27 best thrillers on Netflix of 2021

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All movies are great in their own way, but let’s face it, thrillers are the best. This is because they have the best elements of each genre. A little fear, without plunging into horror. All the speed of action, but with more intrigue. And features of drama and comedy without having to fully engage in either. It requires your full attention because that’s it, wrapped up in one.

We challenge you to pay attention to any Safdie Brothers movie on this list—Uncut gems or Good time. You’ll miss it all in a flash. Go ahead and try to follow Yorgos Lanthimos Slaughter of a sacred deer while sneaking a moment to doomscroll. You can not do that ! So go ahead and grab your cell phone and bury it under blankets in another room, as that won’t serve you well during a viewing of one of the great thrillers below.

Netflix has a huge library of movies at your fingertips, but the best of them when you need some real, absolute distraction is a good thriller. Below, we’ve rounded up the best thrillers on Netflix which include real crime, horror, noir, comedy, action, and more. When you’re done with that, go ahead and browse our list of the best movies of all time, which has a fair share of classic thrillers to keep the thrills going.

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Pelican briefs

Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington in a thriller together. Have mercy. The 1993 film is a special moment for the two performers. Roberts takes on the role of a law student caught in the middle of a savage conspiracy theory that proves it could be less theory and more truth. When his life is threatened, the character of a Washington journalist is his last hope to get out of the predicament alive.

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Shutter island

Get out of here with your terrifying mind games, Martin Scorsese! Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo present this psychological thriller about two agents who travel to an insane asylum on an abandoned island, trying to answer questions about the disappearance of a mysterious murderer. But as the genre suggests, nothing is quite as it seems, and the story darkens as the two Agents stay on the island.

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The woman at the window

Notoriously horrible? Mess in the scope? Sure. These things are true. Corn also, The woman at the window is such an over-the-top and campy psychological thriller that it’s impossible to stop watching it. Watching Amy Adams navigate the fallout after witnessing a murder is intoxicating, especially as you decide whether or not she is a reliable witness.

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Double penalty

It’s late ’90s thriller content. Starring Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones, the film follows a woman accused of murdering her husband. Everything begins to unravel after she has served her sentence and goes to discover the truth: her husband is not dead. But hey, that’s a double risk, isn’t it? You cannot be charged twice for the same crime.

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I care a lot

Somewhere between the terrifying and hilarious lies I care a lot: The thriller starring Rosamund Pike as a legal worker who manipulates the justice system to rip off the elderly for everything they own. Things are going well until she grabs someone with a little tighter bonds than before. The movie will literally make you wonder if you are more comfortable with human trafficking or elder abuse, which is really a dead end. And yet the movie is so good.

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Ava

Tate taylor Ava stars Jessica Chastain as an assassin who begins to doubt her choice to enter this chaotic world when a job goes awry. Turns out having a family while you’re, well, killing people is even more complicated than it reads on paper.

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Somnambulist

In this much underrated black thriller from 2014, Jake Gyllenhaal plays a petty criminal who lands a job filming horrific accidents and crime scenes for a Los Angeles TV station. Directed by Dan Gilroy, Somnambulist weaves a twisted history of consumerism and unethical journalism.

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Quantum of Consolation

No movie franchise has been more exciting for generations of Hollywood than James Bond. And of course, Quantum of Consolation It might not be the best movie of the Craig era, but it will definitely keep you entertained. And if that’s not enough, Golden eye and Tomorrow never dies are currently available on the streaming platform.

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Uncut gems

Sometimes the most terrifying thrillers are the ones that feel like they could legitimately to arrive. Well that is if you are constantly looking for the thrill of big risky bets. Adam Sandler shines (no pun intended) as the star of Uncut gems, playing Howard Ratner, a jeweler who makes a big bet that could either reset him financially or put his life in danger.

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Dear

Shipwrecking on an island sounds like pretty exciting (is that the right word?), But shipwrecking on a desert island and discovering you’re not alone? No thanks. Dear follows a woman’s desperate attempt at survival. Bonus: it’s a quick one hour and 22 minutes.

