The 7 best thrillers on Netflix UK you need to watch now
From action to psychological, these thrillers will have you clenching your fists and reexamining your conscience in equal measure…
When two New York-based homicide detectives (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) come across several grizzly murders – including a man forced to eat himself to death, and another made to lie in a bed for an entire year – they realise there’s a theme going on: seven murders, seven deadly sins. The serial killer (Kevin Spacey) is on a mission to punish those who fall foul of his values, sinning with sloth to greed via wrath and envy. The victims are never killed on-screen, and so the viewer is allowed to piece together gruesome facts via the help of black and white police photographs, a few glimpses of the crime scene, and, most terrifyingly, the limitless scope of their own imagination.
The term for freelance cameramen, “Nightcrawler” Lou Bloom (played brilliantly by Jake Gyllenhaal) coasts around LA after dark to catch juicy footage of crimes and indiscretions that could be bought up by TV news channels. After recruiting an assistant Rick (Riz Ahmed), Lou breaches moral codes again and again to get as close to the blood and drama as he can. Not only providing rich psychological thrill, Nichtcrawler serves a reality check for viewers who buy into sensationalised, and unethical, news stories at another other human being’s expense.
Matthew Vaughn’s directorial debut made a star of Daniel Craig, who here plays an ice-cool, mid-level drug dealer without a name on the brink of retirement, until he gets pulled into two punishing final jobs, and his life begins to heat up. With its distinctive style (Craig narrates the ins and outs of his work with the same banality one might lecture interns in the office) and surprise twists, Layer Cake pushed through the noise of British gangster films, aligning itself with Scorsese’s Casino or Goodfellas.
The film that finally severed Kristen Stewart from her vampiric past (the Twilight franchise), and – after making a very good impression at Cannes in 2016 – woke people up to the fact Stewart could actually act. This slow moving, delicately scripted story begins with young New Yorker based in Paris Maureen Cartwright (Stewart) taking on a job as a haughty supermodel’s personal shopper. While she whizzes around Paris on her motorbike by day, picking up bags of designer clothes, at night, we watch her grappling with inner turmoil. Maureen is a medium, and, after her twin brother died of a heart attack last year, she feels she can connect with him. Eventually, after receiving a series of disturbing anonymous texts by a man claiming to know her, she visits the Parisian home in which her brother died.
Martin Scorsese’s 1976 masterpiece shadows the nighttime movements of Travis Bickle, the lonesome, ex-marine cab driver unforgettably played by Robert De Niro, who we see slide through New York streets during sleepless nights via chillingly ominous camera work. After one bad date with beautiful political aide Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) – one of Travis’ few social interactions – he becomes preoccupied with a child prostitute called Iris (Jodie Foster) who is in an abusive relationship with her pimp. As Travis seeks to liberate her from prostitution, he loses control over his mind.
A decade after Bret Easton Ellis’s penned the wildly unpopular novel in 1991, American Psycho was made into a comic but shocking film by rock journalist and documentary maker Mary Harron. Profiling Wall Street broker and dandy Patrick Bateman, played by Christian Bale, the story follows his double-life: mergers and acquisitions by day, and bloody murder by night. As the film goes along, it might even be that Bateman, a highly disturbed man who works out to anal-rape videos and likes to dissect women, has been imagining the murders all along…
Two childhood friends, Vaughn and Marcus, journey up to the Scottish Highlands for a shooting trip, but, on the first morning, they shoot a little boy instead of a deer. It was a complete accident. The pair try and cover up the murder, but in this remote town, everybody knows everybody. Soon, the whole community is working to uncover the secret, and they’re not playing by the rules. Brief, quiet and genreless, this dark tale makes for uncomfortable viewing, leaving you not quite sure how to feel.
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