The 20 best thrillers on Hulu to get your heart racing

The best movies on Hulu are just a click away, but sometimes you’re in the mood for something that doesn’t fit squarely in the comedy or drama genres. Something that gets under your skin and stays with you long after viewing. Hulu has an impressive selection of thrillers to keep you up at night. Here are the best thrillers on Hulu right now.

The best thrillers on Hulu

1) Europa Report 

best thrillers hulu Magnolia Pictures/YouTube

This 2013 indie is something of a sleeper hit, combining found footage with artful thriller. Six astronauts are sent to explore Jupiter’s moon, Europa, funded by a private company, but of course, things don’t go as planned. We know right away that the mission lost contact with Earth, but unraveling exactly what happened—and what they encounter—is more meditative than horrifying. —Audra Schroeder

2) Shutter Island

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Martin Scorsese gets to play around in the B-movie sandbox with this twisty thriller. Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo play U.S. Marshals sent to the titular island to investigate the escape of a murderer. Every bit of new information creates more confusion for the Marshals and the audience. Shutter Island is the kind of movie that is one step ahead at every turn, but even astute viewers who figure out what’s coming will still be entertained watching the pieces fit into place. —Eddie Strait

3) Hounds of Love 

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Can a movie about a couple that abducts and tortures women truly show the human element of their debased crimes? Hounds of Love tries, as its presents John and Evelyn White, and what happens in their home after drugging and kidnapping a teenager named Vicki. Much of the violence is heard but not shown, but it still has a nauseating effect. The focus is more on how warped their relationship is, and how Vicki knows she has to pit them against each other to survive. Even more chilling: The story mirrors the real-life crimes of David and Catherine Birnie, who in 1986 abducted five women over the course of a month, killing four of them. —Audra Schroeder

4) The Dark Knight

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I can attest from countless basic cable viewings that The Dark Knight has top-tier replay value. No matter where you jump in, you’re about to see something great. That’s a credit to Nolan’s direction and pacing, as well as the great performances by Heath Ledger and Aaron Eckhart as The Joker and Two-Face. Many superhero movies have aped The Dark Knight’s dour tone, but few have used it as effectively. I know “dour” and “top-tier replay value” don’t exactly jive, but The Dark Knight makes it work. If you’ll excuse me, I need to go watch the interrogation scene again. —Eddie Strait

5) 13 Assassins

best thrillers hulu - 13 assassins triviatrailers/YouTube

Takashi Miike’s samurai epic 13 Assassins, a remake of a 1963 film of the same name, is one of the Japanese master’s best films. It’s about a group of assassins (as you could guess from the title) who team up in an attempt to kill the odious Lord Matsudaira Naritsugu. The first half of the film is restrained as the team comes together and forms its plan, but the film’s climactic battle pays off the buildup and rewards the audience’s patience tenfold (thirteenfold?). It’s roughly 40 minutes of immaculately staged action mayhem. It’s pure spectacle that will take your breath away. —Eddie Strait

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6) Cropsey

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Depending on where you grew up, there was probably a regional urban legend about a haunted house or grisly murder. This 2009 documentary on Hulu focuses on Cropsey, a bogeyman of Staten Island—one directors Joshua Zeman and Barbara Brancaccio grew up hearing horrifying stories about. But as the film progresses, we learn he’s real. His name is Andre Rand, and he worked at the Willowbrook State School, a facility for mentally disabled children. Throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, he was linked to a series of kidnappings and was eventually arrested. But the film also leaves us wondering if he was really guilty of the crimes, or if the myth and the man were conflated. —Audra Schroeder

7) I Saw the Devil

best thrillers hulu - i saw the devil Magnolia Pictures/YouTube

This South Korean thriller pits two of the country’s most well-known actors (Choi Min-sik and Lee Byung-hun) as a serial killer and a cop, respectively. It’s a cat-and-mouse story, or maybe cat-and-cat is more appropriate, as Byung-hun relentlessly tracks and tortures the man (Min-sik) who killed his wife. The film is directed by maestro Kim Jee-woon, so you’re in good hands. I Saw the Devil is brutal and provocative, and if you have the stomach for it, it’s well worth a watch. —Eddie Strait

