Thriller movies are the most popular genres on Netflix, and well, across any form of entertainment these days. And why wouldn’t they be? They offer the best of both worlds. Authors develop the characters; we build the story up to a crescendo. Then we start picking clues, investing all our time into every tiny detail, but thoroughly enjoying the story, action, suspense, mystery, and everything that unfolds.
While Netflix offers a wide-ranging selection of thrillers, I have rounded up some of the best thriller movies on Netflix in May 2021 you can watch from psychological to mystery, horror, and beyond! Make sure you have your eyes glued to the screen, or you will end up missing a lot in that whirlwind second.
1. I care a lot
Cast: Rosamund Pike, Eiza González, Peter Dinklage
Director: J Blakeson
This comic thriller is based on Marla Grayson, a caretaker whose job is to care for lonely older people. Apparently, she is too good a caretaker, as she sells their properties and makes a living out of the commission money. And guess what, this lady is legally chosen to be their guardian!
Moreover, there couldn’t have been a better choice than Rosamund Pike for the character. Her flawless work in Gone Girl stands testimony to it. She keeps you hooked to the TV screen.
Spill the sauce: Enter Jennifer Peterson, a crazy obnoxious person who disrupts Marla's cash flow and her friends trouble the very core of her existence. Will she succeed over the rebellious psycho old lady?
This entertainer is the extremities of profanity. Although its core lies in its humor, the foul language, the vicious game plans, and no sense of morality make it a must-watch thriller. Peter Dinklage is a delight to watch and will remind you of that loyal friend you always had in college. A perfect brunch movie to keep you hooked!
Genre: Mystery Thriller
Cast:Ryo Narita, Gō Ayano, Anna Ishii, Yukino Kishii
Director: Takashi Shimizu
Japanese and Korean thrillers have some of the best storylines I have ever witnessed. Japanese thrillers are on the scientific side, keeping you engrossed over the possibilities of it happening in real life. And homunculus is no exception. Despite some scenes being extremely dark (read: the rape scene), the film depicts what a brain can achieve if used to its full potential.
Spill the sauce: A homeless amnesiac man wakes up to see disfigured brains, witnessing everyone's innermost trauma in a dysfunctional physical format and understanding their problems. What may seem like a God's gift is, in reality, an outcome of a forbidden experiment by a medical intern. What will this homeless man do of his newfound power?
The lead actor has done a stellar job; he embraces his power and starts helping people get rid of their worst traumas. The visual effects used for the trauma add uniqueness to the movie.
The twist and spice will keep you glued to your chair, occasionally adding a moment or two of laughter. But as you proceed towards the end, you will be pondering a lot of emotional aspects of your and your loved one’s lives. Also, what happens to the lead actor? Tune in to the film to find out!
3. Deadly Illusions
Genre: Erotic Thriller Drama
Cast: Greer Grammer, Kristin Davis, Dermot Mulroney
Director: Anna Elizabeth James
An easy way to get a thriller movie to the top of the chartbusters is spicing it up with seduction and revenge. Well, the temperature goes higher if you have the leading lady from Sex and the City being the center of these sexual fantasies.
Spill the sauce: Mary is a thriller novelist who quits writing for good and happily lives with her husband and kids. Her publisher offers her a cheque of $2 Million as an advance and asks her to write a book again. After much trial and error, she hired a nanny to reduce her workload and increase her focus but ends up dreaming of sleeping with her.
The star cast has done complete justice to their roles; however, the story has many loopholes and is a blend of all the elements that make it too predictable and mainstream. The murder was unnecessary, the nanny is fake, and the writer fails to understand the difference between her dream and reality, expecting too much from a fake nanny.
However, it is a must-watch for all the Kristin Davis fans, for she has done quite a remarkable job as a thriller novelist, which helps her break the charming, delicate stereotype. The sensuality used doesn’t feel forced and is not vulgar. It indeed is one of the blockbuster thriller movies on Netflix.