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Evil genius

Lori Loughlin? Child’s play. In Evil genius, a group of very gifted students set up a college entrance exam scam that leads to higher and higher stakes as they pass. The 2017 Thai Heist Movie (plus! Heist! Movies!) Is 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and is critically acclaimed, so indulge yourself with your movie buff friends.

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See you yesterday

You might have slept on this Spike Lee produced movie, but it’s on Netflix and waiting for your frenzy. The 2019 thriller sees two science prodigies experimenting with time travel, but when one of their brothers finds himself murdered by an officer, their experience becomes more important than ever.

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93 days

Sometimes the best thrillers just come from times when the world is outdoing itself with a terrifying disease. Seems familiar? This African film dives head-first into the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Nigeria, when someone arrives from Lagos with the disease. The thriller focuses on real events and how (spoiler?) The Nigerian government’s response ultimately saved countless lives.

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The slaughter of a sacred deer

Acclaimed director Yorgos Lanthimos won the Best Screenplay award at Cannes for this psychological thriller starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman as a married couple whose family begins to fall apart after inviting an orphaned boy into their House.

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Gerald’s game

Directed by new horror master Mike Flanagan (the mind behind Doctor Sleep and The Haunting of Hill House), Esquire ranked Gerald’s Game as one of Stephen King’s 10 best adaptations. It’s the story of a woman whose husband dies suddenly of a heart attack but remains handcuffed to the bed and must find a way to survive.

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fracture

This Netflix psychological thriller shows a family traveling on Thanksgiving. When his young daughter suffers an injury, Ray takes her and his wife to the nearest emergency room and waits for the two to be taken for a CT scan. However, the two disappear and Ray becomes convinced that the hospital is hiding something.

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Good time

Before the Safdie brothers created Uncut gems and before Robert Pattinson played the role of the new Batman, the three collaborated on Good time. Pattinson plays the role of a street con artist and bank robber desperately trying to get his brother (played by Benny Safdie) out of jail after a job goes awry.

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1922

1922 follows a farmer to Nebraska, where he sets out to write a confession for a murder in his past. The Netflix film is adapted from a short story by Stephen King.

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Bird box

Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, Trevante Rhodes and John Malkovich star in this dystopian thriller (and Netflix original) about a woman who must travel blindfolded with her children to safety as an unseen force stalks them during their travel.

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Cam

Madeline Brewer plays an enterprising camgirl who discovers that she has been portrayed somehow in various videos that have been uploaded to her own website in this internet-inspired horror thriller Netflix original.

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The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino delivers an Agatha Christie-style mystery set in the American West just after the Civil War with a stellar cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

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Silence

This is the OG A quiet place. That’s it.

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I’m the pretty thing that lives in the house

Lily (Ruth Wilson) is a live-in nurse who moves into the remote New England mansion owned by her patient, an elderly horror novelist who suffers from dementia. Soon Lily begins to wonder if the unsettling things going on in this house come straight from one of her patient’s books.

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The invitation

A gathering of friends in a posh Hollywood Hills mansion turns deadly in Karyn Kusama’s spooky and unsettling thriller, which sees a seemingly innocuous dinner turn into a cult-inspired killing spree.

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Perfection

Perfection is absolutely bonkers, so when it comes to thrillers, that fits the bill. If you’re looking for some unsettling twists and turns, you’ll be hard pressed to find one with more than this film about two cellists vying for first place in a conservatory.

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Secret obsession

Brenda Strong deserves one crazy Netflix thriller a year, and Secret Obsession is her entry for 2019.

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Velvet scroll saw

This horror satire of Somnambulist Director Dan Gilroy is a mix of The square and Laura Mars eyes, with Jake Gyllenhaal as an art critic who discovers that the mysterious paintings of an unknown artist have supernatural abilities and takes revenge on anyone who tries to profit from them.

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