30 Best 2023 Thriller Movies Right Now

30 Best 2023 Thriller Movies Right Now

February 28, 2024

Share:

twitter
facebook
reddit
pinterest
link

Maybe it’s because we’ve seen our fair share in past decades, but it increasingly seems like good thrillers are hard to come by these days. The truth, however, is that there’s never been more of them out there; they just come blended with different genres now. 2023 alone has its fair share of psychological, action, horror, political, and even erotic thrillers, from the near-silent No One Will Save You and action-packed Reptile, to the jaw-dropping Anatomy of a Fall and the very sexy Fair Play

Below, we gathered the most nerve-wracking and suspense-ridden thriller films to come out in 2023, and listed some hopefully helpful information about where to stream them. Sit back and get the nerves ready for what’s sure to be a bumpy but rousing ride.

11. Ballerina (2023)

7.8

Country

South Korea

Director

Lee Chung-hyun

Actors

Jang Yoon-ju, Joo Hyun, Jun Jong-seo, Kim Ji-hun

Moods

Challenging, Dark, Discussion-sparking

Stoic, unflinching, and almost near silent, Ballerina takes a fitting approach to enact its protagonist’s revenge. Within its lean 90 minute runtime, ex-bodyguard Ok-ju single-mindedly searches for answers, through following the lead from her friend’s suicide note. The film shares nothing personal, no doubts, worries, or fears from Ok-ju – except for her affection for best friend Min-hee. Instead of capitalizing on Ok-ju’s tears, or on the violence inflicted on Min-hee, writer-director Lee Chung-hyun relies on action, on stunning cinematography, and on Jeon Jong-seo’s performance to create a spectacle that doesn’t hold back from the gruesomeness, but somehow still incredibly restrained. Jeon Jong-seo delivers Ok-ju’s bloody revenge, a fitting retribution to all perpetrators of sexual violence.

12. Manodrome (2023)

7.8

Country

United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

John Trengove

Actors

Adam Wade McLaughlin, Adrien Brody, Brian Anthony Wilson, Caleb Eberhardt

Moods

Character-driven, Dark, Depressing

South African director John Trengove follows-up his debut The Wound with another take on masculinity, this time set in the States. Manodrome stars Jesse Eisenberg and Adrien Brody as a newbie and a veteran in a support group for men who have been emasculated by women and feminism. That’s right, this is a film about incel culture, but one you haven’t seen before. In tandem with Taxi Driver, Fight Club, or Joker, Manodrome represents a new era for the incel movie, as it confronts all the terror and aggression feeding into the community head on. Ralphie (Eisenberg) insists that his girlfriend Sal (Odessa Young) keeps their unplanned baby and deep down the rabbit hole he goes. Mental health struggles that have no outlet, worries, disappointment, alienation: all these facets of Ralphie’s character come to the fore and bring him to the Manodrome clan, where Dad Dan (Brody) promises two miracles—absolution and acceptance—in exchange for celibacy. Trengove’s sophomore feature is a blood-curdling psychological thriller that is not afraid to go to extremes (content warning!) to show that incels are not, in fact, a dorky online minority of youngsters, but a real wound in the body of our patriarchal world.

13. Doi Boy (2023)

7.8

Country

Cambodia, Thailand

Director

Nontawat Numbenchapol

Actors

Arak Amornsupasiri, Awat Ratanapintha, Bhumibhat Thavornsiri, Ornjira Lamwilai

Moods

Challenging, Character-driven, Discussion-sparking

After years of documentaries covering Thailand’s controversial issues, some of which have been temporarily banned by the Ministry of Culture, Nontawat Numbenchapol takes a step into feature film in Doi Boy. The plot covers plenty of the topics he’s previously depicted– immigration, prostitution, and corruption– but it unfolds naturally into a slow-paced, but moving drama where an undocumented sex worker tries to find home. Awat Ratanapintha as Sorn excellently leads this journey, but Arak Amornsupasiri as reluctant cop Ji, and Bhumibhat Thavornsiri as passionate activist Wuth also make their mark. While the film doesn’t delve into the intricate intersectionality, it feels like that’s part of the point. The notion of a nation doesn’t care about people’s dreams, even if that dream is for the nation to be better.

14. Master Gardener (2023)

7.7

Country

Australia, United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Paul Schrader

Actors

Amy Le, Eduardo Losan, Esai Morales, Ja'Quan Monroe-Henderson

Moods

Character-driven, Dark, Discussion-sparking

As the third instalment in Paul Schrader’s “man in a room” trilogy after First Reformed (2017) and The Card Counter (2021), Master Gardner rounds up the issues at stake in a most profound way. For anyone who’s seen a film either scripted by Schrader (such as Taxi Driver) or directed by him, there will be no surprises here: lost men, despairing men, men who are desperate to believe in something. But the salvation of love lurks around the corner and the new film makes no exception. An unconventional couple, Joel Edgerton and Quintessa Swindell (as Maya) make up the beating heart of this suspenseful drama with an emotional push and pull delivered in small doses. What could have been a kitschy, insensitive work blossoms into a treatise on how gentle the harshness of life can be. 

15. Tetris (2023)

7.6

Country

United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Jon S. Baird

Actors

Aaron Vodovoz, Anna Lavrentyeva, Anthony Boyle, Ayane Nagabuchi

Moods

Easy, Inspiring, True-story-based

Who knew that behind the puzzle Tetris lies a political thriller of a backstory that is just as fun and challenging as the game itself? Tetris, the film, is a playful telling of the game behind the game, a surprising account of the otherwise unbelievable events that had to happen in making Tetris available to the masses. 

