Best Thriller Movies Of 2023, Ranked

The literal meaning of the term “thriller” is an exciting story, be it a movie or a book. Naturally, you look for a certain kind of movie when you’re in the mood for watching thrillers. But genre-mashup has become a very real thing with movies these days, and that has only broadened the horizons of the stories being explored. The year 2023 is burning proof of that. So here we are, with a list of the best thrillers of the year, where you’re going to find the typical stuff along with some films that might not fit into the genre but have enough thrill in them to make it on the list.

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10. Sharper

Funny how Sharper had Sebastian Stan and Julianne Moore playing a “mother-son” duo, but instead of building the film on that amusing casting, the director was bold enough to bring in a lot of twists and turns. The whole experience was ludicrous, but I don’t think the film ever wanted to be grounded. The plot was illogical, the acting was very dramatic, and the vibe was very over-the-top. But that was the whole point, and the film was very well delivered in terms of suspense and thrill. It was the kind of film the legendary Abbas-Mustan would be proud of if you know what I mean.


9. Missing

The screenlife thriller sub-genre received a huge boost with Searching, (2018) and the spiritual sequel Missing also managed to do the job. Although not as sharp in terms of screenplay or acting, Missing did succeed when it came to delivering a nail-biting thriller with an explosive climax. I thought it was a great move to reverse the main plot of Searching by making the child look for the parent this time around, and it worked wonderfully in the film’s favor. The biggest selling point of the film (and films of this kind) is, of course, the relatability factor, as what we see is mostly what the character is doing online, akin to what we all do. Not that you need to watch Searching to enjoy this film, but I would still suggest you do so.

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8. Leave the World Behind

What if an apocalypse happens, but instead of seeing the military and all the important people in action, we get to see clueless nobodies trying to figure out what’s going on? Maybe this premise was avant-garde for some of you all, but I thought Leave the World Behind worked really well. It had the typical Sam Esmail brand of morbid humor and an exciting script, ably backed by a good performance. But the thing that particularly made this film stand out was the extremely divisive ending scene, which started a lot of conversation and eventually became meme material.


7. The Killer

Hear me out here. The Killer might be a David Fincher film that was understandably marketed by Netflix as a thriller that focused on the life of a paid assassin, but it could fit very much into the dark comedy genre. It is clearly not a film for you if you watch it with the expectation of cool stuff happening, but if you have a thing for a lot of social commentary and self-trolling, then The Killer would work perfectly for you. Of course, the film did come with the Fincher signature, where every single frame was constructed with precision. Not to mention, our man being a fan of The Smiths was the icing on the cake.

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6. Door Mouse

When I got this assignment, I took it upon myself to make you all aware of the fantastic Door Mouse. It is a personal favorite, but the film should easily find its place on this list based on its merit. It was truly fascinating to watch a young and broke comic book artist fighting against fascism. The Tarantino-esque treatment by breaking the story into chapters, a super-cool soundtrack, and the very on-point editing all worked out in favor of this little film. I really liked the direction it took with the ending, keeping the door open for a sequel.


5. Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning: Part I

My head was spinning for a good ten minutes after watching Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part I, mainly due to its final action set-piece involving the iconic Tom Cruise jump and the train (not a spoiler; they literally posted a BTTS video about it before the release). I considered that a good thing because that is exactly the kind of experience one should seek from a Mission Impossible film. This is one franchise that keeps getting bigger and better with each passing film, and the seventh installment was no exception. Although I thought it lacked the punch of the previous two installments, which were arguably the best ones, the scale was indeed grander than ever, and the AI villain was a nice touch. Too bad it underperformed at the box office due to the Barbenheimer phenomenon, but as a true-blue action thriller film, this was nothing short of brilliant. I can’t wait to see what they pull off in the next part.

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4. Rotting in the Sun

Certainly, the most anxiety-inducing film of the year (along with Fair Play, which is also going to make its way to this list), Rotting in the Sun was incredibly smart, heartbreakingly funny, and unimaginably thrilling from the start to finish. The way it changed course midway and effortlessly shifted between dark comedy and suspense thriller was absolutely brilliant and showed the confidence of Sebastian Silva, the director (as well as the lead actor). I have a panache for stories that end with endless possibilities, as it gives you the opportunity to start a conversation, and the ending of Rotting in the Sun perfectly fits that bill.


3. Saltburn

Are you sold on Emerald Fennell’s colorfully outlandish “cinema” that has heaps of social commentary but not a single second of boredom? Because I clearly am, which is why Saltburn, possibly the most polarizing film of the year, worked out perfectly for me. This is one film that would actually fit in any possible genre, from thriller to horror to drama, but definitely not romance. Although I must admit that I did find the bathtub scene quite romantic, which makes me pretty much of a freak.


2. Fair Play

I guess 2023 is the year of new-age adult thrillers where “sensuality” works as a catalyst instead of a gimmick. Albeit being very different from each other as films, both Saltburn and Fair Play are actually profound examples of that. What I loved about Fair Play was its raw, unapologetic nature and the way the story is told at breakneck speed, which made the entire experience exhilarating. There was absolutely no time to breathe, which actually made the whole thing extremely gratifying. It would be blasphemy to not say a word about the bloody climax of Fair Play, which would either break you into pieces or make you want to break some things.


1. Anatomy of a Fall

Here we have a film that is nothing short of perfect, from the opening second to the closing one. Anatomy of a Fall deserves to be at the top of this list; it should be at the top of any kind of movie list for this year. Every single thing in this film is brilliant, from the phenomenal acting to the pitch-perfect editing to the fantastic script and, of course, a musical score that complements everything so well. I am not really a believer in the idea of a film being flawless, but films like Anatomy of a Fall can very well be used as a counterargument to that. Lastly, I guess I’m scarred by the instrumental version of Fifty Cent’s Pimp getting stuck inside my head for life. And I bet the same is going to happen to you as well.

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Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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