Nobody can resist a good mystery.
Whether it’s a whodunnit crime story, a tale of suspense that keeps you guessing, or a mind-bending psychological thriller, putting the pieces together sitting in front of your screen has long been a highly satisfying activity for amateur sleuths.
Often, the best mysteries span out over a whole series on Netflix, making the TV side of things pretty well populated — think The Fall of the House of Usher, The Sinner, Dark, Midnight Mass, Wednesday, The Haunting of Hill House/Bly Manor, The Watcher — but there are plenty of mystery movies on the streaming service for those who’d like a more comprehensive experience. Spanning its horror, thriller, and sci-fi genres, Netflix has a range of mystery films now streaming, each offering up an unexpected twist or reveal.
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What’s inside the walls in Remi Weekes’ His House? Why does the boarding house in Santiago Menghini’s No One Gets Out Alive have so many locked doors? What’s at the heart of the disturbing prison system in The Platform? What exactly, David Lynch asks, did Jack do? Is Adam Sandler’s Murder Mystery actually worth watching? From creaking haunted houses to vengeful masked killers, here are the best mystery movies on Netflix.
1. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Southern gentlemen detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is back on the case in Glass Onion, Rian Johnson’s sequel to his modern, Agatha Christie-style mystery movie Knives Out. With an eye for the tiniest detail, Blanc again finds himself investigating a murder in a secluded location with a wealthy cast of suspects (and what a cast it is). This time it’s a private island owned by billionaire tech founder
Elon Musk Miles Bron (Edward Norton) and his cohort of “disrupters.” When someone winds up dead, only an intricate web of deception stands between Blanc and the truth.
Though less satisfying than the original Knives Out, Glass Onion is a thoroughly enjoyable mystery whose twists and turns will genuinely surprise you. Delivering some truly delightful character work, Kathryn Hahn, Janelle Monáe, Leslie Odom Jr., Kate Hudson, and Dave Bautista star as Bron’s guests, each with their own secrets. —Kristina Grosspietsch, Freelance Contributor
2. The Call
Don’t pick up the phone.
Not the 2013 Halle Berry film or the revenge-based horror film of the same name, but based on Matthew Parkhill’s 2011 supernatural horror film The Caller, Lee Chung-hyun’s The Call is a dark, chilling South Korean mystery that you can’t hang up on.
When Kim Seo-yeon (Park Shin-hye) visits her family home, she loses her phone, then starts getting weird, disturbing calls and finds a connection to a woman called Young-sook (Jeon Jong-seo). Where this film twists and turns from here, you’ll never predict, so paying light attention is not an option. Strong performances, unnerving use of sound, stunning cinematography, and a well-woven structure make this one surreal and disturbing journey.* — Shannon Connellan, UK Editor
3. His House
There’s something in the walls…
The best types of horror films are more than just a trickbox of scares. Some are character studies, others explore deeper themes or grapple complex social issues, and a few manage to move you in more ways than just a raising of the pulse. Writer-director Remi Weekes’ debut His House does all of the above at once.
Following asylum seekers Bol (Sope Dirisu) and Rial (Wunmi Mosaku) as they arrive in the UK from South Sudan only to be thrust into an unforgiving world of bureaucracy and racism, His House melds drama with a claustrophobic haunted house mystery. Noises echo in the walls, and Bol’s fear and paranoia grows along with ours. But it’s only as the movie progresses, and Jo Willems’ creative cinematography starts hinting at what took place in the past, that the true horror of His House is revealed.* — Sam Haysom, Deputy UK Editor
4. The Guilty
Jake Gyllenhaal is on top form.
Credit: Glen Wilson / Netflix
Following a cop with an anger problem during a 911 dispatch shift, The Guilty sees Jake Gyllenhaal at his vein-bursting best in this twisty thriller about a kidnapped woman.
“With the camera focused on him for almost the full 90 minutes in The Guilty, Gyllenhaal combines all [his] skills into one excruciatingly tense performance,” I wrote in my review. “He throws himself into the role of detective-turned-911-dispatcher Joe Baylor with so much anger, pain, and sadness that you’re forced to go through every single emotion with him.”* — S.H.
5. Fear Street
The “Fear Street” trilogy has a solid mystery at its bloody core.
What could have just been a kitschy homage to classic horror films of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s actually has a really compelling core murder mystery, meaning it’s on the list! The Fear Street trilogy, inspired by R.L. Stine’s more grown-up novel series, centres around a cyclical curse that sees a string of murders plaguing the residents of Shadyside. Directed by Leigh Janiak, the three films (Part 1: 1994, Part 2: 1978, and Part 3: 1666) are set in different time periods, each linked by these happenings. A group of teenagers will have to delve into the past in order to figure it all out before the curse catches up with them. As far as horror mysteries go, Fear Street is the best thing since sliced bread (sorry). — S.C.
