The Best Netflix Thrillers to Watch Tonight

Don't be in suspense about what movie to watch this evening

Popularized and perfected by Alfred Hitchcock in the mid-twentieth century, cinematic thrillers come in many forms and genres. From psychological thrillers to sci-fi horror, Netflix has no shortage of tense films in its massive library. We've picked through its catalog of major studio features and Netflix Originals to find the best thrillers that will keep you glued to the TV in suspense.

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Nocturnal Animals (2016): Best Aesthetic Thriller

Amy Adams as Susan Morrow in Nocturnal Animals (2016).

Focus Features

  • IMDb Rating: 7.5/10
  • Genre: Drama, Thriller
  • Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon
  • Director: Tom Ford
  • Motion Picture Rating: R
  • Running Time: 1 hour, 56 minutes

Tom Ford’s follow-up to A Single Man is a gorgeously-shot neo-noir whose beauty is constantly undercut by harrowing depictions of physical and psychological violence.

Amy Adams stars as a wealthy art gallery owner who is forced to contend with her troubled marriage to her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) after he sends her the manuscript for his new novel. The film jumps back and forth between the real world and Edward's novel, the latter of which tells the story of a family plunged into a violent encounter with a group of criminals led by Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

Also starring Michael Shannon (who earned a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his performance), Nocturnal Animals was a modest critical hit that nonetheless earned nine BAFTA Award nominations. 

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I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017): Best Oddball Thriller

Elijah Wood and Melanie Lynskey in I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore (2017).


  • IMDb Rating: 6.9/10
  • Genre: Comedy, Crime, Drama
  • Starring: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood, David Yow
  • Director: Macon Blair
  • Motion Picture Rating: Not Rated
  • Running Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes

A suburban neo-noir grounded in the mundane, Macon Blair’s debut feature is a clever genre mashup that is at times hilarious, audacious, and surprisingly violent.

Melanie Lynskey stars as Ruth, a lonely nursing assistant who comes home one day to find her house has been robbed. Frustrated by unhelpful police, she recruits her strange but helpful neighbor Tony (Elijah Wood) to help track down the thieves. What follows is a maddening and bizarre amateur investigation that brings Ruth and Tony into contact with a cast of characters (mostly jerks) and reveals some harsh truths about what life is like for most Americans struggling to get by.

I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a Netflix Original that won the Grand Jury Prize for Drama at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival.

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Gerald's Game (2017): Best Adaptation of a Stephen King Thriller

Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood in Gerald's Game (2017).


  • IMDb Rating: 6.5/10
  • Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller
  • Starring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Chiara Aurelia
  • Director: Mike Flanagan
  • Motion Picture Rating: Not Rated
  • Running Time: 1 hour, 43 minutes

Mike Flanagan has had a historically productive partnership with Netflix and one of his best efforts is this faithful adaptation of Stephen King’s 1992 novel of the same name.

Gerald’s Game is set almost entirely within one room in an isolated lake house where Jessie (Carla Gugino) has been playfully handcuffed to the bed by her husband Gerald (Bruce Greenwood). The only problem? Gerald dies of a heart attack before Jessie can be uncuffed, leaving her trapped with a hungry stray dog close at hand. 

Praised for its tense psychological thrills and riveting lead performance from Gugino, Gerald’s Game is one of the best adaptations of King’s work to make its way to Netflix.

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Oxygen (2021): Best Claustrophobic Thriller

Mélanie Laurent as Elizabeth Hansen in Oxygen (2021).


  • IMDb Rating: 6.5/10
  • Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
  • Starring: Mélanie Laurent, Mathieu Amalric, Malik Zidi
  • Director: Alexandre Aja
  • Motion Picture Rating: PG-13
  • Running Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

A tense French-language science-fiction thriller from director Alexandre Aja, Oxygen is a spiritual successor of sorts to 2010’s Ryan-Reynolds-trapped-in-an-enclosed-space thriller Buried but with a futuristic twist.

Mélanie Laurent (Inglorious Basterds) stars as Liz, a woman who wakes up in a cryogenic pod with her memory lost, oxygen levels rapidly decreasing, and no means of escape. It’s an anxiety-inducing setup that leads to some satisfying payoffs as the viewer unravels the mysteries of Liz’s fate along with her. 

Oxygen scored an 88% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics calling it “a must-watch thriller for sci-fi fans.”

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Time to Hunt (2020): Best Assassin Thriller

Lee Jehoon in Time to Hunt (2020).


  • IMDb Rating: 6.3/10
  • Genre: Action, Crime, Drama
  • Starring: Lee Jehoon, Jae-hong Ahn, Choi Woo-sik
  • Director: Yoon Sunghyun
  • Motion Picture Rating: Not Rated
  • Running Time: 2 hours, 14 minutes

An action thriller that delivers the kind of sustained tension you’d expect from a Michael Mann film, Yoon Sunghyun’s Time to Hunt employs a tried-and-true narrative setup to put its characters through some truly hellish set pieces.

Set in a dystopian South Korea, Time to Hunt follows a group of friends (including Train to Busan and Parasite star Choi Woo-shik) who find themselves hunted by a relentless contract killer (Park Hae-soo) following a botched gambling house robbery. 

Distributed internationally by Netflix, Time to Hunt earned nominations from the Asian Film Awards and Baeksang Arts Awards.

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Creep (2014): Best Found Footage Thriller

Mark Duplass as Josef in Creep (2014).


  • IMDb Rating: 6.3/10
  • Genre: Horror, Thriller
  • Starring: Mark Duplass, Patrick Brice, Katie Aselton
  • Director: Patrick Brice
  • Motion Picture Rating: R
  • Running Time: 1 hour, 17 minutes

Mark Duplass is generally known for his low-key comedy work, so it’s a shock to go completely against type as an eccentric creep (pun intended) in this brisk thriller, which he co-wrote with director Patrick Brice.

Brice plays Aaron, a videographer hired by Josef (Duplass) to film him at a remote cabin. Although Josef claims to have a terminal brain tumor, his increasingly troubling behavior soon leads Aaron to realize that his new client isn’t who he claims to be. 

Creep employs the found footage technique popularized by series like Paranormal Activity to creative effect and was a popular hit for Netflix. An arguably even better sequel was released in 2017, with a third installment on the way.

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Cam (2018): Best Online Culture Thriller

Madeline Brewer as Alice / Lola in Cam (2018).


  • IMDb Rating: 5.9/10
  • Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery
  • Starring: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Melora Walters
  • Director: Daniel Goldhaber
  • Motion Picture Rating: Not Rated
  • Running Time: 1 hour, 34 minutes

There’s been no shortage of films that depict the darker sides of the internet in recent years, but Daniel Goldhaber’s thriller about an adult webcam performer feels especially plugged into this cultural anxiety.

Cam stars Madeline Brewer (The Handmaid’s Tale) as Alice, a camgirl who broadcasts under the name “Lola_Lola.” Alice has amassed a loyal following but things take an unsettling turn when she finds herself locked out of her account and her identity stolen by a doppelganger. Isa Mazzei’s script nails its psychological horror beats but the material is elevated by the ways in which it empathetically and thoughtfully engages with sex work, as well as power dynamics within online communities.

Cam currently holds a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and was widely regarded as one of the best horror movies of 2018. 

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