From the classic detective adventures of Sherlock Holmes or Agatha Christie’s famous character of Hercule Poirot to the never-ending delight Lieutenant Columbo has brought to its audience, murder mysteries have always piqued the interest of audiences. With Netflix, we have had the opportunity to watch an array of movies belonging to this beloved genre and while most of them were more recent, a few were also from the 50s and 60s. Regardless of your taste, we’ve tried to put together movies ranging from wonderful, gripping classics to modern crime thrillers in one single place. So take a seat, turn off the lights and enjoy this list of really good murder mysteries on Netflix.
20. Shimmer Lake (2017)
A film narrated backward, ‘Shimmer Lake’ begins on a Friday and culminates on the previous Tuesday. A bank robbery that occurs on Friday has Andy as the prime suspect who is on the run with all the stolen money. Andy’s brother Zeke is one of the four men pursuing Andy. The said bank is owned by a judge who has been murdered in his own house and there has been an explosion in a meth lab that has killed the wife and son of another accomplice in the robbery. Complicated with a lot of plot twists and given the reverse chronological storyline, ‘Shimmer Lake’ has a lot of loose ends along with the brain-wrecking thrill that you can’t miss. Oftentimes, ‘Shimmer Lake’ has been ranked alongside movies such as ‘Pulp Fiction’ for its gritty portrayals.
19. Badla (2019)
An official Hindi remake of the 2017 Spanish thriller ‘The Invisible Guest’, ‘Badla’ is a low-budget film starring one of the biggest stars in the history of Indian cinema, Amitabh Bachchan. Supporting him with her strong performance is Taapsee Pannu, who plays the role of a successful entrepreneur who has been charged with the murder of the man she has been having an extramarital affair with. Pannu’s character, Naina Sethi, gets her personal lawyer to hire a defense lawyer called Badal Gupta (Bachchan).
When Gupta speaks to Naina about the case, he keeps on insisting that she is hiding something from him. Naina, on the other hand, sticks to the story that the entire thing was a setup to make it look like she is actually the killer. The film is built up well, but the resolution given is laughable, to say the least. The two leading characters repeating the same dialog over and over again makes the film boring in certain places despite the running time clocking in at a modest 118 minutes. The best thing about the film is the performances of the two leading actors.
18. Murder Mystery (2019)
Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler are comedy legends, and thus there was a huge buzz all around the world of entertainment when it first came to light that they would be working together on a Netflix original film. The result of their collaboration is ‘Murder Mystery‘, which, besides being a hilarious comedy, also tackles a murder case. Sandler plays the character of a cop, Nick Spitz, and Aniston plays his murder mystery enthusiast wife, Audrey. When they take a trip to Europe to rejuvenate their marriage, Audrey and Nick come across a man on their flight who invites the couple to spend some time with him on his family yacht. They readily agree and go on to meet many famous people on the ship. However, soon their happy trip comes to a screeching halt when a rich billionaire gets murdered on the yacht. Their problems keep worsening when Nick and Audrey are themselves suspected of committing the murders.
The film is one of the most popular 2019 releases of Netflix. Though the story and the humor are both pretty mediocre, it is the performances by the two leading actors which will keep you hooked to the film. Both Aniston and Sandler have impeccable comic timing and use their prowess to the full effect.
17. Handsome: A Netflix Murder Mystery Movie (2017)
Los Angeles homicide detective Gene Handsome has a knack for connecting the dots and solving murders. What he does not have is his own life in order. When Handsome moves into a new house, he goes to meet the pretty neighbor and is also introduced to the neighbor’s babysitter Heather. The very next day, Handsome finds out that Heather has been killed and dismembered, her body dumped outside the home of a washed-up actor. It’s from there that Handsome has to piece together the truth of what happened to the babysitter. But Handsome is saddled with kind of a useless team and he has to do most of the heavy-lifting to solve this crime. The dark comedy movie, directed by Jeff Garlin (who also plays the lead role), is hilarious and perfect for light watching when you don’t want to be too absorbed in a plot-heavy head-scratcher film. The murder is not that convoluted and the resolution is pretty predictable but viewers should watch it for the laughs.
