Best Thrillers 2021


A good thriller offers engrossing mystery and edge-of-your-seat tension, and the films featured here prove that thrills come in all sizes. Boiling point shows how tense things can get in a kitchen, while horsemen of justice presents the classic revenge hunt with a dark, comedic twist. At the top of this list, Azor is an exceptionally patient thriller that critics say gets better with multiple viewings.

The order reflects the Tomatometer scores (as of December 31, 2021) after adjusting our ranking formula, which compensates for variation in the number of reviews when comparing movies or TV shows.

#1

Adjusted score: 101654%

Consensus of critics: A thriller of rare patience, Azor elegantly slips the viewer into its cool grip and never lets go.

Synopsis: Argentina, late 1970s. Private banker Yvan (Fabrizio Rongione) arrives from Geneva with his wife Ines (Stéphanie Cléau) to replace… [More]

#2

Adjusted score: 102721%

Consensus of critics: A darkly humored revenge thriller with satisfying depth and a savory touch of weirdness, horsemen of justice makes another compelling case for Mads Mikkelsen as a versatile leading man.

Synopsis: RIDERS OF JUSTICE follows newly deployed Markus (Mads Mikkelsen) who is forced to return home to care for his teenage daughter… [More]

#3

Adjusted score: 100977%

Consensus of critics: Captivating from start to finish, Boiling point uses its bold formal approach to sustain an exciting tightrope of storytelling.

Synopsis: On the busiest night of the year at one of London’s trendiest restaurants, charismatic and authoritative chef Andy… [More]

#4

Adjusted score: 99012%

Consensus of critics: While it may not live up to his best crime capers, No sudden movement finds Soderbergh on fun, familiar ground – and makes the most of a great cast.

Synopsis: Set in Detroit in 1954, NO SUDDEN MOVE centers on a group of petty criminals who are hired to steal what… [More]

#5

Adjusted score: 95662%

Consensus of critics: A remarkable feature debut for writer-director Lauren Hadaway, The newbie paints a fascinating – and disturbing – portrait of obsession.

Synopsis: Isabelle Fuhrman (Orphan) plays Alex Dall, a queer freshman who joins his college rowing team and embarks on a… [More]

#6

Adjusted score: 101950%

Consensus of critics: Incredibly provocative and original, Titanium reaffirms the deliciously disturbing vision of writer-director Julia Ducournau.

Synopsis: Titanium: A highly heat and corrosion resistant metal, with high tensile strength alloys, often used in medical prosthetics due to… [More]

#seven

Adjusted score: 95015%

Consensus of critics: A dark and fun thriller that baffles as much as it entertains, The beta test satirizes Hollywood with a savage twist.

Synopsis: A married Hollywood agent receives a mysterious letter for an anonymous sexual encounter and finds himself trapped in a sinister world… [More]

#8

Adjusted score: 98128%

Consensus of critics: Nobody doesn’t break new ground for the genre, but this viscerally violent thriller smashes, smashes and destroys a whole lot more – all while proving that Bob Odenkirk has what it takes to be an action star.

Synopsis: Emmy winner Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul, The Post, Nebraska) stars as Hutch Mansell, a father and… [More]

#9

Adjusted score: 95153%

Consensus of critics: The mail delivers a hugely effective old-school spy adventure enhanced by an engrossing fact-based story and the edgy central performance of Benedict Cumberbatch.

Synopsis: THE COURIER is a gritty spy thriller about unassuming British businessman Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) recruited into… [More]

#ten

Adjusted score: 94168%

Consensus of critics: Skillful steering and an expertly assembled package elevate even more only animals‘ an intelligent and captivating mystery.

Synopsis: Following the disappearance of the glamorous and secret Evelyne Ducat (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) during a blizzard on the high plateaus of… [More]

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