4. A fall from Grace
Genre: Psychological thriller
Cast: Mehcad Brooks, Crystal Fox, Cicely Tyson, Tyler Perry
Director: Tyler Perry
A fall from Grace starts as a feel-good movie. Grace’s best friend Sarah is aware of Grace’s loneliness after the divorce and forces her to get back in the dating game. Cut to three months later; Grace is married to the man of her dreams. The knight in shining armor turns out to be a pathetic man who turns her life upside down over a few weeks. Now, this is the kind of drama I look for in a thriller movie.
Spill the sauce: A successful divorced lonely lady falls in love with a young man, who is perfection. Until one day, things change, and he gets Grace behind bars. But wait, if Shannon, her husband, was behind the money, why did she kill him? Or did she?
This is a perfect watch for a family brunch. It is dramatic, has a social message to it, and keeps your head spiraled throughout the film. Watch out for the best friend angle. Tyler Perry has done a decent job with the direction, but Mehcad Brooks is the ultimate winner. Watch it for some exciting twists and turns and stellar performances by the lead cast.
5. Things heard and seen
Genre: Horror thriller
Cast: James Norton, Natalia Dyer, Amanda Seyfried.
Director: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
Based on Elizabeth Brundage’s 2016 novel, All things Cease to Appear, this Netflix film is undoubtedly here to give you The Shining chills.
An art enthusiast couple leading to a smaller town for husband’s career leads to the wife interacting with ghosts in their house. Some people start acting weird, and every human soul feels an eerie presence in the house. The negativity gets so strong that the daughter refuses to sleep by herself and insists on sleeping in the parent’s room.
Spill the sauce: A dream come true for the husband turns out to be the wife's biggest nightmare. The couple moves to upstate New York for the wife's new job, but the house they pick has an eerie feel to it. Strange smells and occasional sightings lead to the couple growing distant and having affairs until one of them is brutally murdered.
This movie will be a treat for the 90s kid, for it stars one of the mean girls (you know who it is!). Using a painting as a metaphor is a cinematic genius, and the subtle ghoulish presence makes it a classic horror film.
I really admire Natalia Dyler’s performance in the film too; you might remember her from Yes, God, Yes. This is one of the finest horror-thriller films that 2021 has received; consider watching it over the weekend.
6. Red Dot
Genre: Drama, horror, thriller
Cast: Nanna Blondell, Johannes Kuhnke, Anastasios Soulis
Director: Alain Darborg
Red Dot is a terrifying thriller that makes you question your sanctity for the protagonists. Written by Alain Darborg and Per Dickson, the movie tells the story of Nadja and David, a married couple. The sadistic hunt brings on the couple’s past, which is scarier than the killer chasing them.
Spill the sauce: Nadja and David take a hiking trip to spice up their monotonous married life. A romantic gateway to the snowy mountains should have been a passionate trip turned into a survival fest once the red dot appears.
Red Dot is not just a horror thriller, it is two-part horror and one part emotional, and the third part is what drives the viewer crazy. As tempted as I may be to give in the spoilers, I will instead force you to hop on to your Netflix and watch it tonight.
7. Sky High
Director: Daniel Calparsoro
Genre: Action Thriller, Gangster
Cast: Miguel Herrán, Luis Tosar, Carolina Yuste, Patricia Vico
Netflix acquired global rights to the action thriller Spanish film Sky High and redirected it in 2020. What’s the movie about? Well, it’s about a small group of thieves that manages to stay ahead of the Madrid police always through its wit, talent, and skills.
Spill the sauce: The story revolves around Angel, charmed by Estrella, and works simultaneously to gain her love and gradually moving up in his criminal life. During this heist, he falls the target of a tireless police detective, which is when the content becomes interesting.
The first impression seems like a classic action thriller with glamour, drama, and lots of action-packed performances. What sets it apart is the character buildup, cinematography, and gorgeous locations.
