The 10 Best Suspense Thriller Movies of 2022: A great suspense thriller movie has to be one of the most precious things in the world. This may sound like an exaggeration, but our lives are primarily mundane, and movies are where we find our solace, and more often than not, we crave two hours of edge-of-the-seat thrill.

With “that time of the year” upon us, it would be noble to come up with the best suspense thriller movies list. The tricky part about that would be differentiating between genres. Because in modern-day filmmaking, horror can as well qualify as a thriller or romance, as the directors are inclined more towards telling stories that blend genres or break their barriers. Especially the line between horror and thriller is really blurry these days, not that we are complaining.

Keeping all that in mind, I have picked ten movies for you after a lot of head scratchings. Some choices are obvious, and you might be surprised by others. You might also find a movie from this list in a horror or other genre list too. It is a matter of perspective, after all.

So, here we go.

10. Ambulance

Best Suspense Thriller Movies - Ambulance

You probably didn’t expect to be greeted with a Michael Bay movie. When I took up this list, I also didn’t think about it, let alone consider it. But the thing is, Ambulance is Michael Bay’s most narrative-driven movie in years. It does have all the signature “Bay”-ness like big action sequences, chasing scenes, and explosions, but it does take a considerable amount of time to build up a proper story and set things up for the payoff.

Because of this slightly different approach, the movie automatically becomes different from other usual Bay movies. Most essentially, the edge-of-the-seat suspense is felt throughout its almost two-and-a-half-hour runtime. And it does not even feel that long.

Another reason for this working is the absolute bonker, madcap performance of an unhinged Jake Gyllenhaal, playing brother to a much-restrained Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who also performs really well. Eiza González also shines along with the two male leads, thanks to a well-written, fleshed-out character.

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9. Bodies Bodies Bodies

Deservingly called A24’s “Among Us,” Dutch director Halina Reijn’s “Bodies Bodies Bodies” does come off as an unofficial movie adaptation of the mobile game that took the internet by storm during the pandemic. But it is not just that only, as there is actually a pretty exciting story that does not have a particularly original premise but the execution and the final twist in the tale make it worthy enough to be featured here.

The idea of a bunch of rich people getting stuck in a house during a storm can branch into both horror and thriller territories, and “Bodies Bodies Bodies” play with both genres, along with being extremely funny. In fact, it is one of the funniest films of the year as well; thanks to two genuinely riveting performances from “Shiva Baby” actress Rachel Sennott and Pete Davidson, who even brings references from his publicly famous personal life in his fictional character.

The biggest selling point of “Bodies Bodies Bodies” is the brilliant, suspenseful buildup thanks to the continuous “whodunit” vibe. And while it makes you think that the ultimate reveal will be pretty obvious, when it happens, you realize that it is nothing like what you thought it would be.

8. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Best Suspense Thriller Movies - Glass Onion

Rian Johnson’s follow-up to one of the greatest whodunits of our time, 2019’s Knives Out, which was also a brainchild of Johnson as well, is one of the most delightful movie experiences of the year for sure. But the only reason I am putting it in the bottom half of the list is because the central mystery here falls pretty short if it is compared to the first part. While in Knives Out, you keep thinking about “who” the culprit might be, and the movie keeps you on your guessing game till the very end; figuring out the villain in Glass Onion is much easier because of Johnson’s right-in-your-face approach for this one. And there is still a substantial twenty minutes left, even after the big reveal.

However, that can’t take anything away from the movie itself. In a recent interview, Johnson mentioned that he hated adding the “Knives Out” name to the movie as it is basically a whole different story featuring the already famous Benoit Blanc character, played by Daniel Craig. While it does have a “murder mystery” at heart, it morphs into a social satire and a commentary about capitalism. In fact, it shares more thematic similarities with Bong Joon-Ho’s Academy Award-winning “Parasite” instead of its predecessor.

The movie is also very funny; in fact, the comedy element is much bigger than the first part here. And the ensemble cast, led by a fantastic Edward Norton, is majorly responsible for pulling it off exceedingly well.

Related to the Best Suspense Thriller Movies of 2022 – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022) Review

7. The Menu

Best Suspense Thriller Movies - The Menu

British director Mark Mylod, who was absent from feature filmmaking for more than a decade while doing top-notch work in Television shows like “Succession” and “Shameless,” has made a comeback on the big screen with “The Menu“; which is adapted from an original story written by Will Tracy. Mylod has got the backing of his “Succession” team here as “The Menu” is also produced by the same duo of Adam McKay and Will Ferrell.

