Nothing quite holds the eyes on the screen as adhesively as a suspense movie. Like a real good book or a can of potato chips, once you start one you know you can’t stop. You just gotta watch a few more minutes and find out the answers lingering throughout the picture. Will the rattling mystery finally be solved? Will the murderer finally be revealed? Will the victim escaped his or her deadly attacker? Is our hero really insane or has he been deceived by those around them? We want the answers and continue watching hoping we can get some closure. A good suspense movie keeps you this engaged throughout. So if you’re looking for a movie to hold onto your attention, consider these 25 suspense movies on Netflix that are sure to have you on the edge of your seat. Just be sure to hold onto your seat as well.
Table of Contents
- Get Out
- Gone Girl
- No Country for Old Men
- American Psycho
- Fight Club
- The Fugitive
- Cape Fear
- Rear Window
- The Captive (2014)
- Clinical (2017)
- Gone (2012)
- Gone Girl (2014)
- The Good Neighbour (2016)
- The Interview (1998)
- The Invitation (2015)
- The Loft (2014)
- Trauma (2016)
- Urge (2016)
Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a brilliant mix Hitchcockian horror and Twilight Zone allegory for the modern age of race and culture. Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is a black photographer that takes a trip to the family home of his white girlfriend and is met with a family trying to be too accepting of black people. But the longer he stays, the closer he comes to uncovering a maddeningly twisted scheme involving skin and brain.
Perhaps the grandest masterpiece of the legendary Coen Brothers is their Midwestern dark comedy Fargo. Car salesman Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) tries to make some big money by having his wife kidnapped by hired goons that demand a ransom from her rich father. But when the plan starts getting messier and bloodier, the good-hearted police officer Marge Gunderson (Frances McDormand) takes a harder look at the case. Deeply funny, terrifying, and uniquely surreal with that Minnesota Nice quality.
It may surprise you that director Denis Villeneuve, known for such science fiction films as Arrival and Blade Runner 2049, also dabbles in some intense thrillers as well. Prisoners feature Hugh Jackman as a father with a missing daughter and Jake Gyllenhaal as a detective trying to help him. But when evidence is low, Jackman starts going against the law and torturing a suspect to the absolute limits of cruelty, questioning how long revenge can linger in the hopes of finding his missing girl.
David Fincher’s Gone Girl is a long but brilliant burn of how the media handles cases of missing people. Rosamund Pike plays a wife that mysteriously vanishes and her husband played by Ben Affleck is just as baffled as to how and why this happened. But when an overwhelming amount of evidence supports the case that Affleck murdered his wife, he’ll have to play the media’s game in how the 24-hour news cycle distorts cases and be easily manipulated when it comes to depictions of gender and guilt.
No Country for Old Men
We could honestly fill up this entire list with Coen Brother films but we’ll only go for one more with their Academy Award-winning No Country For Old Men. Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, Josh Brolin plays a hunter that has made the biggest mistake of his life by stealing a suitcase full of money from a drug deal gone bad in the desert. Now he has a whole mess of angry people after him including an aged sheriff played by Tommy Lee Jones and a ruthlessly quiet killer played by the intimidating Javier Bardem.
The story of the Zodiac killer is delivered with little theatrics but plenty of intrigue in David Fincher’s Zodiac. Taking place over the course of decades, we follow the tiring and agonizing murder case that would continue on for ages, draining the sanity of those enveloped in its intricacies. The all-star cast includes Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Robert Downey Jr. It’s an incredibly long film but deeply engaging for those who enjoy the trip down a dark rabbit hole.
Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a 1980s yuppie that has strived for perfection in everything from his body to his suits to his very boring business cards with just the right amount of black and white. But his mind begins to wander and murder starts breaking out in his apartment, leading him into questioning his sanity when it seems that nobody picks up on the psychotic babble and actions of a man as elite as Bateman. A uniquely frightening look at status and power within the mind of the yuppie, American Psycho is unforgettable, especially for the iconic Huey Lewis scene that will bring a new meaning to “It’s Hip To Be Square.”
Edward Norton plays a man who just can’t get to sleep and takes an interest in an odd soap salesman played by Brad Pitt. They soon form an underground group of bored men desiring to fight and escape the daily grind. But their friendship leads down some stranger and darker paths which results in destroyed apartments and exploding airplanes. A trippy and bold film from David Fincher that has become a staple of cinema for being so polarizing in its greater message amid its chaotic assembly.
There’s no shortage of murder case police procedurals in movies but none come so brutally and intense as David Fincher’s Seven. Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt play detectives on the hunt for a mysterious serial killer that strikes and kills based on the seven deadly sins. They think they have a good relationship when it comes to cracking such a grizzly case, especially when the killer voluntarily turns up to them and still has a few tricks up his dirty sleeves.
Considered one of the best films ever made, to say nothing of being the best of director Alfred Hitchcock, Vertigo is the most vivid, surreal, and nightmarish. Jimmy Stewart plays an ex-police officer crippled with vertigo that caused him to let one man fall to his death. Years later, he takes on the case of stalking a presumably cheating wife played by Kim Novak. But the more Stewart follows, the more he finds himself losing his mind over being haunted by his mistakes and striving to attain romance amid a messy and scary plot of identity and murder.
