The 10 best thrillers on Netflix right now

Obviously the best genre.

So you’ve exhausted your list of shows to watch and are mindlessly scrolling through Netflix looking for something to jump out at you.

Stop, please. 

Instead, we’ve compiled a list of thrillers that will have you watching episode after episode, so long as you keep the light on when you fall asleep. 

Think of this as a cheaper, less dangerous way of getting your adrenalin pumping. 


If you thought your family was a little twisted, you’ll find solace in Bloodline. The Netflix original follows a set of privileged siblings, whose past secrets are exposed following the return of their ‘black sheep’ brother. “We’re not bad people, but we did a bad thing,” the series’ tagline reads. Make sure to savour this one, it’s been reported the series won’t be picked up past season three. 

The OA

Another Netflix original, The OA, is one that’ll have you losing sleep. Aside from its classification as a thriller, the series has elements of mystery, drama, science fiction, supernatural and fantasy. Yep, all of the above and then some. 

It’s about Prairie Johnson, who shows up after she’s been missing for seven years with the self-appointed title, ‘The OA’. Prairie refuses to share her tale with her adoptive parents, confiding instead in a group of teenage boys. The series has compelled viewers to the point where ‘The OA theories’ is a popular Google search.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Anyone who knows anything knows that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the ultimate psychological thriller. The adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s novel details one journalist’s search for a woman who’s been missing for 40 years. Mikael Blomkvist’s operation is aided by surveillance agent and hacker, Lisbeth Salander (i.e. the chick with the tatts). What ensues is a whole lot more gripping than first anticipated. Hint: the other two films in the series are also available. You’re welcome. 

Black Mirror

This British series taps into a little more than just fear. The anthological, science fictional and satirical thriller explores the influence of modern technologies on society and the growing unease about the future. The ‘black mirrors’ referred to are those of the smartphone, TV and tablet kind. Conveniently, each episode has a different cast, setting and storyline. What does that mean? You can dip in and out of this series, without signing your life away to season marathons. 


This one might be a newbie but it’s going to appeal to your sense of thrill. It has all the makings of a nail-biter: a young female writer takes to the woods to escape the city and is then stalked and tormented by a masked killer. Plot twist: she’s deaf. One for the thriller-obsessed who’s seen every movie, thrice over. 

Silence of the Lambs

If you haven’t watched this classic, it’s time you rope a friend into sitting down it with you. It follows an FBI cadet’s mission to catch psychopathic murderer, ‘Buffalo Bill’, in America’s Midwest. Cadet Clarice Starling uses incarcerated killer and former psychiatrist, Hannibal Lector, to assist in her operation. Two murderers in one film? Killer. 


This is a psychological horror with all the trimmings: a mourning couple, a creepy child and a haunting secret. Nine-year-old Russian orphan, Esther, is welcomed into a family of four who are mourning the loss of their stillborn child. Expectedly, chilling events ensue, and Esther’s secret is revealed. 

Shutter Island

All you need to know is Leonardo DiCaprio plays the main role. This neo-noir psychological thriller follows an investigation by two US marshals on Shutter Island, where a psychiatric patient went missing from a facility. The film’s stellar cast doesn’t stop at Leo. Shutter Island also features actors Mark Ruffalo and Michelle Williams. 

Captain Phillips

The most alarming part of this movie is the fact it’s a biographical survival thriller. Nothing haunts like the words ‘based on a true story’. Tom Hank stars as Captain Phillips, the captain of cargo ship MV Maersk, on route from Oman to Kenya. The film chronicles Phillips’ actions to save his own life, as well as those of the crew, when the ship is taken hostage by Somali pirates. 


This mystery/thriller is another film based on a true story. The film follows the ‘Zodiac’ serial killer, prevalent around the San Francisco Bay Area in the ’60s and ’70s. The killer was famous for using letters and emailing cyphers to newspapers. Interestingly, screenwriter James Vanderbilt, director David Fincher and producer Badley J. Fischer researched the investigation for over 18 months. The film features heavyweights Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Chloë Sevigny. 


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