21 Thriller Movies You May Not Have Seen

These incredibly intense films have probably passed under your radar…

Often floating somewhere between the action, drama, and horror genres, thrillers can often provide provocative and uplifting stories in a more palatable mainstream presentation.

Orion Pictures Corp.

However, for every thriller that permeates our collective pop culture, a few fall by the wayside until they finally find their audience years later. So I’ve put together a collection of 21 low-key thrillers you may have missed (but are definitely worth seeking out).



Paramount Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Director William Friedkin followed The Exorcist with a harrowing film about four desperate men tasked with escorting highly volatile nitroglycerin through 200 miles of dangerous and unforgiving South American jungle.



Annapurna Photos / Courtesy Everett Collection

Nicole Kidman gets in touch with her wild side in this haunting thriller about a vengeful and bitter detective who is forced to revisit a devastating botched undercover case from her past.


road games

Avco Embassy / Courtesy of Everett Collection

Stacy Keach and Jamie Lee Curtis star in this white-knuckled road thriller in which a charismatic trucker suspects he may have stumbled upon the trail of a serial killer targeting hitchhikers across the country. ‘Australian Outback.


The Queen of Hollywood Boulevard

Black Star Photos via YouTube

Orson Oblowitz’s sleek and brooding crime film surrounds a haunted Los Angeles strip club owner who must settle an unpaid 25-year mob debt that threatens to destroy her life and the lives of her loved ones on the eve of his 60th birthday.


Night of the running man

Trimark pictures via YouTube

This intense crime thriller based on the novel of the same name by Lee Wells follows a Las Vegas taxi driver who recovers a man who stole a million dollars from the mob, setting off a suspenseful and shockingly violent chain of events. .



Fox Projector / Courtesy Everett Collection

This unnerving, slow-burning domestic thriller from great Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook tells the story of a distant teenager who meets her handsome but mysterious uncle after the sudden death of her father.


Common security area

Palm Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

13 years before DriverPark Chan-wook rose to prominence with Common security area (a.k.a JSA), a breathtaking and twisty thriller about a murder mystery in Korea’s DMZ.


The card counter

Focus / Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy

Oscar Isaac is simply compelling in this pensive drama about a haunted veteran who bonds with a troubled young man and a confident financier when a figure from his past casts a shadow over his competitive gambling habits.


Darkly Noon’s passion

Runaway Features/Courtesy Everett Collection

Brendan Fraser delivers an eerie but powerful performance as a former cultist whose ultra-conservative upbringing clashes with his pent-up desires for the married woman who nursed him from the brink of death.



RLJE Movies via YouTube

A secluded VFW ward is besieged by violent mutant drug addicts after a group of elderly veterans swear to protect the young woman who stole their hideout in this heart-pounding, relentless action-thriller.


guilty as sin

Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy Everett/Everett Collection

The late great movie legends Sidney Lumet and Larry Cohen have teamed up for this gripping but underrated legal thriller about an up-and-coming lawyer (Rebecca De Mornay) who finds herself drawn into the web of a debonair manipulator accused of murdering his wife (Don Johnson).


Too late

Vanishing angle / Courtesy Everett Collection

Told in a series of long shots presented in chronological order, Too late is an outstanding crime thriller that places raw emotion and style over flashy storytelling, allowing the ultimately harrowing puzzle to come together through smaller and bigger details, even if you already know the film’s tragic finish line .


Cohen and Tate

Hemdale Film Corporation / A7A Collection / Photo 12 / Alamy

In this breathtaking thriller from The Hitcher writer, Eric Red, two ruthless hitmen are tasked with bringing a 9-year-old murder witness from Oklahoma to their boss in Texas. However, the Child takes advantage of the long ride by slowly pitting the killers against each other, sowing the seeds of mistrust between them at every opportunity.


Only (2020)

Trombone Limited / Mill House Motion Pictures / Album / Alamy

A widow traveling alone finds herself in the fight of her life in this shape-shifting thriller that transitions from paranoid psychological drama to full-fledged survival horror, which works efficiently thanks to the incredible performances and high-level direction of praise action director, John Hyams.


Double body

Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Nobody quite makes thrillers quite like Brian De Palma, who brings his A game to this twisted cult classic about a struggling actor whose housesitting gig allows for his voyeuristic tendencies, which ultimately send him down a rabbit hole involving mind games, pornstars and, of course, murder.


13 Tsameti

MK2 Diffusion / Courtesy of Everett Collection

In this breathtaking Georgian thriller by Gela Babluani, a disgruntled and destitute construction worker steals a secret invitation from a recently deceased client, only to discover that “work” is participating in a deadly game staged in front of spectators of high flight.


Southern comfort

20th Century Fox Film Corp. / Courtesy of Everett Collection

’70s and ’80s thriller maestro Walter Hill assembles an extraordinary cast for this high-tension thriller about a National Guard squadron that falls victim to hostilities between locals and drills in the Louisiana bayou.


king of ants

The Asylum/Courtesy Everett Collection

This transgressive thriller was a major change of pace for filmmaker Stuart Gordon, who traded his normal adventures in the supernatural for a more human horror story about a poor young man who reluctantly accepts a job of murder for pay to be captured by his deceitful employers.


die for (1995)

Columbia Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Gus Van Sant has proven his artistic sensibility can work wonders within the confines of a traditional mainstream thriller with die forwhich follows a celebrity-obsessed journalist (played by career-best Nicole Kidman) who tries to convince the teenage subjects of her seemingly innocent documentary to commit an unspeakable act.


Point Blank

Orion Pictures Corp / Courtesy Everett Collection

Based on a true story, Point Blank surrounds a rural career criminal (Christopher Walken) who lures the sons he abandoned (Sean and Chris Penn) into a life of crime, only to turn against them when a failed robbery threatens his business.


The way of the gun

Craft Entertainment / Courtesy Everett Collection

Although he is perhaps best known now as the steward of the Impossible mission franchise, Christopher McQuarrie killed it with his directorial debut, a brilliant neo-noir action thriller about a pair of low-rent criminals (Ryan Phillippe and Benicio del Toro) who find themselves facing a revolving door of mercenaries and thugs after kidnapping a pregnant surrogate mother (Juliette Lewis) allegedly carrying the child of a wealthy money launderer (Scott Wilson).

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