15 mind-blowing thrillers available to stream in Australia

If you’re not that into horror, a twisty psychological thriller is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat.

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We don’t know about you, but we like our thrillers with a little bit of substance. Not that there’s anything wrong with straight-up action flicks; in fact, they’re ideal for when you need to lay back and give your brain an entertaining break for a couple of hours. Otherwise, there’s nothing quite like a solid thriller of the psychological variety, one that will mess with your mind in exciting and unexpected ways.

But what makes a good thriller? Compelling protagonists? A copious dose of suspense? A few mind-bending twists? We vote all of the above. With so many titles out there waiting to be streamed, why settle? We’ve gathered some of the best thrillers currently available in Australia, so your weekend is already sorted. Proceed with caution as some of these are not recommended for the faint of heart.

Parasite

1. Parasite


  • Year: 2019
  • Cast: Kang-ho Song, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo

All the buzz and acclaim surrounding the 2020 Best Picture winner is well-earned, to the point where this movie should be on everyone's watchlist. A black comedy, Parasite starts off funny only to evolve into a beast of thrills and class commentary. It will also give you plenty to think about.

To put it simply, the movie follows a symbiotic relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan. Who are the real bottom feeders? It's up to you to decide.

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Inception

2. Inception


  • Year: 2010
  • Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page

Inception centres on a thief with a rare and in-demand ability to infiltrate someone’s dreams and extract information from their subconscious. While this makes him sought-out in the world of corporate espionage, it also causes him to lose pretty much everything he loves most. So when he gets a chance at redemption, he clings to it. Too bad it involves doing something that hasn’t been done before: planting an idea in someone’s mind.

Innovative and fascinating, Inception became a hit upon its release back in 2010, proving once again that thrillers don’t have to dumb things down to appeal to a large variety of viewers. The movie’s fast pace and captivating premise should be more than enough to keep you glued to the screen, with the stunning visuals a nice bonus.

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Donnie Darko

3. Donnie Darko


  • Year: 2001
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell

During the late 80s, a teenager sleepwalks one night to meet a giant and scary-looking rabbit who tells him the world will end in 28 days. When the teenager, named Donnie, returns back home, he discovers that a jet engine has crashed into his bedroom.

Is Donnie fighting some inner demons, or is the world really coming to an end? We guess you’ll have to tune in to find out. Trust us, the movie is more than worthy of your time, boasting a remarkable performance from Jake Gyllenhaal and juggling some daring and original ideas. You might even need to watch Donnie Darko more than once to truly appreciate its brilliance.

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The Machinist

4. The Machinist


  • Year: 2004
  • Cast: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón

The Machinist is an uncomfortable movie, to say the least. It centres on Trevor, a factory worker who suffers from a severe case of insomnia that causes him to lose a concerning amount of weight and also severely affects his mental health. When Trevor causes an accident that injures a coworker, his condition gets even worse, escalating into full-on paranoia.

While the movie became popular due to Christian Bale’s extreme physical transformation for the role, it’s also important to note that the actor offers a brilliant performance, one that will stay with you for a long time. The Machinist is the kind of movie you admire more than enjoy. However, we guarantee that you won’t forget this trip into Trevor’s nightmarish reality anytime soon.

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The Usual Suspects

5. The Usual Suspects


  • Year: 1995
  • Cast: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri

The Usual Suspects is, like The Sixth Sense, the type of movie everyone loves to spoil, so you might be familiar with the big twist already. But if you somehow made it this far without 1. seeing the movie and 2. learning the ending, rejoice! You can bask in its glory without a pre-blown mind.

A massive explosion leaves 27 men dead and millions of dollars worth of cocaine missing. The movie follows the interrogation of Kint, a small-time con man who tells a convoluted tale about the days before the explosion. Although The Usual Suspects looks like a pretty straightforward whodunit at first glance, it turns into much more as Kint’s story progresses. Suspenseful and entertaining, the movie serves plenty of fun twists along the way, building up to a truly satisfying ending. You can’t go wrong with this one.

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A Simple Favor

6. A Simple Favor


  • Year: 2018
  • Cast: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding

Thrillers can be funny, too. Case in point: the delicious A Simple Favor, a bonkers movie following a mummy vlogger, Stephanie, who befriends a secretive upper-class woman, Emily. When Emily goes missing, Stephanie decides to do a little investigating to figure out what's going on, to outrageous results.

A Simple Favor will mess not only with your mind, but also your expectations. It's hilarious, sexy and just the right amount of clever to keep the plot from going completely off the rails. You'll be thoroughly entertained.

