By Julia Thompson
- Below Zero (2021) – Netflix
It’s only February, but Below Zero has my vote for best film of the year. The Spanish thriller takes place over a single day and follows police officers Martin (Javier Gutiérrez) and Montesinos (Isak Férriz) as they transport six criminals to a new prison. When en route, an unknown gunman halts the vehicle in the middle of nowhere. When Martin’s partner Monetsinos tries to confront the man, he is killed. Leaving Martin alone with the hostile prisoners. Initially believing the gunman is there to aid the prisoners in escaping, the audience soon finds out that the last thing the mystery man wants to do is help the prisoners.
Director: Justin Thomas Ostensen
2. The Call (2020) – Netflix
IDGAF if you don’t like subtitles. Either learn Korean or get over it because The Call is worth it.
This film takes place in both 2019 and 1999 and follows the relationship of Kim Seo-yeon (Park Shin-hye) and Oh Young-sook (Jeon Jong-seo), who are connected through time and space by an old phone. If you have a love for the unexpected, you won’t be disappointed.
Director – Lee Chung-hyeon
3. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) – Netflix
Dr. Stephen Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a respected cardiovascular surgeon who lives a seemingly comfortable life with his wife (Nicole Kidman) and two children (Raffey Cassidy and Sunny Suljic). Right away, the audience meets Martin (Barry Keoghan), an off-beat teen with an unusual attachment to Dr. Murphy. Martin successfully infiltrates his way into their lives, however the audience, and the Murphys, soon realize the real and malicious intent behind Martin’s obsession with them. Its worth mentioning that the almost emotionless dialogue amongst all characters in moments of absolute devastation adds to the nail-biting sensation of the film.
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
4. What Keeps You Alive (2018) – Netflix
Wives Jackie (Hannah Anderson) and Jules (Brittany Allen) are celebrating their first wedding anniversary with a romantic getaway at a cabin in the woods, owned by Jackie’s family. After an old friend of Jackie reveals information about her past to Jules, she soon realizes she has no idea who she married. With a shocking twist in the beginning of the film, audience members can’t help but be completely invested from the get-go.
Director – Colin Minihan
5. The Vanished (2020) – Netflix
Regardless of Rotten Tomatoes rating on this 2020 thriller,if you like a good plot twist, you’ve come to the right place. When their ten-year-old daughter goes missing while on a camping trip Wendy (Anne Heche) and Paul (Thomas Jane) stop at nothing to figure out where there daughter has gone. On their hunt for the truth, several jaw-dropping revelations come to light, keeping the audience at the edge of their seats. However, the biggest shock revolves around Wendy and Paul.
Director – Peter Facinelli
6. Run (2020) – Hulu
Sarah Paulson again for the MF win. This Hulu original follows the intense relationship of mother-daughter-duo Chloe (Kiera Allen) and Diane (Paulson). Diane, the definition of helicopter parent, cares closely for her daughter Chloe, who is chronically ill. Diane has completely controlled every aspect of Chloes life since she was born, but now as a teenager Chloe is starting to learn about her mother’s secrets.
Director – Aneesh Chaganty
7. Fractured (2019) – Netflix
Again, if you love a good plot twist, you’ve arrived. After a freak accident while driving, Ray (Sam Worthington) and Joanne (Lily Rabe) Monroe take their six-year-old daughter Peri (Lucy Capri) to a nearby hospital. During the admissions process, the couple were asked a myriad of questions — some of which had nothing to do with their injured daughter. Eventually, Peri is called to be treated. Joanne accompanies her, while Ray falls asleep in the waiting area. Ray awakens hours later and asks if he can see his wife and daughter, but is told the hospital has no record of them.
Director – Brad Anderson
8. Nightcrawler (2014) – Netflix
The savagery of Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) in this classic thriller is unmatched. Petty thief turned cameraman Bloom works tirelessly and shamelessly recording violent events that occur late at night in Los Angeles. Jaws will hit the floor once the audience sees what lengths this amateur crime reporter will go to get the coveted “money shot”.
Director – Dan Gilroy
9. Rent-A-Pal (2020) – Hulu
You thought finding love on Tinder was hard? You know not the struggle of a man trying to find love via cassette tapes. This Hulu thriller, set in 1990, follows David (Brian Landis Folkins), a hopeless romantic searching for an escape from the daily tribulations of caring for his ill and aging mother (Kathleen Brady). While looking for love through a video dating service he falls into an unexpected bromance with Andy, the virtual host of a VHS tape called Rent-A-Pal. The tape offers David almost everything he’s been searching for but at a disturbing cost.
Director – Jon Stevenson
10. His House (2020) – Netflix
Bol (Sope Dirisu) and Rial (Wunmi Mosaku), refugees fleeing war-torn South Sudan with their daughter Nyagak, are seeking asylum in England. Both Bol and Rial managed ti survive the volatile journey along the English Channel, however their daughter does not. Once finally granted asylum, they are placed in low-rent housing on the outskirts of London and told to assimilate. They begin to realize that they are not alone in their new home. An unexpected debt comes to light that the couple must pay to something residing in their house.
Director – Remi Weekes
11. What Happened to Monday (2017) – Netflix
In a not-so-far-off world, a one child policy per family is strictly enforced by government execution due to overpopulation and exhaustion of resources. An undercover family of identical septuplets must avoid being discovered while investing the sudden disappearance of one of their own.
Director – Tommy Wirkola
12. A Fall From Grace (2020) – Netflix
What a testament to NEVER LET YOUR GUARD DOWN. Sub-par public defender Jasmine Bryant (Bresha Webb) takes on the case of Grace Waters (Crystal Fox), who has been accused of murdering her husband Shannon DeLong (Mehcad Brooks). Grace is prepared to take a plea deal and endure life in prison for allegedly killing her husband, but Jasmine is not convinced. Sure enough, with persistent digging the case starts to completely unravel. Huge plot twist alert.
Director – Tyler Perry
13. 1BR (2019) – Netflix
Sarah, a spunky white girl in her twenties, leaves home and tries to start a new life in LA. However, she soon finds out that her picturesque neighbors are not what they seem. This is easily every apartment hunter’s worst nightmare.
Director – David Marmor
14. Calibre (2018) – Netflix
This thriller follows old friends Vaughn (Jack Lowden) and Marcus (Martin McCann) on a much anticipated hunting trip in the remote Scottish Highlands. Things quickly take a dark turn and the boys find themselves struggling to leave the trip with their lives in-tact. You’ll have to remind yourself to breath several times throughout this rollercoaster of a movie.
Director – Matt Palmer
15. Case 39 (2009) – Netflix
This is one of those movies where you don’t know who to root for. This semi-throwback really does tinker the line of horror and thriller, but leaves the audience with chills regardless. When a social worker (Renée Zellweger) rescues a young girl (Jodelle Ferland) from dying at the hands of her abusive family, she believes she is doing the right thing. Big mistake.
Director – Christian Alvart