hill House.”
The streaming platform loosely borrowed some of the characters and themes from Jackson’s chilling novel to examine how the traumatic experiences in the house affected the characters after the fact.
The series is available to stream on Netflix.
“The Haunting of Bly Manor” is based on a novella by Henry James.
“The Turn of the Screw” is a novella by Henry James that follows an anonymous young governess as she moves to a rural home to take care of two young children. It doesn’t take long for her to realise there’s something paranormal and malevolent happening in the house.
It’s available to stream on Netflix.