Drama suspense movies 2020

Drama suspense movies 2020 DEFAULT

The Best Thriller Movies Of 2020

By Amy Young/Dec. 7, 2020 3:27 pm EDT/Updated: April 12, 2021 10:40 am EDT

Moviegoers weren't able to spend most of 2020 congregating in theaters the way we're used to, due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, but streaming platforms stepped into the breach and offered audiences an alternative. The year still brought an abundance of new releases, and several of these titles fall under the thriller genre's broad and often ominous umbrella.

For those who love to take a scary cinematic rollercoaster ride, thriller movies come in all sorts of packages. There are suspenseful mysteries that inspire both sleuthing and scares, keeping viewers guessing until the end. Anxiety-inducing psychological stories can be full of bizarre scenarios that pit humans against one another in mental warfare. Supernatural thrillers derive their most fearful moments from forces beyond the earthly realm — these cause chills and inspire philosophical conversations. And sometimes, creators like to take their frightful stories in abstract and surreal directions to leave you feeling like you dropped your brain into a blender. Plenty of choices were unleashed in 2020 for viewers who want their minds bent and their skin covered in goosebumps, and here's a look at the ones you can't miss. These are the best thriller movies of 2020. Film fans beware — watch out for spoilers!

Alone

Written by Mattias Olsson, Alone is a remake of 2011's Gone, which Olsson also directed. Utilizing that original script, John Hyams (whose credits include action-driven TV shows like Chicago P.D. and Z Nation) took the director's seat to create the 2020 version. In this stripped-down story, a woman named Jessica (Jules Wilcox) is moving to a new home in the Pacific Northwest. From the few phone conversations she has as she travels, we are clued into the fact that she's leaving some sad circumstances. As she drives the secluded and woodsy roads to her new life, she encounters a character simply called Man, played by Marc Menchaca (who you may recognize as Russ Langmore on Ozark). He carries with him a very unsettling vibe, and Jessica — who can sense his oddness — tries to keep her distance. Escape becomes futile as he continues to pop up along her route. Ultimately, after he sets a trap on the road that she can't avoid, he kidnaps her and takes her to a remote cabin where she begins the battle for her life.

Critics narrowed in on Menchaca's ability to shift his character from a "damaged bird of a man" to a "hulking beast." Alone is a cat-and-mouse thriller that doesn't rely on any special effects or unnecessary frills to keep viewers tense and on edge. We get a glimpse into both sides of Man's life — one as a family man and on the flipside, a ruthless predator. Even though the title is Alone, this chiller is suited for a group viewing, possibly minimizing the movie's nightmare potential.

Run

Run director Aneesh Chaganty made his feature debut with Searching in 2018, which he also co-wrote. Both movies explore the parent-child relationship, but where Searching is more about parental concern in the age of technology, Run digs into outright abuse, mainly in the form of Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome — the act of a parent or caregiver making up or creating an illness in order to control another person. The formidable Sarah Paulson is the mom in this scenario. She lives alone with Chloe, her extremely bright, wheelchair-using high-school-age daughter (Kiera Allen). As Chloe begins to scrutinize her mom's actions and intentions, she starts to wonder about the pills her mother is continuously feeding her and embarks on her own secret sleuthing mission — detective work that results in confirmation that her mother's actions are not in her best interest, and sets up a conflict in which Chloe is ready to battle for control of her own life. 

Run marks Kiera Allen's first film performance. The actor is also a writing student in NYC and has used a wheelchair in real life for several years. The way she brought Chloe to life was not overlooked by critics, who called her performance a "wildly impressive feature debut." 

His House

Remi Weekes directed His House, and, for fans and critics alike, he knocked it out of the park. The story, which combines supernatural and all-too-human horrors, follows married couple Bol and Rial Majur (Ṣọpẹ Dìrísù and Wunmi Mosaku) as they flee war-torn Sudan with their daughter. Their means of travel is a battered boat filled with a number of other refugees. The trip is perilous, even fatal: not everyone aboard reaches the landing point in England alive, including the Majurs' child. After a short stint in a detention center, the couple is driven to a house where they are to reside until the powers that be decide their fate. As they wait to see if they'll be granted immunity, they're challenged by further adversity: The agency handling their case is rife with service workers who lack empathy and compassion, and the house becomes the setting for a different type of terror, such as doors that open to reveal the faces of the dead refugees from the boat trip, as well as unidentifiable, jarring noises. 

Under Weekes' guidance, Dìrísù and Mosaku give exceptional performances as these tortured partners facing a multitude of internal and external demons.

The Invisible Man

A modern take from filmmaker Leigh Wannell on the H.G. Wells classic, The Invisible Man is equal parts science fiction and psychological thriller. The movie finds Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) being tortured and gaslit by her ex-boyfriend Adrian Griffin (Oliver-Jackson Cohen), a wealthy optics engineer. Unfortunately, that type of abuse is a common occurrence, but this movie adds an unusual factor: Griffin has recently committed suicide. So how is he still finding ways to make her miserable and terrified? Is he haunting her from beyond the grave? Regarding the possibility of it being a supernatural haunting, Cecilia remains unconvinced. She sneaks into his home — where she also resided when they were a couple — to see if she can find any clues. As she hunts for something to prove her theory, she discovers a technologically-enhanced optical bodysuit that allows a person to go unseen. Though it confirms her suspicions that Griffin is still alive, she makes it her mission to prove it.

Fans of The Handmaid's Tale are aware of Moss's ability to portray a fiercely gritty character motivated by a need for justice. In The Invisible Man, she does nothing less. Even though it's easy to watch along and favor her suspicions, the movie does a great job of keeping up the suspense until all is revealed.

The Rental

Dave Franco had one director's credit on his resume before helming the feature film The Rental. His debut was a video starring himself and his wife Alison Brie — and Brie (Community, G.L.O.W.) stars in this one as well. If Franco is pursuing a career in full-length film direction, he started off on a good foot with this horror thriller in which two couples take a weekend getaway at a dreamy, oceanside rental and meet the property's caretaker Taylor (Toby Huss), who offends them right off the bat with his creepy demeanor and rude, racist comments. The houseguests are taken aback by his deplorable nature but figure they won't have to see him, so they carry on with their plans. That initial tension created by their unpleasant host starts to melt away as the couples settle in to enjoy the picturesque vacation spot — but the early drama is replaced by a new kind set of problems when too much partying leads to adulterous activity. Things get even worse when they discover that someone has installed cameras in the house and is watching — and recording — all their moves.

