7 Mystery Movies That Will Leave You On the Edge of Your Seat

Who doesn’t love a good mystery every now and again? Forcing audiences to pop on their thinking caps and pay close attention, mystery films have the ability to challenge casual viewers in a way few movie genres can. Presenting taut central mysteries, these movies have a way of defying preconceived expectations about where the narrative might be headed, swerving left just when you assumed the story was going right.

Whether through their enigmatic main plots or constant twists and turns, these mystery movies will leave viewers clutching the arms of their chair in disbelief, wondering what on earth is going to happen next.


Summit Entertainment

A neo-noir movie told through branching narrative timelines, Memento may take a few viewings to fully understand–but it’s well worth the extra effort. One of the earliest breakthrough films for fledgling director Christopher Nolan, Memento focuses on an amnesia patient’s (Guy Pearce) investigation into the death of his wife. Alternating between past and present events, Nolan effortlessly manages to toss viewers into the often confusing perspective of Memento’s lead character, requiring audiences to pay close attention to decipher the movie’s overarching mysteries. Watch Memento on Peacock and FreeVee.

Gone Girl

20th Century Fox

Tons of thriller movies feature a twist near the film’s last act, demolishing audiences’ expectations in terms of the story and characters. In contrast to most other movies in the genre, Gone Girl does the unthinkable, flipping the film’s unsettling script almost exactly around the halfway point. A tense and uncomfortable study about an average man (Ben Affleck) searching for his missing wife (Rosamund Pike), Gone Girl is guaranteed to leave your jaw hanging in more than a few places, lulling you into a false sense of security before veering into some wholly unexpected territory. Watch Gone Girl on Amazon Video.

Shutter Island

Paramount Pictures

Perhaps the closest Martin Scorsese will ever come to directing a full-blown horror movie, Shutter Island acts as a spine-tingling love letter to ‘50s horror comics and classic noir films of the same era. Thrusting an everyman detective (Leonardo DiCaprio) into a mental health facility for notorious criminals, Shutter Island only seems to grow more and more chaotic with each passing moment, posing just as many questions as it does answers. Watch Shutter Island on Amazon Video.


Paramount Pictures

You can’t have a list of mystery movies without mentioning Alfred Hitchcock. Earning the moniker “The Master of Suspense” for a reason, almost all of Hitchcock’s thriller movies remain worth seeing–but there’s something to be said about his 1958 masterpiece, Vertigo. Working alongside his faithful collaborator Jimmy Stewart, Hitchcock captures an almost hallucinogenic atmosphere in this classic psychological thriller–one where the audience, like Stewart’s protagonist, never really knows what’s happening until the very end. Watch Vertigo on Prime Video.


Paramount Pictures

Next to Alfred Hitchcock, director David Fincher has developed a well-earned reputation for his psychological thrillers and mystery movies, as seen from past releases like Gone Girl, Seven, The Game, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Along with this impressive lineup of films, Fincher has also earned praise for 2007’s Zodiac, an astonishing true crime thriller detailing the crimes and subsequent investigation of the Bay Area Zodiac Killer. Quite possibly Fincher’s finest movie, Zodiac also highlights the enigma surrounding its titular antagonist, as well as the obsessive efforts of police and local reporters trying to capture the infamous serial killer. Watch Zodiac on Amazon Video.

Mystic River

Warner Bros.

Far from a great actor alone, Clint Eastwood has also directed plenty of superb movies over the years, from the heartbreaking sports drama Million Dollar Baby to his genre-defining Western film, Unforgiven. With Mystic River, Eastwood manages to create a chilling study of a murder in a small town community, pitting three estranged childhood best friends (Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, and Tim Robbins) against one another. As tragic as it is engaging, Mystic River never fails to garner some resort of response from viewers (typically in the form of a hearty sob). Watch Mystic River on Amazon Video.


Paramount Pictures

Based on everyone’s favorite family board game, Clue also takes the cake for the best board game adaptation ever put to film. A hilarious, occasionally dark murder mystery that almost seems like a spoof of an Agatha Christie novel, Clue combines a talented ensemble cast with a fast-paced script, never sparing a moment to deliver some kind of laugh-out-loud joke or fascinating new plot development. Watch Clue on Amazon Video.

Richard Chachowski is an entertainment and travel writer who has written for such publications as Fangoria, Wealth of Geeks, Looper, Screen Rant, Sportskeeda, and MDLinx, among many others. He received his BA from The College of New Jersey and has been a professional writer since 2020.