25 Best Thrillers on Netflix Canada You Need to Watch Right Now
From nail-biting murder mysteries to pulse-pounding capers, here are the most suspenseful offerings on Netflix Canada.
Hell or High Water (2016)
In order to stop their family’s West Texas ranch from being foreclosed, two brothers (Chris Pine and Ben Foster) begin robbing small banks to pay off their mortgage. Meanwhile, clever Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton (Jeff Bridges) is hot on the brothers’ tail and vows to ambush them at the scene of their next crime. A sleeper hit, Hell or High Water was nominated for four Academy Awards in 2017, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Bridges.
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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Shutter Island (2010)
In 1954, U.S. Marshals Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) arrive at Ashecliffe Hospital, a maximum-security psychiatric institution in Boston Harbor. The hospital claims that a female patient who murdered her three children has vanished without a trace, but Daniels senses something even more horrifying is afoot.
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.
Before Parasite took home four Oscars at the 92nd Academy Awards, another thriller critiqued South Korea’s class system just as ruthlessly. Adapted from the short story by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, Burning charts the unusual relationship between aspiring writer Jong-su, social climber Hae-mi, and Ben, a rich businessman with a mysterious hobby. Visually striking and steeped in dread, Burning defies easy interpretations.
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For obvious reasons, Contagion was one of the most-watched movies on Netflix Canada at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This star-studded 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.
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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Wind River (2017)
Rookie FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) teams up with Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner), an expert game tracker for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to investigate the murder of a local woman on a remote Native American Reservation in Wyoming. Nothing, however, can prepare the duo for the devastating truth about the young girl’s death.
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. Hush is perfect white-knuckle entertainment.
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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In suburban Connecticut, bright but unstable high school student Amanda (Olivia Cooke) reconnects with her wealthy childhood friend, Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy). An unspecified mental disorder leaves Amanda emotionless, which leads Lily to suggest the unthinkable: that Amanda kill Lily’s stepfather since she won’t be able to feel guilt. Combining pitch-black comedy with film noir, Thoroughbreds is Heathers for Generation Z.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
The lives of renowned cardiothoracic surgeon Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) and his wife Anna (Nicole Kidman) are turned upside down when a mysterious teenager, Martin (Barry Keoghan), puts a hex on their family. As the Murphys begin to display symptoms of the curse (think paralysis, starvation, bleeding from the eyes), Martin gives Steven an ultimatum: kill one family member, or watch them all die.
Set in the dangerous border lands between the United States and Mexico, idealistic FBI agent Kate Mercer (Emily Blunt) is enlisted by a sly government official (Josh Brolin) to bring down a lieutenant in the notorious Sonora Cartel. Joining the team is Alejandro (Benicio del Toro), an enigmatic “adviser” with a dark past. Sicario is a visceral and intelligent thriller—and a unique deep-dive into America’s war on drugs.
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
The 10-year mission to find and assassinate Osama bin Laden is painstakingly dramatized in this Academy Award-nominated war thriller. At the heart of the covert intelligence and military operation is Maya (Jessica Chastain), a CIA analyst on a single-minded pursuit to bring him down. The 28-minute sequence depicting the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, is a masterclass in action filmmaking.
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The Guilty (2018)
While awaiting trial for killing a 19-year-old, Copenhagen police officer Asger Holm (Jakob Cedergren) is demoted to answering emergency calls. One evening, he receives a phone call from a woman claiming to have been abducted by her unstable husband. From his cubicle, Asger races against time to try and locate the victim—and redeem himself.
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 and Sir Ben Kingsley co-star.
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.
The Fury of a Patient Man (2016)
After serving eight years in prison for his part in a failed jewelry heist, Curro returns to his old neighbourhood in Madrid expecting to be welcomed back by his girlfriend, Ana. Instead, Curro finds Ana in a new relationship with Jose, whose mild-mannered facade masks sinister intentions. Tightly-constructed and ruthlessly violent, The Fury of a Patient Man shows the lengths people will go to exact revenge.
United 93 (2006)
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda terrorists hijack four domestic U.S. flights from both American and United Airlines. After the collision of two planes into the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon, the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 decide to fight back in an attempt to regain control of the airplane. United 93 is a powerful tribute to those who lost their lives on that fateful day.
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016)
Relying less on jump scares and more on creepy atmosphere, I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House is a modern update on the gothic haunted house story. When Lily Saylor (The Affair’s Ruth Wilson) becomes the live-in nurse for retired horror writer Iris Blum (Paula Prentiss), she begins seeing strange things throughout the house. Most alarming is the ghost of Polly Parsons (Lucy Boynton), who may have inspired Blum’s most famous character.
Shot Caller (2017)
When his drunk driving gets his best friend killed, wealthy stockbroker Jacob Harlon (Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is sent to a notorious maximum-security prison: the California Institution for Men. Once inside, Jacob joins a white supremacist gang in return for protection, but learns the hard way that once you join a prison gang, there’s no getting out—even when you’re released early on parole.
A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014)
Ex-NYPD detective Matt Scudder (Liam Neeson) now works as a private investigator operating just outside the law. One day he agrees to help a heroin trafficker (Downton Abbey‘s Dan Stevens) hunt down the men who kidnapped, tortured and killed his wife, but soon he learns that the perpetrators may have other victims. This gruelling flick certainly isn’t for those with a weak stomach, but at the same time, it’s impossible to turn off.
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The creepy opening credits… Those deranged crime scenes… The budding camaraderie between Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman’s detectives… It’s been 25 years since David Fincher’s serial-killer thriller was released, but none of its bleak images and moments have faded from our collective memory. Just don’t try and picture what’s inside the box.
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Training Day (2001)
Given a shot to join an elite LAPD narcotics unit headed by Alonzo Harris (Denzel Washington), rookie cop Jake Hoyt (Ethan Hawke) agrees to go on a ride-along with Harris to prove himself worthy. During Hoyt’s “training day” however, it becomes increasingly clear that Harris, who makes one ethically questionable decision after another, isn’t who he says he is.
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In the aftermath of the Munich Olympics massacre in 1972, in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinians from a militant group called Black September, Munich follows an Israeli hit squad, led by Avner Kaufman (Eric Bana), sent to avenge the attacks. But as more of Kaufman’s meticulously-planned missions crash and burn, Munich asks viewers: what is the true cost of revenge?
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