Thriller” is kind of a catch-all term for movies that bleed into multiple genres. It can describe films rich with drama, action, crime, and quite possibly horror. That’s why its Netflix category is such a hodgepodge of entries, varying in tone, subject matter, and quality. A good thriller, though, is going to be suspenseful for any number of reasons. An unstoppable killer. An unsolvable mystery. A gripping world that draws viewers into it. A sympathetic character fighting for survival. Something that can keep an audience on the edge of its seats.
The Invisible Guest
This Spanish crime thriller follows a successful businessman framed for the murder of his married lover. A seemingly straightforward plot, until a car accident, a dead body, fake witnesses, and a family out for revenge is thrown into the mix. Mario Casas stars as the man in question, a young husband and father with a bright future who takes part in a terrible crime and is forced to pay for it in the most twisted of ways. You won’t figure this thing out until the end, we guarantee it.
Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, and Cybill Shepherd star in this Martin Scorsese crime thriller about a veteran with mental health issues who works a night job, driving a taxi around New York City. De Niro plays Travis Bickle, a Vietnam war vet who moonlights as a cap driver to cope with his insomnia. During a long shift, he contemplates assassinating a politician to help out the woman he’s fallen in love with (Shepherd) and killing a pimp after befriending an underage prostitute (Foster). It’s a wild ride, full of darkly comedic moments and even more harrowing looks at the consequences of war.
After earning acclaim with Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino made his subtlest feature with Jackie Brown, an Elmore Leonard adaptation that the director still makes very much his own. After middle-aged stewardess Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) is picked up by the FBI, she’s pulled between her arms-dealing boss (Samuel L. Jackson), the feds that are after him, and saving her own skin. With an all-star ensemble that includes Robert De Niro and Robert Forster (who earned an Oscar nomination), Jackie Brown is a throwback to the blaxploitation genre, which started in the ’70s, of which Grier was a big part of. It’s a tense, sexy, and desperate story with a wonderful soundtrack to boot.
Walking Dead alum Steven Yeun stars this psychological thriller from South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong. Yeun plays Ben, a rich millennial with a mysterious job who connects with a woman named Shin Hae-mi on a trip to Africa. The two journey back home together where Ben meets Shin’s friend/lover Lee Jong-su. The three hang-out regularly, with Lee growing more jealous of Ben’s wealth and privilege while he’s forced to manage his father’s farm when his dad goes to prison. But it’s when Shin disappears, and Lee suspects Ben’s involvement, that things really go off the rails.