Are you ready for a heart-racing thrill? Look no further than this captivating collection of suspenseful films available for streaming on Netflix. From intense heists to psychological mind games, these movies will keep you on the edge of your seat. Join us as we dive into the world of thrilling robberies, captivating mysteries, and spine-chilling encounters. Get ready to embark on an adrenaline-fueled journey with some of the most outstanding contemporary robbery films and chilling psychological thrillers.
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One of the most outstanding contemporary robbery films, Spike Lee's Inside Man is a superb example of thrilling suspense, both within and beyond the bank at the film's core. We follow Dalton Russell, played by Clive Owen, who asserts that he has meticulously planned the perfect heist. When he seizes control of a Manhattan bank, Detective Frazier, portrayed by Denzel Washington, arrives to negotiate the release of the hostages. However, complications arise when confidential documents linked to the bank's founder (Christopher Plummer) enter the equation, and Jodie Foster's chilling problem-solver enters the scene to restore order. With its meticulously crafted plot, intense action, and exceptional performances from Foster, Washington, and Plummer, Spike Lee's Inside Man is unquestionably a remarkable caper film.
How to view: Inside Man is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
The EnchantingSometimes, the mere presence of a man is sufficient to provoke an ominous atmosphere. In Sofia Coppola's Gothic Civil War thriller The Beguiled, a remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood film, Colin Farrell portrays a wounded Union soldier who falls ill near a Confederate all-girls' school. Miss Farnsworth, played by Nicole Kidman, the headmistress, allows him to stay until he recovers, but a sense of sexual unease and jealousy begins to permeate the school as each girl competes for the attention of the handsome soldier, notably Miss Edwina Morrow, portrayed by Kirsten Dunst. The Beguiled quickly escalates into an exhilarating whirlwind of violence, secrets, and an unforgettable meal. Most notably, Coppola provides us with a memorable line: a distraught Farrell screaming, "You vengeful individuals!"
How to view: The Beguiled is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
AbundantJennifer Lopez experiences her moment akin to Sleeping With the Enemy in Enough, where she portrays Slim, a mother and survivor of domestic abuse who decides to take matters into her own hands. After enduring years of violence from her husband Mitch, played by Billy Campbell, Slim finally manages to escape with her young daughter. However, Mitch is an utterly detestable individual who stops at nothing to track her down and prevent her from finding safety. The film is filled with intense drama, but it is the climax of Enough that truly makes it worthwhile. Just imagine the consequences if Jennifer Lopez becomes truly enraged with you, suddenly acquires a vast knowledge of Krav Maga, and decides to seek vengeance.
How to view: Enough is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
The Call of the WolfThe Wolf's Call is an underwater action thriller that utilizes sound (and silence) as its most potent and effective weapon. In this French film directed by Antonin Baudry, a former diplomat, a French submarine embarks on a mission to rescue a special forces team, but it must do so covertly without alerting an enemy warship above or enemy troops stationed nearby. The success of their mission depends on a sonar expert named Chanteraide, who possesses an exceptionally acute auditory perception.
This premise establishes an incredibly gripping underwater thriller that gradually builds tension until the stakes become even higher when the French submarine finds itself at the epicenter of a potential nuclear war. With a stellar cast of accomplished French actors including Omar Sy, Mathieu Kassovitz, and Reda Kateb, and sound design by Oscar-winner Randy Thom, The Wolf’s Call stands out as a film that truly merits your time.
How to view: The Wolf’s Call is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
ConsequencesIn Side Effects, Rooney Mara takes on the role of Emily, an affluent New Yorker who gradually unravels when her husband, portrayed by Channing Tatum, returns home after serving a four-year prison sentence. Her new therapist, played by Jude Law, instructs Emily to try a new experimental medication recommended by her former psychiatrist, portrayed by Catherine Zeta-Jones. Initially, Emily begins sleepwalking, but suddenly, something horrifying occurs. I won't spoil it for you, but if you appreciate intricate psychological thrillers that lean towards the exaggerated side of the genre, Side Effects is the film for you. Steven Soderbergh's exploration of pharmaceutical drugs and therapy is a wild journey, filled with twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the end.
How to view: Side Effects is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
Emily the LawbreakerRecognized primarily for her eccentric deadpan humor, Aubrey Plaza fully immerses herself in a high-stress dramatic role in Emily the Criminal, and it's genuinely delightful to watch. She portrays Emily, an artist suffocated by her overwhelming ,000 student debt and a criminal record that prevents her from securing a reliable job. Every obstacle seems insurmountable until a colleague introduces her to a side gig involving credit card fraud, leading her down a dangerous path that promises both financial success and peril.
