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The Best Thrillers on Netflix Canada Right Now

From nail-biting murder mysteries to pulse-pounding capers, here are the most suspenseful offerings on Netflix Canada.

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Best Thrillers On Netflix Canada - Blood DiamondPhoto: Warner Bros. Pictures

Blood Diamond (2006)

A brutal action-thriller about the atrocities of war and the dark side of international trade, this Edward Zwick film follows a Rhodesian smuggler (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a Mende fisherman (Djimon Hounsou) as they track down a priceless diamond. An American journalist (Jennifer Connelly), meanwhile, is on a mission to expose the illicit industry. From its action scenes to its political messages, this is satisfying entertainment on every level.

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Best Thrillers On Netflix Canada - The Pelican BriefPhoto: Warner Bros.

The Pelican Brief (1993)

In The Pelican Brief, Julia Roberts plays a law student who discovers why two Supreme Court Justices were assassinated, while Denzel Washington stars as an investigative reporter who wants to make sure her story sees the light of the day. The screenplay, based on John Grisham’s book of the same name, unfolds as a standard step-by-step procedural, but outstanding direction by Alan J. Pakula (All the President’s Men) and the two leads’ driven performances turn a potentially predicable picture into an unbearably nerve-wracking one.

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Best Thrillers On Netflix Canada - Red DragonPhoto: Universal Pictures

Red Dragon (2002)

Edward Norton gives one of his best performances as Will Graham, an FBI agent with the unique ability to occupy the point of view of the madmen he chases. Coaxed out of retirement and assigned to capture serial killer Francis Dolarhyde (a genuinely terrifying Ralph Fiennes), Graham reaches out to none other than Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) for assistance. Red Dragon may not reach the glorious heights of The Silence of the Lambs, but this prequel, which also features a fine turn by Emily Watson as Dolarhyde’s unwitting lover, is a compelling, stylish and ferocious work in its own right.

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Best Thrillers On Netflix Canada - Dark WatersPhoto: Focus Features

Dark Waters (2019)

Dark Waters, a supremely intelligent thriller, finds Mark Ruffalo leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe behindif only for a brief momentto play a corporate defense lawyer who takes on chemical giant DuPont. At first glance, the material seems like a mismatch for filmmaker Todd Haynes, an arthouse icon better known for his subversive melodramas (Safe, Far from Heaven and Carol). But Dark Waters is an inspired union between star and directorand a poignant exposé that rises to the level of American tragedy.

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The Guilty (2021)Photo: Netflix

The Guilty (2021)

In this remake of the 2018 Danish film of the same name, Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Joe Baylor, an LAPD officer demoted to working nights at a 911 call centre while awaiting a court hearing. Late into one particular shift, Joe gets a call from a woman named Emily, who claims she’s been abducted and is being held in a white van on the move. As the night unfolds, however, Joe learns that Emily’s predicament isn’t so cut-and-dried. Brilliantly acted, smartly paced and packing a handful of astonishing twists, The Guilty is one of the best thrillers on Netflix Canada.

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Best Thrillers On Netflix Canada - Escape From PretoriaPhoto: Netflix

Escape from Pretoria (2020)

This criminally underrated thriller—it stars Daniel Radcliffe, moving further away from his Harry Potter roots—follows two white South African anti-apartheid activists who are sent to Pretoria Central Prison for lengthy sentences. The duo’s plan? With the help of a fellow prisoner, they analyze every inch of the complex and memorize every task the guards are given—and plan a daring, against-the-odds escape. What Escape from Pretoria lacks in innovation, it more than makes up for in nerve-wracking action.

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Best Thrillers On Netflix Canada - A Simple FavorPhoto: Lionsgate

A Simple Favor (2018)

As the director of Bridesmaids, Spy and several episodes of The Office, Paul Feig is no stranger to comedy. HIs first foray into mystery, however, might be his strongest effort yet. In Connecticut, widowed mom Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) spends her days running a vlog that few people know exists. One day, her rather dull existence is enlivened by Emily (Blake Lively), the high-powered director of a PR company and mother of her son’s classmate. What follows is an engrossing and darkly funny whodunnit after Emily vanishes and Stephanie learns her new friend wasn’t what she seemed.