Between the 8-bit editing, the immensely likable lead, and the cat-and-mouse chase between heroes and villains, there is much to like about the movie. You put it on out of curiosity (how the hell does a brick game have this much back story?) but you stay for the intrigue, the playfulness, and the irresistible urge to see who wins the race.

16. Jaane Jaan (2023)

7.6

Country

China, India, South Korea

Director

Sujoy Ghosh

Actors

Jaideep Ahlawat, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Karma Takapa, Lin Laishram

Moods

Gripping, Intense, Suspenseful

Jaane Jaan is one of those thrillers where you hope that the main characters would get away with murder. Based on the 2005 Japanese novel, the Hindi adaptation still has the cat-and-mouse dynamic between the relentless detective and math genius protecting the suspect, along with their elaborate chess-like mind games. However, the film changes a major plot point from the novel, and without spoiling too much, it turns the math teacher, now named Naren, into a less sympathetic character. Given today’s sensibilities, it’s easy to understand why the change was made. After all, just because someone’s a genius, it doesn’t mean that they’re someone to be admired. Jaane Jaan still keeps up the exciting thrills and suspense of the original novel, but in making its changes, it becomes unclear who the film is rooting for.

17. The Wrath of Becky (2023)

7.6

Country

United States of America

Director

Female director, Matt Angel

Actors

Aaron Dalla Villa, Alison Cimmet, Courtney Gains, Denise Burse

Moods

Raw, Thrilling

There’s not much to analyze in The Wrath of Becky, which might sound like a jab, but for grindhouse thrillers such as this, it comes as a compliment. The story is lean, the action is on point, and the dialogue is whipsmart. There is little to distract from the main attraction, which is the creatively gruesome ways in which everyone tries to kill each other. 

It’s so simple, in fact, that you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a standalone film, instead of a sequel to an earlier movie, simply titled Becky. Efficiently, parts of the first installment appear as flashbacks here, but they’re hardly needed to convince us of Becky’s ferocious might. Wilson already does an excellent job with minimal but evocative gestures. Seann William Scott, too, is surprisingly terrifying as the head of the Neo-Nazi group out to get Becky. It’s easy enough to paint the incel as a villain, but to portray him with such palpable terror is a challenge that Scott steps up to.

18. Navalny (2023)

7.5

Country

Switzerland, United States of America

Director

Daniel Roher

Actors

Alexei Navalny, Alexey Navalny, Angela Merkel, Christo Grozev

Moods

Discussion-sparking, Gripping, Suspenseful

In the words of the journalist Christo Grozev, Alexei Navalny isn’t just a politician; he’s also an internet personality, reporter, investigator, lawyer, and opposition leader who’s up against one of the biggest regimes in the world. He’s a dangerous man, a top Kremlin target, and the documentary gives us incredible access into the ins and outs of his daily operations. 

It’s always astonishing to see a hero humanized, especially since the documentary makes sure to balance newsworthy events with quiet moments of rest and reflection. But more than just a profile, Navalny is a valiant work of investigative journalism, as well as a timely reminder of the importance of activism. It’s relevant, revelatory, and rousing; a must-watch in our ever-heating political climate. 

19. Ashkal: The Tunisian Investigation (2023)

7.5

Country

France, Tunisia

Director

Youssef Chebbi

Moods

Dark, Gripping, Original

Ashkal takes an audaciously hybrid approach to genre: it’s part-noir, part-supernatural thriller, and full political allegory. The investigation at the center of this slow-burn Tunisian police procedural is a gripping one, as burnt naked bodies keep turning up in abandoned construction sites in Tunis with no trace of a struggle or even a combustible on them. In post-revolution Tunisia, the deaths are an uncomfortable reminder of recent history: it was a young Tunisian man’s self-immolation that sparked the Arab Spring, after all.

The revolution’s complicated legacy looms over the film, as we watch the country’s Truth and Dignity Commission begin its work of uncovering the former government’s corruption and abuses. Ashkal’s two protagonists — the young Fatma (Fatma Oussaifi) and her more seasoned police partner Batal (Mohamed Grayaa) — find themselves on opposite sides of that political divide, he having been implicated in the abuses of power that are now being investigated by Fatma’s father. There are fascinating elements at play here, and the results of Ashkal’s ambitious genre experiment are mostly inspired. Much of the film’s energies are spent on building a paranoid atmosphere — efforts that can, at times, frustratingly slacken the tension — but its fantastical touches tauten things up enough to make it a haunting political commentary in the end.

20. Fair Play (2023)

7.5

Country

United States of America

Director

Chloe Domont, Female director

Actors

Alden Ehrenreich, Brandon Bassir, Buck Braithwaite, Eddie Marsan

Moods

Dramatic, Gripping, Intense

Making a good erotic thriller out on Wall Street is no easy feat, but Fair Play has just the right ratio of wit, sex, and sleaze to spice up a Friday night viewing. There’s also undeniable pleasure in watching a fairytale love story corrode, especially under the influence of money and power—here’s one for the romantic capitalists! And even if the script feels a bit uneven and Emily’s character a bit too silent until the film’s third act, it’s a heightened yet realistic depiction of exactly how solidified heteronormative standards still are: in bed, at home, at the workplace. Who would have guessed that’s where the true horror lies? 

Comments

Add a comment

Curated by humans, not algorithms.

agmtw

© 2024 A Good Movie to Watch. Altona Studio, LLC, all rights reserved.