Thrillers are the social butterflies of movie genres. Psychological thrillers, horror thrillers, comedy thrillers — you name it! Suspense plays well with everyone. Doesn’t matter if it’s about aliens or corporate conspiracies — as long as you’ve got a drum beat of anxiety driving the movie forward, you’ve got a thriller, baby!
And Amazon has a plethora of tension-filled options that will keep you on the edge of your seat. From mystery thrillers to action thrillers, spy thrillers to the rare rom-com thrillers, and everything in between, here are the best thrillers available on Prime Video(opens in a new tab). Even better: Most are included with your Prime membership, so no renting required!
1. Blow the Man Down
Morgan Saylor in “Blow The Man Down.”
Credit: Jeong Park
Starting with a Greek chorus of Maine fisherman singing sea shanties, Blow the Man Down is a moody New England tale with a small town cover-up at its center. Priscilla and Mary Beth Connolly are two sisters (Morgan Saylor and Sophie Lowe) at odds with each other while grappling with the death of their mother and the new responsibilities at their feet. But when Mary Beth’s night out with a bad man (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) ends in disaster, they discover that their sleepy little town has a seedy underbelly, and they must come together to find their way out of this mess. It’s a darkly funny exploration of morality, community, and corruption, driven by a sense of dread as thick as the fog that constantly blankets Easter Cove, Maine. A stellar older cast, including June Squibb and Margo Martindale, bring this winning Amazon Original home to port. — Kristina Grosspietsch, Freelance Contributing Writer
2. The Handmaiden
Sumptuous and surprising, The Handmaiden is a complex and elaborate psycho-sexual thriller that will keep you gasping. Separated into three sections, director Park Chan-wook’s astonishingly detailed film seems at first glance to be about a con artist in Japanese-occupied Korea posing as a count and planning to steal a Japanese heiress’s fortune. But as new revelations recontextualize the story again and again, you’ll find you’re better off not trying to guess what’s happening and instead letting it unfold before you in all its striking glory.
Inspired by a 2002 novel about Victorian England (Fingersmith by Sarah Waters), The Handmaiden is a precisely plotted visual masterpiece that rightly deserves its raucous critical acclaim. — K.G.
3. To Catch a Thief
Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in “To Catch A Thief.”
Credit: Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images
An Alfred Hitchcock masterpiece, To Catch a Thief is a half-suspense, half-romance whodunnit set against a sparkling Mediterranean backdrop. Cary Grant is smooth as ever as John Robie, a reformed jewel thief now living a quiet life in the French Riviera. But when a string of new robberies puts him under suspicion, he’ll have to find the real culprit before he takes the blame.
Grace Kelly is literally glowing in this film, playing one of the rich tourists whose belongings were stolen, and her sumptuous Edith Head costumes are truly iconic. To Catch a Thief is one of those gorgeous classics where no one has a job and everyone speaks in witty double entendres. It’s a mischievous, flirtatious movie that makes you want to put on an enormous hat and move to Monaco — which is what Grace Kelly did: It was during the production of Thief that she met her future husband, the Prince of Monaco!* — K.G.
Is the 1995 cult classic Hackers a thriller? A satire? A teen crime dramedy? Honestly, we may never know. But we do know this ridiculous story about a group of cyber-hacking New York teens in the early days of the internet takes itself dead seriously, which is part of why it’s so dang wonderful. There’s suspense, there’s romance, and there are absurd three-dimensional visualizations of cyber-security. What more could you possibly want?!
When teenage Dade Murphy (Jonny Lee Miller) and his mom move to New York, he starts hanging around some fellow floppy drive lovers (after proving his worth with the “four most commonly used passwords: love, secret, sex, and god.” It was 1995, folks!). But his new friends don’t know Dade is secretly “Zero Cool” — the infamous hacker who crashed the NYSE at age 11 and was banned from using technology until his 18th birthday. And when another member of their crew accidentally comes across some dangerous information, these rollerblading tech teens (including a young Angelina Jolie!) will have to use all of their hacking skills to bring down the man. — K.G.
Writer-director Jordan Peele done gone and done it again with this “Watch the skies!” horror, which somehow smashes up Hollywood history with evil alien shenanigans, whilst also sneaking in a message about racialized invisibility beside the blood rain and face-eating chimpanzees. And if you’re keeping count, that makes the man fully three-for-three after Get Out and Us, putting him by my estimation already among the ranks of horror masters such as John Carpenter and David Cronenberg. We will look back on this run with astonishment in a couple of decades.
Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya star as animal trainer siblings mourning their father as a strange presence simultaneously makes itself known in the clouds above his ranch. Nope escalates into absolute madness as it rockets toward its surreal WTF of a conclusion. And with every Peele joint comes a new iconography, be it “the Sunken Place” or red jumpsuits and golden scissors. After Nope, I doubt any of us will ever be able to look at those little strands of colored flags or those dancing air tube men ever the same. Not to mention chimpanzees wearing party hats.* — Jason Adams, Entertainment Reporter
The first three of the four total [REC] films are streaming on Amazon, and we thoroughly REC-comend that you watch all of them. They’re very different movies but all a blast in their individual ways. That said, there’s no place better to begin than the beginning, and there’s no scarier place to be than right inside Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza’s terrifying found-footage masterpiece that kicks off the series.
Following ace on-the-scene TV news reporter (and final girl icon) Ángela Vidal (Manuela Velasco) on a routine assignment covering a firehouse, we watch a boring story become anything but as Ángela and her cameraman Pablo (Pablo Rosso) find themselves trapped inside an apartment building with a horde of bloodthirsty rampaging undead. Notable for one of the greatest all-time ending scares, one that has been ripped off mercilessly ever since.* — J.A.
7. The Northman
Written and directed by Robert Eggers (The Witch, The Lighthouse), The Northman is a dark, suspenseful retelling of a Scandinavian myth that also happens to have been the direct inspiration for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Alexander Skarsgård is Amleth, a young prince who swears revenge after his uncle murders his father and marries his mother. Years later, now a berserker Viking, Amleth has an encounter with a seer that convinces him the time to collect on that childhood promise is nigh.
The Northman is a tense, atmospheric, and brutal historical thriller, told as if it were a story recounted around a medieval Scandinavian fire, grounded in an ancient point of view. This visually stunning but bloody revenge saga also stars Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang, Anya Taylor-Joy, Gustav Lindh, Ethan Hawke, Willem Dafoe, and Björk, obviously. — K.G.
8. The Dead Zone
We have no less than David Cronenberg to thank for one of the best Stephen King adaptations! Cronenberg and Christopher Walken, anyway, who made for a terrific team — shame those two never worked together again; there’s something irresistibly perfect about their weird union. But maybe that lightning could only strike the once, so celebrate the once we will.
In The Dead Zone, Walken stars as Johnny Smith, a man who gets in a car accident and gains the ability to see people’s futures by shaking their hand. And that’s called “science” — look it up. Of course this gift turns out to be nothing but a curse, and before you know it, he’s firing rifles at politicians using babies for human shields. Que sera sera, and such.* — J.A.
The Wachowskis’ first film, Bound tells the story of Violet (Jennifer Tilly) and Corky (Gina Gershon), a mobster’s girlfriend and an ex-con who, while having an affair, plan to steal $2 million dollars from the mafia and start a new life together. One of the first mainstream films to feature a lesbian relationship, Bound was “bound” to turn a few heads. But its sophisticated plot, neo-noir style, and grounded performances made critics rave. It’s a fantastic, violent, and funny film, unapologetic about its characters’ actions or motivations. — K.G.
10. The Courier
Few film genres are as uniformly breathless and gripping as the spy drama, and 2020’s The Courier is one of the best examples of the last decade. Greville Wynne (a perfectly bumbling Benedict Cumberbatch) is no one special. He’s an ordinary salesman in 1960s England who doesn’t yearn for a bigger life. But when he’s approached by the CIA and MI6 to use his business as a cover to make contact with a potential source in Moscow, he goes against his instincts to do his duty to god and country.
This is an incredible true story of a regular man who put himself in incredible danger to shuttle messages to and from Russia at the height of the Cold War. Cumberbatch is heartbreakingly relatable, at once overwhelmed but determined in his mission. An old-fashioned, stylish, can’t-miss espionage thriller that will make you contemplate how you would react in the same circumstances. — K.G.
11. We Need to Talk About Kevin
Credit: BBC Films / Kobal / Shutterstock
We Need to Talk About Kevin is an exploration of warning signs and violence that’s sure to leave many viewers feeling unsteady. Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly lead as the parents of Kevin, a disturbed teenager played by Ezra Miller (which turned out to be some fortuitous casting), who goes on an unexplained killing spree. More meditative than attention-grabbing, director Lynne Ramsay’s psychological thriller asks you to make sense of the senseless, even as this tale’s inescapably horrible conclusion looms large.* — Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter
12. Three Days of the Condor
When CIA analyst Joe Turner (Robert Redford), codename “Condor,” returns from lunch to find his coworkers murdered, the bookish codebreaker finds himself in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy. Three Days of the Condor is a captivating and disquieting political thriller that will make you question who you can trust straight through to the end. Directed by Sydney Pollack and also starring Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, and Max von Sydow, this twisting spy drama is a superb encapsulation of ’70s political paranoia. — K.G.