16. 1922 (2017)
This film, as the most recent on this list, welcomes one more Stephen King novel to the big screen. Set in 1922 Nebraska, Wilfred James is a farmer living in a conflicted marriage with his wife Arlette, with whom he has a 14-year-old son. After arguing over a land recently inherited which leads to conversations of divorce he decides to murder his partner and convinces his son to help him with this savage task. This story of murder contains exceptional performances by its cast and lingering suspense giving the dark and mysterious drama a fascinating approach and exploration.
15. Rustom (2016)
A finely made Hindi crime thriller, ‘Rustom’ stars Akshay Kumar in the leading role as an officer of the Indian Navy called Ruston Pavri. Besides his work, Rustom and his wife Cynthia share a strong marriage where apparently there is no chance of any dent. However, it so happens that when Rustom is not present at home for an extended period of time, his wife gets involved with a friend of his called Vikram. When Rustom comes to know of the ordeal, he immediately confronts Vikram about the affair behind closed doors. But what we hear from outside are three gunshots and then Rustom leaves the office.
However, when Rustom pleads not guilty of the crime after his arrest, a trial by jury declares him innocent, believing that he pulled the trigger in self-defense. Is the judgment correct? Or has there been deeper planning behind the murder? This is what the film tries to answer. The story of ‘Rustom’ is loosely based on the K. M. Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra Indian court case. It was after this case that the jury trial was abolished by the government of India. The film is well-constructed, but still suffers from unnecessarily melodramatic moments in certain places.
14. Secret in Their Eyes (2015)
Boasting a star cast including actors like Julia Roberts, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Dean Norris among others, ‘Secret in Their Eyes’ is the official remake of an Argentine film bearing a similar storyline. In the aftermath of 9/11, Ray, an FBI counterterrorism operative, and Jess, an investigator with the LA’s DA office, are taken aback by a brutal killing of a young woman whose insides have been bleached to destroy any pieces of evidence. Turns out, the young woman is Jess’s daughter Carolyn. Ray then sets himself on an investigation spree while trying to figure out who the murderer might be when deeper, darker secrets associated with Jess emerge. Although the movie was panned for its lack of imagination, along with being a shabbily done remake of the original, its star cast is what should have you watch it once.
13. In The Shadow Of The Moon (2019)
A Netflix original film, ‘In The Shadow Of The Moon‘ is directed by acclaimed filmmaker Jim Mickle who has also helmed projects like ‘Mulberry Street’ and ‘Cold In July’. The film centers around the life of police detective Thomas Lockhart who is in search of a serial killer. However, the way this serial killer operates is rather unique. He becomes active every nine years and then again vanishes into thin air without any trace whatsoever. The only problem Lockhart faces while investigating the case is that the evidence defies all scientific logic and reason. Is the killer operating with supernatural means? Or has he made some breakthrough scientific discovery? This is the question you will be asking yourself as you sit down to watch ‘In The Shadow Of The Moon’. However, do remember that the film might leave you with a sense of disappointment with the resolution of the plot. The cinematography is surely the best aspect of this film.
12. Dangerous Lies (2020)
Katie, a young and friendly caregiver to a wealthy man, Leonard, gets left all of his estate and property in his will after Leonard dies. Although initially reluctant to accept Leonard’s money, Katie is convinced by her husband to take the money since they deserve thanks for all they did for Leonard. Katie uneasily moves into Leonard’s big house, along with her husband. He starts acting strange and greedy for more money, even though they have already paid off their debts. Katie, and the detective heading the investigation into Leonard’s death both feel that Leonard did not die of natural causes and soon, Katie is questioning everything, even the trust she has for her husband. As the story moves ahead, Katie’s situation becomes more and more dangerous and she finds herself in serious jeopardy when a man claiming to be a real estate agent shows quite a keen interest in purchasing Leonard’s home. Jessie T. Usher and Camila Mendes star as Adam and Katie in this gripping murder suspense directed by Michael Scott.
