We Dare You to Watch the Best 20 Psychological Thrillers on Netflix

Not for the faint of heart.

psychological thriller movies

Graphic by Cristina Cianci

We love a good fashion-focused film, but when this week's movie night rolls around, we dare you to think beyond romance films and lighthearted comedies. Instead, turn to Netflix's array of psychological thrillers to add a little suspense to your evening. Butter the popcorn, sip some wine (or tea), and find someone whose arm you can grab when unexpected plot twists blow your mind (pets count, too).

Indulge in trendy films like Bird Box, suspenseful flicks such as The Invitation with its sinister plot, or a harrowing modern Western like The Bygone. They're as eerie as they are unsettling, and they'll keep you guessing until the final credits roll. Tune into what we deem the 20 best psychological thrillers on Netflix for a dose of adrenaline and intrigue.

01 of 20

Before I Wake (2016)

Before I Wake (2016)

Courtesy of Relativity Media

This creepy film is about eight-year-old Cody after he's adopted by a couple who recently lost their own son. The couple begins seeing visions of their dead son after Cody moves in, which leads them to wonder if their grief has taken over, or if something more sinister is happening. Before I Wake stars Kate Bosworth, Thomas Jane, and Jacob Tremblay.

Available On: Netflix

02 of 20

The Invitation (2015)

The Invitation (2015)

Courtesy of Drafthouse

When a man accepts an invitation to a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife in his former home, a sinister plot reveals itself. He hasn't seen his ex since their son tragically died years before, but now she's back with a new husband, a new life, and a mysterious agenda. This is one dinner party we would never want an invite to. The Invitation stars Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, and Michiel Huisman.

Available On: Netflix

03 of 20

Would You Rather (2013)

Would You Rather (2013)

Courtesy of IFC Films

As the title suggests, this psychological thriller follows a group of people forced to play a game of "Would You Rather." Only instead of playing for fun, the downtrodden individuals, enticed by a reward, end up playing for their lives. Reminiscent of the Saw franchise, this film is a horrifying portrayal of the lengths people will go to in order to survive. Brittany Snow stars as the vulnerable Iris, alongside Jeffrey Combs and Jonny Coyne.

Available On: Netflix

04 of 20

Fractured (2019)

Fractured (2019)

Courtesy of Netflix 

In this Netflix Original movie, one man's wife and child disappear from the hospital after a roadside accident. They are examined by multiple doctors and even go down to the basement for imaging, yet there are no records of their visit, and our protagonist is convinced the hospital is up to no good...like perhaps an illegal organ harvesting operation. Fractured stars Sam Worthington, Lily Rabe, and Stephen Tobolowsky.

Available On: Netflix

05 of 20

The Captive (2014)

The Captive (2014)

Courtesy of A24

In this Canadian thriller, Ryan Reynolds plays the father of a girl who's gone missing. Eight years after his daughter Cassandra's disappearance, he's still the prime suspect, but new clues seem to indicate that Cassandra could still be alive. The Captive is a mysterious thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat. The film also stars Rosario Dawson and Scott Speedman.

Available On: Netflix

06 of 20

Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

Secret in Their Eyes (2015)

Courtesy of STX Entertainment

A remake of an Argentinian film of the same name, Secret in Their Eyes unravels the mystery behind the murder of an FBI agent's daughter. Julia Roberts plays a mother who's spent 13 years obsessively looking for her daughter's killer, but it's her former fellow agent, Ray, who uncovers a new lead that might solve the case after so many years. This thriller will have you guessing until the end. The film also stars Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Available On: Netflix

07 of 20

Bird Box (2018)

Bird Box (2018)

Courtesy of Netflix 

In Bird Box, if you come face to face with a mysterious force, you die. So a woman (played by Sandra Bullock) and her kids embark on a journey to find a place that offers sanctuary in this post-apocalyptic thriller. They'll canoe (blindfolded) through tumultuous rivers and through dangerous woods to seek safety.

Available On: Netflix

08 of 20

A Most Violent Year (2014)

A Most Violent Year (2014)

Courtesy of A24

Violence and corruption threaten a fuel supplier's family business in A Most Violent Year. In this crime drama, Abel Morales must try to follow his moral compass amid 1980's New York City; arguably one of the most violent periods in the city's history. Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain play couple Abel and Anna Morales.

Available On: Netflix

09 of 20

The Bygone (2019)

The Bygone (2019)

Courtesy of Netflix 

The Bygone is suspenseful thriller meets film noir with a hint of Western. Our protagonist, Kip, is a young rancher whose lifestyle becomes corroded by the booming oil industry. Kip is pulled into human trafficking when he sets out to help Waniya, a girl from a nearby reservation.

Amid the intense story plot, gorgeous cinematography seems to make this independent film even more unsettling. The Bygone stars Graham Phillips, Shawn Hatosy, Jamie McShane, and Sydney Schafer as Waniya.

