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.
Rarely do we get horror movies that are as dedicated to toying with audience expectations as Barbarian. Even rarer is a horror movie that pays so much attention to setting, and how men and women approach and interact with physical spaces in different ways. It's a film that's ultimately about entitlement—except it's delivered to us with jet-black humor and manic energy, shifting from romantic to ridiculous to raving mad. But with instantly charming performances from Georgina Campbell and Bill Skarsgård—and Justin Long doing a brilliant job playing an absolute jerk—Barbarian never leaves you grasping in the dark, even if it leads you deeper into hell.
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).
In Under the Banner of Heaven, Andrew Garfield plays Detective Jeb Pyre, a devout Mormon whose faith is shaken when he takes up a violent case that involves his church. When he discovers the gruesome death of a fellow worshipper and her 15-month-old child, he is driven mad by the choices he needs to make about his faith, his family, and the threat of fundamentalism these two pillars present. Terrifying and compelling, Under the Banner of Heaven is not for the weak-hearted, but it is recommended to anyone up for a good, challenging watch.
From Mike Flanagan, creator of The Haunting anthology, comes Midnight Mass, a miniseries that is just as gory, unsettling, and supernaturally twisted as any Flanagan horror flick. The series follows an ex-convict who returns to his small town just upon the arrival of a mysterious but alluring priest. As inexplicable events start to happen, the townsfolk hang onto the churchman's words, seeking reassurance where they can.
With lots to say about religious fanaticism and perpetual grief, Midnight Mass is part of a new wave of layered and thoughtful scary stories currently dominating the genre. While its stately and meditative pace can be overbearing sometimes, it never runs out of things to shock and unnerve the soul.
A man returns to a town chasing the memory of a woman he loved years ago.
Poet turned filmmaker Bi Gan coats his idiosyncratic filmmaking with a thick layer of neo-noir in this sumptuous follow up to his remarkable debut Kaili Blues. This time around, Kaili City is a neon-drenched dreamscape dripping in style and calling to mind the work of Tarkovsky and Wong Kar-wai.
He may wear his influences on his sleeve, but Bi Gan keeps his trademark moves like the bravado long takes and a poetic disregard for past and present, reality and dreams. This leads to an explosive and unforgettable sequence in the second half that while originally intended for 3D loses little of its mind-bending power when watched at home.
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.
13 Tzameti is a unique suspense movie from Georgia and the debut of director Géla Babluani. This film explores the life of a migrant worker from Georgia working in France, who literally gambles his life in a high stakes game of chance organized by powerful criminals. 13 Tzameti won the World Cinema Jury Prize at Sundance in 2008, and of course, a not nearly as good American remake. Do yourself a favor and check out the original!
Revenge stories are always fun, especially if you have someone like Jella Haase (who plays the titular spy Kleo) to helm them. Haase switches from scorned to spritely with such ease, making the otherwise formulaic plot of the show a breeze to watch. The disguises, the getaways, the killings, and the chase are all expected but nonetheless enjoyable in this show.
If you’re looking for the next Killing Eve, this just might be it. Aside from the leads’ cheerfully deadly ways, the two shows also share the similarity of having enemies obsessing with each other, resulting in a cat-and-mouse chase that’s hard to peel your eyes off from.
The 2008 film Doubt offers a haunting peek into the crisis of pedophilia within the Catholic church. Featuring an all-star cast of Amy Adams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep and Viola Davis, it is more than just a fictional tale. With performances that will make you question your intuition and cast a shadow of doubt on your own instincts, Doubt is a difficult film to grapple with.
I fell in love with this film very early on into the duration of it because it was so honest and it allowed the characters to navigate the nature of their suspicions. With Doubt, however, comes denial, and Viola Davis’s eight-minute monologue is simply smeared with it. Doubt is a fantastic story that has left me stunned for over a decade.
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.