The 15 best thriller movies on Netflix (October 2021)

Inception and Shutter Island are thriller movies on Netflix. Pic credit: Warner Bros / Paramount

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 October 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.

Synchronic (2019)

Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan in Synchronic. Pic credit: Well Go USA

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.

Eagle Eye (2008)

Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan in Eagle Eye
Shia LaBeouf and Michelle Monaghan in Eagle Eye. Pic credit: Paramount

In the early 2000s, D.J. Caruso made a pair of movies that homaged the work of Alfred Hitchock.

One was Disturbia, which was basically a modern-day Rear Window, and the second was Eagle Eye, which was his version of North By Northwest, but as a techno-thriller.

Both movies also starred Shia LaBeouf.

In Eagle Eye, LaBeouf starred as Jerry, a Stanford dropout whose twin brother died. After the funeral, Jerry finds a lot of money transferred into his bank account and several illegal firearms in his apartment, and the FBI setting out to arrest him.

He ends up entangled in a mess that he has no idea how to deal with. Also starring in the movie are Michelle Monaghan and Billy Bob Thornton.

Freaks (2018)

The cast of Freaks. Pic credit: Well Go USA

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.

Inception (2010)

The best action movies on Netflix (July 2020)
The Christopher Nolan movie Inception. Pic credit: Warner Bros

In 2010, Christopher Nolan brought the world one of his mind-bending sci-fi action movies.

Inception starred Leonardo DiCaprio as part of a team that breaks into people’s minds and steals their memories.

He is offered a chance to have his full criminal history erased if he plants new ideas in the memory of a CEO of a major corporation.

The movie won four Oscars, while also picking up a nomination for Best Picture.

Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

The Lincoln Lawyer
Matthew McConaughey in The Lincoln Lawyer. Pic credit: Lionsgate

Matthew McConaughey stars as defense attorney Mickey Haller in The Lincoln Lawyer.

The movie is based on the series of books by mystery writer Michael Connelly, the series a spinoff of Connelly’s Harry Bosch novels.

In this movie, a wealthy family hires Mickey to represent their son (Ryan Phillipe), who was accused of murdering a young girl. However, when Mickey realizes the truth, his life is put in danger and he has to figure out how to do the right thing without betraying his oath as an attorney.

The Strangers (2008)

The masked invaders in The Strangers.
The masked invaders in The Strangers. Pic credit: Universal

Released in 2008, The Strangers is a home invasion movie with a twist.

Scott Speedman and Liv Tyler star as a couple in a remote vacation home who are enjoying the isolation until three masked strangers show up and terrorize them.

The couple fights for their survival with no idea who these home invaders are or why they targeted this house. Out of the onslaught of home invasion horror thrillers, The Strangers remain one of the best.

Mystic River (2003)

Mystic River
Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon in Mystic River. Pic credit: Warner Bros.

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
The cast of Army of the Dead. Pic credit: Netflix

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)

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 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.

The Da Vinci Code (2006)

The Da Vinci Code
Tom Hanks 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 works 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 can now 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 deals with the true-life Indian Ocean tsunami of 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.

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 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)

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 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)

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 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.


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