Available On: Netflix

10 of 20

Enemy (2013)

Enemy (2013)

Photo courtesy of Entertainment One

This is the kind of film during which you need to pay attention to every little detail or you'll miss something crucial. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal who plays Adam Bell, a history teacher and generally bored-with-life man. One day, a friend of his strongly suggests that he watch a a movie called Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way. After a few minutes, Adam realizes that the actor in the film looks exactly like him.

He conjures up a plan to meet him and that's all we'll say! It's a must-see in our books.

Available On: Netflix

11 of 20

Everybody Knows (2019)

Everybody Knows (2019)

 Courtesy of Unifrance

When Laura returns to Spain from Argentina to attend her sister's wedding with her two daughters, the celebration turns tragic when her eldest child is kidnapped. Secrets are revealed, outing family and community tensions. Penélope Cruz stars as Laura, Javier Bardem and Ricardo Darín.

Available On: Netflix

12 of 20

Thambi (2019)

Thambi

Courtesy of Netflix 

A long lost family remember returns after 15 years and gradually re-integrates into the family. Now, the newly returned brother, son, and lover is the target of an assassination. But who is this young man, really? And why is he wanted dead? This film includes English subtitles.

Available On: Netflix

13 of 20

The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019)

The Red Sea Diving Resort

Courtesy of Netflix 

Based on true events, a hotel opens on Sudanese shores as a front to smuggle Ethiopian Jews fleeing Sudanese refugee camps to Israel. Led by Israeli undercover agents in close partnership with Ethiopian activists, the mission takes place over a number of years. Chris Evans stars as a passionate yet at-times reckless Israeli Mossad agent.

Available On: Netflix

14 of 20

The Last Thing He Wanted (2020)

The Last Thing He Wanted (2020)

Courtesy of Netflix 

In 1980's Central America, an investigative journalist becomes embroiled in the story she's reporting when she attempts to help her father with a drug deal. Anne Hathaway stars as journalist Elena McMahon, with Ben Affleck, Willem Dafoe, Rosie Perez, and Edi Gathegi.

Available On: Netflix

15 of 20

The Occupant (2020)

The Occupant (2020)

Courtesy of Netflix 

Javier Gutiérrez stars as a newly unemployed advertising executive in Barcelona who becomes obsessed with the family occupying his home after he is forced to vacate. When Gutiérrez's character realizes he still has a key to his old place, what evolves is the sinister story of a man who refuses to give up the life he once had. The Spanish-language film includes English subtitles.

Available On: Netflix

16 of 20

Mirage (2018)

Mirage (2018)

Courtesy of Netflix 

Parallel realities allow Vera to save a boy's life in one world, while also struggling to return to the reality she prefers. In her chosen world, she has a husband and daughter, and must now attempt to recreate conditions to return to it. Determining which reality is the past, and which one the future might be part of Mirage's intrigue, or confusion. Mirage stars Adriana Ugarte, Chino Darin, and Javier Gutiérrez.

Available On: Netflix

17 of 20

The Perfection (2019)

The Perfection (2019)

Courtesy of Netflix 

Charlotte, a former music student, befriends Lizzie, who is the music academy's latest protégé. Their new relationship leads them on a suspenseful journey through rural China. The movie blends grindhouse gore with disturbingly thrilling scenes amplified by stars Allison Williams (as Charlotte) and Logan Browning's (as Lizzie) performance.

Available On: Netflix

18 of 20

Tau (2018)

Tau (2018)

Courtesy of Netflix 

Julia attempts to outwit the supercomputer that keeps her trapped. Rich inventor Alex is the mastermind behind a series of imprisonments, and Julia strives to gain Alex's trust in order to escape. Tau is the supercomputer with hopes of escaping its role, too. Tau stars Maika Monroe, Ed Skrein, and Gary Oldman.

Available On: Netflix

19 of 20

Ex Machina

Ex Machina

 Courtesy of Film4

If you're a tech junkie, Ex Machina is for you. The psychological thriller is about Caleb, a charming and sweet programmer at a huge internet company. He is lead to believe that he won a competition to spend the weekend at the CEO's enormous and secluded estate, but he was actually chosen as the human component in an AI test involving the beautiful and alluring robot, Ava.

As it happens, Ava is way more than just a computer. The film stars Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, and Oscar Isaac.

Available On: Netflix

20 of 20

The Tourist (2010)

The Tourist

Courtesy of GK Films 

After suffering a broken heart, Frank Tupelo travels to Europe where he meets the enchanting and beautiful Elise. After several suspicious run-ins, Frank begins to suspect that Elise isn't who she says she is—especially because the two spend most of their time together being chased by a group of men who are seemingly hunting them down. This is one vacation gone-wrong, if you ask us. The Tourist stars Angelina Jolie as Elise and Johnny Depp as Frank Tupelo.

Available On: Netflix

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