Franco keeps the movie on a steady pace, not rushing to the finish line for a payoff. Rather, he layers the movie's tension slowly, deepening the audience's anxiety as it grows. 

Shirley

2020 was clearly a big year for Elisabeth Moss and thrillers. She plays the title role in this story, a somewhat fictionalized thriller about mystery and horror writer Shirley Jackson, known for works like The Lottery and The Haunting of Hill House, the latter of which modern viewers may know through the Netflix series it inspired. In Shirley, Rose and Fred Nesmer (Odessa Young and Logan Lerman) are a newlywed couple who head to Bennington College, where Fred is going to do some work for literary critic Stanley Hyman (Michael Stuhlbarg). Rose, who is still a student, becomes fascinated by the work of Stanley's wife, Shirley Jackson. Shirley hires Rose to help her with some house tasks and eventually the young couple ends up moving into the Nesmers' home. The personal relationships become salty and complex, especially between Shirley and Rose.

Critics were positive about this depiction of Jackson's life, with Moss attracting no shortage of rave reviews, one even saying that this may be her best work thus far and noting that "she's brutally cutting but the pain of every slight ripples across her face."

I'm Thinking of Ending Things

Charlie Kaufman hasn't directed every movie that he's written — the list of Kaufman scripts helmed by other directors includes Being John Malkovich and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind — but he does get credit for writing and directing the psychological horror movie I'm Thinking of Ending Things. The title offers a summary of the perspective of an unnamed female lead played by Jessie Buckley who, as she travels with her boyfriend Jake (Jesse Plemons) to meet his parents at their farmhouse, thinks about calling a halt to the relationship. In true Kaufman style, things get surreal from there. For instance, some the characters transform into versions of themselves at different ages. Hallucinations of maggot-infested pigs and ballet dance numbers add to the movie's depth of abstraction and unusual, compelling moments.

Toni Collette and David Thewlis also star in the movie, which gave critics an opportunity to mostly rave about Kaufman's ability to take an ordinary or universal scenario and morph it into a mind-twisting cinematic experience.

Black Box

Memory loss can run the gamut from frustrating, in less extreme cases, to completely devastating in more severe circumstances. As a subject, it has been explored in movies in an abundance of ways. In Black Box, a horror-meets-sci-fi mystery directed by Emmanuel Osei-Koffur, Maoudou Athie stars as Nolan, a father who loses both his wife and his memory in a car accident. Of course he's willing to go to great lengths to get an inkling of what his life was like before the accident. The movie's title comes into play when he meets Lillian (Phylicia Rashad), an innovative neurologist who suggests using a "black box" and hypnosis techniques to help take him back through his memories. When he complies and starts to take those mental journeys into his past, they aren't clear-cut looks at his life events — they're fraught with terrifying imagery.

Athie's performance gave critics a lot to praise, including his "ability to sensitively navigate the film's games of identity hide and seek." It's an interesting and look at the processes one would undergo to find out what kind of person they were before losing themselves.

The Assistant

The Assistant stars Julia Garner (Ozark) as Jane, a college graduate who hopes to be a film producer and takes a job as an assistant to a powerful studio executive who has clearly become accustomed to wielding his power over his staff. The film is a fairly quiet and understated look at a toxic workplace environment, but its subtle nature makes its reality no less disturbing. If anything, it exemplifies the internal terror a person goes through as they experience workplace injustice and feeling like they have nowhere to turn. Garner has proven her intensity repeatedly on Netflix's Ozark and just as she's been on that series, she's captivating here. Her commitment to the role impressed several critics.

Kitty Green directed The Assistant, bringing the skills that helped create thoughtfully crafted documentaries like Casting JonBenet fully to bear on this unsettlingly timely story.

The Occupant

In this Spanish thriller written and directed by David Pastor and Àlex Pastor, Javier Gutiérrez stars as Javier Muñoz, an executive who loses his job and is forced to sell his apartment due to his economic downfall. It's a mental and emotional drain to be uprooted to that extent and it takes its toll on Muñoz: When a new family moves into his former abode, he becomes obsessed with them to a dangerous degree. He follows the husband to an AA meeting and uses that as a way to start worming his way into the family's life, wreaking havoc by creating chaos. Obviously, his situation is not their fault in any fashion, but they become an outlet for his inability to accept his losses. Financial ruin is an obvious motivation for Muñoz, but even deeper than that is the erosion of self-esteem that comes from losing one's social capital. 

The Occupantearned favorable reviews, and among critics who praised the film, there's consistency in the acclaim for Gutiérrez, noting his "dedicated performance as the psychopath."

The Hunt

Horror and comedy team up for this thriller that features an all-star cast, including Ike Barinholtz, Emma Roberts, Betty Gilpin, Hilary Swank, and Ethan Suplee. In The Hunt, directed by Craig Zobel, an internet conspiracy gone awry leads to a group of people waking up in a clearing to discover they're being hunted for sport. In this clever social satire, the hunters are a group of overprivileged liberals and the hunted, or "deplorables" as they're called in the movie, are working-class conservatives. Gilpin stars as Crystal, one of the hunted. When she develops a plan to turn the tables on her attackers, it changes the game.

The movie earned a number of favorable reviews, with Gilpin's powerful performance collecting a lion's share of the praise. From comments like "You can't shake her performance after seeing the movie" to "This is proof final that the G.L.O.W. star is a mesmerizing force," she obviously stands out and leaves a mark. Even though there's a tongue-in-cheek element to The Hunt, it never lets the audience forget its human stakes.

