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Best thrillers and suspense movies on Hulu
Hulu has a huge catalog of thriller movies, with everything from the latest sci-fi and horror-inspired thrillers to Korean cinema and classics from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Even if you think you’ve seen every thriller movie out there, you’re sure to find something worth watching in Hulu’s collection.
We’ve divided our list into the best thrillers and the best suspense movies on Hulu, giving you plenty of options for your next watch!
Editor’s note: This list will be updated as thriller and suspense thriller movies leave and other new arrivals make their debut on Hulu.
The best thrillers on Hulu
Director: Jonathan Demme
Main cast: Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber, Meryl Streep
Based on the 1959 novel by Richard Condon, The Manchurian Candidate is actually a remake of the 1962 movie of the same name starring Frank Sinatra. When Major Bennett Marco (Denzel Washington), a Gulf War veteran, starts having nightmares years after the War, he starts to suspect his squad-mate Sergeant Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber) isn’t really a hero. With Shaw now a vice-presidential candidate, Marco’s suspicions only grow as Shaw’s political power increases, until he finds a strange implant embedded in his back. What happens next is a trip down the rabbit hole of political conspiracy, intrigue, and suspense.
Director: Oren Moverman
Main cast: Richard Gere, Steve Coogan, Michael Chernus
Based on the novel by Herman Koch, The Dinner sees two wealthy couples, history teacher Paul Lohmann, his brother Stan, a Congressman, and their wives, meet for dinner at a fancy restaurant. This isn’t a social occasion though, as throughout the meal we’re shown flashbacks of an incident involving the couples’ children, during which a homeless woman is killed. How best to handle this situation quickly becomes the focus of conversation in one of the best thriller movies on Hulu — and things don’t go as you might expect.
Director: Jennifer Kent
Main cast: Aisling Franciosi, Maya Christie, Baykali Ganambarr
The year is 1825, and young Irish convict Clare Carroll is chasing a British officer through the Tasmanian wilderness, hell-bent on revenge for the murder of her family. She’s joined on her quest by Aboriginal tracker Billy, a man who has his own traumatic past to contend with. Nightingale isn’t a film for everyone — it’s tense, dark, and at times hard to watch — but it’s a taut, shocking thriller featuring stand-out performances.
Director: Bong Joon Ho
Main cast: Song Kang Ho, Jo Yeo-jeong, Lee Sun-gyun, Choi Woo-sik
Part thriller, part drama, part comedy, Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite won four Oscars in 2020, becoming one of the most talked-about films of that year. The Kim family are living on the breadline, inhabiting a dark, semi-basement home and struggling to feed their children. When the son, Ki-woo, lands a tutoring job with the wealthy Park family, the long-con begins, as each member of the Kim family tries to infiltrate the rich household, one by one. This is a darkly humorous, poignant movie that’s a must for fans of Korean cinema and one of the best thrillers on Hulu right now.
Director: Josephine Decker
Main cast: Elisabeth Moss, Michael Stuhlbarg, Odessa Young, Logan Lerman
Shirley is very loosely based on the real-life story of American horror and mystery writer Shirley Jackson, though it’s far from a biopic. Jackson (Elisabeth Moss) is working on her next book when she meets newlyweds Rose and Fred. Shirley is suffering from agoraphobia and struggling to write, as well as keep up with menial household tasks, so her husband Stanley (Michael Stuhlbarg) asks Rose to help out. Shortly afterward, the couple moves in, and what follows next is a spiraling nightmare, as Shirley finds inspiration for her book in the curious, trusting Rose.
Director: Aneesh Chaganty
Main cast: Sarah Paulson, Kiera Allen, Onalee Ames
Chloe Sherman is an isolated teenage wheelchair user who’s been homeschooled by her controlling mother Diane (Sarah Paulson), following Chloe’s premature birth and subsequent health issues. But her mother acts strangely, and when Chloe discovers medication she’s been given was actually prescribed to her mother, she starts to dig deeper. Is she crazy? Is her mother crazy? Will she ever be free? Run may tread some common ground, and it’s far from a unique story, but ultimately keeps you glued to your seat to find out what happens to Chloe, and her mother.
Director: Don Siegel
Main cast: Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Jack Thibeau
The next thriller on our list is a true classic, earning it a place on our roundup of the best thriller movies on Hulu. Clint Eastwood stars as Frank Morris, a jailbreaking convict sent to serve the remainder of his life sentence at Alcatraz, a maximum-security prison he won’t be able to escape from. The brutal reality of prison life and the harsh prison warden sees Morris quickly team up with convict brothers John and Clarence Algin to plan the seemingly impossible: an escape from Alcatraz.
Director: William Friedkin
Main cast: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Ray
Tough NYPD Narcotics Bureau detective “Popeye” Doyle (Gene Hackman) and his partner Buddy “Cloudy” Russo (Roy Scheider) stumble on a heroin smuggling ring in Marseille and must stop a huge shipment into New York. But catching the smugglers and shutting down their operation proves harder than expected in one of the best thriller movies on Hulu. The French Connection won Best Picture at the 1971 Oscars and is a must-watch for genre fans.
Director: Bong Joon-Hoo
Main cast: Song Kang-ho, Kim Sang-kyung, Kim Roi-ha
Another Bong Joon-Hoo movie makes our list, this time from 2003 and based on a true story. It’s the mid-80s, and simple-minded detectives Park Doo-Man and Cho Yong-koo are assigned to investigate the murder of two young women, quickly realizing they’re hunting a serial killer. Relying on their basic skills and tools, the pair must solve the case. Stomach-churning, darkly funny, and chilling, Memories of Murder is a must-watch for fans of Korean thrillers.
