3 Best Netflix thrillers to watch this New Year

Nina glares into the camera in Black Swan.
20th Century Fox

Fed up with the seasonal influx of rom-coms and sweet comedies on your Netflix list? Break away from the holiday vibe with three thrillers streaming on Netflix. Explore themes like a woman facing a nervous breakdown, a couple sacrificing their relationship for career gains, and the potential end of the world. Despite the intense topics, the exceptional quality of these films ensures a gripping experience. If you’re free on New Year’s Day, kick back, read this article, and let Digital Trends guide you through an alternative viewing experience.

 best thrillers on Netflix, the best thrillers on Amazon Prime Video, and the best thrillers on Hulu.

Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan
Searchlight Pictures

One of the creepiest thrillers ever made, Black Swan was a sensation when it was released in 2010 and won Natalie Portman a well-deserved Oscar for Best Actress. The Darren Aronofsky movie tells the story of an insecure dancer, Portman’s fragile Nina, who finds herself thrust into the limelight as she competes for the lead role in an upcoming production of Swan Lake. As the competition heats up between her and rival Odile (a terrific Mila Kunis), Nina begins to lose her grasp on reality and cannot separate her personal life from the role she will go to any lengths to play.

Beautiful and hallucinatory, Black Swan is just as impressive now as it was 13 years ago. The acting is stellar, and Aronofsky directs with a skill that is equal parts effective and claustrophobic. The ending is truly spellbinding, and it will haunt you well into 2024.

Leave the World Behind (2023)

Julia Roberts holds her ears and screams in Leave the World Behind.
Netflix

Do you want a thriller with more of an edge? Then this 2023 Netflix movie is just for you. Adapted from Rumaan Alam’s 2020 novel of the same name, Leave the World Behind stars Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke as Amanda and Clay, a couple on vacation on Long Island who encounter two strangers (Mahershala Ali and Myha’la) who seek refuge. Why? Well, there’s been some sort of cyberattack that’s effectively shut the world down. Or has it? And can the two couples trust one another as the outside world is in chaos?

Leave the World Behind is already one of Netflix’s most popular movies of 2023 and with good reason. Julia Roberts is great, and the direction by Mr. Robot mastermind Sam Esmail is typically stylish and over-the-top. The movie is a bit goofy, but it’s a fun way to celebrate a new year full of intriguing possibilities.

Fair Play (2023)

Alden Ehrenreich and Phoebe Dynevor as Luke and Emily in the 2023 film Fair Play.
Image via Netflix

Here’s another 2023 movie that offers a different set of thrills. Fair Play follows a couple, Luke (Alden Ehrenreich) and Emily (Phoebe Dynevor), as they climb the corporate ladder while trying to keep their relationship a secret from their co-workers and ruthless bosses. Everything is fine until a promotion becomes available, and both of them want it.

What happens next is a suspenseful story where an intimate relationship fractures under the weight of mutual ambition. Fair Play has been described as an erotic thriller, but that’s a misnomer; there’s nothing sexy about this movie. Its violence is almost all emotional, and what blood is shed pales in comparison to the damage the couple inflicts on one another. Watching this movie will make you feel good you’re not in a toxic relationship like the one in Fair Play; if you are, get out immediately.

Credit: Digitaltrends

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