8. Uncut Gems
Genre: Crime thriller
Cast: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Idina Menzel
Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
You cannot help but laugh when Adam Sandler is on the big screen. But, Sandler taking the lead in a thriller movie? Now that’s something I need time to digest. This gambling addict diamond junkie, who takes more significant risks to get out of the debt, and the hardships that come along, is what the movie is all about.
Spill the sauce: Adam Sandler’s character makes terrible decisions throughout the movie, so much that it is pretty evident that he might see his downfall any moment. Still, you feel bad for the guy and want him to work his way out. Be it the scene where the goons follow him or the time he keeps betting more money, you want him to realize and work his way out of the mistakes.
The pursuit of the ultimate win would have made an excellent title to the movie. Thus, 135 minute-something film is on the lighter side of the thriller scale like it’s scary but funny. If you asked me just one reason to watch this movie, it would be its brilliant screenplay and Sandler’s charm.
9. Gerald’s Game
Genre: Psychological horror-thriller film
Cast: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Chiara Aurelia
Director: Mike Flanagan
A weekend gateway and a sexual fantasy went wrong. Gerald’s Game is a horror-thriller that depicts the journey of a couple trying to rekindle their relationship to take a romantic holiday, only to have one of them die of a fatal heart attack and the other person stuck handcuffed in a house where no one can hear her screams.
Spill the sauce: At one point in the movie, you will find Carla talking to her dead husband’s spirit, discussing things like their relationship and life that she could have never discussed while she was alive. Meanwhile, the stray dog is biting the skin of the dead man’s hand and chewing it off.
A very risky adaptation of Stephen King’s novels, Gerald’s Game, was regarded as his novel’s best adaption that year. It is the same year when the infamous interpretation ‘it’ was released. Any loyal Stephan King fan knows that his novels are blessed with absurd endings, and Gerald’s Game is no exception. But, it is the direction that makes it a genius redemption.
10. Below Zero
Genre: Action Thriller
Cast: Javier Gutiérrez, Karra Elejalde, Luis Callejo
Director: Lluís Quílez
Below Zero is a Spanish tense action thriller that will keep you guessing till the very end. The story revolves around Martin, a newly transferred police officer who drives the transport van over a chilly night. Six prisoners, an unknown assailant, and a lot of strength are what keeps the movie pretty top-notch.
Spill the sauce: A police officer shifting deadly prisoners for the first time, on his way at a lonely damned place, the prison transport stops. And then begins an officer's journey to fight with not one but six psychopaths and make sure no one escapes. Will he succeed?
The story development and characters’ evolution are on-point. The twists and turns in the plot will keep you on your toes and are on the entertaining side. It is not a dark film, but do not empathize with Martin too much, else you will end up pondering over it for days to come.
Genre: Romantic Thriller
Cast: Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas
Director: Ben Wheatley
Imagine getting married to the love of your life and competing with your husband’s ex-wife’s ghost? An estate that one can only dream of turns out to be one of the biggest nightmares of her life.
Spill the sauce: The world is in a state of ghosts demanding on the living, the dead stepping out of the grave seeking nothing but revenge. The unnamed narrator decides to marry this dazzling Mr. Winter but is at her wit's end to find a dead Mrs. Winter at her lover's paradise. Will she be able to live up to everyone's expectations and work her way around?
With the classic 1940s style, the gorgeous house, the beautiful bride, and the ghost Rebecca’s scary presence through comb engravings, the thriller has a lot of exciting things to offer. Do not miss the added flavor of romance in the content.
12. The Call
Director: Chung-Hyun Lee
Cast: Park Shin-Hye, Jong-seo Jun, Sung-ryung Kim
What may seem like an innocent goodwill movie at first turns out to be much more than that. Jong-seo Jun is as magnificent as the young Sook; her power lies in her acting abilities; boy, does she keep her contained during every suspense element.
