337 Best Mystery Movies to Watch (Page 22)

Staff & contributors

Feeling investigative? If you’re not sure which movie to go for, allow us to clue you in. From detective stories and whodunnits to suspenseful dramas, here are the best mystery-themed movies and shows to stream now.

Horror likes to take a human fear and personify it. It's a winning move, materializing our worst nightmares, but what does a woman's self-doubt look like? In this case, extremely ugly and somewhat laughable, but surely not scary. The special effects team dropped the ball on this one, and the appendage's physical presence is more distracting than anything. Its concept and its aura, though, go a long way, and there are a few admirable twists and turns that make a curious point about female psychology and social expectations. Their interdependency then translates into the film's sparse backstory, tracing a journey of trauma that's surprisingly relatable. Interestingly enough, director Anna Zlokovic made a short of the same name in 2021 which teased the idea of a monster sucking your confidence in secret, but her latest feature film lacks that punch. 

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Annie Pisapia, Brandon Mychal Smith, Daniel Chioco, Deborah Rennard, Desmin Borges, Emily Hampshire, Hadley Robinson, Kausar Mohammed

Director: Anna Zlokovic

Rating: R

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To Catch a Killer feels like a limited series shrunken down to fit a movie’s runtime: its many ideas, though potentially compelling on their own, are so underserved by the breezy treatment here that they lose all value. The film wants to hit every hot button — misogyny in the police force, demagoguery on TV news channels, high-level corruption, white supremacy, and the mental health crisis — but its frantic box-ticking makes it feel like a speed-run of topical issues rather than anything genuinely reflective. 

The characters feel similarly underdeveloped, not least star Shailene Woodley’s, a Clarice Starling wannabe who winds up delivering emotional counseling to the film’s bafflingly motivated serial killer in just one of many implausible scenes. Add to that the cringe-inducing dialogue, which is crammed to bursting point with clunky metaphors, and you can call off the manhunt —  the script is the real killer here.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Alain Chanoine, Arthur Holden, Ben Mendelsohn, Benz Antoine, Christian Jadah, Daniel Brochu, Darcy Laurie, Dawn Lambing, Dusan Dukic, Frank Schorpion, Jason Cavalier, Jovan Adepo, Karine Dion, Luc Morissette, Marcello Bezina, Mark Antony Krupa, Mark Camacho, Mark Day, Maurizio Terrazzano, Michael Cram, Michael Dozier, Nabil Khatib, Patrick Émmanuel Abellard, Patrick Labbé, Ralph Ineson, Richard Zeman, Rosemary Dunsmore, Sean Tucker, Shailene Woodley, Ted Pluviose, Teneisha Collins

Director: Damián Szifron

Yet another drama designed to be emotional without actually doing the heavy lifting to get us invested, Prisoner's Daughter takes the easy way out at every turn, mistaking its use of capital-I Issues and dramatic plot points for substantial writing. This doesn't mean that the film itself isn't still watchable and competently performed (by a typically strong Brian Cox, but especially by Kate Beckinsale); it just fails to make a statement about any of its disparate parts mashed together. At the end of the day, it feels as if the film doesn't have enough faith in the already complex and difficult relationship at its center, so it attempts to dress it up with prison, cancer, drug addicts, and epilepsy—which only cheapens what's already there.

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Brian Cox, Christopher Convery, Chuti Tiu, Cinthia Moura, Ernie Hudson, Jon Huertas, Kate Beckinsale, Mark Kubr, Mark Oliver Everett, Tyson Ritter, Yonel Dorelis

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Rating: R

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Tagged by Netflix as a stylish thriller driven by a bold sexual adventure, Burning Betrayal feels less erotic and less thrilling than expected. Sure, there are stunning sex scenes, and unexplainable incidents that seem at first the result of a breakup. However, the first half of Burning Betrayal does not adequately set up the last half, as it focused nearly half its runtime just throwing in as much sex scenes as possible. And for what? There’s nothing character-wise that makes any of the men in Babi’s life so compelling, even in the toxic, addictive sort of way. And when the twist comes, it feels like it’s been all thrown arbitrarily. It really just feels like multiple pretty music videos masquerading as a movie.

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Romance

Actor: Bruno Montaleone, Camilla de Lucas, Giovanna Lancellotti, Leandro Lima, Louise D'Tuani, Micael Borges

Director: Diego Freitas

Rating: R

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With the success of Knives Out, many filmmakers have gone back to make new films in the whodunit genre, which reached its peak between the 30s and 40s with Agatha Christie. A Deadly Invitation is one of these new murder mysteries, based on the novel of the same name by Carmen Posadas. Unfortunately, this Mexican film feels ill-timed, releasing months after the Glass Onion. Even if the source novel has been released in 2010, this film feels like a pale imitation of the Knives Out sequel, as it possesses plenty of the same plot points – as an eccentric millionaire invites their potential murderers for a party in the middle of nowhere, along with someone to solve said murder. There are some differences, specifically, the death actually occurs here, but these differences, along with the careless way each info is revealed, aren’t enough to make A Deadly Invitation feel unique.