How to watch: Fear Street is now streaming on Netflix.
6. I Am All Girls
A masked killer is at the heart of the mystery in “I Am All Girls”.
Fair warning: this one isn’t an easy watch. Inspired by true events, the film begins with the interrogation of Gert van Rooyen, a South African sex offender who was suspected in the abductions of six young girls in the late ’80s. Set in the present day, the movie uses van Rooyen’s alleged crimes as a jumpin-off point, with a detective working to uncover a child trafficking ring while also investigating a serial killer who seems to be exclusively targeting the criminals involved. Donavan Marsh’s movie is a blend of mystery and thriller, a how-deep-does-this-go conspiracy that leads from dilapidated drug dens to the halls of government — uncovering a series of grim revelations with roots that go back 30 years. — S.H.
A literal slow smoulder of a mystery film, Lee Chang-Dong’s Burning is a masterpiece in simmering uncertainty. Based on Haruki Murakami’s short story “Barn Burning” from The Elephant Vanishes, the film sees an impeccable Steven Yeun as the mysterious Ben, a newcomer in the lives of childhood friends Jong-su (Yoo Ah-in) and Hae-mi (Jeon Jong-seo). Though Hae-mi is enamoured with their charming new acquaintance, Jong-su feels like something’s not right. With outstanding cinematography from Hong Kyung-pyo paired with Mowg’s haunting score, Burning is a true scorcher. — S.C.
How to watch: Burning is now streaming on Netflix.
8. I Am Mother
The problem with robots is you can never tell what they’re thinking. This is a lesson we’ve had drilled into us time and again in the sci-fi space, and Grant Sputore’s futuristic mystery — about a girl being raised by a robot in a post-apocalyptic bunker — is of course no exception. Starring Hilary Swank, Clara Rugaard, and Rose Byrne, the suspense in this one comes hand-in-hand with the blank, impenetrable gaze of Mother (the robotic carer in question), before cranking into overdrive when a stranger’s arrival casts suspicion on the metal guardian’s real role.* — S.H.
9. I’m Thinking of Ending Things
All is not what it seems.
Credit: Mary Cybulski / Netflix
Is this the most entertaining movie on this list? Almost certainly not. But is it the best mystery? Well, judging by how incredibly confused I was when I finished watching it, possibly. Writer/director Charlie Kaufman’s story about a student travelling to meet her boyfriend’s parents for the first time is a head-scratching psychological nightmare that feels like watching a reality break for two straight hours. There’s plenty of deep writing, philosophical musings, and reality-bending clues, all of which add up to a very Lynch-esque feeling that what we’re watching isn’t as it seems. But what are we watching? The answer might take some figuring out. — S.H.
10. Lost Girls
Shannan Gilbert’s family, played by Thomasin McKenzie, Amy Ryan, and Ooana Laurence.
Credit: Jessica Kourkounis / Netflix
Based on the real disappearance of Shannan Gilbert in 2010 and her mother Mari’s attempts to find her, Lost Girls is a dark exploration of events surrounding an infamous serial killer cold case that places a focus on the families left behind. Liz Garbus directs with a sense of grim realism, while Amy Ryan is a picture of angry desperation as she goes up against a police force that seems apathetic at best, and incompetent at worst. — S.H.
11. No One Gets Out Alive
Cristina Rodlo stars in this claustrophobic nightmare.
Credit: Teddy Cavendish / Netflix
More horror than mystery? Perhaps. But Santiago Menghini’s claustrophobic haunted house tale, based on an Adam Nevill novel of the same name, still comes with plenty of questions. Questions like why does the boarding house that Mexican immigrant Ambar (Cristina Rodlo) arrives at have so many locked doors? And what are the noises she keeps hearing at night, and the nightmares about a strange stone box that she keeps seeing when her eyes are closed? You’ll have a hard job guessing, but this tense and well-written thriller will have you trying until the end. — S.H.
Uh, how did we get here? And where’s the exit?
A futuristic twist on the fear of being buried alive, Alexandre Aja’s Oxygen is a claustrophobic nightmare about a woman who wakes up in a cryogenic box with no idea of who she is or how she got there. The good news? She’s able to communicate with the outside world via a robotic medical unit called M.I.L.O. The bad news? Nobody she speaks to seems willing to come clean with her, and her oxygen reserves are quickly spiralling toward 0 percent. Mélanie Laurent perfectly captures the short-breathed dread of this role, and Christie LeBlanc’s screenplay has enough twists and turns to keep the story racing along at a heart-pounding pace. Just tread carefully if you have a fear of tight spaces — this one won’t be a fun watch for claustrophobics.* — S.H.