Spill the sauce: Seo-Yeon returns to her hometown after her mother's cancer diagnosis. Soon after she gets back to her home, she starts getting strange calls, her younger version from 1999 calling for help. Not just that, she also promises to bring their father back to life. But how much is this favor going to cost her? Will she end up creating a serial monster?
A thriller with multiple genres is rare, sci-fi, emotional, drama, suspense, mystery, etc. South Korean dramas have been amping up the thriller game for a long time, which keeps up the expectations. One should watch the film not just for the story but for the gorgeous cinematography.
13. Bird Box
Genre: Horror Thriller
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, Sarah Paulson
Director: Susanne Bier
Based on Josh Malerman’s novel, Bird Box is brutal to its core. The story is a journey of an experimental mother striving to form a connection with her baby, start witnessing mass suicides all of a sudden, and is driven into a conquest of saving her family toward the end of the movie. You may remember this movie as the one that kept the memes coming a lot after its release.
Spill the sauce: Bird Box is divided into two time periods, five years after the end of the world and the initial days when everything started collapsing. The majority of the time, the film rolls around in flashbacks with Malorie. While casually discussing mass suicides happening on the other side of the world, Malorie and her sister end up witnessing people hurling themselves out of windows and into traffic, from a woman bashing her head into glass windows to another getting into the driver’s seat of a burning car.
Shot on a limited budget, the Bird Box keeps the audience hooked throughout the content. Bullock shows her charm, the kids are great actors, and the movie is packed with engaging dialogues. Avoid watching this one with your kids, though.
14. Time to hunt
Genre: Crime thriller
Cast: Woo-sik Choi, Lee Je-hoon, Park Hae Soo
Director: Yoon Sung-Hyun
A Korean drama, preferably a coherent mixture of sci-fi, crime, and horror heist, Time to Hunt is here to get you an intense adrenaline rush. The movie is excellent craftsmanship of perfect acting, great cinematography accompanied by South Korean brilliancy that has always surprised us. The plot revolves around people nearing their financial crisis; pretty relatable, eh?
Spill the sauce: The film starts with a young blade releasing from prison and greeted by his friends. His immediate goal is to earn enough money for them for the robbery for which he was punished either spent or devalued, leaving him in a critical financial crisis. And to get out of this situation and make things better, they get into ……… another robbery and gambling! Sounds stupid? Try being in their shoes and think of the horror now. It scares you to death, right?
Premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, Time to Hunt came up right before the Coronavirus lockdowns, giving everyone a perfect time to ponder the movie when the world was standing in the middle of a financial crisis. Need another push to watch the movie? One of the Parasite guys is in the film! Which one? Well, watch the film to figure it out.
Genre: Action Thriller
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Randeep Hooda, Golshifteh Farahani
Director: Sam Hargrave
A black market mercenary with no shits to give sets upon a journey to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned crime god. Will he manage to free the son amidst an already existing ruckus of weapon dealers, drug traffickers? What problems does he face while dealing with the impossible?
Spill the sauce: What may seem like a classic hit-and-chase goons movie from the 90s is much more than that. That Chris Hemsworth charm, the rivalry he has to witness, and a string of emotions displayed in Randeep Hooda’s character convey many hidden emotions. The cherry on the cake is the action sequences in the movie that keep you on the chair the whole time.
Named Tyler Rake, the superhero mercenary is our Thor himself. This action thriller sequence screams entertainment with 116 minutes of its run time, and every character has a back story of their own, making the content more engaging. Amidst the rays of physiological thrillers, an action thriller feels like Friday night’s Joey’s special!
Which thriller movies are you binge-watching on Netflix?
Well, I am a fan of movies with open endings. Add a flavor of thrill to it, and we are golden. These are some of the most-watched and top thriller movies on Netflix, some of them masterpieces. It is hard for me to pick one from the list; I am still confused between Inception and Shutter Island. I am planning to watch all of these again to get to my favorite movie.
Why don’t you help me pick one? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section.