The best suspense movies on Hulu
Director: Gustav Möller
Main cast: Jakob Cedergren, Jessica Dinnage (voice), Omar Shargawi (voice)
This is the original German version of the film, though you might also want to check out the more recent 2021 version starring Jake Gyllenhaal. Asger Holm is a former police officer now assigned (temporarily) to alarm dispatch duty. His shift starts out with the usual dropped calls and non-emergencies, but then he answers an emergency call from a kidnapped woman. After being disconnected, he must race against the clock to find her and her kidnapper. The Guilty is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that keeps you guessing right until the last minute.
Director: David Fincher
Main cast: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow
No list of the best suspense movies is complete without 90s classic Seven (originally titled Se7en). Newly transferred rookie detective David Mills (Brad Pitt) teams up with retiring veteran detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) to help tackle his final case. This quickly escalates into the duo investigating a series of increasingly grizzly murders. It’s soon apparent they’re dealing with a serial killer who’s targeting victims he sees as representing each of the seven deadly sins. With each murder gorier and more elaborate than the last, Mills and Somerset must crack the case to protect the city’s residents, and their own loved ones.
Director: Curtis Hanson
Main cast: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger
Based on the novel of the same name by James Ellroy, L.A. Confidential is a noir-ish detective suspense movie set in seedy 1950s Los Angeles. Three police officers investigate an unsolved murder at a downtown coffee shop and untangle a web of corruption and conspiracy. Each officer has their own motives and agenda.
There’s Detective Lieutenant Ed Exley (Guy Pearce), the force’s golden boy, out to avenge his detective father’s murder, Officer Bud White (Russell Crowe) who’s always ready to break the rules if it means justice will be served, his violent temper often getting him in trouble, and then there’s Sergeant Jack Vincennes (Kevin Spacey) who’s a sell-out for celebrity and a quick buck, feeding classified information to tabloid owner Sid Hudgens (Danny DeVito). It’s how these three completely different characters come together to solve the case that makes this one of the best suspense movies on Hulu, though.
Director: Emerald Fennell
Main cast: Carey Mulligan, Laverne Cox, Bo Burnham
Promising Young Woman’s plot is pretty simple: Medical school dropout Cassie (Carey Mulligan) has been traumatized by an event in her past and lives a dull existence, waiting tables at a coffee shop and living with her parents. But Cassie’s got a secret double life. Every night she dresses to the nines and hits the local bar scene, posing as a helpless drunk female. And when men inevitably prey on her, Cassie takes her revenge. But an unexpected encounter is about to make Cassie a chance to right some wrongs — will she be able to break the habits of a lifetime? This is a troubling, provocative suspense movie with a pleasingly feminist kick that’s a must-watch for Mulligan fans.
Director: David Fincher
Main cast: Jodie Foster, Kristen Stewart, Forest Whitaker, Jared Leto
Jodie Foster stars as newly-divorced Meg Altman, who we see moving into a New York brownstone with her diabetic daughter, Sarah (Kristen Stewart). A deadly home invasion follows suit, with three burglars brutally ransacking the property in search of a missing fortune. Meg and her daughter take refuge in the home’s panic room, a hidden, reinforced safe room, but here’s the catch. What the three men seek is inside the room. Panic Room is a hold-your-breath suspense thriller that keeps you guessing until the end, earning it a place on our list of the best suspense movies on Hulu.
Director: Roman Polanski
Main cast: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway
It’s just another day for Los Angeles private eye J.J. “Jake” Gittes (Jack Nicholson) when client Evelyn Mulwray hires him to investigate her suspected-philanderer husband. Seems like your average infidelity case. But when the real Mrs. Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) makes an appearance, Gittes realizes he’s been working for an imposter. Things get stranger still when Mrs. Mulwray dies suddenly, setting Gittes off on a cynical journey into the seedy underbelly of 1930s L.A. on the trail of long-hidden family secrets and a web of corruption. This noir classic is a must-watch right now on Hulu.
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Main cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Barbara Hershey)
Ballerina Nina (Natalie Portman) lives with her controlling former-ballerina mother (Barbara Hershey) and spends every minute utterly consumed by her passion for dance. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel) makes Nina his first choice to replace the prima ballerina in an upcoming production of Swan Lake, Nina faces competition from newcomer Lily (Mila Kunis). Leroy needs a ballerina that embodies both the beauty and grace of the White Swan — a role Nina is perfect for — and the darker nature of the Black Swan, which Lily is the embodiment of. What starts out as rivalry blossoms into a twisted friendship as Nina’s darker side begins to emerge. Black Swan is a terrifying part-suspense, part-horror movie, with a chilling performance from Natalie Portman.
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Main cast: Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Frederic Forrest, Cindy Williams
Devout catholic and jazz-music-loving surveillance expert Harry Caul (Gene Hackman) lives a private, solitary life in 1970s San Francisco, working with his business associate Stan (John Cazale). Caul’s hired by Martin Stett, the assistant of a mysterious client known only as “The Director,” to tail a young couple through Union Square, recording their conversation and taking photographs. When he records a cryptic conversation between the pair and realizes the couples’ lives may be in danger, Caul has a crisis of conscience — but are his suspicions justified or simply paranoia after a previous case that went wrong? The Conversation is one of Francis Ford Coppola’s finest movies and one of the best suspense movies on Hulu.
That’s it for our roundup of the best thrillers and suspense movies on Hulu. We’ll be adding to this list over time, but let us know if we missed any of your favorites!