The Lie

Joey King fans who have gotten used to her primarily perky nature in Netflix's Kissing Booth movies can see an angstier side of the actor in the Blumhouse psychological thriller The Lie. King plays Kayla, the daughter of Jay and Rebecca, a divorced couple played by Peter Sarsgaard and Mireille Enos. On a drive to a dance retreat, she sees her friend Brittany sitting on the side of the road. She implores her dad to stop and give Brittany a ride; turns out she's also headed to the same retreat. The girls ask for another stop on the way, for a bathroom break. There's no place to stop on the route so they insist on running into a wooded area and after some cajoling, Jay gives in — a fateful decision that leads to tragedy, followed by Jay and Rebecca's efforts to cover up a crime. The tension in The Lie comes from seeing how one untruthful statement or action, once set in motion, can pick up steam and weave a web of lies that may never be able to be untangled.

Critics were on board with the way director Veena Sud plays with the mystery genre, evident in quotes like "I find myself more amused at Sud's impishness than annoyed at the film's own casual commitment to anarchy." For thriller fans, this is one 2020 release well worth watching — and that's no Lie.

Sours: https://www.looper.com/290859/the-best-thriller-movies-of-2020/

The beauty of the best mystery movies is that they prey on our human instinct to look for answers to questions. It can feel maddening to not know what’s going to happen next, and yet we love it when a crime thriller is impossible to predict. Even better if the mystery movie has you on the edge of your seat until the very last second.

Whether it’s a vintage whodunit or a terrifying psychological thriller, the best mystery movies never stop being fun. Trying to differentiate the bad from the good, guessing who’s lying or telling the truth, and attempting to solve a crime thriller are all mental puzzles that are endlessly frustrating yet completely entertaining. 

So, with that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best mystery movies you can stream tonight. From Alfred Hitchcock classics to M. Night Shyamalan thriller twists, these picks span every genre. If you're in the mood for comedy, try something light like The Lovebirds.Horror and crime thriller fans will be intrigued by Get Out and Seven. Meanwhile, those who prefer a moving drama might enjoy Arrival. No matter what kind of mystery movie you're feeling, we’ve got you covered.


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Sours: https://www.glamour.com/gallery/best-mystery-movies
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At its core, a good thriller is about mystery and suspense: There's something that needs to be solved, and we're the ones figuring it out. A great thriller can cross movie genres, from whodunit to action, drama, and even horror. No matter what, though, the plot is genuinely exciting and fast-paced all the way through, which often makes it a breeze to get through (the perfect weeknight watch? I say yes!). The thriller is a nice match for Halloween watching—when you're hoping to feel tense but maybe not quite as terrified as you would with a bloody horror film—but this type of film is actually perfect year-round.

This year especially has seen the return of big budget movies, and there are some compelling star-studded vehicles on this list. Plus, a number of these films draw from real-life events: the how and why are just as interesting as the what. These are the best thrillers in 2021 so far, and there are still more to come before the end of the year.

Nobody

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Who is "Nobody"? It's definitely Bob Odenkirk kicking all kinds of ass, but it's also a taut thriller about a family man who's not the meek-mannered dad his kids think he is. It's like John Wick but with a lot more sarcasm, and pretty much the physical opposite of the Saul Goodman Breaking Bad character that made Odenkirk famous. Thrillers aren't always this enjoyable, so definitely rent it.

Riders of Justice

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If ever you're going to watch a foreign language film, let it be this one: Mads Mikkelsen is in his element as a military man whose wife dies in a tragic accident. Then several tech experts come to his house and tell him, no, actually, his wife was murdered. The group bands together to enact justice. This fast-paced thriller is as funny, sweet, and sad as it is compelling, and it's got a doozy of a twist.

Wrath of Man

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In a similar way to Nobody, Jason Statham is the loose cannon with a mysterious past who joins an armored truck company. He then proceeds to murder his way through the criminals who try to rob them in search of the person who killed his son. Guy Ritchie makes things exciting and tense—you're not sure whether you should be more scared of the thieves or the guy chasing them—and even though the action is exciting, you're always interested in figuring out who committed the murder and whether they'll pay for what they did.

The Mauritanian

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This is more of a political thriller and based on a true story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who has been detained at Guantanamo Bay—without being charged—on suspicion of helping to plan the September 11 attacks. Criminal defense lawyer Nancy Hollander is asked to defend him, and what follows is a riveting look at morality and consequence.

The Last Duel

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Premiere date: October 15, 2021

This historical drama-thriller sees the return of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck in this "duel to end all duels." Jodie Comer stars as a woman who claims to have been raped by her husband's best friend, and the ensuing conflict leads to the last official duel in France's history. A Google search might tell you the literal outcome of this event, but the film explores a woman's quest for justice and the consequences; It promises to be just as exciting when you know what happens.

Last Night in Soho

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Premiere date: October 29, 2021

As directed by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Baby Driver), this is darker content for him than we're used to seeing. In addition to being a time-traveling thriller, Last Night in Soho is also a psychological horror film: Eloise can time-travel back to the '60s into the body of a nightclub singer Sandie. But the artist's life is full of horrifying surprises that have consequences for both women.

House of Gucci

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Premiere date: November 24, 2021

Lady Gaga's looking like she's having a blast in this over-the-top look at the Gucci fashion house, specifically its head Maurizio Gucci and his wife Patrizia. Family drama leads to a whole bunch of betrayal and eventually murder. Again, a simple Google search will tell you what happened, since this based on a true story, but this will address the sensational details of the crime, its perpetrators, and the decadent fashion behind it all.

Nightmare Alley

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Premiere date: December 17, 2021

This adaptation of a 1946 book centers around a con man who works at carnivals and is a master manipulator. He connects with Dr. Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett, chewing the scenery), and the two turn out to be powerful and toxic. Toni Collette, Rooney Mara, and Willem Defoe also star, and promises to be even darker than the source material. As directed by Guillermo del Toro, this really leans into the noir elements of the story and particularly the gorgeous visuals behind the wheeler-dealer's story.