In “The Menu,” an escort and her uptight, food enthusiast client, played by Anya Taylor-Joy and Nicholas Hoult, go to an exclusive destination restaurant on a remote island, owned and operated by a celebrity chef, played by Ralph Fiennes. The agenda is to partake in a lavish taste menu filled with shocks and surprises created by the chef himself. Of course, things are never as simple as it looks in a movie like this one.

Another movie from this year that can qualify for both the horror and genre with ease, The Menu builds suspense upon its intriguing premise to eventually deliver the sinister payoff. And just like Glass Onion, which is also mostly set on a remote island, this one also doubles down as a social commentary on toxic bougie culture. Mylod’s sharp direction and Hoult’s particularly brilliant performance help the cause further.

6. The Outfit

Veteran British actor Mark Rylance had two major releases this year, and while his fascinating performance in Luca Guadagnino’s “Bones and All” is receiving rave reviews, his other performance in Graham Moore’s “The Outfit” should not be far behind.

Moore, who won the academy award in the “best-adapted screenplay” category back in 2015 for the Alan Turing biopic “The Imitation Game” (2014), has made his directorial debut with “The Outfit,” in which Rylance plays a suave British tailor running a shop in 1956 Chicago but the shop is owned by an Irish mob boss, played by Simon Russell Beale.

The movie tells the story over the course of a fateful night when the business doesn’t really go “as usual” for the tailor. Set in one single location, “The Outfit” also stars Zoey Dutch, Johnny Flynn, and Dylan O’Brien in pivotal roles, all of whom have given really solid performances. Moore’s approach of deliberately bringing an old-world charm and crafting the story like those page-turner gangster novels has managed to make the movie a very rewarding, suspenseful experience.

Related to the Best Suspense Thriller Movies of 2022 – The Outfit (2022) Movie Explained: Ending & Themes Analyzed

5. Speak No Evil

Best Suspense Thriller Movies - Speak No Evil

There is this particular movie narrative structure where a movie builds up the pressure cooker suspense over its first two acts (which sometimes even gets extended to the third as well), only to purposefully give the audience an explosive final act. I personally find this structure very effective. The tricky part is to deliver on the premise, though, where a lot of movies fail, but Christan Tafdraup’s “Speak No Evil” is not one of those.

In this mostly English and somewhat Dutch and Danish language movie, a Danish couple with a little girl really hits it off with a Dutch couple with a little boy (who can’t really speak) while vacationing in Italy. The families gel so well that the Dutch couple invites the Danish couple to stay in their Dutch country house for a weekend, to which the Danish couple happily agrees. Things are obviously not as bright and sunny as they seem, which you can feel as the audience as the movie keeps you feeling uncomfortable with each passing minute.

In its first two acts, it builds up the suspense so well before pushing the audience into the absolutely insane final act and a truly sinister, horrific climax. The buildup is top-notch, and so is the payoff. In fact, this movie has some of the most suspenseful moments of the entire year, where you keep wondering about “what is really going on.” For its third act and climax, though, this movie should certainly find a place in any best horror lists this year.

4. The Batman

In one of the most talked about movies of the year, Matt Reeves has put one of the most popular comic book superhero characters of all time in a detective noir; and the outcome has been mostly great. Mostly based on the “Batman: year two” comic, Reeves’ movie follows Robert Pattinson’s titular masked vigilante trying to find a psychopathic serial killer, aka The Riddler, played by a fantastic Paul Dano, over the course of the Halloween week.

Instead of following Zach Snyder’s visual opulence or Chris Nolan’s ticking time bomb narrative style, Reeves takes his time to set a very grounded, grunge world of Gotham city filled with petty criminals and colorful mobsters. Standing tall against them is a rugged, insomniac Bruce Wayne, who has just started his vigilante endeavors along with Police Commissioner James Gordon, played by Jeffrey Wright. Greig Fraser awe-inspiring cinematography and Michael Giacchino’s superlative background score become the two primary catalysts of elevating visual storytelling with a distinctive sound.