11. Agatha And The Truth Of Murder (2018)
The story of legendary mystery writer Agatha Christie disappearing from her house for a period of eleven days has been rather well-documented. This fictionalized reimagination of what might have happened during the days Christie was not at home has been written by Tom Dalton and directed by Terry Loane. Tired with her writing and bogged down with the problems in her personal life, this film sees the writer wanting to escape her monotonous existence for something more exciting. While looking for ways to break the monotony, Christie is approached by a woman for some help in the murder case of her partner who has been brutally murdered on a train. While the entire country looks for Agatha Christie, the writer goes undercover to solve a real-life mystery case for the very first time. The plot has certain inconsistencies in it, but it must be said that the film is overall a rather entertaining watch.
10. Hold The Dark (2018)
In December 2004, naturalist Rusell Core is summoned to a remote Alaskan village by a grieving mother whose son she says has been taken away by a pack of wolves. A total of three kids have disappeared from the Alaskan village. Core, not believing this to be the work of wolves, anyway tracks the pack but is unwilling to shoot them. When he returns to the village, he finds that the woman hosting him is nowhere to be found and her son’s frozen body is recovered from inside the house itself. The boy’s father, a war soldier, returns from Iraq and is devastated, goes on a killing spree as he hunts for his child’s murderer. Core struggles to keep up with the enraged, psychotic father and the missing mother, but he teams up with a police officer to try and stop the husband and wife from spreading more carnage. The pace of the movie is slow and ominous, but that’s justified given the kind of dark story the film tells. For viewers who like their murder mysteries as dark and spooky as they come, ‘Hold The Dark’ would be an intense watch.
9. Perdida (2018)
Pipa, a tough policewoman, investigates the disappearance of her friend from 14 years ago, upon the insistence of her mother. 14 years ago, Pipa’s friend Cornelia went missing and was eventually declared dead after the extensive search for her showed up nothing in police files. But Cornelia’s mother never believed her daughter dead and asks Pipa to re-open the case and investigate again. As Pipa starts tracking a trail long gone cold, she finds herself in more danger than she had anticipated, eventually uncovering a darker plot operating on a much larger scale than she had imagined. Following the clues, Pipa does get to the bottom of the truth of what happened to her friend Cornelia, but what she finds is far more disturbing (and complicated) than a simple murder of a teenage girl. The Argentinian film, ‘Perdida’, shows appropriate balance and gravitas when dealing with the dark subject matter. While the plot is engaging, it’s something most viewers will be able to guess halfway through the movie.
8. The Interview (1998)
With Hugo Weaving on the front cover, “The Interview” is an excellent thriller that has found the ability to gloriously feed suspense and mystery with as little as a room with four walls. Set almost entirely in an interrogation room, it follows the gradually growing tension between a suspect dragged out of his house to be questioned at a police station and the two cops accusing him of murder. Intense and gripping, its storyline-twists are nothing less than highly enjoyable for every mystery-seeking audience out there.
7. The Hateful Eight (2015)
Put your seatbelt on for an amazing Tarantino ride set in a western wintery America, years after the Civil War. After the blizzard begins on a cold winter morning, a couple of characters, being unable to further their journey, settle and seek refuge in Minnie’s Haberdashery, a warm and cozy lodge that has already welcomed other travelers from various parts of the war-torn country. The set of 8 characters which include a hangman, a cowboy, a crazy fugitive, etc. begin with, get to know each other until two of them are poisoned and killed. Only one of the eight knows who the murderer is and the audiences are exposed to the little secrets that start to emerge in this theatre-play-like structured masterpiece. Of course, the performances are brilliant and many are Tarantino’s regulars we have already seen in many such action-packed suspense thrillers. Go watch it now, if you haven’t already.
