100 Best Thriller Movies To Watch Right Now

100 Best Thriller Movies To Watch Right Now

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From action to horror to dystopia to romance, a good, hair-raising thriller can overlap with many different genres. It could follow an obsessed detective or an even more obsessed lover, and it could be about the end of the world just as much as it could be about the breakdown of any one person. Whatever its premise, the main thing about a thriller is that it should grip you from start to end, never letting your mind wander until you reach the jaw-dropping conclusion. 

In this list, we’ve gathered our favorite thrillers you can stream on your preferred platform right now. These movies span backgrounds, genres, and plot lines, but you can be sure that they are the best of the best: highly rated by critics and viewers alike. 

80. The Impossible (2012)

7.5

Country

Spain, Thailand, United States of America

Director

J.A. Bayona

Actors

Douglas Johansson, Ewan McGregor, Geraldine Chaplin, Gitte Witt

Moods

Thrilling, True-story-based

A heart-wrenching tribute to victims of natural disasters that is one of despair, suffering, and hope. And it wouldn’t be so damning if it weren’t based off a true story surrounding the tragedy that killed more than 230,000 people. Boxing Day 2004 was one of the most memorable dates for wedded couple, Henry (Ewan McGregor) and Maria (Naomi Watts, for an Oscar nominated performance). Just two days prior, they arrived at Orchid Beach Resort in Thailand to celebrate the Christmas holidays together with their three children. After a squabble with the crew regarding their room reservations, they are granted the privilege of staying in a peaceful villa and all seems to be well. Nature had other plans in mind, though, and facing it head-on is the bittersweet reality.

79. Caché (2005)

7.5

Country

Austria, France, Germany

Director

Michael Haneke

Actors

Aissa Maiga, Annie Girardot, Bernard Le Coq, Caroline Baehr

Moods

Intense, Suspenseful, Thrilling

Beginning with a great opening shot of townhouse on a side street in Paris, only ti discovers that the shot is actually from a video sent to Anne and Georges Laurent (Juliette Binoche and Daniel Auteuil). The married couple who live in that house have no idea who sent the video. More videos appear and events unfold. I can’t say much more about this film without ruining it, it’s definitely one of those films better enjoyed if you go into it not knowing a lot. Directed by Michael Haneke who won the Cannes Best Director Award for it.

78. Croupier (1998)

7.6

Country

France, Germany, Ireland

Director

Mike Hodges

Actors

Alex Kingston, Alexander Morton, Barnaby Kay, Clive Owen

Moods

A-list actors, Suspenseful, Thrilling

Clive Owen stars as a struggling writer who reluctantly accepts a lucrative offer to work as a croupier at a London casino. His characteristic aloofness, hatred of gambling, and sharp observational skills allow him to remain uncompromised and able to catch any attempt at cheating within his field of vision. But when a savvy professional gambler he shares an attraction with asks him to participate in a heist in an uncompromised way, he’s forced to consider playing the angles. Owen’s coolly detached performance is a marvel, and the depiction of the London casino scene is detailed and gritty, both of which make for compelling British noir.

77. Animal Kingdom (2010)

7.6

Country

Australia

Director

David Michôd

Actors

Andy McPhee, Anna Lise Phillips, Anthony Hayes, Ben Mendelsohn

Moods

Action-packed, Gripping, Intense

A cracking cast including Guy Pearce and Joel Edgerton elevate this dark and gripping Australian crime drama, which was received with glowing reviews from critics but was sadly forgotten with time.

Breakout star James Frecheville plays J, a teenager who goes to live with his grandmother, the head of a Melbourne crime organization. As the heat closes in and things go awry, J finds himself caught between his family and a detective who wants to save him.

Jacki Weaver is outstanding as the conniving grandma and the film put Ben Mendelsohn on the road to Hollywood stardom. Animal Kingdom is a superior crime saga with plenty of emotional depth to match the tense drama.

76. The Collini Case (2019)

7.6

Country

Germany

Director

Marco Kreuzpaintner

Actors

Alexandra Maria Lara, Anne Haug, Axel Moustache, Bettina Lohmeyer

Moods

Character-driven, Sunday, Suspenseful

A young lawyer has to defend a murderer after passing the bar only three months prior in this satisfying German drama. To make matters worse, the victim happens to be his mentor, a wealthy and seemingly kind-hearted business man. As for the perpetrator, he refuses to say a single word. Caspar, the lawyer, is from a German-Turkish background, which is a hint to where the complexity of this legal drama lies: in Germany’s history and racial legacy. The Collini Case is satisfying to a fault, but if you’re looking for substance-filled entertainment, this is some of the best you’ll get.