Genre: Comedy, Mystery

Actor: Aarón Díaz, Helena Rojo, José María de Tavira, Juan Pablo de Santiago, Julio Casado, Manolo Cardona, Mariana Cabrera, Maribel Verdú, Pedro Damián, Regina Blandón, Stephanie Cayo

Director: José Manuel Cravioto

With its celebration of Thai dances, excellent costumes, and two male theater actor leads, ManSuang seemed like it would be something akin to a Thai Farewell My Concubine, especially as it starts off with what could have been sex scene interrupted by a murder. The addition of the espionage storyline, as well as the dynamics between the Chinese and the mainland Thai, seemed like the film would be subtle social commentary through historical drama. However, the story feels haphazardly assembled, with characters acting contrary to their goals, and sadly, the film doesn’t showcase as much of Thai culture as we would like. Instead, the film spends more time establishing an overly complicated mystery that gets too hard to follow with its multiple plotlines. ManSuang has beautiful set design, costumes, and a handsome cast, but the writing wastes the potential the story had.

Genre: Drama, Mystery

Actor: Asavapatr Ponpiboon, Chartchai Ketnust, Duangjai Hiransri, Gandhi​ Wasuvitchayagit, Nattawin Wattanagitiphat, Nutthasid Panyangarm, Ornanong Panyawong, Phakphum Romsaithong, Pradit Prasartthong, Sornchai Chatwiriyachai, Teerawat Mulvilai, Thanayut Thakoonauttaya

Director: Bhanbhassa Dhubthien, Chartchai Ketnust, Krisda Witthayakhajorndet

Rating: PG-13

This B-movie sci-fi-action-thriller from co-writer-director Robert Rodriguez starts out like a hammy pastiche of (the already overdone) Taken, but its interminable succession of galaxy-brain twists reveals other obvious influences — among them Inception, Memento, and Shutter Island. Fine ingredients, but the recipe is all wrong, as a gravelly-voiced, seemingly barely awake Ben Affleck sleepwalks his way through the cringy dialogue. Alongside William Fichtner in shady supervillain mode, Affleck is joined in that endeavor by Alice Braga as the psychic who is (seemingly) helping his Detective Rourke track down his (again, seemingly!) kidnapped daughter, though what Braga mostly does is hold the audience’s hand and explain the plot’s increasingly convoluted sci-fi elements to us. At one point, she tells Rourke that “pain keeps the mind awake” — and, while the excruciating script doesn’t seem to have that effect on Affleck (judging from his lethargic performance), it’s hard not to find yourself a little enlivened by Hypnotic’s sheer absurdity.

Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery, Science Fiction, Thriller

Actor: Alice Braga, Ben Affleck, Bobby Hernandez, Bonnie Discepolo, Carrick O'Quinn, Corina Calderon, Dayo Okeniyi, Derek Russo, Gabriel 'G-Rod' Rodriguez, Hala Finley, J. D. Pardo, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeff Fahey, Kelly Frye, Kelly Phelan, Lawrence Varnado, Nikki Dixon, Ryan Ryusaki, Sonia Izzolena, William Fichtner, Zane Holtz

Director: Robert Rodriguez

The opening titles of this French procedural drama explicitly tell us that the crime it chronicles will go unsolved, confessing that it’s about one of the approximately 160 murder cases that police don’t crack each year. An ambitious and intriguing opener — suggesting that, in the absence of a clean resolution, the film will nonetheless offer us something equally compelling, as Zodiac does. 

In following the investigation of the brutal murder of 21-year-old Clara (Lula Cotton-Frapier) — for which the police interrogate various of her exes, all misogynistic potential murderers in their own ways — the film seeks to explore the society-wide “problem between men and women” that has given the police its surplus of suspects. Alas, it’s much more interested in the psychological impact cold cases have on policemen like frustrated captain Yohan (Bastien Bouillon). There’s something deeply ironic about making a movie about the systemic dehumanization of women just to center male perspectives, especially when their only insight into the epidemic of toxic masculinity is Yohan’s clunky “We can’t find the murderer because all men killed Clara.” The film’s treatment of the victim herself — incurious and downright gratuitous in the depiction of her murder — cements it as a shallow, un-self-aware, and failed attempt to reckon with a subject that deserved its full focus.

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Anouk Grinberg, Bastien Bouillon, Bouli Lanners, Camille Rutherford, Charline Paul, Johann Dionnet, Jules Porier, Julien Frison, Lula Cotton-Frapier, Marc Bodnar, Matthieu Rozé, Mouna Soualem, Nicolas Jouhet, Paul Jeanson, Pauline Serieys, Pierre Lottin, Théo Cholbi, Thibaut Évrard

Director: Dominik Moll

If nothing else, Chris Moukarbel's Tribeca Film Festival-winning narrative feature really forces us to think about the form of the documentary and the layers of interpretation through which we're shown an ostensibly factual account. Cypher begins as a music doc, before taking on true-crime qualities, then turning into a full-blown found footage thriller—the movie itself practically being brainwashed into its own conspiracy. Unfortunately, this is all much less interesting in execution, as the film goes long stretches without keeping up the momentum of its eerier moments. Its eventual twists are particularly uninspired, coming up with a vision of the music industry that doesn't say anything all that meaningful.

Genre: Documentary, Drama, Music, Mystery

Actor: Jamila Curry, Johnny Montina, Kenete Simms, Nick Canonica, Tierra Whack, Vanya Asher

Director: Chris Moukarbel

Rating: R

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