13. The Wonder
Credit: Christopher Barr/Netflix
The Wonder is a wholly engrossing period mystery about a young girl from a small, 19th-century Irish town who claims to not have eaten for four months, surviving purely on holy “manna”. Florence Pugh is fantastic as Lib Wright, the stoic, science-driven English nurse sent to investigate. Over the course of a few weeks, Lib is charged with watching Anna (Kíla Lord Cassidy) for 12 hours at a day, while a nun observes during the other 12, to determine if there’s a heavenly or earthbound explanation for the girl’s miraculous months-long fast.
Based on Emma Donaghue’s novel of the same name, The Wonder is a solemn, subtle, and captivating masterpiece exploring religious prejudice, cycles of abuse, and the boundaries of our own realities. It’s a satisfying watch with an unexpected ending that will stick in your bones like an Irish winter frost. —K.G.
How to watch: The Wonder is now streaming on Netflix.
When his daughter and her friend go missing, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) is unsatisfied with the lead detective’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) investigation and takes matters into his own hands. Directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Aaron Guzikowski, Prisoners is a meaty, complex dive into the ripple effects of trauma, exploring how grief can transform us in different ways. The mystery at the center of this story is superb, inscrutable and unpredictable until the very end. It’s a sophisticated, if dark, film that soars in the hands of its veteran director and cast, with Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, Melissa Leo, and Paul Dano joining Jackman and Gyllenhaal for raw performances. —K.G.
How to watch: Prisoners is now streaming on Netflix.
15. The Platform
How far down does it go?
Prison cells are stacked one on top of the other, with holes in the floor and ceiling. Randomly-assigned levels change each month. And a platform of food gets slowly lowered from the very top, getting sparser and sparser with each floor it descends. This is the concept at the centre of Spanish director Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia’s The Platform, a disturbing sci-fi thriller that wears its capitalist analogy plainly on its prison garb sleeve. It’s one of those rare gems where the execution is as strong as the idea at its core, driven by an excellent screenplay from David Desola and Pedro Rivero that’s dripping with horror and suspense. If you’re a fan of movies like The Cube or Saw, this is well worth checking out.* — S.H.
Credit: Sony Pictures
Fast-paced and unpredictable, Missing is an exhilarating new mystery for the modern age, where amateur detectives can be teens as long as they’re techno-savvy. Storm Reid plays June Allen, an 18-year-old waiting to pick up her mother, Grace (Nia Long), and her mother’s boyfriend, Kevin (Ken Leung), at LAX after the pair’s trip to Colombia. Unfortunately, they never arrive. And when the FBI fails to make any headway investigating their whereabouts, June decides to use her Gen Z digital native powers to track them down with her friend Veena (Megan Suri).—K.G.
How to watch: Missing is now streaming on Netflix.
Directors Nick Johnson and Will Merrick talk ‘Missing’ and the real meaning behind its whirlwind ending
17. The Perfection
Logan Browning and Allison Williams star as musical protégés in “The Perfection”.
This isn’t the kind of movie you want to be watching while you eat. Richard Shepard’s musical nightmare leans heavily into the body horror genre, with protégés Charlotte (Allison Williams) and Lizzie (Logan Browning) going on a truly hellish journey that starts with a bus ride through rural China and ends with them revisiting the prestigious music school where they both trained — and where all is clearly not as it seems. Tread carefully, because this story is really not for the faint-hearted — but it is full of surprises. — S.H.
18. What Did Jack Do?
What did you do, huh? WHAT DID YOU DO?
For a truly baffling mystery, it’s time for you to watch David Lynch asking a suited monkey if he’s ever been a card-carrying member of the Communist party. It’s a genuine thing that happens in David Lynch’s What Did Jack Do?, a 17-minute film which sees the director interrogating a monkey called Jack in a train carriage.
Co-presented by Lynch’s company Absurda and Parisian contemporary art museum Fondation Cartier, the film was written, directed, and edited by Lynch himself. Along with a small crew, he also did the sound editing, set design, and assisted with set construction.
We won’t spoil what happens, but look out for a cameo from actor Emily Stofle (Twin Peaks star and David Lynch’s wife), and make sure you stick around for the catchy musical number toward the end. Yes, you read that right.* — S.H.
19. The Nice Guys
Credit: Misty Mountains/Bloom/Silver/Kobal/Shutterstock
Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Keith David, and Kim Basinger all shine in this 2016 part-buddy cop, part-noir film mashup. Gosling is Holland March, a low-level private investigator in 1970s Los Angeles looking into the strange death of porn performer Misty Mountain (Murielle Telio). Unfortunately, gruff enforcer Jackson Healy (Crowe) has also been hired — to scare March off the scent. As the two butt heads, the mystery of Misty’s murder begins to unfold and they form an unlikely and tenuous alliance.