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Best thrillers on Netflix Canada: ContagionPhoto: Warner Bros. Pictures

Contagion (2011)

For obvious reasons, Contagion was one of the most-watched movies on Netflix Canada at the beginning of the pandemic. This A-list thriller—it stars Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet and Marion Cotillard, to name a few—charts the global spread of a virus and the race to manufacture a vaccine. The scariest thing about Contagion? As we now know, it’s much closer to reality than any of us could have imagined.

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Best Thrillers On Netflix - The Town (2010)Photo: Netflix

The Town (2010)

Set in Charlestown, the oldest neighbourhood in Boston, The Town stars Ben Affleck (who also serves as co-writer and director) as Doug, a bank robber and one-time hockey player. After tailing Claire (Rebecca Hall), an assistant bank manager and witness to his crew’s latest heist, Doug instead falls in love with her—and decides to hang it up for good. The hustle never ends for career criminals, however, and, in true noir fashion, Doug is tasked with one last job. Boasting strong performances and a water-tight script, the bleak and violent The Town is one of the best thrillers on Netflix Canada.

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Training Day (2001)Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Training Day (2001)

Seeking a promotion to the narcotics division, ambitious, by-the-book LAPD officer Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) is assigned to esteemed Detective Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington, in an Academy Award-winning performance) for a one-day tryout. After witnessing Harris’s brand of “street justice,” however, Hoyt learns that his would-be mentor is a dirty cop with a nefarious plan. Tightly-constructed and ruthlessly violent, Training Day might be the most nightmarish job interview ever committed to film.

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Best Thrillers On Netflix Canada - SearchingPhoto: Netflix

Searching (2018)

When his teen daughter Margot disappears one night, widowed father David (John Cho) joins forces with a San Jose police detective (Debra Messing) to find her. The catch? Searching is set entirely on computer screens, smartphones, televisions and security cameras, as David traces Margot’s digital footprint and discovers just how little he actually knew his daughter. Unpredictable and original, Searching is the perfect edge-of-your-seat thriller for our increasingly virtual world.

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Best Thrillers On Netflix Canada - Margin CallPhoto: Lionsgate

Margin Call (2011)

Quite possibly the greatest film ever made about Wall Street, the nerve-racking Margin Call is mainly comprised of emergency meetings, heated confrontations and backroom deals. Taking place over a 24-hour period in 2008, the film’s premise is simple: if a large investment bank predicted the stock market crash before anyone else, how would it go about saving itself? Featuring a star-studded cast (Zachary Quinto, Jeremy Irons, Demi Moore, Paul Bettany and Stanley Tucci, to name a few) and an Academy Award-nominated script by writer-director J.C. Chandor, Margin Call is a scathing condemnation of human greed.

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Best thrillers on Netflix Canada: The Girl with the Dragon TattooPhoto: Sony Pictures Releasing

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

Based on the international bestseller by Swedish novelist Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo follows Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a brilliant computer hacker with a troubled past. Together with disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig), Salander investigates the 40-year-old disappearance of a wealthy heiress. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is unapologetically lurid—and definitely not for the faint of heart.

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All the Money in the World (2017)Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing

All the Money in the World (2017)

Ridley Scott’s thriller tracks the story of John Paul Getty III: the 16-year-old grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty who in 1973 was kidnapped by a Mafia offshoot in Rome. When his mother (Michelle Williams) approaches his rich-beyond-belief grandfather (Christopher Plummer, who famously shot all of his scenes in eight days after replacing Kevin Spacey), the older Getty refuses to pay the $17 million ransom. Part true crime thriller, part morality tale, the absorbing All the Money in the World is above all a testament to the late Mr. Plummer’s acting prowess.

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Captain Phillips (2013)Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing

Captain Phillips (2013)

When his U.S. containership is hijacked by a group of Somali pirates, Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) must figure out a way to protect his vessel, his crew and himself from certain ruin. Expertly acted and excruciatingly intense, Captain Phillips is a powerful depiction of survival—at any cost.

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Best Thrillers On Netflix Canada - 22 JulyPhoto: Netflix Canada

22 July (2018)

On July 22, 2011, Norwegian far-right terrorist Anders Behring Breivik carried out two attacks in his home country: a car bomb explosion in Oslo and a mass shooting at a Workers’ Youth League summer camp on the island of Utøya. The attacks claimed 77 lives and injured more than 300 people. 22 July depicts the events of that day in harrowing detail, before a superb coda that ends things on a hopeful note.

