22 tense thrillers with a twisted plot and unpredictable ending

22. mom!


  • USA, 2017.
  • Drama, thriller.
  • Duration: 121 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6.6.

The writer and his wife live in a secluded house. But with the arrival of guests, their life changes. Now outsiders are invading their home, putting things in order.

Even after watching it, it’s hard to explain what this work by Darren Aronofsky is about. ” Mom! ‘ is a film about everything. Here and religious symbolism, and vanity, and the theme of love. One thing is for sure: the picture keeps you in suspense from beginning to end.

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21. Cloverfield 10

10 Cloverfield Lane

  • USA, 2016.
  • Thriller, fantasy, horror.
  • Duration: 103 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.2.

The film takes place in the same world as Monstro. Michelle wakes up in the basement of the man who saved her during the chemical attack. He tells a story about how you can’t live outside the shelter. The legend sounds quite convincing, but over time, Michel begins to doubt the sincerity of the hero.

Interestingly, all three parts of the Cloverfield franchise were filmed in different genres: Monstro was a pseudo-documentary horror, this picture is a chamber thriller, and then the fantastic Cloverfield Paradox came out.

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20. Identification


  • USA, 2003.
  • Thriller, detective.
  • Duration: 90 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.3.
Frame from the film “Identification”

Due to rain, a group of people are locked in an old roadside motel without communication. After some time, travelers begin to die one by one. Everyone is under suspicion.

In part, the picture is based on the book by Agatha Christie “Ten Little Indians”. But the authors have greatly changed the plot, leaving only some details.

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19. Don’t tell anyone

Ne le dis a personne

  • France, UK, 2006.
  • Thriller, drama, detective.
  • Duration: 131 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.5.

Alexander Beck cannot recover from the death of his wife. The killer was found, but he admitted to all the crimes, except for the last one. The police still found circumstantial evidence and put the convict in jail. Eight years later, new leads appear in the case, the investigation is resumed, and at that moment Beck receives a letter from his dead wife.

18. Eyes wide shut

Eyes Wide Shut

  • UK, USA, 1999.
  • Thriller, drama, detective.
  • Duration: 159 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.5.

Dark and even slightly creepy, Stanley Kubrick’s film tells the story of Dr. Bill Harford. His family seems happy and carefree. But in reality, only jealousy and unsatisfied desires remained in relations with his wife.

Harford asks an old friend to take him to a private party where the world’s elite gather. Events take such a turn that the doctor wants to return to his boring life as soon as possible.

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17. Accomplice


  • USA, 2004
  • Thriller, drama, crime.
  • Duration: 120 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.5.
Shot from the film “Accomplice”

An assassin sits next to an ordinary taxi driver Max Durochet. The poor fellow is forced to carry a man around the city from one victim to another. You can’t just escape like that: the killer ties the driver’s hands to the steering wheel, and attempts to call for help fail. Max has only a few hours to come up with an escape plan.

The charming killer was played by Tom Cruise. Seeing an actor as a bad guy is very unusual.

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16. Others

The Others

  • Spain, USA, 2001.
  • Horror, thriller, detective.
  • Duration: 101 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.6.

Grace moves with the children to a mansion. There she waits for her husband from the war. The heroine hires servants and sets strict rules: her children cannot stand the light, so the curtains must be drawn. However, new workers do not consider it necessary to fulfill the will of the hostess.

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15. Saw: Survival Game


  • USA, 2004
  • Thriller, detective.
  • Duration: 103 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.6.

Two men wake up in a small room. They are chained to a pipe, and between them lies a dead man with a gun in his hands. It soon becomes clear that the family of one of them will soon be killed. To prevent this, you need to free yourself from the shackles by sawing off your leg and kill your brother in misfortune.

Of the entire franchise, only the first film was original, with its own philosophy. That is why he was loved, and the picture itself, with a budget of $ 1 million, collected the box office 50 times more.

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14. Game

The Game

  • USA, 1997.
  • Thriller, drama, detective.
  • Duration: 129 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.7.
Shot from the film “The Game”

Cult film by David Fincher . A successful businessman from San Francisco, Nicholas Van Orton, plunged into work and lost his taste for life. In addition, the hero will soon turn 48 years old, and it was at this age that his father committed suicide. But everything changes when the brother gives Nicholas a gift – the man must take part in a certain “Game”.

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13. Machinist

The Machinist

  • Spain, 2003
  • Thriller, drama.
  • Duration: 97 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.7.

Trevor Resnick hasn’t slept in a year. He looks like a living skeleton, and his mind is on the verge of insanity. The nightmares that have tormented the hero all this time are getting worse, and Trevor can no longer distinguish between dream and reality.

12. Get out

get out

  • Japan, USA, 2017.
  • Thriller, detective, horror.
  • Duration: 104 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.7.

The girl invites a young photographer to meet her family. Relatives live far from the bustling city and throw parties for rich friends. Sounds good until the protagonist finds out what they really do.

The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Director, Best Actor, Best Screenplay, and Best Picture. And she could have received all four figurines quite deservedly, if not for serious competitors.