8) mother! 

best thrillers hulu Paramount Pictures/YouTube

Darren Aronofsky’s 2017 film elicited some strong reactions and its share of walkouts upon release. Starring Jennifer Lawrence as a doting wife and Javier Bardem as her narcissistic writer husband, mother! presents a claustrophobic view of domestic life, and once her husband’s fans start showing up at their home, it only gets worse. This film isn’t for everyone, and a third-act scene will certainly send some viewers fleeing, but mother! slowly becomes so deranged it borders on dark comedy. —Audra Schroeder

9) Thelma

New movies on Hulu: Thelma The Orchard Movies/YouTube

This queer teen thriller feels like a stylish and suspenseful X-Men origin story, but it may have slipped past your radar because, well, it’s a Norwegian indie movie. Set in contemporary Norway, it’s about a young woman who develops unwanted superpowers when she leaves home and goes to college. Thelma begins to have seizures in reaction to intense emotion, and as she comes to terms with her sexuality and reckons with her repressive Christian upbringing, her troubles only get worse. —Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

10) Arrival

hulu thrillers - arrival Paramount Pictures/YouTube

Aliens randomly show up and strategically place themselves across the globe, with humans falling into complete panic in response. Most movies would take this set up and deliver a city-destroying action-fest. Director Denis Villeneuve and writer Eric Heisserer aim for something more thoughtful and empathetic. It’s a movie about understanding and listening. This sci-fi thinker is one of the best movies of the decade. Eddie Strait

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11) Annihilation 

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In Alex Garland’s adaptation of Annihilation, we still get to explore Area X, a quarantined area of land besieged by mysterious environmental changes. That’s about where the similarities to the book end. The film uses author Jeff VanderMeer’s spectral setting to get in its characters’ heads. Natalie Portman plays Lena, a biologist and former soldier who is grieving the loss of her husband, Kane (Oscar Isaac). He was sent into Area X on a secret mission and feared dead, but he suddenly returns home—altered. Lena’s mission there is one of truth and redemption, but Portman plays her with appropriate detachment. We don’t really know her true motives, and fellow travelers Anya (Gina Rodriguez), Cass (Tuva Novotny), Josie (Tessa Thompson), and Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh) have their own reasons for going on an apparent suicide mission. —Audra Schroeder

12) Mom and Dad

best thrillers on hulu - mom and dad Momentum Pictures/YouTube

Nicolas Cage and Selma Blair go off the deep end in Brian Taylor’s 2017 comedy-thriller about a mysterious event that causes parents to want to kill their kids. That conceit alone makes this film an acquired taste, but Mom and Dad also gives Cage the room to go completely over the top (like the scene where he destroys a pool table while singing “The Hokey Pokey”) so some dark humor seeps into the murderous rage. Cage doesn’t overpower the film. In fact, there are actually some touching, introspective moments between him and Blair. Audra Schroeder

13) Let the Right One In

best thrillers hulu - let the right one in Movieclips/YouTube

Childhood is lonely, and when you’re poor and live in a small town, it can be even harder to find a good friend. It can lead to crazy things, like ignoring the fact that your new best friend is a vampire. Evil’s seductive tendrils are well-worn territory in horror, but Let the Right One In tackles why friendship can blind even the most innocent with cold-blooded finesse. The American remake is fine, but the Swedish original is a masterpiece. Few films can trick you into rooting for a child to be in danger. Let the Right One In makes you hope he never leaves his dark new companion. —John-Michael Bond

14) The Square 

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A satire of the art world, Ruben Östlund’s The Square deconstructs idealism and status. We’re presented with Christian (Claes Bang), a handsome museum curator who spends his days thinking about high-concept art installations. When his phone is stolen, however, he hatches a plan that goes horribly, hilariously wrong. Elisabeth Moss stars as a reporter who corners Christian in one of the film’s funniest scenes, and Terry Notary shows up to terrify the art-world elite. You’ll watch some scenes with your hands over your eyes, and laugh out loud at others. —Audra Schroeder