Based on the TV series, Harrison Ford plays the wrongfully convicted Richard Kimble, accused of murdering his wife. Knowing he is innocent, he makes his escape after a destructive crash of the prison bus with a train. While Kimble tries to clear his name, the determined Deputy Samuel Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones) commits himself to hunt down and retrieve the escaped prisoner. Filled with plenty of exciting and pulse-pounding scenes, The Fugitive is perhaps best known for the dam jumping sequence when Ford flees from Jones at gunpoint by taking a massive fall into the water.
Robert De Niro is at his most intimidating in this remake of Cape Fear. He plays sex offender Max Cady who has been released after 14 years of prison. Believing he has been wronged by his attorney Sam Bowden (Nick Nolte), Max devotes his freedom to terrorizing the Bowden family. And when the law can’t do anything to stop Max’s gleeful stalking, Sam knows he has to take the law into his own hands. The film features one of De Niro’s most notable performances for his loud laughing in a movie theater while smoking a cigar, disturbing the Bowdens.
Kathy Bates plays the worst kind of reader as Annie Wilkes, a woman deeply obsessed with writer Paul Sheldon (James Caan). She’s ecstatic to have him in her house when she rescues him after a car crash. But when she discovers his latest book, she’s dismayed by what she has read and her nursing soon turns to torture. One such torture involves a wooden block and a sledgehammer.
Considered the most shocking of Hitchcock’s movies for the time, Psycho has the perfect creepy atmosphere. Anthony Perkins is terrifying as the hotel manager Norman Bates, concealing a dark secret of his mother and going psychotic on his guests, the most unfortunate being his recent visitor played by Janet Leigh. This, of course, leads to one of the most memorable moments in all of horror, the shower death.
Again, this whole list could be Hitchcock movies, but how could we forget Rear Window? Jimmy Stewart finds himself with a lot of free time when his leg is broken. He takes an interest in observing his neighbor out of his window but soon witnesses a murder. And in trying to prove it, he’s going to need to rely on his girlfriend/nurse to help him.
The Captive (2014)
IMDB Score 5.9/10
This film stars Ryan Reynolds and Rosario Dawson as a couple whose daughter went missing eight years early, but some disturbing incidents begin to suggest to them that their daughter might still be alive. This story unravels in non-linear scenes, with only context allowing the viewer to distinguish between what is happening in the present, and what is a flashback, though all scenes are filmed in an atmospheric winter setting that adds to the thrills.
IMDB Score 5.1/10
Vinessa Shaw stars as a psychiatrist who is an expert in confrontational therapy. She finds herself thrown off when one of her patients attacks her during a session and then tries to kill herself in front of her. Shaw’s character starts seeing a psychiatrist herself to deal with her PTSD, which starts to reveal some unexpected repressed memories.
IMDB Score 5.9/10
Starring Amanda Seyfried a Jill, a young woman looking after her younger sister Molly, when Molly goes missing, Jill suspects that she has been taken by the serial killer that kidnapped her years earlier. She launches a desperate quest to save her sister. While the story is quite formulaic, it will appeal to any fans of the genre.
Gone Girl (2014)
IMDB Score 8.1/10
Based on the award-winning novel of the same name, Ben Affleck plays the man who becomes the main suspect when his wife, played by Rosamund Pike goes missing. This adaptation of an excellent story is dark, intelligent and stylish, giving it an abstract, intellectual and postmodern feel. You will find this firm appropriately creepy, confusing and troubling.
The Good Neighbour (2016)
IMDB Score 6.3/10
A bit of an urban legend as two tech0savvy teenagers decide to prank their elderly neighbour, played by James Caan, by trying to convince him that his house is haunted. When he leaves his home, the two set up equipment to simulate the haunting, as well as hidden cameras. But it seems that the boys did not pick their mark carefully enough and may have bitten off more than they can handle.
The Interview (1998)
IMDB Score 7.2/10
An Australian thriller, it is the first of three films written and directed by Craig Monahan. Almost the entire film takes place in a police interrogation room, with some short flashback sequences. The film stars Hugo Weaving, who gives a powerful performance as always. With a feel of the Usual Suspects, you will certainly be left with more questions than answers.
The Invitation (2015)
IMDB Score 6.7/10
Logan Marshall Green stars as a man who responds to a dinner invitation from his ex-wife, and decides to bring his new girlfriend along to the dinner party. There he relives the trauma of his child’s death and becomes suspicious that his ex has ulterior motives for inviting him over that evening. This film is tense from beginning to end and explores some interesting ideas about grief, depression, and how we cope with the events that change our lives.
The Loft (2014)
IMDB Score 6.3/10
A remake of a Dutch-language Belgian film, and also stars Matthias Schoenaerts reprising his role from the original film alongside Karl Urban, James Marsden and Wentworth Miller. The story focusses on five married men that share ownership of an upmarket loft that they use to meet their mistresses. Soon they begin to suspect each other of having committed an even more gruesome crime.
IMDB Score 5.3/10
Set in 1985, a young girl is found covered in blood at the scene of a crime that has seen her own family killed. Growing up with a foster family, she has no memory of what happened in the past. When she moves into a farmhouse with a family of her own, she starts having strange memory lapses and flashbacks and seeing unusual thinks. Is she recovering repressed memories that could unravel the secrets of her past? Starring Abby Cornish.
IMDB Score 4.7/10
Justin Chatwin, Ashley Greene and Alexis Knapp star in this thriller that sees a group of American tourists that find themselves introduced to a new designer drug that strips them of their inhibitions and allows them to live out their wildest fantasies. But the consequences become deadly when they ignore the warning that this is a drug that you can only take once, and an island paradise run by Pierce Brosnan quickly becomes a tropical nightmare.