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11. Misery


  • USA, 1990.
  • Thriller, drama, horror.
  • Duration: 107 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.8.
Shot from the movie “Misery”

The life of the famous writer Paul Sheldon is saved by a woman who turns out to be a big fan of his novels. She nurses the poor fellow, but when Sheldon is ready to get on his feet and go home, the savior turns into a cruel tyrant.

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10. Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive

  • USA, 2001.
  • Thriller, drama, detective.
  • Duration: 147 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7.9.

They try to kill the girl in the car, but an accident saves her. Having lost her memory, she meets an aspiring actress Betty. She helps a stranger, and together they try to figure out the past of the main character.

Unlike many of David Lynch’s films, Mulholland Drive’s thriller can be explained quite clearly. But it’s still hard to figure it out.

9. Invisible guest


  • Spain, 2016.
  • Thriller, detective.
  • Duration: 106 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8.0.

Successful businessman Adrian Dori is accused of killing his mistress. It’s a sensitive matter, because Adrian has a family that knows nothing about his adventures. To get away with it, he hires Virginia Goodman, the best specialist in complex cases. Adrian is under house arrest, where he is visited by a lawyer in order to strategize the defense and save the accused.

It seems to be a simple story, but the director constantly leads the viewer by the nose. Just as you begin to understand what’s what, as in the next scene your theory collapses like a house of cards.

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8. Black swan

Black Swan

  • USA, 2010
  • Thriller, drama.
  • Duration: 103 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8.0.
Shot from the movie “Black Swan”

Nina Sayers was given the chance to star in the acclaimed production of Swan Lake. She has been preparing for this all her life, and when a competitor appears, the heroine begins to get nervous.

Of course, a brief synopsis will not reflect even a fraction of the meaning that Darren Aronofsky put into the picture. The director reveals many aspects of personality and flirts with the secret desires that everyone has.

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7. Disappeared

Gone girl

  • USA, 2014.
  • Thriller, drama, crime.
  • Duration: 149 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8.1.

Nick’s wife disappears without a trace on their fifth wedding anniversary. All suspicions fall on the husband when unpleasant details of family life are revealed. Nick tries to find at least some evidence proving his innocence, but all in vain. All he can do is watch his life fall apart.

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6. Captives


  • USA, 2013.
  • Thriller, drama, detective.
  • Duration: 153 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8.1.

Two six-year-old girls go missing. The police have only one lead – a van parked next to the house. The father of one of the victims cannot look at the inaction of the authorities and takes matters into his own hands. The question is how far he can go to find and punish the criminal.

This picture is reminiscent of the work of David Fincher, but it was directed by Denis Villeneuve , director of Blade Runner 2049 and Arrivals.

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5. Shutter Island

Shutter Island

  • USA, 2009
  • Thriller, detective, drama.
  • Duration: 138 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8.2.
Shot from the movie “Shutter Island”

A US Marshal and his partner are sent to the island to investigate the disappearance of a patient from a hospital for the criminally insane. Detectives become hostages of circumstances, and the case takes an unpredictable turn.

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4. Mystery in his eyes

El secreto de sus ojos

  • Argentina, Spain, 2009.
  • Thriller, drama, detective.
  • Duration: 129 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8.2.

The film takes place in 1974. Two detectives investigate the murder of a woman. They find the criminal and put him behind bars. A year later, one of the policemen sees a convicted murderer among the bodyguards of a respected official.

The film won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

3. Remember


  • USA, 2000
  • Thriller, detective, drama.
  • Duration: 113 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8.4.

The protagonist Leonard Shelby is trying to find the killer of his wife, but has problems with short-term memory. He remembers what happened before the murder, but forgets the events that happened 15 minutes ago. Because of this, Leonard is forced to constantly leave clues for himself and even get tattoos so as not to miss anything important.

The picture was taken by Christopher Nolan before he became the main supplier of blockbusters and large-scale special effects. But already here you can see his passion for non-linear storytelling.

2. Seven


  • USA, 1995
  • Thriller, drama, detective.
  • Duration: 127 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8.6.
Shot from the film “Seven”

Detective Somerset is working his last days at the police station, waiting for his pension. Just at this time, the ambitious detective Mills is transferred to him, and a series of brutal murders take place in the city. The police chief believes that there is nothing in common between them, but Somerset finds a connection and begins an investigation.

David Fincher made a tense thriller in the style of noir , which gained fame from the public and became a cult classic. On IMDb, the picture is in 19th place in the list of 250 popular films .

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1 Fight Club

Fight Club

  • USA, Germany, 1999.
  • Drama, thriller.
  • Duration: 139 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8.8.

The protagonist spends time on an unloved job and cannot relax even in his sleep. But everything changes when he meets soap merchant Tyler Durden. He convinces him that the main and only goal of life is self-destruction. Friends open a secret place where anyone can come to fight.

The cult film by David Fincher is based on the famous book by Chuck Palahniuk. Moreover, even the author of the original himself admitted that the adaptation came out more interesting.

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This article was first published in March 2018. In August 2022, we updated the text.

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