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Sours: https://www.marieclaire.com/culture/a37774677/best-thrillers-2021/

Best-Reviewed Thrillers 2020


We were kept in suspense all year thanks to the caliber of thrillers released, starting with Blow the Man Down, the women-driven murder mystery with plenty of quirky hometown touches. In fact, it’s women calling the shots in most of the entries, from the neo-noir Blood on Her Name and harrowing survival flick Hunter Hunter, to Aneesh Chaganty’s Run (his post-Searching movie starring Sarah Paulson) and Charlie Kaufman’s first live-action movie in 12 years, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, with Jessie Buckley and Toni Collette.

The order of the rank below reflects the Adjusted Score as of February 28, 2021. Scores might change over time.

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#3

Adjusted Score: 98208%

Critics Consensus: A satisfyingly dark noir elevated by stellar acting and a sharp screenplay, Blood on Her Name thrills in the moment and lingers in the memory.

Synopsis: A woman's panicked decision to cover up an accidental killing spins out of control when her conscience demands she return... [More]

Starring:Bethany Anne Lind, Will Patton, Elisabeth Rohm, Jared Ivers

Directed By:Matthew Pope


#4

Adjusted Score: 98186%

Critics Consensus: An effective pairing of period setting and timeless themes, The Nest wrings additional tension out of its unsettling story with an outstanding pair of lead performances.

Synopsis: An entrepreneur and his family begin to unravel after moving into an old country manor in England in the 1980s.... [More]

Starring:Jude Law, Carrie Coon, Oona Roche, Charlie Shotwell

Directed By:Sean Durkin


#5

Adjusted Score: 95911%

Critics Consensus: Bloody and brutal, Hunter Hunter is a hard-hitting survivalist thriller that ratchets its tension with precision.

Synopsis: HUNTER HUNTER follows a family living in the remote wilderness earning a living as fur trappers. Joseph Mersault (Devon Sawa),... [More]

Starring:Camille Sullivan, Devon Sawa, Summer H. Howell, Nick Stahl

Directed By:Shawn Linden


#6

Adjusted Score: 92471%

Critics Consensus:Alone's minimalistic approach makes this heightened thriller a gripping and suspenseful experience.

Synopsis: A cold-blooded killer hunts a widow in the wilderness after she escapes from his remote cabin in the Pacific Northwest.... [More]

Starring:Jules Willcox, Marc Menchaca, Anthony Heald, Jonathan Rosenthal

Directed By:John Hyams


#7

Adjusted Score: 94583%

Critics Consensus: Smart and stylish, The Wild Goose Lake blends B-movie thrills with bold filmmaking choices and thought-provoking social commentary.

Synopsis: A gangster ends up making a mistake that causes every gun on both sides of the law to point at... [More]

Starring:Ge Hu, Liao Fan, Lun Mei Gwei, Regina Wan

Directed By:Diao Yi-nan


#8

Adjusted Score: 94782%

Critics Consensus: Solid acting and expertly ratcheted tension help Run transcend its familiar trappings to deliver a delightfully suspenseful thriller.

Synopsis: An isolated teen discovers her mother's sinister secret.... [More]

Starring:Sarah Paulson, Kiera Allen, Onalee Ames, Pat Healy

Directed By:Aneesh Chaganty



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Sours: https://editorial.rottentomatoes.com/guide/best-thrillers-2020/

2020 drama suspense movies

The Best Thrillers of 2020 to Keep You in Suspense

By Collider Staff

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We're here to get your heart racing, folks.

Looking for the best thrillers of 2020? Well, we've got good news: there were a whole heck of a lot of them. When you think of the heyday of thriller movies, most folks will probably go straight to the 50s/60s era or the 80s/90s era. And that is correct, because those decades were a dang goldmine of straight-up suspenseful domestic dramas, noir mysteries, and erotic thrillers that kept the blood pumping. But thrillers are actually doing pretty great these days too, they've just evolved a bit. Sure you'll still see the odd simple stalker, the occasional crazed ex, and a spot of classic Hitcockian murder mystery, but for the most part, thrillers have gotten wilder and more genre-bending over the years, leading to the kind of multi-hyphenates that render labels almost useless -- hell, several films below could be described as dark comedy sci-fi horror thrillers.

But even though it's harder than ever to slap simple genre labels on things, the Collider staff set out to pick our favorite thrillers of the year, and we came back with one massive, wild list. Some of them are scary, some of them are funny, some of them are sexy -- plenty of them are all that and more -- but the one thing the movies below definitely have in common is the classic thriller touch that will keep you surprised, in suspense, and excited for the next reveal. And if you're looking for more movies to watch, check out all of our Best of 2020 lists.

12 Hour Shift

If you like a little laughter with your thrills, settle in for a snappy, dark comedy thriller with Brea Grant’s 12 Hour Shift. Set in a hospital during one very gnarly, unrelenting night, the film stars Angela Bettis as a nurse whose black market organ-selling scheme goes catastrophically off track when her not-to-bright but extremely determined cousin (Chloe Farnworth) loses a harvested kidney. Grant has an ear for lively dialogue and a sharp eye (especially in a delightfully random scene transition that breaks out the dance moves,) but as an experienced actor herself, she’s especially keen at getting killer performances out of her cast. Genre staple Angela Bettis is, as always, commanding and nuanced in the lead, and David Arquette charms his way through his minimal scenes, but Farnworth is a dang force of nature as an unstoppable dimwit who will do whatever it takes to save her own dolled-up skin, no matter how dastardly. It's the kind of genre-bender that will have you cringing through the comedy and smiling through the squirmiest bits. - Haleigh Foutch

Alone

Director John Hyams impressed the hell out of me with this simple, sparse and incredibly effective thriller about a young woman trying to escape a serial killer in the woods. Jules Willcox stars as one of the year's very best movie heroines, while Marc Menchaca (The Outsider) is nothing less than chilling as the sadistic stalker who gets off on hunting and toying with his prey. I've seen 100 different variations of this movie, but rarely are they as well done or as impressive photographed. Hyams handles the suspense perfectly, turning a familiar premise into an altogether gripping experience nonetheless. - Jeff Sneider

