8 Best Thrillers on Netflix

Some of the best late nights can be spent catching up on old or lesser known thrillers on Netflix. Plus, since they regularly change out their selections, you can almost always find either something you haven’t seen, or something you may want to watch again. Netflix has a lot of genres available for streaming, but thrillers are probably one of their most popular, so let’s take a look at eight of the best thrillers on Netflix right now.

8. The Shining (1980)

Release Date on Netflix: 2017
Director: Stanley Kubrick
Runtime: 2 hr 26 min
IMDB Rating: 8.4
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
MPAA Rating: R
Streaming On: All Netflix

This movie is considered one of the great classics of cinematic horror. Combining Stephen King’s literary spookiness with Stanley Kubrick’s eye for detail and use of space, it is probably one of the best movies of its genre ever made. If you have seen it before, it is worth another watch, as you will almost certainly catch something from the film you have never noticed before. If you haven’t seen it, well then, you have missed out on required watching not just for fans of thrillers, but for any movie lover in general. Friendly tip: try not to watch it alone.

7. Alive (1993)

Release Date on Netflix: 2016
Director: Frank Marshall
Runtime: 2 hr 6 min
IMDB Rating: 7.1
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 70%
MPAA Rating: R
Streaming On: All Netflix

Based on the true story of the Uruguayan soccer team whose plane crashed in the Andes Mountains, this is an intense survival thriller. At the top of the world, it is freezing cold, there is no food, and water can only come from snow melt. While a lot of what originally drew viewers to this film was the depiction of survivalist cannibalism, the real heart of the film is a story of friends desperate to help each other survive in extreme and abandoned conditions.

6. American Fable (2016)

Release Date on Netflix: 2016
Director: Anne Hamilton
Runtime: 1 hr 36 min
IMDB Rating: 6.3
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 69%
MPAA Rating: PG13
Streaming On: Netflix USA

This film premiered at the South by Southwest festival for independent films, where it won two awards. It is a tale of struggle on a Midwestern farm in the 1980’s, when a lot of family farms went belly up. It follows the desperate acts of a father who wants provide for and then protect his family from foreclosure. It is told from the point of view of a young girl (with a masterful performance by young Peyton Kennedy), so, from time to time, it verges into a surrealist view of how this simple world works. In the end, she learns that perhaps the world is not so simple as she once thought.

5. The Awakening (2011)

Release Date on Netflix: 2013
Director: Nick Murphy
Runtime: 1 hr 46 min
IMDB Rating: 6.5
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 61%
MPAA Rating: R
Streaming On: All Netflix

Set in 1921 Britain, after the devastation of World War I, Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall) is one of the most influential skeptics and authors during a time when people looked for any way to contact their relatives who died in the war. Summoned to a boys’ school after the death of a student, Florence works to expose sightings of the dead child as a schoolboy prank, even while she is haunted by the death of her own fiance in the war. Soon, it turns out that perhaps things are not so simple as she imagined, and science may not be the only tool she will need to figure out this supernatural mystery.

4. Deadly Code (2013)

Release Date on Netflix: 2016
Director: Gabriele Salvatores
Runtime: 1 hr 50 min
IMDB Rating: 6.4
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 65%
MPAA Rating: R
Streaming On: Netflix USA

With a cast that includes the likes of John Malkovich and Peter Stormare, some of the performances in this film make it worth watching alone. It tells the story of two friends who have spent their lives in a community of deadly criminal outlaws. This Siberian crime family has their own rules, and these do not include those of the outside world. A surprising intersection between ruthlessness and love build and drive this isolated family in a crime and loyalty thriller.

3. Backtrack (2015)

Release Date on Netflix: 2016
Director: Michael Petroni
Runtime: 1 hr 30 min
IMDB Rating: 5.9
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 25%
MPAA Rating: R
Streaming On: All Netflix

The story of a psychologist who returns home to confront a trauma from early in his life, Peter (Adrien Brody) encounters not just personal demons, but perhaps even real ones. There even seems to be something connecting them to his current list of patients. The problem is, digging up these ghosts from his past may make them even stronger and more dangerous. The supporting role played by the masterful Sam Neill really helps make this a psychological thriller worth a try.

2. Phantom (2013)

Release Date on Netflix: 2015
Director: Todd Robinson
Runtime: 1hr 38 minutes
IMDB Rating: 5.9
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 28%
MPAA Rating: R
Streaming On: Netflix USA

During the Cold War, a Soviet submarine captain (Ed Harris) deals with the stress of command and conflict within his own crew. Strange seizures are now threatening his ability to maintain command in their isolation, and he must trust his second in command (David Duchovny) with more responsibilities. That is the moment when a rogue KGB unit strikes, attempting to take control of the submarine’s nuclear arsenal. A well-acted movie, Phantom is a thrilling military drama that examines the Cold War from the Soviet side, as well as one of the best thrillers on Netflix right now.

1. Jackie Brown (1997)

Release Date on Netflix: 2017
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Runtime: 2 hr 34 min
IMDB Rating: 7.5
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
MPAA Rating: R
Streaming On: Netflix USA

This movie is typical early Tarantino, with fast moving dialog, gritty characters, and no fear of anything. Some amazing actors come together to create an unbelievable ensemble cast and some really engaging performances. Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is an aging flight attendant looking to find some security for her future, when she comes into contact with a gun runner (Samuel L. Jackson) and his old partner fresh from prison (Robert De Niro). If you have never seen this flick, and you like the Tarantino style, Jackie Brown is a must-see.

With the way Netflix constantly churns its filmography in and out of the lineup, catching these movies before they become unavailable is always part of the challenge when hunting for a good thriller. While some on this list are clearly some of the best thrillers on Netflix, all of them are guaranteed to give you moments of goosebumps or a pounding heart. Every one is worth a place in your queue, and more than one should be on your must-see list.

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