The MVP here is Pattinson, of course, who sort of channels some of his real-life personality traits into a sleep-deprived, emo, eyeliner-wearing Batman who delivers “vengeance” as he introduces himself to the criminals and Zoe Kravitz’s Cat Woman. The supporting cast also has names like Colin Farrell, John Turturro, Peter Sarsgaard, and Andy Serkis as Alfred, who is more of a father figure than a butler to Bruce here. The only noticeable flaws are probably the wonky dialogues and a bit-too-stretched climax (and sort of epilogue) but even then, “The Batman” is a very deserving and worthy addition to the suspense thriller/detective noir genre in the elite category of movies like David Fincher’s “Zodiac.”

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3. Vengeance

B.J. Novak plays an extension of his “The Office” character in his Blumhouse-backed, Texas set directorial debut. Novak plays Ben, a New Yorker journalist and poster child of casual hookup culture, who suddenly gets to know that one of the women he has hooked up with in the past is dead. After realizing the woman might have been murdered, Ben takes it upon himself to uncover the truth.

While the premise is tailor-made for a suspense thriller, Novak takes a very different approach and blends his signature black comedy with social commentary about existentialism, loneliness, grief, and, most essentially, the vastly different human dynamics in different parts of America. It also successfully bursts the idea of the bubbles we live in these days and challenges our perspective of lives, thanks to a cleverly written narrative by Novak and also an eccentric Ashton Kutcher performance. Thus, it becomes a lot more than a regular suspense thriller, for the better only.

Including Vengeance in this list may seem like a strange decision to you if you have already watched it or when you watch it after taking a glance here. I was unsure about it as well because as much as I loved watching it, it didn’t really feel like a suspense thriller. But its central mystery is genuinely fascinating, and all the moments when the movie puts on the hat of that mystery bit are brilliant enough for it to find a place here.

2. Decision to Leave

Best Suspense Thriller Movies - DTL

Park Chan-wook’s “Decision to Leave” is my favorite movie of the year which should probably sit on top of every single romantic movie list. But its inclusion in a suspense thriller list is also a very obvious thing, considering the subject matter.

A genre blender in the truest sense, the movie follows an insomniac South Korean detective trying to solve the potential mystery of an old man who died after falling from a mountaintop. But things take a very different turn when the detective finds himself romantically drawn toward the much younger Chinese widow of the dead man. The already palpable mystery is further enhanced by a unique editing style, where multiple things run at a time with frames intertwining. The entire movie is filled with clues, subtle metaphors, and an allegorical mountain versus the sea reference, all of which need considerable attention and multiple viewings. In many ways, it feels like solving a puzzle, which can be a very fulfilling experience.

Another high point here is the usage of technology. Chan-wook has seamlessly infused the modern-day dependency on gadgets and applications into the plot, not as mere props but as narrative-moving devices. It is a very different movie from usual Chan-wook works, as the approach here is much more elegant, one which works beautifully in its favor.

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1. Watcher

Best Suspense Thriller Movies - Watcher

The only reason I am putting Chloe Onuno’s directorial debut on the top position of this list is no other movie this year has been able to maintain the same suspenseful intensity from its very first minute to the final minute.

A masterful work, by all means, Watcher follows Maika Monroe’s Julia, a young woman navigating a new life of loneliness in Budapest, where she had to move because of her Romanian husband’s work transfer. Right from the day she moves, Julia discovers someone is creepily watching her from a neighborhood building and following her everywhere, while a serial killer is looming large in the city. The premise does seem eerily similar to the 2014 horror masterpiece “It Follows,” which also had a young woman being played by Monroe being followed by something; as coincidence would have it, Onuno’s “Watcher” stands on its own thanks to a very different treatment.

Like many 2022 movies, Watcher also branches into the social commentary territory where it focuses on the lack of safety women face along with the collective male ignorance of a patriarchal society, which goes hand in hand. Monroe is phenomenal as the lead and the “nice guy,” but the oblivious husband is deftly played by Karl Glusman, whose acting credit includes Gasper Noe’s Love to NWR’s “The Neon Demon” to Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals.” The second most significant performance after Monroe’s lead comes from English actor Burn Gorman. “Watcher” also qualifies as a great horror, as the paranoia and anxiety Julia experiences throughout the run-time of it fall very much into the horror spectrum if it is looked at from a wider perspective.

Related to Best Suspense Thriller Movies of 2022 – Watcher (2022) Movie Explained: Ending & Themes Analysed

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