American Murder: The Family Next Door

One of the few must-watch true crime documentaries of 2020, American Murder: The Family Next Door takes on an altogether more eerie and unsettling texture given the way it is presented. Jenny Popplewell’s unflinching doc looks at the Watts family murders, which took place in 2018 in suburban Colorado. Utilizing body cam footage, surveillance video from the local police station, and social media uploads from the murdered woman, Popplewell slowly reveals what really happened to a young mother and her two daughters and who was responsible. It takes a tragic scenario and makes it even more chilling. And there are unforgettable, telling moments like the police interviewing a neighbor who has a motion sensor camera set up outside his home and who, after interviewing the husband of the missing mother, the good ole boy neighbor suggesting to the cops that something is up with him. Uncluttered by talking-head interviews, cheesy reenactments or unnecessary commentary, instead letting the horror of the actual case unfold before your eyes, American Murder was one of the scariest, most psychologically complex movies of the year, without the benefit of a single ghoul or goblin. – Drew Taylor

Antebellum

It would've been fascinating to see this film released in theaters, as I suspect it would've been laughed out of the multiplex or hailed as a masterpiece. The truth is more complicated, as Antebellum is neither a failure nor a triumph. Directed by activist filmmakers Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz, Antebellum stars Janelle Monáe in dual roles as a plantation slave named Eden and a successful author named Veronica. Do they exist in two separate timelines? Is Veronica a descendant of Eden? By the time the truth is revealed, you may have already lost patience with Antebellum, but there's no question that the imagery in this film is powerful, and the haunting score by Nate Wonder and Roman Gianarthur is superb. In another world, Antebellum might've been a Get Out-like sensation, but as it stands, it's a decent-enough VOD rental with a provocative premise that should spark an interesting discussion after the film. - Jeff Sneider

Assassins

Honestly, this was the best movie that I saw at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. The story is so incredible, I don't even think you could write it. Such is life... and in this case, death, as implied by the title. Directed by Ryan White (The Keepers), Assassinsfollows two young women who are tricked into assassinating Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who may have even been behind the hit. Basically, these two admittedly gullible women believe that they're just part of a prank show that involves them placing their hands over the eyes of strangers from behind. Despite having a very capable legal team working on their behalf, their pleas seem to fall on deaf ears, since the fact that the women were involved in Kim Jong-nam's murder was never in doubt -- it was all about what they knew, or didn't know, in this case. Assassins offers a weird, wild story that simply has to be seen to be believed, and I promise it's as gripping as any thriller that came out this year. - Jeff Sneider

Bacurau

This movie is bonkers. I don't know what else to tell you. It's a "weird western" from Brazilian filmmakers Kleber Mendonca Filho and Juliano Dornelles about a small rural town where some strange stuff starts to go down following the death of its 94-year-old matriarch. It all culminates in a bloody standoff between the town's residents and a group of American tourists, led by genre movie icon Udo Kier, who have come to hunt them for sport. The film is extremely graphic in its violence, and yet it has something to say. There's something on its mind besides empty bloodlust. Bacurau certainly won't be everyone's cup of tea, but those who indulge in twisted cult films should come away more than satisfied. - Jeff Sneider

Becky

Part Home Alone and part violent slasher film, Becky takes Lulu Wilson (The Haunting of Hill House) and tosses her into a meat grinder with a gang of hulking neo-Nazis led by Kevin freaking James. Wilson plays the titular Becky, whose home is invaded by said thugs on the hunt for some kind of key that happens to be stashed on the property. Rather than acquiesce to their demands for a single moment, Becky instead decides to graphically murder them with a series of gruesome traps and household tools. Becky is an uneven film - it seems packaged to be a black comedy, with its ironic premise and an extremely playful end credits sequence. But the movie isn’t actually funny; it’s just plain mean. That said, if you’re a fan of bloody slashers, it’s one of the best to come out this year, complete with one truly shocking demise that will have you recommending the film to friends immediately after you see it. - Tom Reimann

Black Bear

If you like your thrillers psychological, settle in for the emotionally wrenching, anxiety-inducing Black Bear. An unflinching examination of creative vanity and the emotional minefields some creators build and walk through in pursuit of their art, Lawrence Michael Levine’s horror-tinged psychological drama stars Aubrey Plaza in the most striking dramatic performance of her career to date, with costars Christopher Abbot and Sarah Gadon matching her beat for beat. Split across two mirroring parts, Black Bear stars Plaza first as a filmmaker dismantling a rocky relationship as part of her creative process then flips the script in the second half, casting her as an actress who goes a bit too method when she suspects her director husband is having an affair. Each half is as relentlessly tense as the other and while you might find yourself wanting more answers than the film is willing to give, taken at face value Black Bear is a fascinating dissection of toxic creativity featuring not one, but two electric performances from Plaza. – Haleigh Foutch

Blow the Man Down

Writer/director team Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy’s Blow the Man Down is a strong newcomer to the thriller category. Very much the love child of Fargo and a mournful sea shanty, Blow the Man Down transports us to a seaside town in Maine where two sisters, Priscilla and Mary Beth Connolly (played by Sophie Lowe and Morgan Saylor),must figure out how to cover up a crime committed by one of the pair. In a small town where everyone knows everyone, this is no easy feat. It gets even more complicated when the crime reels in the town’s local madam (Margo Martindale) and a local sheriff who’s sweet on Priscilla. Blow the Man Down is a gritty thriller filled with visceral, real-world stakes. Cole and Krudy’s script is stripped of any fluff and wound so tightly that you can feel the tension in every scene. Blow the Man Down evokes pared-down thrillers of the ‘70s and ‘80s while confidently standing on its own two feet as it weaves a story that is, refreshingly, using a historically male-dominated genre to tell a story about women and the choices they must make to survive. - Allie Gemmill

Body Cam

This strangely timely film starring Mary J. Blige follows four New Orleans cops who are haunted by a vengeful spirit after the death of black youth and the subsequent police cover-up. In a strange way, this supernatural revenge movie felt practically cathartic this summer, seeing as how it sees out-of-control cops get their comeuppance. I don't typically expect this kind of social commentary in genre films released straight to VOD, so kudos to director Malik Vitthal and screenwriters Nicholas McCarthy and Richmond Riedel for coming up with an entertaining way to make some important points about police violence. Vitthal has a strong sense of style, and there is some really startling imagery in this film that should entice viewers who give this one a chance. - Jeff Sneider