13. Attack the Block
A South London teenage street gang unexpectedly finds themselves at the front lines of a fight against an alien invasion in this hilarious, genre-bending sci-fi adventure. Attack the Block made big waves when it debuted in 2011, with its biting social commentary, fresh characters, and perfect marriage of laughs and thrills. It also catapulted its stars John Boyega and Jodie Whittaker into their own major science fiction franchises — Star Wars and Doctor Who, respectively.
Produced by Big Talk Pictures, which has made some of the best genre-mashup movies in recent memory (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World), Attack the Block is must-watch cinema, a stunning debut for writer-director Joe Cornish. — K.G.
14. A Simple Favor
Anna Kendrick is Stephanie Smothers, a cutesy, sheltered mommy vlogger without much joy in her life. So when an impossibly fashionable and cool mom at her son’s school, Emily (Blake Lively), asks her to hang out, she’s both eager and out of her depth. An unlikely friendship between the mismatched pair blooms, until the day Emily doesn’t return from a business trip. A Simple Favor is an unpredictable, gripping, and sometimes silly Gone Girl–esque mystery directed by Paul Feig. It never goes over the top, but it doesn’t concern itself with staying too grounded either — the perfect sweet spot. — K.G.
15. The Transporter
Ridiculously masculine and overly serious, The Transporter sees Jason Statham as Frank Martin, a gruff, taciturn professional driver who often transports dangerous items for dangerous people. He never asks questions about what he’s driving around in his car, until the day the “package” he has to transport is a woman, and his world gets turned upside down. Critics did NOT like this movie. But audiences adored the rapid fight scenes, tense street chases, and endless supply of sexy cars — so much so that there are now four films in the Transporter franchise. A perfect watch for when you’re looking for mindless, fast-paced fun. — K.G.
Credit: Amazon Studios
Often, when horror movies are set on college campuses, they’re schlocky slashers with sorority sisters being ripped to shreds. Here, however, writer/director Mariama Diallo spins a unique horror story about the ghosts of America’s past and how they still haunt us. At a prestigious university, lore lingers of a lynched witch who still causes chaos. Freshman Jasmine Moore (Zoe Renee) believes she is the latest victim, but Professor Gail Bishop (Regina Hall), who has just been appointed the first Black master of the university, begins to suspect the insidious evil isn’t supernatural. Is it just racism? Her quest to understand the seedy underbelly of the school leads her to uncomfortable places and harrowing realizations. With a shadowy atmosphere and a creeping sense of dread, Diallo submerges us into the mindset of her haunted heroes.* — Kristy Puchko, Film Editor
17. The Report
The Report is a political thriller that is less interested in generating thrills than it is in taking a thorough look at its thorny subject matter: the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” conducted by Senate staffer Daniel Jones (Adam Driver). Writer and director Scott Z. Burns distills Jones’s investigation (and subsequent 7,000 page report) into a film that is gripping and horrifying in equal measures. Particularly upsetting are depictions of the CIA’s torture methods, as well as scenes in which United States government officials attempt to justify said torture. Strengthened by one of Driver’s best performances to date, The Report is an unflinching and meticulous examination of the process to uncover a serious injustice.* — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter
18. The Machinist
Christian Bale famously lost 60 pounds for the role of Trevor Reznik, a factory worker who hasn’t slept in a year. His insomnia has left him malnourished, paranoid, and isolated from his coworkers and peers. One day at work, a new employee named Ivan distracts Trevor, causing another man to lose his arm in a machine. Trevor tries to find Ivan to help explain the incident, but no one seems to know Ivan or have any record of him existing. Is there a conspiracy here, or is Trevor now suffering from delusions as well?
The Machinist is an archetypal psychological thriller, filtering the world through the eyes of a main character who can’t trust himself to know what’s real or not. A gripping, disturbing, and thoroughly engrossing watch. — K.G.
19. Dog Day Afternoon
No bank robbery movie can compare to Sidney Lumet’s 1975 classic. Based on outrageous real events, Dog Day Afternoon stars Al Pacino as Sonny Wortzik, a neurotic thief who gets in way over his head when he takes a bunch of hostages in a Brooklyn stick-up. The Academy Award-winning screenplay by Frank Pierson ushers audiences into the vault, behind the police barricades, and into the cramped apartments of Sonny’s family, unfurling a complicated but compelling portrait of a contemporary American folk hero. Pacino’s frantic energy and chaotic charisma have us rooting for Sonny, whether he’s mocking the cops, playing to the gawking crowd, or bickering with his distraught mother. The tension is nail-biting. But what makes this film spectacular is the deeply engrained comedy that’s born from the quirky characters, who cuss, clamor, and crack wise like born-and-raised New Yorkers do.* — K.P.
