You can stream six of the best thrillers ever on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other platforms.

You can stream six of the best thrillers ever on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other platforms.

The majority of us enjoy a good scare now and then, whether it be from spine-tingling movies, stomach-churning roller coasters, or dangerous sports. The numbers speak for themselves: the thriller is one of the most bankable, continuously inventive, and industry-disrupting genres in the history of cinema, even though the science underlying our love of scares is still up for debate. Additionally, it has created some of the most retina-stunningly beautiful scenes. Join us as we select some of the most visually stunning thrillers of all time, from sizzling colours to exquisite costumes.


The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920)

Streaming on YouTube

Robert Wiene’s monochrome masterpiece has come to be associated with German expressionist filmmaking and is frequently recognised as the first authentic horror movie. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari employed ground-breaking techniques that disproved the idea that the purpose of the camera was just to capture reality. A surrealistic and nightmare-inducing world was created by bizarre set pieces, slanted backdrops, painted shadows on walls, and odd perspectives, laying the groundwork for expressionist classics like Lang’s Metropolis (1927) and Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922), as well as the post-second world war film noir movement. As if starting an entire cinematic movement weren’t enough, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was also the first film to use the now-tired plot twist technique, long before viewers screamed at the major reveal in The Dark Knight.


Suspiria (1977)

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

Covens have never been so… garish? Perhaps the most aesthetically memorable picture on our list is Dario Argento’s giallo, an Italian crime fiction subgenre that peaked in popularity in the 1970s. Argento, with the assistance of famous cinematographer Luciano Tovoli, constructed this stylized, violent fever dream before CGI took over the movie industry. Thanks to its iridescent colour scheme, evocative score, and nightmare-inducing crescendo, Suspiria became an immediate horror classic while paying homage to the German expressionist movement of the 1920s and pushing the bounds of then-current filmmaking methods. Many reviews believed that Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 version diminished the distinct, spine-chilling magic by eschewing Dario Argento’s vibrant vision in favour of a more subdued one.


The Shining (1980)

Streaming on Netflix

When seeing a Stanley Kubrick film, Martin Scorsese famously compared it to gazing up a mountain and wondering how someone could have scaled it. While some may view this as excessive veneration, Kubrick’s body of work includes everything from science fiction to horror to war epics (2001: A Space Odyssey) and costume dramas (Barry Lyndon). Consequently, we arrive at one of the most well-known movies on this list. Cinephiles will vehemently contend that The Shining is still the best Stephen King adaptation to date. Kubrick, who is renowned for his obsession with perfection, has produced a masterfully designed visual work that features many of his distinctive stylistic elements. 

This masterpiece has sweeping camera movements and symmetrical mises en scènes. From perfectly symmetrical mises-en-scènes to sweeping camera movements, this classic is responsible for some of the most iconographic and haunting visuals in the history of cinema (elevators releasing tidal waves of blood, anyone?). Ironically, for a man rumoured not to have much love for the genre, Kubrick has crafted one of the best portraits of man’s descent into madness—and one of the best thrillers—of all time.


The Cell (2000)

Available to buy on Amazon Prime Video

Tarsem Singh’s feature film debut is probably one of the most gorgeous horror films to date. Tarsem Singh got his start directing music videos. Every shot is painstakingly produced, and it shows. Oscar-winning art director Eiko Ishioka’s stunning costume work and the gorgeous production design are just two examples. Although Singh’s vision is so captivating, you almost forget to worry about the narrative, which frequently falls flat and scarcely improves upon standard fare in the thriller genre. The sheer workmanship on screen, which draws inspiration from important pieces of art by artists like Damian Hirst and HR Giger, will cause you to halt frequently to take in the pure luxury. Although Jennifer Lopez’s performance helped propel her into Hollywood’s elite, Vincent D’Onofrio’s terrifying portrayal of a serial killer ensures that the film will be remembered.


The Neon Demon (2016)

Available to buy on Amazon Prime Video

Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn has proven himself to be about as divisive as Marmite; you either love his work or you don’t. Ryan Gosling-led action drama Drive (2011) made Refn a household name and kept things relatively measured and mainstream—not so The Neon Demon. Worshipping at the altar of style over substance, this unabashed, neon-hued gonzo extravaganza follows ingenue and aspiring model Jesse (Elle Fanning) on her quest for fame. Refn wastes no time throwing everything and the kitchen sink at viewers: ritual sacrifices, cannibalism and necrophilia are just a few of the topics explored. While the thinly veiled criticisms of the high-fashion dream machine can feel a little on the nose (here, supermodels are literally devoured by their Tinseltown ambitions), the film is undoubtedly a technicolor-tinged feast for the eyes.


Mandy (2018)

Available to buy on Amazon Prime Video

The second film from director Panos Cosmatos is extremely trippy, pulpy, and surrealist. Mandy is mostly a B-movie-style vengeance film that follows logger Red (played with relish by a scenery-chewing Nicolas Cage) and his fiancée Mandy as they live a peaceful existence in a remote cabin by a lake. Following Mandy’s abduction by a deadly hippie cult, Red sets off on a legendary, mesmerising, and LSD-fueled voyage of vengeance. Logophiles need not apply because there is little discourse. Watching Mandy, however, is more akin to peering through a dusty kaleidoscope from bygone eras: images are saturated with brilliant reds, greens, and blues, prismatic rainbows flash across the screen, and the camera’s focus pulsates hypnotically. While the film’s slight narrative and proclivity for Grand Guignol violence might test some viewers’ patience, it’s a psychedelic experience that will delight 1980s aficionados and aesthetes alike.

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