Butt Boy

Let’s get one thing straight: I am absolutely, 100% recommending you watch the film Butt Boy, but should you decide to follow that recommendation, you are not allowed to come back here and get mad at me when Butt Boy starts doing stuff that a movie called Butt Boy is gonna’ do. I cannot possibly stress enough that the plot of this film is a cat-and-mouse crime-thriller between an alcoholic detective (Tyler Rice) and a man named Chip (Tyler Kornack) who becomes so obsessed with sticking larger and larger objects up his butt he starts setting his sights on people. Deeply strange, equal parts funny and disgusting, and sneakily moving by the end, this movie—John Waters’ top pick of 2020, FYI—is, most importantly, never embarrassed by itself. Director, co-writer, and star Cornack presents his ass-tastic tale of murder and mess with such a deadpan seriousness that, much like Chip’s victims, you can’t help but get lost in it. It’s gross and weird, but endearingly gross and weird, and underneath all that excrement is a genuinely effective metaphor for addiction. If nothing else, Butt Boy won’t be like anything you’ve ever seen, as long as you’ve got the stomach for it. --Vinnie Mancuso

Come to Daddy

Come to Daddy exists in a strange genre no man’s land. It’s a comedy, but I’d be reluctant to share it with someone who was just looking for a bust-up laugh. It’s a slyly touching drama, but it’s too brutal to recommend to someone looking for a cathartic cry. And it is brutal, but it’s not quite scary enough to be a straight-up horror movie. But it's definitely thrilling, on that I'm absolutely certain.

Ant Timpson's wild, unpredictable, and fearlessly fucked movie about overcoming your daddy issues stars Elijah Wood as a soft boi who treks to an unknown remote cabin to bond with his long-estranged father, only to find a real cantankerous son-of-a-bitch (Stephen McHattie) who seemingly wants nothing to do with him, much less patching up old wounds. I’d say the rest of the movie is like a roller coaster, but it’s really more like one of those 3D simulation rides, where the whole world shifts around you without warning, and you just kind of sit there awestruck at the journey that just unfolded. It's one of those films that is decidedly "not for everyone", but if you like a film that flies its freak flag proudly while keeping you on the edge of your seat, you might have a hoot with this prickly little puzzle of a movie. - Haleigh Foutch

Chris Hemsworthbeats the stuffing out of a group of literal children. Do I have your attention yet? If this doesn’t grab you, something else in Extraction will. The Netflix action-thriller, the directorial debut from stunt performer and coordinator Sam Hargrave, is chock full of inventive set pieces, jaw-dropping depictions of intense brutality, some of the best physical performers you’ll see in any contemporary film, and a one-shot sequence that stopped my breath during its entirety. Extraction ain’t just an excuse to give Hemsworth his own John Wick, however. It has a beating heart underneath its sweaty, ratty tank tops, laser-focused on the possible redemption for Hemsworth’s adrift character via saving the soul of young Rudhraksh Jaiswal, allowing as much of space and punch for its emotional moments as its combative ones. And if that doesn’t do it for you, Hemsworth and David Harbour suplexing each other in closed corridors might. Lotta layers in this one, folks! - Gregory Lawrence

Freaky

Yes, Freaky is a horror-comedy. But it’s the rare horror-comedy where the horror and comedy are both given equal attention. Co-written and directed by Christopher Landon, who walked a similar tonal tightrope with the two Happy Death Day movies, Freaky is a body-swapping slasher movie where a teenage girl (Kathryn Newton) swaps places with a grizzled serial killer (Vince Vaughn). Much of the humor comes from the lead performances (Vaughn, in particular, is having a blast), but the number of gags are only upstaged by the levels of gore – watch as Newton, inhabited with the soul of a serial killer, goes on a rampage worth of Freddy, Jason, or Michael Myers. (Our favorite is the vivisection of a grouchy shop teacher played by high school movie icon Alan Ruck.) By the time the movie reaches its climax, Freaky has amassed a pretty staggering body count and kills (most of them practical) that earned the movie a spot on the cover of Fangoria. All hail Freaky, the very best horror comedy since Scream. – Drew Taylor

The Hunt

After the year we’ve had, it’s wild to think that there was a time that people got so riled up about The Huntthat the film had to be pulled from the release calendar and shuffled to this year. And that’s a mighty fine example of why social panic is a dumbass thing, because The Hunt is a pretty toothless satire that is content to wag fingers at both sides of the political spectrum and call it a day. However, since all those wagging fingers tend to be trigger fingers, the script’s vapid politics are at least embedded in some of the best, most tension-fuelled action of the year. Ostensibly a movie about the “liberal elite” hunting “deplorables” for sport, The Hunt harkens back to one of cinema’s great survival thrillers with its riff on The Most Dangerous Game, and director Craig Zobel mines every set-up and set-piece for all the adrenaline-pumping thrills they're worth by blending stylishly choreographed blockbuster action with deliciously over-the-top grindhouse gore. - Haleigh Foutch

Hunter Hunter

Listen, the end of this movie is absolutely insane, so no matter what, I promise you won't forget it. Whether it's worth the ride getting there is another question entirely, but when you stick the ending like this, you're getting a recommendation from this gorehound. Hunter Hunter stars '90s heartthrob Devon Sawa as Joseph, a fur trapper who lives in the remote wilderness with his family. When Joseph discovers that a dangerous wolf has returned to the area, he sets out to track it, but makes a shocking discovery that leaves him wondering if he's the hunter or the prey. I don't want to say too much more than that, as the film actually works better if you go in knowing as little as possible. Suffice to say that writer-director Shawn Linden leaves little to the imagination with a Grand Guignol finale that leaves a lasting impression. Tales of Murder and Dust has never sounded so good... - Jeff Sneider

