Get us in your inbox

The Call
Image: NAMKOThe Call

The 15 best mystery movies on Netflix right now

From whodunnits to total mind-scramblers, these are the best movies on Netflix to challenge your sleuthing skills

Matthew Singer
Written by
Matthew Singer

Let’s face it: the last few years have turned most of us into passive movie watchers. When the pandemic forced all of our ‘cinemagoing’ to take place from the couch, we all got a little too comfortable throwing something on Netflix that would end up background noise to our endless social media doomscrolling. 

It’s about time to fix that habit – and all it takes is a good mystery movie. After all, what better to draw you in and force your attention than a film with a big, glowing question mark at its centre? Whether it’s a classic whodunnit, a psychological thriller, or a story so strange it defies easy understanding, a mystery engages our wits and our eyes better than just about any other genre. The Knives Out sequel, Glass Onion, is on its way to the platform, but there are plenty of other cinematic mysteries on the streamer demanding your attention right now. 


🔎 40 murder-mystery movies to test your sleuthing skills to the max
😰 The 100 best thriller movies of all-time
💻 The 40 best Netflix original series to binge

Best mystery movies on Netflix

  • Film
  • Drama

Any fan of Charlie Kaufman knows that his cinematic puzzles aren’t really meant to be ‘solved’. That’s especially true of his third film as writer-director: a surreal drama about a young woman going to visit her new boyfriend’s parents that pulls closer to Lynchian territory than anything he’s done before. Again, it’s best that you don’t try to untangle the story’s many knots – it will only frustrate. Give yourself over to the experience, though, and it’s like a dream you can’t dislodge.   

Enola Holmes (2020)
Image: Netflix

2. Enola Holmes (2020)

Millie Bobby Brown proved that she was destined for stardom beyond Stranger Things in this delightful young adult detective story, playing Sherlock’s plucky teenage sister who turns out to have the sleuthing gene as well. A sequel is forthcoming, and probably several more after that. 

Lost Girls (2020)
Michele K Short

3. Lost Girls (2020)

Documentarian Liz Garbus (Bobby Fischer Against the World) dramatises activist Mari Gilbert’s search for answers in the suspicious death of her daughter. Officers insisted it was a drug-related accident, despite evidence to the contrary, and her dogged insistence to dig out the truth ended up uncovering the murders of nearly a dozen sex workers on Long Island. Amy Ryan gives a raw, humane performance as Gilbert, barely keeping it together as she runs up against smug, indifferent cops, and Garbus’s barebones direction lets the emotion drive the story. 

  • Film
  • Comedy

Yellowjackets fans digging into the filmography of the Showtimes series’ standout Melanie Lynskey are advised to start with this jet black comedy thriller. Lynskey stars as a nursing assistant living in rural nowheresville who has had it up to here, and is finally gets pushed over the edge when her house is robbed while she’s at work. She teams up with her weirdo neighbour (Elijah Wood) to figure out who stole her stuff — and when the criminals involved turn out to be more than petty thieves, she takes out some long-simmering frustrations that don’t really have anything to do with her missing possessions. Hijinks ensue, along with some jarring moments of violence.  

Forgotten (2017)
BA Entertainment

5. Forgotten (2017)

In this psychological thriller from South Korea – an ever-growing leader in the genre – a young man witnesses his brother being kidnapped, only to have him return 19 days later as a seemingly different person. It gets stranger from there. Like Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy, the Rube-Goldbergian plot machinations strain believability on paper, but when the movie’s on, the sheer intensity is enough to suck you in. 

  • Film
  • Horror

A ghost story with sociopolitical undertones, the compelling debut from director Remi Weekes follows a Sudanese couple seeking asylum in the UK. Placed in a run-down home in a tenement on the outskirts of London, the pair encounter racism, bureaucracy and an enigmatic force that may be even more sinister. 

I Am All Girls (2021)
Image: Netflix

7. I Am All Girls (2021)

In movies, ‘inspired by actual events’ usually means ‘we’ve taken a small kernel of truth and stretched it to its breaking point.’ But for much of this South African production, about a detective teaming with a serial killer to bring down a child trafficking ring, the feeling is almost a little too real – by the time the action-flick shootouts begins, it’s almost a respite. A brutal but crucial watch.

Shimmer Lake (2017)

8. Shimmer Lake (2017)

Looking at the cast of Oren Uziel’s debut feature, you might expect a Wet Hot American Summer riff, with a bunch of TV comics – Rainn Wilson, Rob Corddry, Adam Pally et al –  improvising around some kind of rustic locale. Instead, you get Memento by way of the Coen brothers. Uziel tracks a small-town sheriff’s investigation of a bank robbery gone wrong, which feels pretty standard until the reverse-chronology storytelling kicks in and the unexpected cast begin to do their thing. It’s perfect viewing for a do-nothing Saturday night.

Mirage (2018)
Warner Brothers

9. Mirage (2018)

A little bit Poltergeist, a little bit that Simpsons Halloween vignette where Homer keeps going back in time and mucking up the present, this Spanish sci-fi thriller finds a woman communicating with a dead child via an old television set, a development that mucks up her own life. She must figure out how to fix the bend in space-time in order to set things right. Good luck!

The Perfection (2018)
Image: Netflix

10. The Perfection (2018)

Allison Williams and Logan Browning are rival concert cellists in this brutal, bizarre horror flick where the scares are at once psychological and very, very physical. It’s equally twisty and twisted, winding through an ill-fated trip to China then back to the music school where they were both trained, with a screwed-up reveal that you really don’t want to have spoiled for you.

Fear Street (2021)
Photo: Netflix

11. Fear Street (2021)

This teen-oriented horror trilogy, based on Goosebumps scribe RL Stine’s other book series, remains relatively undiscovered, but it plays as a de facto companion piece for Stranger Things – and not just because one of the films features Sadie Sink, aka Max, Hawkins, Indiana’s No. 1 Kate Bush fan. Spread across multiple decades (and centuries), the movies follow a group of kids attempting to solve the central mystery of their small US town: why is the town cursed, and how do they stop it? 

I Am Mother (2019)
Image: Netflix

12. I Am Mother (2019)

What if your mother was Wall-E? That’s effectively the logline for this sci-fi Australian production about a girl (Clara Rugaard) born to a robot tasked with repopulating the earth following an extinction-level event. But when a stranger shows up outside their bunker, it raises questions about the true nature of their pseudo-familial relationship.

What Did Jack Do? (2017)

13. What Did Jack Do? (2017)

It’s David Lynch interrogating a monkey that’s been implicated in a murder. What else do you need to know?

Oxygen (2021)
Image: Shanna Besson/Netflix

14. Oxygen (2021)

If you saw the end of The Vanishing and said ‘This should be a whole movie!’, then this sci-fi thriller from French splatter maven Alexendre Aja is for you! A woman (Melanie Laurent) awakens inside a cryogenic chamber with no memory of how she got there and her oxygen levels rapidly depleting. She’s able to communicate with the outside world, but that doesn’t make her predicament any easier. Claustrophobics, keep a paper bag handy.

The Call (2020)
Image: NAMKO

15. The Call (2020)

In this time-travelling chiller from South Korea, past traumas literally span generations. Two women living in completely different eras are able to speak over telephone and find themselves embroiled with a vicious serial killer. It’s a mind puzzle that’s interested in more than just tying viewers’ brains in a knot. 


    More on Netflix

      You may also like
      You may also like