20. Train to Busan
Directed by Yeon Sang-ho, Train to Busan imagines the end of the world as a screamingly entertaining explosion of zombie mayhem and societal commentary brought on by a chemical spill. Terrifying, funny, and consistently original, this apocalyptic adventure is one of those films worth watching every single time you think of it. Seriously, it never gets old.* — A.F.
Credit: Well Go USA / Moviestore / Shutterstock
A secret lurks beneath the surface of this claustrophobic thriller. Written and directed by Zach Lipovsky and Adam B. Stein, Freaks begins with a surly little girl and her harried father hiding in a ramshackle house. Despite paternal warnings, Chloe (Lexy Kolker) is determined to venture outside, befriend the girl across the street, and get a frosty treat from the ice cream truck that’s always just out of reach. But she’s only beginning to understand the dangers beyond her door. Why they must hide hangs on a sci-fi twist that makes this mysterious movie distinctly satisfying and marvelously mind-blowing.* — K.P.
This 1963 classic brings together two of the biggest stars of the era. Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant mix it up in a rom-com rife with intrigue! She’s a recently widowed glamour girl being chased by a menacing and mysterious band of thieves. He’s a dashing stranger who insists on being of assistance … but why?! Directed by Singin’ in the Rain helmer Stanley Donen, Charade is full of twists and turns, both suspenseful and comical. Its charismatic leads handle both tones with aplomb, but are at their absolute best when it comes to flirty banter. Walter Matthau and James Coburn co-star.* — K.P.
Samuel L. Jackson in “Unbreakable.”
Credit: Getty Images
It’s easy to overlook this fact, but M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable is actually an origin story for a reality-based superhero (and also his nemesis). Bruce Willis stars as a seemingly ordinary security guard whose life of consistently good health is thrown into question when he survives a deadly train crash with nary a scratch or bruise on him. Is Willis’s David Dunn really that healthy? Or is something more fantastical going on here? Also featuring strong performances from stars Samuel L. Jackson and Robin Wright Penn, Unbreakable ended up becoming the starting point for an eventual Shyamalan-helmed trilogy. — Adam Rosenberg, Senior Entertainment Reporter
24. Casino Royale
Prime Video has every James Bond movie in its catalog, but if you’re looking for a true-blue thriller, it’s tough to top Daniel Craig’s inaugural 007 movie. Casino Royale ushered in the modern Bond era, giving us a grittier take on Ian Fleming’s iconic spy. In this installment, based on Fleming’s first Bond novel, James Bond has only recently earned the title of 007. His first mission will bring him face to face with the villainous Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) and the enigmatic Vesper Lynd (Eva Green). If you want grounded action, intense thrills, and a whole lot of gambling, Casino Royale is the James Bond movie for you. — B.E.
25. The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Imagine a scenario where one of the top candidates in a U.S. presidential election is actually a brainwashed agent of forces working to undermine American interests. That’s the basic premise of The Manchurian Candidate, a 1959 novel and 1962 film that got a fresh and modernized update in 2004 from filmmaker Jonathan Demme. It stars Denzel Washington as Bennett Marco, an ex-soldier who suspects that one of his former squadmates-turned-candidate for vice president, Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber), is receiving orders from forces outside the U.S. chain of command. — A.R.
One of the best mainstream Indian films of the 2010s is Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi, starring Alia Bhatt as a spy during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. Bhatt plays Sehmat Khan, who is married into a Pakistani family and tasked with spying on them by her dying father (Rajit Kapur).
Raazi contains familiar sequences from any spy movie: the training montage, tense surveillance, and brushes with death — but Bhatt’s performance grounds the toll of espionage in a way that few films do. Sehmat often breaks down after a high-stress encounter or upon seeing the consequences of her actions, the body count of a war purportedly greater than any of the individuals caught in its crossfire. Many Indian films succumb to blind nationalism, but it feels different through the eyes of a younger India and Pakistan, and through characters like Sehmat’s husband, Iqbal (Vicky Kaushal), who are never villainized but made real and relatable. — Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter
UPDATE: Jun. 29, 2023, 3:56 p.m. EDT This article has been updated to reflect the latest streaming options.