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Mystery Thriller Movies You Need to Watch

Mystery Thriller Movies You Need to Watch

There are some things in life that shouldn’t be a mystery: Like what’s in your dinner, or whether your car will start when you need it. But sometimes we crave a little mystique. These mystery thriller movies will keep the suspense right where it belongs: On your screen, not in real life. 

What Are the Best Mystery Thriller Movies Out Now?

There’s something special about a movie that keeps you guessing, and the best thriller mystery movies know how to nail it. Here are our top 10 choices. And don’t worry — we won’t give away any spoilers.  

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‘Vertigo’ (1958)

There’s a reason Alfred Hitchcock was nicknamed “The Master of Suspense,” and his masterpiece Vertigo proves it. After Scottie (James Stewart) retires from the police force, he takes a job investigating an old acquaintance’s wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak, in her defining role). Psychological obsession — and thrill — follow as Scottie realizes she may not be what she seems. 

‘In the Heat of the Night’ (1967)

If you’re wondering, “What is considered the best mystery movie of all time?,” look no further. Starring Sidney Poitier as Philly detective Virgil Tibbs, In the Heat of the Night is more than one of the best mystery thriller movies — it’s a cultural icon that won five Academy Awards and has been preserved in the Library of Congress. The film tackles complex issues of race and class while also tracking down a murderer in rural Mississippi.   

‘The Hunt for Red October’ (1990) 

There are five thriller mystery movies based on author Tom Clancy’s character Jack Ryan, but The Hunt for Red October is the best of them. Alec Baldwin plays Ryan, a military intelligence officer tracking the exploits of Ramius (Sean Connery), a rogue Soviet submarine captain. Ramius is either a dangerous enemy of the United States or a valuable asset trying to defect. It’s up to Ryan — and you — to figure out his real motives. 

‘In the Line of Fire’ (1993) 

Frank Horrigan (Clint Eastwood) is a Secret Service agent haunted by his past failure to protect the president. Now a former CIA assassin has eyes on the current president, and it’s up to Horrigan to stop him. Can he identify and catch the killer in time? With its clever, creepy villain and psychological trickery, In the Line of Fire will ensure you’re on the edge of your seat either way. 

‘Memento’ (2000)

In Memento, Guy Pearce plays Leonard, a grieving husband tracking down his wife’s killer. There’s more than one twist: Leonard can’t remember more than 15 minutes in the past, and the movie begins at the end of the story and tells it backward. Yet the character of Leonard is fascinating, and it’s one of the top mystery thriller movies precisely because it leaves you guessing, even after the end.  

‘Shutter Island’ (2010) 

A remote, gloomy island. Psychological horror. Terrible secrets. Vanishing villains. Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island has everything you want in great mystery thriller movies. Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo play U.S. Marshals Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule who are investigating the disappearance of a killer (Emily Mortimer) from a prison for the criminally insane. But can they get off the island alive? 

‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ (2011) 

So many of the best mystery thriller movies involve a murder whodunit, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is no exception. Christopher Plummer plays wealthy Swede Henrik Vanger, who wants to solve the cold-case murder of his niece. Discredited reporter Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) and private investigator Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) take the case, but they may not know the dangers that lie ahead. 

‘Gone Girl’ (2014) 

Can you ever really know someone? That’s the central question in so many thriller mystery movies, including Gone Girl. Based on the best-selling book by Gillian Flynn, it’s the story of the perfect American couple, Nick (Ben Affleck) and Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike). They have it all, but when Amy goes missing and Nick becomes a suspect, more than their marriage starts to unravel.  

‘A Simple Favor’ (2018) 

A Simple Favor doesn’t fit neatly into any box. It’s part mystery and thriller movie, part suspense, part comedy and engrossing from beginning to end. Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) is an awkward, friendless mom who meets Emily (Blake Lively), a glamorous, high-powered PR exec who one day disappears. To solve the mystery, Stephanie must figure out who Emily really was — and it isn’t an easy answer. 

‘Nightmare Alley’ (2021) 

Nightmare Alley has plenty of the bizarre characters, piercing dialogue and hypnotic pacing its producer, director and writer Guillermo del Toro is known for. But there’s plenty of the unexpected here, from a charismatic Bradley Cooper as the main character, drifter Stanton Carlisle, to Cate Blanchett stealing scenes as enigmatic psychiatrist Lilith Ritter. Which of Stan’s formidable opponents will ultimately be his downfall? You’ll have to watch to find out. 

How Can I Watch Great Mystery Thriller Movies?

Mystery thriller movies will keep you captivated from beginning to end, and even after that. You’re going to need plenty of time to think about what just happened, so it’s probably best to watch from the comfort of your couch. There are tons of ways you can do just that, but movies on demand from DIRECTV are your best bet.  

Put your detective skills toward solving the mystery, not finding the movie. With DIRECTV and DIRECTV STREAM, you’ll get access to all the best mystery thriller movies and nearly anything else you want to watch. And thanks to our crisp, clear picture and effortless controls, you won’t miss a single hint.  

Finding the best movies doesn’t have to be a mystery. Just choose your best streaming package and hit play. 

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