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Best Thrillers On Netflix Canada - Operation FinalePhoto: Netflix Canada

Operation Finale (2018)

After the end of the Second World War, Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley), one of the principle masterminds of the Holocaust, disappeared without a trace. Almost two decades later, a team of Israeli Mossad agents led by Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaacs) locate him in Buenos Aires under a new identity. Their mission? Kidnap Eichmann and bring him back to Israel to be tried for his crimes. Based on Palkin’s memoir, Operation Finale is first and foremost a late-career acting showcase for Kingsley.

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Best thrillers on Netflix Canada: Bad GeniusesPhoto: Netflix

Bad Genius (2017)

Set in the high-stakes world of university admissions testing, the exhilarating Bad Genius follows Lynn, a Thai math prodigy who builds a lucrative exam-cheating business. Her ultimate goal: cracking the Standard Test for International Colleges—the correct answers to which could net her millions of dollars from her wealthy clientele. Answering multiple-choice questions has never been so nerve-racking!

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Best thrillers on Netflix Canada: Gerald's GamePhoto: Netflix

Gerald’s Game (2017)

Jessie (Carla Gugino) and Gerald (Bruce Greenwood) travel to an isolated lake house in the hopes of reviving their marriage. Once there, Gerald handcuffs Jessie to their bedposts to act out a sexual fantasy, but suddenly dies of a heart attack. Quickly succumbing to dehydration and hunger, Jessie must battle her own demons (and a hungry dog) in order to escape. Gerald’s Game is one of the most horrifying Stephen King adaptations in recent memory.

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Best thrillers on Netflix Canada: Don't BreathePhoto: Sony Pictures Releasing

Don’t Breathe (2014)

This delirious thriller turns the “home invasion” genre on its head: in Detroit, three burglars, including Rocky (Jane Levy), plan to rob a small fortune from blind Gulf War veteran Norman Nordstrom (Avatar’s Stephen Lang). Once inside, however, the trio learn that their intended victim is more terrifying than anything they could have imagined—and more than willing to turn the tables on them.

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Best Thrillers On Netflix Canada - FracturePhoto: New Line Cinema

Fracture (2007)

About to join a prestigious law firm, Los Angeles district attorney (Ryan Gosling) takes on his final criminal case. The defendant? Ted Crawford (Anthony Hopkins), a wealthy structural engineer who shot his unfaithful wife and signed a confession. Believing it to be an open-and-shut case, Beachum agrees to go to trial, but soon learns that Crawford—acting as his own attorney in court—is his most cunning foe yet.

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Hush (2016)Photo: Netflix

Hush (2016)

With Hush, writer-director Mike Flanagan (Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House) adds an irresistible twist to the home invasion genre. Author Maddie Young (Kate Siegel) lives in complete isolation in the woods while working on her novel. Her world quickly unravels, however, when she discovers that a psychopath has been stalking her home—and aims to make her his next victim. The twist? Maddie just so happens to be deaf and mute, putting her at a major disadvantage to her would-be killer.

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Best thrillers on Netflix Canada: CalibrePhoto: Netflix

Calibre (2018)

Two childhood friends, macho businessman Marcus and shy father-to-be Vaughn, reunite for a weekend hunting trip in the Scottish Highlands. Their happy get-together, however, quickly turns into a nightmare when Vaughn accidentally kills a young boy during one of their expeditions. Can Marcus and Vaughn hide their horrible crime without arousing suspicion from the locals? One of the best thrillers on Netflix Canada, Calibre is an edge-of-your-seat ride from start to finish.

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The Decline (2020)Photo: Netflix

The Decline (2020)

Convinced that a cataclysmic event is just around the corner, Antoine (Guillaume Laurin) travels to rural Nord-du-Québec to meet Alain (Réal Bossé), a survival expert. The charismatic Alain has built a self-sufficient compound on his 500-acre property, and has also invited five other survivalism enthusiasts to his intensive training program. When a freak accident leaves one person dead, however, the group argues over what to do next, provoking a tense—and violent—showdown.

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The Red Sea Diving ResortPhoto: Netflix Canada

The Red Sea Diving Resort (2019)

Inspired by true events, The Red Sea Diving Resort follows a group of international spies—led by Israeli Mossad agent Ari Levinson (Chris Evans)—as they attempt to rescue thousands of refugees fleeing Sudan in the early ’80s. The Wire‘s Michael K. Williams co-stars.

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