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From Yorgos Lanthimos to Safdie brothers: 10 most underrated thrillers on Netflix

We have previously curated a list of the best psychological thrillers available on Netflix. They all amassed massive popularity due to their gripping narratives, incredible cinematography and captivating performances.

They include the likes of Shutter Island, Nightcrawler, I’m Thinking Of Ending Things, as well as newer classics like Gerald’s Game and Hush. Yes, they might be scary, but they are riveting and somehow end in realism which heightens the atmospheric horror. 

Now, we have decided to look at some of the underrated thrillers on Netflix, which have been void of our attention. While some of them abound in too many cliches and are predictable, it is fabulous to see so many ideas emerging from the indie realm. Others are pretty enticing, especially films like Calibre that have challenged the heavyweight filmmakers in terms of ideas and end products.

Here are the ten most underrated thrillers on Netflix:  

10 most underrated thrillers on Netflix 

10. Dangerous Lies (Michael M. Scott, 2020)

A caregiver inherits a wealthy man’s estate quite unexpectedly. However, what lies ahead is a web of lies, murder and deception. She must learn that everything is not what it seems and to survive, she must question everyone and their motives. 

Starring Camila Mendes, Nick Purcha, the film fall into age-old cliches associated with the genre. After her role as Veronica Lodge in Riverdale, it was refreshing to see Mendes in a different avatar as she desperately tries to survive amidst the flawed plot twists. 

9. Secret Obsession (Peter Sullivan, 2019)

Recently married Jennifer recuperates from injuries from an assault when her sweet, caring husband looks after her in their isolated mountain home. In a harrowing turn of events, Jennifer discovers that her loving caretaker is not her husband but, in fact, the captor who harbours sinister motives.

Although the film did not receive stellar reviews from critics due to its predictable plotline, being trapped within a secluded estate with none but your captor to tend to your needs and grievances is terrifying. Watch it for the picturesque locations and scenic beauty that nurtures within a thrilling narrative.

8. Fatal Affair (Peter Sullivan, 2020)

After a passionate romantic encounter with her old friend David, Ellie tries to fix her rocky marriage with Marcus. However, she soon realises her new lover’s menacing and unstable nature, he turns into a stalker and begins obsessing over her while also hurting the ones close to her.

With a stunning ensemble including Nia Long, Omar Epps, and Stephen Bishop who all deliver gripping performances, the film milks the psychological thriller-talker genre well. Although the film isn’t anything completely new, it is a strong effort from Sullivan and is worth the watch for viewers who enjoy witnessing stalkers go crazy.

7. Sightless (Cooper Karl, 2020)

Following a gruesome attack, Ellen Ashland is rendered blind and becomes a recluse while recovering. Plagued by paranoia, she is haunted by the return of her assailant, who continues brutally terrorising her as she desperately tries to escape such visions of her trauma.

With Madelaine Petsch as the lead, the film has many original sequences that will keep viewers hooked. The overall suspenseful atmosphere with the premise of Petsch’s characters blindness and crippling fear makes the film spine-chilling. Furthermore, it challenges the perception of reality and heightens audience anticipation.

6. The Ritual (David Bruckner, 2017)

Following the tragic demise of their friend, a group of middle-aged men decide to go on an adventurous hike in the Scandanavian trail through an unmanned forest. The flock of friends chance upon a strange place by taking winding paths where they are haunted by the bizarre and the occult. 

The unsettling indie background score helps evoke misery and fear amidst themes of grief and friendship encapsulated by the gloomy wilderness. “I always find that horror works best when it’s tethered to real-world anxieties,” said director David Bruckner, “and this felt especially relevant to me, both personally and as a broader exploration of masculinity in crisis.”

5. Bad Match (David Chirchirillo, 2017)

Lead character, Harris is looking to have some enjoyable time with a string of one-night stands when he stumbles upon a girl named Riley on the dating app who is totally different from his previous encounters. She hates rejection and grows obsessed with him, slowly making his life crumble to pieces. 

A dark and realistic tale pertaining to the archetypal obsessive stalker genre, the antagonist in the film is pretty terrifying. Her presence questions and subverts the toxic masculinity portrayed in the digital realm while also presenting the downside of modern dating. Effective as a thriller despite its predictable and narrow premise, the film is worth watching. 

4. I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore (Macon Blair, 2017)

Ruth is having a hard day as she encounters various problems from a dog littering in her yard to her house being burgled. She is determined to find the ones guilty of doing so as well as teaching her insensitive neighbours a lesson.

With the dog’s owner, Tony, in tow, Ruth embarks on a series of misadventures to hunt down the thieves before finding themselves encountering a bizarre set of characters. This dark comedy thriller deals with the cynicism and existential despair of the world that is steeped in violence. It does a supreme job of making the otherwise oh-so-peaceful suburbs akin to a dangerous warzone. 

3. Calibre (Matt Palmer, 2018)

After a seemingly innocent deer hunt goes wrong, friends Marcus and Vaughn are left with blood on their hands and guilt plaguing their brains. With a lot to lose, they hope to sit on their hearts, swallow back the culpability and anxiety as they feign normality to prevent their covers from getting busted.

To see how long it is still one of them cracks is what makes the film so paranoia-inducing, and frightening. Embedded in realism, the film is gruesome, petrifying and an underrated gem. Compelling performances from the cast make it an even more captivating watch. 

2. Good Time (Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, 2017) 

This twisted crime odyssey sees a failed bank heist landing a younger brother, Nick, in jail while his elder sibling, Connie scourges through the criminal underbelly of New York City to gather intel and seek help to bail out his family member.  

The film is unnerving and reeks of their desperation coupled with frustration. It’s chaotic, bleak and almost feels like a fever dream through the neon-lit streets of NYC as one brother goes to dubious and diabolical lengths to avoid the punishment and save his brother. The deliberate claustrophobia of the film makes it appear more intimate and harrowing, thanks to the stellar vision of the cinematographer Sean Price. 

1. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos, 2017)

If you are looking for a film that will unsettle you with its cold and distant acting performances as well as the overall claustrophobic atmosphere, Lanthimos’ creation is the film for you. With unbelievably surreal cinematography, this idiosyncratic work of Lanthimos sends chills down one’s spine. Engaging and interesting, the film is not as popular as Dogtooth or Lobster but deserves all the acclaim in the world. 

Steven is a cardiologist who leads a relatively standard life with his wife Anna and their two children. While Martin, who lost his father, copes with his grief by opening up to Steven, and his new friend’s enigma leaves an impression upon the family, especially the daughter who is smitten by him. Soon, Steven’s children start falling poorly with weird unexplainable illnesses and Martin reveals a shocking fact. Steven is left with a devastating decision to save just one of his two kids but as a father can he ever choose between his children?

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