12 Good Grab You by the Seat of Your Pants Thrillers From the Last Decade

If there's any cinematic genre that I'm partial to, it's the coveted thriller. Whether sci-fi, psychological, adventure, or horror, the thriller subgenre always delivers a gripping story with compelling characters, a spooky atmosphere, and intelligent writing. These are the best 12 thrillers to come out of the last decade.

1. The Night House (2020)

The Night House
Image Credit: Searchlight Pictures.

In The Night House, a widow named Beth unravels the mystery behind her husband's disturbing secrets after his unexpected death. This psychological thriller expertly combines supernatural elements with an exploration of grief and self-discovery, keeping viewers guessing until the very end. With its atmospheric tension and mesmerizing performance by Rebecca Hall, The Night House stands out as one of the best thrillers for its ability to constantly keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

2. Prisoners (2013)

Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Prisoners follows the harrowing journey of a desperate father, Keller Dover, whose daughter goes missing along with her friend. As the investigation stalls, Keller takes matters into his own hands, pushing the boundaries of morality to uncover the truth.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, this intense and emotionally charged thriller masterfully explores the depths of human desperation and showcases stellar performances from Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. 

3. A Simple Favor (2018)

A Simple Favor
Image Credit: Lionsgate

Mixing elements of mystery, dark comedy, and suspense, A Simple Favor introduces viewers to the enigmatic relationship between Stephanie and Emily. When Emily disappears, Stephanie begins a twisted quest to uncover the truth behind her friend's vanishing act.

Directed by Paul Feig and featuring standout performances by Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, this stylish and unpredictable thriller offers a refreshing and entertaining take on the genre, keeping audiences guessing until its satisfying conclusion.

I went into this movie with low expectations, and it pleasantly surprised me. It's one of the most underrated hidden gems of the thriller genre in the past ten years.

4. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

10 Cloverfield Lane
Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

A woman named Michelle wakes up in an underground bunker after a car accident, only to discover that her captor, Howard, claims the outside world has been affected by a catastrophic event. As tension and paranoia escalate, Michelle must unravel the truth about Howard and the situation outside.

10 Cloverfield Lane, directed by Dan Trachtenberg, excels at building suspense within the confined space of the bunker. Its tight storytelling, brilliant performances, and unexpected twists make it a gripping and claustrophobic thriller.

5. Sicario (2015)

Sicario Lionsgate
Image Credit: Lionsgate

In Sicario, an idealistic FBI agent, Kate Macer, is enlisted in a joint task force to combat drug cartels along the U.S.-Mexico border. As she delves deeper into the dangerous world of drug trafficking, Kate questions her principles and struggles to survive. Denis Villeneuve directs this gritty and atmospheric thriller, showcasing tense action sequences, superb performances by Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro, and an unflinching exploration of moral ambiguity.

6. Don't Breathe (2016)

Don't Breathe
Image Credit: Gordon Timpen/CTMG

In Don't Breathe, a group of friends decides to rob a blind man, believing he will be an easy target. However, they soon find themselves trapped in a deadly game of cat and mouse within the blind man's house.

This suspenseful home invasion thriller, directed by Fede Álvarez, subverts expectations and keeps audiences on the edge of their seats with its clever twists and intense sequences. With its unique premise, impeccable pacing, and nail-biting suspense, Don't Breathe proves to be an exhilarating and pulse-pounding experience.

7. Green Room (2015)

Green Room
Image Credit: A24

Green Room thrusts a struggling punk band into a horrifying fight for survival after they witness a murder in a neo-Nazi bar. Trapped backstage, they must use their wits and resourcefulness to escape the clutches of a ruthless gang leader.

Directed by Jeremy Saulnier, this relentless and brutal thriller immerses viewers in a tense and claustrophobic atmosphere. Its portrayal of desperation, survival instinct, and the horrors of extremism solidify it as one of the most intense and compelling thrillers of the last decade.

8. Ex Machina (2014)

Ex Machina
Image Credit: A24

Ex Machina takes us into the world of artificial intelligence as a young programmer named Caleb is selected to participate in a groundbreaking experiment involving a humanoid robot with an advanced AI named Ava. As Caleb becomes entangled in a web of deception and manipulation, the boundaries between man and machine blur, leading to unexpected and mind-bending consequences.

Directed by Alex Garland, this thought-provoking sci-fi thriller explores themes of consciousness, morality, and the nature of humanity. Ex Machina is a cerebral and captivating thriller with mesmerizing performances, stunning visuals, and gripping narrative. It's one of the best films ever made.

9. The Witch (2015)

The VVitch Anya Taylor-Joy
Image Credit A24

Set in 17th-century New England, The Witch follows a devoutly religious family as they face malevolent forces lurking in the nearby woods. As paranoia and hysteria grip the family, their faith is put to the ultimate test. This atmospheric and slow-burning horror-thriller, directed by Robert Eggers, stands out for its haunting visuals, meticulous attention to historical detail, and unnerving sense of dread.

By delving into themes of religious fanaticism, folklore, and the supernatural, The Witch establishes itself as a chilling and psychologically unsettling masterpiece.

10. Hereditary (2018)

Hereditary Toni Collette
Image Credit: PalmStar Media

Hereditary introduces us to the Graham family, who, following the death of their secretive grandmother, start experiencing a series of terrifying and inexplicable occurrences. As the family unravels, dark secrets and hidden connections emerge, plunging them into a nightmare they cannot escape.

Directed by Ari Aster, this slow-burn horror-thriller mesmerizes audiences with its haunting visuals, exceptional performances, and a narrative that steadily descends into madness. With its profoundly unsettling atmosphere, shocking twists, and exploration of grief and inherited trauma, Hereditary has cemented itself as a modern-day horror classic.

11. Knives Out (2019)

Knives Out 1
Image Credit: IMDB

Knives Out reinvents the classic whodunit genre with a contemporary twist. When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey is found dead, a brilliant detective named Benoit Blanc is called to investigate the dysfunctional Thrombey family and their web of lies.

With its stellar ensemble cast, razor-sharp dialogue, and expertly crafted plot, director Rian Johnson delivers a suspenseful and delightfully entertaining thriller. Knives Out stands out for its clever homage to Agatha Christie-style mysteries, intricate storytelling, and impeccable blend of humor and suspense.

12. Get Out (2017)

Get Out 2017
Photo Credits: Blumhouse Productions, QC Entertainment, and Monkeypaw Productions.

Get Out follows Chris, a young African-American man who visits his white girlfriend's family for the weekend. As the visit unfolds, Chris uncovers a series of disturbing secrets and finds himself trapped in a terrifying situation that explores the horrors of racism and cultural appropriation. Directed by Jordan Peele, this socially conscious thriller skillfully blends elements of horror and satire, challenging conventional genre tropes.

With its thought-provoking commentary, exceptional performances, and masterful execution, Get Out captivates audiences and sparks meaningful conversations about race and identity.

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.