The Killing of Two Lovers

This compelling drama from writer-director Robert Machoian first premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, making it eligible for this year's list even though it won't be formally released by Neon until February. The film is a striking showcase for its 42-year-old star Clayne Crawford, who is best known for his work on TV shows such as Lethal Weapon, 24 and Rectify. He plays a man who's trying to win back the wife he's separated from, which is complicated by the fact that she has started seeing someone else. Machoian milks every last drop of suspense out of that intriguing premise, and though the film's title creates certain expectations, the story is rather unpredictable, as it doesn't quite go where you initially think it will. Ultimately, The Killing of Two Lovers is a quiet powder keg of a movie that marks Machoian as one to watch, and Crawford as an unassuming force to be reckoned with. - Jeff Sneider

I'm Your Woman

An inverted take on the classic mob movie, I'm Your Woman puts the spotlight on the wives and mothers who tend to settle into the background of Scorsese and Coppola's revered crime dramas. Rachel Brosnahan stars as a somewhat unwitting mob doll who's kept in the dark about her husband's criminal lifestyle until she winds up a target on the run. Director Julia Hart takes her time unfolding the full extent of this refreshing family drama, but once she gets where she's going, I'm Your Woman sparks into something a bit more special; taking a page from crime thrillers, melodramas, and road movies and remixing them into a heartfelt, if a bit unsteady, story about taking control of your future in life-or-death circumstances. Come for Marvelous Mrs. Maisel star Brosnahan, but stay for Marsha Stephanie Blake and Arinzé Kene, who steal every scene they're in. - Haleigh Foutch

The Invisible Man

Thrillers can be hard to define, and more often than not, they bleed into other genres, but when it comes to that cocktail of suspense, anxiety, and surprise, no film this year has knocked me on my ass quite like The Invisible Man. Leigh Whannell’s reimagining of the Universal Monsters classic stars Elisabeth Moss as a woman who makes a daring escape from a violently abusive relationship and, following her ex’s alleged suicide, becomes convinced he is somehow still watching and controlling every facet of her life, unseen in the shadows. Few characters make such a perfectly suited menace to explore themes of gaslighting and manipulation as a literal invisible man, and Whannell wields his camera brilliantly to translate the oppressive anxiety of having your every move monitored and controlled while your construct of reality slips between your fingers. It’s a breathless thriller that ties you up in knots, punctuated with some of the most shocking scares of all time. - Haleigh Foutch

Let Him Go

Man of Steel duo Diane Lane and Kevin Costner reunite for this western thriller about a long-married couple who decide to risk their lives to rescue their young grandson from the clutches of his evil stepfather and the man's dastardly family. As good as they both are, the real reason to see this movie is Lesley Manville's scenery-chewing performance as the matriarch of said family. She just breaks out a Southern accent and goes for it, and frankly, it looks like she's having herself a ball and loving every minute of it. Directed with a pulpy grace by Thomas Bezucha, Let Him Go is aimed squarely at older viewers, though it does get pretty violent at one point, so this one, oddly enough, ain't for the squeamish. It's also not for the impatient, but those who don't mind slow burn will be rewarded with a fiery finale that's worth the wait. - Jeff Sneider

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Top 10 best thrillers 2021

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been ex-treme-ly dramatic. I mean, Australia caught on fire, Harry and Meghan left the royal family, and that was *before* a terrifying global pandemic broke out and protests against police brutality and systemic racism swept the country—and don't even get me started on murder! hornets! Honestly, there are enough plot lines coming out of this year for about 1,000 different intense film scripts, so really, it's only fitting that 2020 has also been a solid year for drama movies.

From movies based on IRL murders for my true-crime junkies to psychological thrillers for people who like to get their stomachs tied in a knot, plus a few (much lighter) romantic dramas, there's a movie for everyone on this list—yeah, even if you're still quarantining with your S.O.'s family who can never agree on what to watch. So the next time you need a break from doom-scrolling and want to focus on on-screen drama for 90 minutes instead, consider throwing on one of the best drama movies of 2020.

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The Assistant

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This movie follows a day in the life of assistant (and aspiring film producer) Jane. Her job seems like a dream at first, but she slowly grows more and more aware of the abuse going on around her. If you followed every disturbing detail of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, you'll be into this movie.

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Babyteeth

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When terminally ill Milla falls for a smalltime drug dealer, her parents are horrified. But what seems like a disaster turns out to be the best thing that could have happened, and a serious lesson in finding happiness in the chaos of life. Catch up on our full review of Babyteeth here.

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Bad Education

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The fact that Allison Janey and Hugh Jackman co-star in this true-crime-inspired drama should be reason enough for you to hit play. A Long Island school district is about to be the country's most sought-after spot—meaning record college admissions and sky-high property values—which is great...until an embezzlement scandal threatens to take it all away.

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Da 5 Bloods

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In Spike Lee's newest masterpiece, four Black vets return to Vietnam, searching for the remains of their fallen Squad Leader (hottie Chadwick Boseman) and buried treasure, of course. Clear your schedule though, 'cause this film runs over two-and-a-half hours.

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Emma

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This re-make of the classic Jane Austen novel is visually stunning, and obviously the story is fantastic, too. Watching Emma Woodhouse spend her time meddling, er, "matchmakin" her friends and family is delightfully campy—plus, there's Mr. Knightley's massive sideburns.

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First Cow

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When a cook travels west and joins a group of fur trappers, he connects with a Chinese immigrant looking for fortune. They hatch a plan to launch a successful business, which sounds great in theory except it relies on the unauthorized use of a wealthy landowner's prized milking cow.

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Never Rarely Sometimes Always

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When Autumn finds herself unexpectedly pregnant without any support at home, she and her best friend embark on a journey across state lines to New York City.

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Shirley

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Elizabeth Moss plays horror writer Shirley Jackson. The author is right on the brink of her next masterpiece when she and her husband decide to take in a newlywed couple for some inspiration. Dun dun dunnnnnnnn.

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Swallow

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This psychological thriller will leave your skin crawling. Newly pregnant housewife Hunter seems to have it all, including a smokin' hot husband. But as domestic pressure mounts, she begins to crack, developing a condition that causes her to compulsively swallow inedible objects. Yeah, your stomach will definitely be in knots during this one. Read our full review of Swallow here.