15) Border 

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Ali Abbasi’s 2018 film is part thriller, part dark folk tale. Tina (an incredible Eva Melander) is a Swedish customs agent who can smell illegal items as well as emotions, and her heightened sense leads her to Vore (Eero Milonoff), a man who looks (and smells) more like her. This awakens a part of her, just as she’s brought in to assist with a child pornography investigation. That’s only about half of what Border throws at you: There’s a complex love story, a fantastical backstory, and a familial reckoning. It sneaks up on all your senses. —Audra Schroeder

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16) American Psycho (with Starz add-on)

best thrillers hulu Mojo Risin/YouTube

Mary Harron’s film adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ controversial 1991 book leaves out some of the more graphic and gruesome passages but leaves in the narcissistic flourishes and toxic masculinity of late-’80s New York City. Christian Bale is pitch-perfect as Patrick Bateman, a Wall Street banker who indulges his murderous fantasies, and Reagan-era materialism is on full display. (The business card scene never gets old.) That Bale went on to be Batman and co-star Jared Leto became the Joker only makes the film more amazing and perverse. —Audra Schroeder

17) Baby Driver (with Showtime add-on)

best thrillers hulu YouTube Movies/YouTube

Edgar Wright’s car-chase thriller has at least one advantage over the classic films it’s toasting: a killer soundtrack. Music is the foundation of Baby Driver, which stars Ansel Elgort as Baby, a stoic getaway driver who choreographs his turns and peel-outs with his iPod. Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Lily James co-star, and at times the movie is more like a musical than a caper. —Audra Schroeder

18) The Blair Witch Project (with Showtime add-on)

best thrillers hulu YouTube Movies/YouTube

The Blair Witch Project is one of the most important horror films of all time. It’s critical and box office success speak to the film’s popularity at the time of its release, but nearly 20 years later, the film still holds up. If you saw the film when it opened in 1999 you either caught it before the hype reached insane proportions or you saw it to see what the hype was all about. It’s about three young filmmakers who get lost in the woods and go through some scary business. Much of the film’s genius derives from its simplicity. Presented as found footage and with unknown actors, it’s easy to get sucked in alongside the characters as they go deeper into the night and the mythology. —Eddie Strait

19) The Usual Suspects (with Cinemax add-on)

best thrillers hulu Movieclips/YouTube

The Usual Suspects is always essential viewing, whether it’s your first time seeing it or the 20th. Christopher McQuarrie’s script is an all-timer, a gift that keeps on giving. There’s something new to appreciate each time, and that’s a credit to the writing, Bryan Singer’s direction, and the immaculate work by the cast. What else is there to say? Seriously, what else? If you’ve already seen it, you don’t need me to tell you to watch it. If you haven’t seen it, I can’t give away the plot here because you should have the most pristine experience possible. Let’s all watch it tonight, OK? —Eddie Strait 

20) Into the Dark: I’m Just Fucking with You

thrillers hulu Hulu/YouTube

With its April Fool’s Day episode, I’m Just Fucking With YouInto the Dark once again wades into toxic waters—this time about the perils of online harassment. Larry (Keir O’Donnell) is on his way to blow up his ex-girlfriend’s wedding day, figuratively speaking. He stops for the night at a motel, where he meets Chester (Hayes MacArthur), the ball-busting bartender handling check-ins for the night who punctuates all of his jokes with a laugh and an “I’m just fucking with you.” As the story progresses, the two characters slowly move together into an overlapping Terrible Person Venn Diagram. I’m Just Fucking with You executes its straightforward premise well and features lively performances, making it one of the series’ best installments yet. —Eddie Strait 

 

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Here are the best thrillers and action movies to get your heart racing, classic movies when you want a blast from the past, sad movies when you need a good cry, and funny movies on Hulu when you need a good laugh.

Audra Schroeder

Audra Schroeder

Audra Schroeder is the Daily Dot’s senior entertainment writer, and she focuses on streaming, comedy, and music. Her work has previously appeared in the Austin Chronicle, the Dallas Observer, NPR, ESPN, Bitch, and the Village Voice. She is based in Austin, Texas.