Most crime thrillers are centered around seasoned, professional con artists, but Emily the Criminal feels particularly relatable as a story about how anyone, especially those burdened by student loan debt, might consider illegal means out of sheer desperation. While the film could benefit from a more profound examination of the systems that directly contribute to crime and inequality, Plaza's performance is what truly shines. She masterfully embodies a young woman who crumbles under the weight of financial instability, and simultaneously grows bolder and more outspoken as she delves deeper into her criminal world.
How to view: Emily the Criminal is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
The Lady in the Window
If you enjoy thrillers that are completely over the top and brimming with melodrama, allow me to introduce you to Joe Wright's immensely entertaining The Woman in the Window. Based on A.J. Finn's best-selling novel of the same name, this thriller showcases an extravagant performance by Amy Adams as Anna Fox, a child psychologist plagued by extreme agoraphobia that prevents her from leaving her Manhattan brownstone. One evening, after consuming copious amounts of wine and prescribed medication, Anna believes she witnesses a murder across the street. However, as detectives begin to question her sanity, Anna herself starts to lose touch with reality.
Undoubtedly, this narrative may seem familiar, and that's precisely the point. The Woman in the Window is a love letter to the subgenre of classic film noir, expertly weaving references to iconic films such as Rear Window and Gaslight. However, it is more of a playful homage rather than a faithful recreation. Nevertheless, the film offers a delightful and thrilling experience, saturated with cheesy but enjoyable moments.
How to view: The Woman in the Window is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
CaptivesAny film centered around a child abduction is bound to be intense, but in Prisoners, filmmaker Denis Villeneuve captures an incredibly potent intensity that reflects the anguish any parent would feel during such a harrowing event. Throughout its two-and-a-half-hour duration, the film maintains a gripping and pulsating sense of dread.
After two young girls go missing, Detective Loki, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, arrests the first suspect, portrayed by Paul Dano, only to release him due to a lack of evidence. Driven by fury, Keller Dover, portrayed by a ferocious Hugh Jackman and the father of one of the girls, takes matters into his own hands and embarks on a violent quest to interrogate Dano's character, Alex. The story then delves into a labyrinth of multiple suspects and red herrings, building up to a bone-chilling conclusion.
How to view: Prisoners is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
In a crime film, an exceptional ensemble cast is unbeatable, and Triple Frontier boasts one of the strongest casts in recent memory. Ben Affleck, Oscar Isaac, Pedro Pascal, Garrett Hedlund, and Charlie Hunnam play five former Special Forces military operatives in this thrilling film directed by J.C. Chandor. Feeling overlooked by their government, the group decides to participate in a heist to steal million from a drug cartel in the jungles of South America. However, as greed corrupts their minds and tensions escalate, chaos ensues.
Triple Frontier is not the explosive action extravaganza one would expect from films like The Expendables. Instead, Chandor takes a more restrained approach, infusing his sequences with suspenseful tension, including an unforgettable tracking shot during the heist. The true glue that holds the film together is the exceptional work from the entire cast, particularly the dynamic duo of Isaac and Pascal, whose partnership one can only hope to see again.
How to view: Triple Frontier is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
The Pleasant GentlemenAlthough technically more of a comedy than a thriller, The Nice Guys delivers both belly laughs and a meticulously crafted murder mystery. Directed by Shane Black, known for Lethal Weapon, this delightful buddy cop comedy follows the unlikely partnership of a down-on-his-luck private investigator, portrayed by Ryan Gosling, and a tough enforcer, played by Russell Crowe. Together, they must unravel the mystery of whether a deceased pornographic actress is still alive. The duo finds themselves stumbling and fighting their way through the eccentric world of 1970s Los Angeles, encountering a wide range of characters along the way. To top it all off, Kim Basinger delivers an exceptional performance, adding the final touch to this funny, neo-noir, erotic thriller tribute.
How to view: The Nice Guys is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
13. The Guilty
Credit: Glen Wilson / Netflix
Some of the most intense tension emerges from scenes that show less on screen, leaving the most intense moments to our own imagination. That is precisely the approach taken by Antoine Fuqua in The Guilty, a remake of the Danish film with the same title. The narrative unfolds throughout a single day in a single location, with most of the action taking place offscreen.
Jake Gyllenhaal portrays Joe, an LAPD officer who works as a 911 dispatch operator and receives a call from a woman who has been abducted. Through a series of phone calls, Joe attempts to solve the crime, and we witness the tension and suspense build solely through Gyllenhaal's captivating performance, forcing us to imagine what is happening on the other end of the line. It is a filmmaking technique that works brilliantly, thanks in large part to Gyllenhaal's ability to convincingly portray a man gradually unraveling over the course of 90 minutes.