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Lost Girls

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Based on a book by the same name, this movie tells the true story of a unsolved serial killer on Long Island and how the determined mother of one of the victims pushed the police to search for her missing daughter, leading to the discovery of several other murdered sex workers.

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The Whistlers

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A police inspector is also secretly working with the mob. He takes a trip to the Canary Islands to learn an ancient whistling language—which is exactly what he needs to pull off his next heist.

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Young Ahmed

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Thirteen-year-old Ahmed, who lives in Belgium, is stuck between his imam's beliefs and the temptations of life. He starts to embrace an extremist interpretation of the Quran and hatches a plan to kill his teacher.

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I Still Believe

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Whether or not you're a fan of real-life Christian music star Jeremy Camp, you'll DEFINITELY be a fan of watching Riverdale's KJ Apa portray him in this romantic drama.

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The Way Back

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High school basketball superstar Jack (Ben Affleck, ever heard of him?) walks away from the sport for reasons unknown to anyone else. Cut to a few years later and he's developed an alcohol problem and is stuck at a meaningless job. When an offer comes along to coach the basketball team at his alma mater, he realizes it's his chance to change everything.

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Beanpole

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It's 1945 Leningrad, and the city was destroyed by a World War II siege. Two young women, Iya and Masha, set out to try to rebuild their lives among the ruins.

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Capone

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A hauntingly good movie about the final days of notorious mobster Al Capone before he succumbed to dementia. Prepare to relive some of the darker moments of his life through painfully tortured memories. Tom Hardy doesn't disappoint.

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Sorry We Missed You

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The 2008 financial crash was devastating for way too many people, including Ricky and his family. When an opportunity to start his own delivery-driver franchise comes, he takes it, but when he and his wife are pulled in different directions, their family reaches a breaking point.

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The Photograph

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After Mae's estranged famous photographer mother dies, she's left angry and full of questions. That is, until she finds an old photo in a safety deposit box that sets her on a journey to discover her mother's early life *and* leads to a passionate romance with an up-and-coming journalist along the way. Warning: Cosmo cover star Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield's chemistry may require you to take a cold shower as soon as the movie is over.

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The Invisible Man

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After Cecilia's (Elisabeth Moss) abusive ex stages his own suicide, he uses his creepy tech-y skills to turn himself invisible and terrorize her. She tries to report him but the police don't believe her, so she has to take matters into her own hands.

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Tigertail

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A Taiwanese factory worker fulfills his dream of moving to America, but years of hard work and a loveless, arranged marriage turn the once free-spirited young man into a shell of his former self. Worried that he will spend the rest of his life in solitude, he tries to reconnect with his past.

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Promising Young Woman

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After a tragic event throws Cassie's once bright future off track, it seems like she's resigned herself to a new life of living with her parents and working at a coffee shop. The thing is...at night, she's secretly seeking revenge on those who wronged her. But ugh, bad news: This one isn't available to stream quite yet. Check here for updates.

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List of the latest thriller movies in 2021 and the best thriller movies of 2020 & the 2010's. Top thriller movies to watch on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+ & other Streaming services, out on DVD/Blu-ray or in cinema's right now.

New thriller movies in 2021 in Cinema & on VOD

Top movies up for release in 2021 in cinema and on VOD

  • Nightmare Alley

    DIRECTOR: Guillermo del Toro
    CAST: Bradley Cooper, Toni Collette & Cate Blanchett
    Stan Carlisle is carny with ambition who has become quite talented at manipulating people with his mastery of words. He soon takes an interest in the dangerous woman Dr. Lilith Ritter, a female psychiatrist. But he may not be prepared for just how deep his schemes may go in this dark thriller. Directed by Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water, Hellboy) and based on the novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham, the film features an all-star cast that includes Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Toni Collette, Richard Jenkins, Ron Perlman, Rooney Mara, and David Strathairn. Read more

    Watch the trailer of Nightmare Alley

    Netflix | Amazon | All Release dates
  • Cherry

    DIRECTOR: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
    CAST: Tom Holland, Ciara Bravo & Bill Skarsgård
    Tom Holland becomes a serial bank robber after suffering from post traumatic stress as an Army medic. When his subsequent addiction to drugs leaves him with a huge debt, he sees no other alternative than to rob banks for a living. This thriller drama that will be streaming on Apple TV+ is directed by the Russo Brothers who are known for big block busters like the Avengers Movies. Read more

    Watch the trailer of Cherry

    Netflix | Amazon | All Release dates

Best thriller movies on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+ or DVD in 2021

2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and the 2010's best rated thriller movies out on DVD, Bluray or streaming on VOD (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+ & More).

  • Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

    DIRECTOR: Joe Berlinger
    CAST: Lily Collins, Zac Efron, Angela Sarafyan, Sydney Vollmer
    The Ted Bundy Documentary (by the same director, Joe Berlinger) about America's most notorious serial killer has only increased the anticipation for Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, a biographical mystery movie from the perspective of his girlfriend Elizabeth Kloepfer who for years refused to believe the truth about her frightening boyfriend. Read more

    Watch the trailer of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile

    Stream Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile via: Stream on Netflix
    Netflix | Amazon | All Release dates
  • Les Salauds

    DIRECTOR: Claire Denis
    CAST: Vincent Lindon Chiara Mastroianni Julie Bataille
    Claire Denis is not for everyone. She has proven that over and over again, and with Salauds it’s no different. However, if you want dark, twisted, and disorienting poetry, than Les Salauds is for you. It is a noir-ish revenge film without you first realizing it. There is a narrative (don’t worry), but it’s being approached in such a complex and poetic manner that you might as well be without. You see images, you see people, but you feel the emotions and atmosphere. The suspense does not work in a logical way, but creeps up on you and gets under your skin. It disturbs you and stays with you, and for that reason is one of the new best psychological thrillers of the 2010’s. It also has a prominent spot on our Best new French movies list Read more

    Watch the trailer of Les Salauds

    RATING: 81/100

    Stream Les Salauds via: Stream on Amazon VideoStream HuluWatch on Google Play'Watch on Prime VideoWatch via MicrosoftWatch on YouTubeWatch on iTunesWatch on Playstation Video
    Netflix | Amazon | All Release dates
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