5 Netflix thrillers that are perfect to watch in the summer

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There’s nothing better than watching an edge-of-your-seat thriller. These tense movies are designed to captivate your attention as you try to solve the mystery at the center of the story. Sometimes, these mysteries are black-and-white cases with no room for gray areas. Other times, ambiguous endings leave the audience with more questions than answers, forcing viewers to make their own conclusions.

With the temperature rising, how about indulging in a thriller for your next movie night? Below are five thrillers available to stream on Netflix that are ideal to watch this summer.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Men in suits walk down the road in Reservoir Dogs.
Miramax Films

Quentin Tarantino is one of our most celebrated filmmakers. Thirty years ago, however, Tarantino was just an aspiring writer-director looking for his big break. Enter Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino’s feature-length debut. Reservoir Dogs depicts the lead-up and aftermath of a diamond heist gone wrong. The surviving thieves, referred to by their colorful pseudonyms, i.e., Mr. White, rendezvous at a warehouse and scramble to determine the mole within their group.

The brilliant twist is that Tarantino never shows the heist; it happens off-screen. Reservoir Dogs was an early introduction to Tarantino’s style: brutal violence, nonlinear storylines, pop culture references, and stylized dialogue. Reservoir Dogs is often referred to as one of the most important independent films as it ushered in a new era of filmmakers, including Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Kevin Smith.

Stream Reservoir Dogs on Netflix.

Spiderhead (2022)

Chris Hemsworth smirks in front of a mi crophone in a scene from Spiderhead.
Netflix

Chris Hemsworth has been playing Thor for over a decade in the MCU. While Hemsworth has mastered his role as a hero, his villainous characters are arguably more memorable and impactful. One of those wicked heel turns happens in Spiderhead, the psychological thriller from Top Gun: Maverick’s Joseph Kosinski. Hemsworth stars as Steve Abnesti, the head of the Spiderhead penitentiary,where chemical experiments with mind-altering drugs are conducted on prisoners.

One of the prisoners, Jeff (Miles Teller), is at Spiderhead after killing his friend in a drunk-driving accident. Jeff investigates Steve’s methods and discovers the sinister reasons for the drug tests. To save his fellow inmate, Lizzy (Jurnee Smollett), Jeff must outsmart Steve and break out of the facility or face disastrous consequences. Spiderhead is more sci-fi than thriller, but incorporating a prison break into the storyline makes for an entertaining watch.

Stream Spiderhead on Netflix.

Emily the Criminal (2022)

Aubrey Plaza looks behind her in Emily the Criminal.
Vertical Entertainment

Most of the critical acclaim and attention Aubrey Plaza garnered in 2022 came from her role as Harper Spiller in The White Lotus season 2. However, Plaza’s role in Emily the Criminal deserved the same attention and recognition. In the criminally (excuse me for the pun) underrated crime thriller, Plaza plays Emily Benetto, a recent college graduate in Los Angeles saddled with mountains of debt. Her catering job barely pays the bills, and her previous felony conviction hinders her ability to get a better-paying job.

Desperate, Emily is presented with a risky offer to earn money: become a dummy shopper by purchasing goods with stolen credit cards. At first, Emily reaps the monetary rewards, but she quickly discovers the dangers of the criminal underworld. Directed by John Patton Ford, Emily the Criminal is a brief (only 93 minutes), effective thriller with a magnetic performance from Plaza at the center of the film.

Stream Emily the Criminal on Netflix.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)

The cast of Glass Onion gather around a table in a scene from the Netflix film.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (L-R) Edward Norton, Madelyn Cline, Kathryn Hahn, Dave Bautista, Leslie Odom Jr., Jessica Henwick, Kate Hudson, Janelle Monae, and Daniel Craig. Cr. John Wilson/Netflix © 2022.

Whodunits can be thrillers, and no filmmaker is currently crafting better whodunit mysteries than Rian Johnson. Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi director got the party started with 2019’s Knives Out, which became an instant hit. Johnson followed Knives Out with the standalone sequel, Glass Onion. In it, Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig), a world-famous private investigator, is summoned to a private Greek island for a fun murder mystery game hosted by tech billionaire Miles Bron (Edward Norton).

What starts as a party between friends suddenly turns into a crime scene after one of the guests is murdered. Blanc springs into action and attempts to solve the case in this entertaining thrill ride that will keep you guessing until the big reveal.

Stream Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery on Netflix.

Missing (2023)

Storm Reid holds a phone to her head in Missing.
Sony Pictures Releasing

It’s amazing how far technology has come. Thrillers can be shot in multiple locations with IMAX cameras or, in the case of Missing, be told through computer screens. Serving as the standalone sequel to SearchingMissing introduces a brand new mystery with a different group of characters. Eighteen-year-old June Allen (Storm Reid) believes her mother (Nia Long) has gone missing after failing to return from her trip to Colombia with her new boyfriend, Kevin (Ken Leung).

When the FBI provides few solutions, June takes matters into her own hands to search for answers. Thanks to clever internet tricks, June discovers Kevin lied about his past, leading the teenager down a dangerous path of deceit and deception. Thanks to an intriguing premise, Missing is a crafty thriller that utilizes its unique method of filmmaking to tell a thrilling story from start to finish.

Stream Missing on Netflix.

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