How to view: The Guilty is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
Credit: Paramount Pictures / Handout
To experience thrills is to be undeniably excited. This is precisely why thriller enthusiasts repeatedly gravitate towards the genre, eager to be kept on the edge of their seats. No film exemplifies and executes this better than Psycho.
Hitchcock's classic 1960 film comprehends how terror and pleasure intertwine when we encounter something ghastly. In Psycho, Anthony Perkins portrays a voyeuristic and eerily terrifying character named Norman Bates, the last person Marion Crane, played by Janet Leigh, encounters during her ill-fated stop at the Bates Motel. However, the viewer is not excluded from this voyeurism; Hitchcock understood the audience's desire to witness menacing danger unfold on the screen. The way he evokes that terror and titillation throughout his work is what earned him the title of "master of suspense" and what positions Psycho as one of the greatest and most influential thrillers of all time. From Hitchcock's direction to DP John L. Russell's innovative camera work (the final transition shot will haunt you for eternity) and Bernard Herrmann's dread-inducing, nerve-wracking score, not to mention the shocking twist in the first act, Psycho's impact on the genre still resonates.
How to view: Psycho is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
Fear Street Trilogy
Leigh Janiak deserves far more recognition for her Fear Street films. This trilogy of throwback horror thrillers pays homage to genre staples while cleverly reinventing their tropes, with a particular focus on queer and female characters taking the lead. The films, interconnected across three decades, depict a town plagued by a curse, each movie featuring its own distinct genre aesthetic, abundant gore, and shocking thrills.
Fear Street Part One: 1994, a love letter to '90s slasher films, follows a gang of friends attempting to stop a masked killer wreaking havoc in their small town. Fear Street Part Two: 1978 takes us to a summer camp, paying tribute to Friday the 13th and Sleepaway Camp. Finally, Fear Street Part Three: 1666 delves into folk horror, unraveling the origins behind the mysteries presented in the previous films. While primarily categorized as horror, Janiak infuses all three movies with suspenseful elements that keep viewers engaged until the very end.
How to view: The Fear Street Trilogy is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
The BirdsThe most terrifying aspect of Hitchcock's The Birds, in which a small town faces sudden attacks from flocks of vicious birds, lies in its use of sound and silence. The only film by the British filmmaker to lack a musical score, The Birds predominantly relies on ominous sound effects and moments of silence to evoke a chilling unease that gradually intensifies into absolute terror. Whether it is the rustling of hundreds of bird feathers heard offscreen, muffling dialogue, the menacing caws of crows gathering in a schoolyard moments before children rush out, or the gushing sound of gasoline seeping toward a man lighting a cigarette, it is the absence of sound and the strategic implementation of sound effects that amplify the horror.
However, the next most unsettling aspect of The Birds is the fact that the entire film revolves around women being relentlessly watched, stalked, and attacked by birds. One could argue that The Birds is a misogynistic horror thriller that revels in assaulting Tippi Hedren's character, Melanie, Jessica Tandy's Lydia, and Veronica Cartwright's Cathy while simultaneously dismissing their experiences as hysterical. Alternatively, one could interpret Hitchcock's film as a commentary on the ways in which women are objectified and preyed upon by society, using his own visual techniques to shed light on this issue. The latter perspective may be harder to accept in light of the allegations made by Hedren against Hitchcock. Nevertheless, The Birds remains a disturbing and thought-provoking classic thriller that invites endless rewatching and analysis.
How to view: The Birds is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
IntrusionIn this home invasion thriller, Freida Pinto portrays Meera, a therapist, and her architect husband Henry, played by Logan Marshall-Green. They relocate from Boston to New Mexico to reside in a newly constructed modern home nestled in a picturesque desert landscape. At first, they appear to be the picture-perfect couple, but their world is shattered when their house is broken into one night. As more strange events ensue, a group of masked intruders returns for another sinister visit.
While Intrusion may not offer anything particularly fresh in terms of the home invasion subgenre, it does provide a twist. The narrative takes a sharp turn as Meera grows suspicious of the person she trusts most, intensifying the tension as she questions whether there are clues tied to the intruders themselves.
How to view: Intrusion is currently available for streaming on Netflix. (opens in a new tab)
With a wide range of thrilling options available for streaming on Netflix, fans of the genre can indulge in an array of captivating stories that will keep them on the edge of their seats. From the intense heists of Inside Man and the psychological twists of Side Effects, to the heart-pounding suspense of The Guilty and the nostalgic horror of the Fear Street Trilogy, there is something for every thrill-seeker. So grab your popcorn, dim the lights, and prepare for a thrilling cinematic journey from the comfort of your own home. Netflix has you covered when it comes to satisfying your craving for suspense and excitement.