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6. The Invisible Guest (2016) [a.k.a. Contratiempo]
A Spanish crime mystery thriller, ‘Contratiempo’ is the narrative of Adrian, a wealthy business magnate who is out on a bail for the alleged murder of his lover. He meets with Virginia, a seasoned lawyer, and has only three hours to create a credible defense for himself to fight his case against the alleged murder. As it turns out, Laura, Adrian’s dead lover, was in an adulterous relationship and Adrian was wrongly framed for the murder, given the fact that their relationship had ended years ago. With suspense-filled cues around Adrian’s case and with immense character-depths, ‘Contratiempo’ often leads the audiences into believing something that isn’t the truth at all, thus making us start over again to look for clues. One of the unique premises wherein the audiences get to turn into detectives, ‘Contratiempo’ is a gripping and mind-boggling narrative seldom forgotten.
5. I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House (2016)
‘I Am The Pretty Thing That Lives In The House’ is a supernatural/ horror murder mystery directed by Osgood Perkins and starring Ruth Wilson in the lead. Lily is hired as a live-in caregiver to an elderly novelist suffering from dementia and she suspects that the author’s house is haunted. Lily sees and feels another presence in the house that is trying to communicate with her. When she finds her employer’s unfinished draft of a horror story, it becomes clear that the protagonist in the book, Polly, was a real person that the author knew and not fiction. As Polly’s ill-fated story unravels, so does Lily’s sanity and the movie ends in an eerie double death after Lily finds out the horrible truth about what happened to Polly and who killed her. This film is quite spooky and is full of subtly placed scares that will keep your heart rate up. It is a double treat for lovers of horror and mystery.
4. Buster’s Mal Heart (2016)
‘Buster’s Mal Heart’ follows the intriguing story of a hermit who lives in the mountains, on the run from the authorities, and surviving by breaking into empty vacation homes of the rich. He earns the nickname ‘Buster’ when he starts calling radio talk shows regularly to rant about impending doom and conspiracy theories that he earnestly believes in. Buster is haunted by faint, fragmented memories of his past, of a wife and child, and he is tortured by the echoes of those evidently painful memories. As the police close in on Buster’s location in the mountains, we get to see, through a series of flashbacks, exactly why he is on the run. Rami Malek is fantastically convincing in his portrayal of a shattered man whose entire family has been murdered and who just wants to escape those memories of his past, even as the police are trying to pin him as the murderer. This movie is well worth your time.
3. A Fall From Grace (2020)
Crystal R. Fox, Tyler Perry, and Phylicia Rashad star in this murder mystery directed and produced by Tyler Perry. When Grace Waters is accused of murdering her husband, her lawyer does not believe that things are adding up and launches a dangerous investigation of her own. Will the novice attorney risk her own life to get to the truth and win an acquittal for her gentle, kind, and law-abiding client, or will she give up on Grace like everyone else? You will have to watch this compelling thriller to know that. ‘A Fall From Grace‘ features some strong performances by its cast and a few twists that you may not see coming at all.
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2. The Most Assassinated Woman In The World (2018)
‘The Most Assassinated Woman In The World’ is a French film about a theatre actress who is well-known for portraying roles that are tragically (and brutally) killed onstage. The actress, Paula, has to deal with a stalker and the haunting memories of her dark past. She finds a friend, lover, and confidante in a smitten journalist named Jean. As they get closer, Paula reveals to Jean the nightmarish memories she has of the night her sister was killed by the same man who raped her too, and how he had escaped getting caught. She says she often felt like he was still somewhere close, like a threatening presence always watching. The movie is quite awesomely engaging and will keep you from looking at your phone during the entirety of its runtime. The tragic story of Paula culminates in a heart-wrenching and shocking act of crime, one that will stay with you for a long time afterward. Anna Mouglalis plays the beautifully tortured and compelling Paula.
1. Lost Girls (2020)
A distraught mother, relentless in her search of her missing daughter, ends up shedding light on several unsolved murders of young female escorts, all victims of the Long Island Serial Killer, who remains unidentified to this day. The murderer got his nickname from his signature act of dumping the bodies of sex workers near the South Shore barrier islands of Long Island. Inspired by a real serial killer case, the film ‘Lost Girls’ does not provide a resolution because the killer was never caught. But it’s a hard-hitting, intense watch that all fans of the genre will appreciate.
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