Written and directed by Shane Black (Lethal Weapon, Last Action Hero, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), The Nice Guys is a magnetic, fast-paced action comedy with a smart script, a multifaceted mystery, and a strong sense of style. —K.G.
How to watch: The Nice Guys is now streaming on Netflix.
20., 21. Enola Holmes 1 and 2
Credit: Alex Bailey/Netflix
If you want your mysteries more adventurous and bright than bleak and despairing, then Netflix’s Enola Holmes films will certainly fit the bill. Based on author Nancy Springer’s The Enola Holmes Mysteries, the films star Millie Bobbie Brown, ebullient and charismatic as Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister. Raised alone by an eccentric mother (a perfectly cast Helena Bonham Carter) who rejects societal expectations for women, Enola is every bit the prodigy her brother is, and then some. But when her mother goes missing, she takes it upon herself to solve the mystery, uncovering a larger enigma in the process.
Cheerful, charming, with a moderate sense of danger and a whole lot of fun, Enola Holmes and its sequel are pure delights with surprisingly sophisticated mysteries at their core. Henry Cavill and Sam Claflin round out the sparkling cast as Sherlock and Mycroft, Enola’s more famous older brothers, both visibly enjoying themselves with the material. —K.G.
How to watch: Enola Holmes is now streaming on Netflix.
How to watch: Enola Holmes 2 is now streaming on Netflix.
22. Things Heard and Seen
Amanda Seyfried has a pretty grim time of it in “Things Heard and Seen”.
Credit: Anna Kooris / Netflix
Don’t let the low Rotten Tomatoes score put you off. Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini’s Things Heard and Seen — based on the novel All Things Cease to Appear by Elizabeth Brundage — is one of those films that’s sure to divide people. It hovers between multiple genres, splicing drama and thriller with horror and mystery in a balancing act that could easily be off-putting to some. The film follows a young couple – Catherine (Amanda Seyfried) and George (James Norton) – whose decision to move into a farmhouse in upstate New York leads to the discovery of some fairly unsettling secrets (both of the ghostly and the non-ghostly variety). Don’t go into it expecting straight horror, though, or you’ll be disappointed. But if you like well-drawn characters and plenty of simmering dread, it’s worth checking out. — S.H.
How to watch: Things Heard and Seen is now streaming on Netflix.
23. Luther: The Fallen Sun
Credit: John Wilson/Netflix
For five seasons, Neil Cross’ highly addictive BBC series Luther followed Idris Elba in his iconic role as the hardened titular detective who plays by his own rules. The very first film of the TV franchise, Luther: The Fallen Sun, sees the brilliant and brash John Luther finally facing consequences for his years of flouting the law in the name of the greater good. He’s now in prison, just when an old case of his starts to heat up again. It’s a twisting and gripping thriller that will keep you guessing, and Andy Serkis’ villain David Robey is truly chilling. While it may not be a wholly necessary addition to the Luther legacy, it’s certainly a welcome one. We’ll take any chance to see Elba’s reckless detective take on the world once more. * —K.G.
How to watch: Luther: The Fallen Sun is now streaming on Netflix.
24. Svaha: The Sixth Finger
Svaha: The Sixth Finger is a chilling, serpentine Korean mystery/thriller that explores unseen interpretations of Buddhism and probes the meaning of faith. Pastor Park (Squid Game‘s Lee Jung-jae), a man driven by his work exposing dangerous cults, looks into a remote religious sect called Deer Mountain or Dongbanggyo. Simultaneously, police begin investigating the murder of a girl found encased in concrete. Could the two relate? —K.G.
How to watch: Svaha: The Sixth Finger is now streaming on Netflix.
25. Murder Mystery
Credit: Scott Yamano/Netflix
Sometimes you want your mysteries mindless and cheerful, and the fairly substance-less Murder Mystery Netflix franchise is just that. Adam Sandler is Nick, an NYPD cop, and his wife, Audrey (Jennifer Aniston), is a hairdresser and murder mystery book lover. On their first trip to Europe, their 15th anniversary celebrations are delayed when they board a luxury yacht, a murder occurs, and they’re the number one suspects. Looks like these two amateur detectives will have to solve the case to clear their names. It’s a silly, lighthearted romp with a few solid jokes and an unchallenging plot. Murder Mystery (and Murder Mystery 2) make perfect background movies for cooking, cleaning, or scrolling on your phone, when nothing but fluff will hit the spot. —K.G.
How to watch: Murder Mystery is now streaming on Netflix.
*This write-up also appeared in a previous Mashable list or article.
UPDATE: Jan. 2, 2024, 12:20 p.m. EST This article has been updated to reflect current Netflix offerings.