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Parasite

7. The Others


  • Year: 2001
  • Cast: Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Fionnula Flanagan

This spooky thriller centres on Grace, a mother of two who lives with her family on the island of Jersey during World War II. While awaiting word from her missing husband, Grace does her best to protect her kids from a rare photosensitivity disease. When her daughter claims that she can see ghosts, Grace believes that the servants are playing tricks. However, she soon discovers that supernatural occurrences are not quite out of the question.

Chilling and creepy, The Others is the kind of movie that doesn’t need special effects to give viewers goosebumps. Elegant and beautifully shot, it relies on mood and suspense instead of jump scares and masked serial killers. If you’re into that type of thing, you’ll be hooked from the first scene.

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Source Code

8. Source Code


  • Year: 2011
  • Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga

Source Code’s premise is outlandish, but the movie flawlessly pulls it off. It centres on Colter, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, a soldier who is part of a top-secret military operation. As such, he is enrolled in an experiment called the Source Code, a program which enables him to cross over into another man's identity in the last eight minutes of his life. Colter wakes up in the body of a man who died in a commuter-train explosion and must learn the identity of the bomber in order to prevent another similar catastrophe – all before he runs out of time.

Source Code offers tons of great action, a brisk pace and some underlying emotion that gives it just the right amount of depth. It’s fun and compelling, to the point where you’ll forget all about how silly the premise is, sit back and enjoy the ride.

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Widows

9. Widows


  • Year: 2018
  • Cast: Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo

Widows was co-written by Gillian Flynn, which can only mean good things as far as psychological thrillers go. The story follows a group of widows with nothing in common except a debt left behind by their dead husbands' criminal activities. To forge a future on their own terms, they decide to band together and pull off an ambitious heist.

A thought-provoking and timely thriller, Widows has a tremendous cast and delivers on the suspense front, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats.

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Looper

10. Looper


  • Year: 2012
  • Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt

Looper’s premise is mind-blowing enough, but the movie ups the ante with some fine acting and exciting action scenes. In a future society, time travel is invented. There’s a catch, though – it’s illegal and only available to those with the means to pay for such sought-after black market shenanigans. For instance, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, they send their target 30 years into the past, where a hired gun known as a looper lays in wait to mop up. All goes well until one day, when the mob sends the looper’s future self back in time for assassination.

Starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Looper is thrilling, smart, fast-paced and riveting. It may suffer from the occasional plot hole, but the movie’s got enough going on to keep you entertained.

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A Quiet Place

11. A Quiet Place


  • Year: 2018
  • Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds

If you like your thrillers with a touch of horror, A Quiet Place fits the bill. The movie follows a family that struggles for survival in a world where most humans have been killed by blind but noise-sensitive alien-like creatures. They have to make as little noise as possible to keep undetected, which can be quite a challenge as far as everyday life is concerned.

Dark and chilling, A Quiet Place manages to create suspense with very little dialogue and excellent editing, proving that a relatively simple premise can go a long way.

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Bird Box

12. Bird Box


  • Year: 2018
  • Cast: Sandra Bullock, Trevante Rhodes, John Malkovich, Sarah Paulson

Based on the book of the same name, Bird Box takes place in a world where a mysterious force has decimated the population. Only one thing is certain – if you see it, you die. As a result, a woman and her children have to embark on a dangerous journey in the hope of finding sanctuary.

Look, taking a trip blindfolded is no easy feat, which is exactly how Bird Box manages to build tension. Add in the fact that Sandra Bullock is perfectly cast, offering an exquisite performance, and you've got yourself a winner.

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Gone Girl

13. Gone Girl


  • Year: 2014
  • Cast: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris

Gone Girl is a terrific psychological thriller adapted with flair and elegance from the popular novel of the same name. The movie follows Nick Dunne, whose wife Amy mysteriously disappears one day. The result? A bona fide media frenzy as everyone starts to suspect him of wrongdoing. But are they right?

We won't spoil the big twist – enough to say you'll be in for the surprise of a lifetime. Gone Girl is nutty in the best way possible, dark, compelling and tremendously entertaining. Buckle up.

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John Wick

14. John Wick


  • Year: 2014
  • Cast: Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyqvist, Alfie Allen

Never mess with a man's dog. That's the message behind John Wick, a revenge movie about a retired hitman who is forced to return to his old ways after a group of Russian gangsters steals his car and kills his puppy. Mayhem ensues.

Sleek and brutal, this movie kicked off an entire franchise, with sequels you might want to check out as well. With gripping action scenes and swift fighting choreography, John Wick makes for a highly satisfying watch.

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Memento

15. Memento


  • Year: 2000
  • Cast: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano

Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, Memento follows a man who suffers from anterograde amnesia and uses notes and tattoos to hunt for the man he thinks killed his wife. As with most psychological thrillers, not all is as it seems.

Memento will mess with your head in the best way possible thanks to the clever story and backward storytelling. You'll want to pay close attention while watching this one. Trust us, the payoff is worth it.

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