75. You Were Never Really Here (2018)

7.6

Country

France, UK, United Kingdom

Director

Female director, Lynne Ramsay

Actors

Alessandro Nivola, Alex Manette, Claire Hsu, Cristina Dohmen

Moods

A-list actors, Dark, Intense

The performance of a pot-bellied Joaquin Phoenix is nothing short of perfection. He brilliantly portrays a hitman down on his luck who happens to rescue a kidnapped teenage girl. It’s a tight movie, running a short 89 minutes. It makes a point that sticks. Pure entertainment, pure acting, and amazing directing by Lynne Ramsay (who also directed We Need to Talk About Kevin).

74. Elena (2011)

7.6

Country

Russia

Director

Andrey Zvyagintsev

Actors

Aleksandr Slastin, Aleksey Maslodudov, Aleksey Rozin, Anastasiya Sapozhnikova

Moods

Depressing, Slow, Tear-jerker

Realistic, intimate, and compelling, Elena is a movie that makes you think a lot after you finish watching it. It is an inherently Russian movie, however there is something about how the story is told that makes it a universal family drama. A woman from a modest background to which she still has a lot of attachement is married to an old wealthy business man. Upon learning that the man might write her off his will, she feels pushed to get her hands dirty to honor her responsibilities towards her original family. The question of right and wrong when faced with extreme situations is at the heart of this aesthetically slow-burning family drama.

73. Green Room (2015)

7.6

Country

United States of America

Director

Jeremy Saulnier

Actors

Alia Shawkat, Anton Yelchin, Callum Turner, David W. Thompson

Moods

Dark, Intense, Raw

This is the follow-up film by the director of the (also) excellent and intense Blue Ruin. Like that film, Green Room often subverts genre expectations. The basic premise: a lefty punk band winds up taking a show at a skinhead club because they are desperate for cash. The show goes well, but afterward the band accidentally witnesses something they shouldn’t have and are trapped in the club’s green room. This film is brutal and intense, especially because you actually care about what happens to the characters. Bonus: Sir Patrick Stewart plays the leader of the skinhead organization, and gives a subtle yet effectively sinister performance. While some truly horrific acts of violence occur (especially in the back-half of the film) they really do serve the story. Still, there are a handful of scenes that may require more sensitive viewers to cover their eyes. You have been warned.

72. Sunshine (2007)

7.6

Country

UK, United Kingdom, United States of America

Director

Danny Boyle

Actors

Benedict Wong, Chipo Chung, Chris Evans, Cillian Murphy

Moods

Dramatic, Thrilling

Sunshine is a sci-fi thriller that details pretty much exactly what you don’t want to happen on your journey into space. It follows the struggles of a crew who know that they are humanity’s last hope to rekindle a dying sun and save their loved ones back home. Out of radio contact with Earth, relationships become strained and when things start to go horribly wrong the diverse cast give a fantastic performance as they encapsulate both the terror and humanity that arises from such an alien situation. Directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later).

71. Maria Full of Grace (2004)

7.6

Country

Colombia, Ecuador, United States of America

Director

Joshua Marston

Actors

Catalina Sandino Moreno, Guilied Lopez, Jhon Álex Toro, Johanna Andrea Mora

Moods

Dramatic, Original

Is courage still courage when you have no choices left? What do you do when you’re pressed to the wall and have no way to go? Maria, a pretty, modest and hardworking girl living in a small Colombian town, where the only career choice (thus not being a choice, really) is working in a floral plant, packing and distributing flowers – a dead-end job with killer hours and zero-tolerance boss. Yet, it’s money. Until the day Maria gets pregnant and her choices become even more limited. By accident, she makes acquaintance with a guy who turns out to be her way out – and the way is out to become a drug mule, transporting drugs in your stomach across the border to the American soil. A job dangerous in many aspects, illegal and potentially deadly, but also paid well. Maria decides to take the only way out, a way that may be a one-way street. Maria Full of Grace is a gut-wrenching story about survival in a seemingly hopeless situation. It’s about taking that one chance that has all the potential to go south, and investing in it all the hope you have left, and all the survival instinct you have in your heart and soul. And when everything that could go bad does, and everything turns from bad to worse beyond imagination, it’s about standing strong and not giving up, no matter what. Though technically not a documentary, it’s real beyond belief, and you can be sure Colombia is full of Marias – just hoping for a decent life, ready to sacrifice the very life itself to obtain it. It’s a masterpiece of its genre and it also boasts one of the best posters in the history of the cinema. Highly recommended.

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