The best thrillers to watch on Netflix this April

A man in a black, white, and orange argyle sweater and wearing glasses stares at a blond-haired woman in leather outfit reflected in a mirror in Body Double.
Image: Delphi II Productions/Columbia Pictures

Erotic melodrama, pulse-pounding action, and brutal revenge sagas

Greetings, Polygon readers!

April is finally upon us and spring is fully in swing, with a month full of exciting theatrical premieres on the horizon. This weekend, Civil War, the new dystopian drama from Ex Machina director Alex Garland starring Kirsten Dunst, opens in theaters, while recent releases such as The First Omen and Monkey Man continue to bring in audiences.

If you’re looking for excitement from the comfort of your own home, not to worry: We’ve once again combed through Netflix’s library to bring you the best thrillers available for you to watch this April. This month’s selections include an overlooked classic from Blow Out and Mission: Impossible director Brian De Palma, a dark revenge thriller starring Quantum of Solace’s Olga Kurylenko, and a bruising African spy thriller following a former hitman fighting to reclaim his life.

Editor’s pick: Body Double

A woman wearing sunglasses standing at a phone booth while a man in a brown jacket stands in the background, sternly holding a phone to his ear. Image: Delphi II Productions/Columbia Pictures

Director: Brian De Palma
Cast: Craig Wasson, Gregg Henry, Melanie Griffith

No name was more synonymous with thrillers in the ’80s than Brian De Palma. The director behind such acclaimed films as Blow Out and Dressed to Kill gained a reputation during the era for his penchant for graphic violence, evocative cinematography, and trenchant satire of Hollywood artifice, all of which is present in this 1984 film starring Craig Wasson and Melanie Griffith.

Body Double follows the story of Jake Sully (Wasson), a down-and-out actor struggling with claustrophobia who, after losing out on a job and splitting up with his girlfriend, is offered a job housesitting in the Hollywood Hills. Jake becomes fixated on Gloria Revelle (Deborah Shelton), a neighbor whose beauty inadvertently attracts the attention of another admirer with sinister intentions. Attempting to warn Gloria of this potential threat, Jake finds himself ensnared in a web of lies and deceit that only an unlikely ally in the form of a porn actress named Holly Body (Griffith) can hope to help him untangle.

Body Double is a lurid and thoroughly brilliant erotic thriller that explores the depths of Hollywood’s voyeuristic obsessions to devastating effect. Though panned during its initial release, the film has grown to be a cult favorite among audiences for its satirical melodrama, deft editing, and a terrific performance by Melanie Griffith. If you’re all right with a fair share of nudity in your thrillers, it’s an absolute must-watch. —Toussaint Egan


Olga Kurylenko as Klara in Sentinelle Image: Netflix

Director: Julien Leclercq
Cast: Olga Kurylenko, Marilyn Lima, Michel Nabokoff

Late last month, Netflix released a new adaptation of the legendary nail-biting thriller Wages of Fear. I came in with some high expectations, as a fan of both director Julien Leclercq and star Alban Lenoir. The movie was ultimately quite disappointing (especially in comparison to the original and William Friedkin’s adaptation, Sorcerer), but it is a good excuse to recommend one of Leclercq’s better previous efforts (my favorite of his, 2015’s The Crew, is unfortunately no longer on Netflix).

Starring the always reliable Olga Kurylenko, who has been a fixture in solid direct-to-video action thrillers this decade, Sentinelle is a dark revenge thriller with a lean 80-minute running time. Unlike the new Wages of Fear, this movie is consistently thrilling and paints a complex picture of its lead character, a traumatized soldier (Kurylenko) who returns home and seeks revenge on the men who assaulted her sister. Her confident lead performance commands the camera in every scene, and the movie’s close-quarters action is tense and exciting. —Pete Volk

Heart of the Hunter

A man in a leather jacket standing in the rain holding weapons. Image: Netflix

Director: Mandla Walter Dube
Cast: Bonko Khoza, Connie Ferguson, Masasa Mbangeni

South African director Mandla Walter Dube had a mild Netflix hit on his hands two years ago in the ripped-from-the-headlines thriller Silverton Siege. He’s followed up with Heart of the Hunter, a solid little thriller about an ex-assassin (Bonko Khoza) coming out of retirement after his old life comes back to haunt him. It’s a straightforward conspiracy/revenge thriller that doesn’t reinvent the genre, but it’s a solid movie with a strong leading performance, and part of an ongoing effort from Netflix to increase its offerings from South Africa. —PV

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