The Best New Thriller Movies of 2019—So Far

Can you even stand the anticipation?

Claudette Barius/Netflix

Here's my problem: I love getting spooked at movies—feeling anything heart-pounding, really—but I cannot stand gore. I find the use of excessive blood campy at best and exploitative at worst, and it makes me feel more nauseous than scared. For this reason, it's the rare horror movie I can actually stomach. But thriller movies? Thrillers I can do.

I love a movie with twists and turns, with good people who might be bad and bad guys who turn out good. I love trying to guess what happens before the ending (I am always wrong) and I especially love that these movies can elicit strong reactions, like a roller-coaster, without freaking me out too much with gross wounds. Which means 2019 will be a good year for me, movie-wise, because already there are some genuinely, um, thrilling thrillers hitting theaters and streaming sites and the rest of the year looks even more promising.

Here are thirteen of the best thrillers coming out in 2019. See you at the theater?


Released: January 25, 2019

What Is It?

A deeply effing weird film about a woman (played by Blonde Anne Hathaway) who seeks out her old flame (Matthew McConaughy, doing his best Chrysler on an island to convince him to murder her abusive husband. But as in many thrillers, things are not what they seem. This is a creepy, slow-burning, thriller that will have you questioning your own eyes.

Velvet Buzzsaw

Released: January 27

What Is It?

A bizarro art world dark comedy about a mysterious dead artist whose paintings do his anti-capitalist bidding. Is it a not-so-subtle critique on the monetization of meaning in a world devoid of it? You bet.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile

Released: It sparked some fierce bidding at Sundance in January, but with an expected wider theatrical release in the fall

What Is It?

A dramatization of the charismatic, handsome, and utterly psychotic serial killer Ted Bundy (played by Zac Efron, in his buzziest role ever). The movie shows his home life and the view the people who knew him as just a normal guy had of Bundy, and then offers a glimpse of the total circus surrounding his trial. (Efron is already getting awards buzz for his totally unrecognizable portrayal.)

Cold Pursuit

Released: February 8

What Is It?

When my husband first told me the premise of Cold Pursuit (a remake of the 2015 Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance), I thought he was joking: The action-packed thriller is about a snowplow driver (Liam Neeson) looking to avenge the death of his son by the hands of drug dealers. A SNOWPLOW DRIVER! Only Neeson could play the uncommunicative, hard working Everyman with a silence that's at once menacing and heartbreaking. But it's not all bullets and steely stares—comedic moments (thanks to silly bad guys and Liam's own "I'm too old for this shit" moments) cut through the tension and will be the reason why you remember this movie and why it made this list..

Pet Sematary

Released: April 5

What Is It?

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, it follows a family who buries a beloved cat in the cemetery behind their house in woodsy Maine—and then it comes back. But it’s different. So imagine what would happen if they buried something bigger...Okay, it might be more of a horror movie, but at least in the 1989 movie there was more suspense than gore.

John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum

Released: May 17

What Is It?

The media has widely lauded 2019 as the year of the Keanussance. We at MC disagree—okay, about half of us. Keanu Reeves movies have NEVER NOT been a joy to watch and his sad-sandwich, woke AF antics have NEVER NOT been clickbait of the most satisfying order. The third installment of the series of action thrillers continues to chronicle the action-packed events (chapter 3 takes place an hour after chapter 2) set in motion by the (SPOILER ALERT!) killing of his dog in the first movie. Instead of being the hunter, he is the hunted—declared "excommunicado" by the High Table that governs this universe of assassins. The signature mix of balletic and brutal martial arts sequences, self-referential humor (thanks to bad guy and Iron Chef host Mark Dacascos) and neo-noir vibe make this our favorite thriller of the year so far.


Released: May 31

What Is It?

Octavia Spencer plays the ultimate cool mom (albeit short lived) to a group of high school kids looking to party. The action kicks off after one of them hits her up outside a liquor store to buy them alcohol. A series of wild parties at Ma's house ensue, feelings get hurt and her true intentions are revealed. Bonus: A dance party scene set to Debbie Deb's freestyle hit from the 80s "Lookout Weekend"—it's been on heavy rotation on my Spotify ever since.

Motherless Brooklyn

Celebrity Sightings in New York City - February 15, 2018
Dafoe on-set.
Pierre SuuGetty Images

Released: July 3

What Is It?

Ed Norton directs and stars in this movie, based on the Jonathan Lethem novel about a spy who suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome. It’s set in New York in the 1950s and has lots of seedy, strange characters (Willem Dafoe and Bruce Willis also star) so expect fun, nostalgia thrills.


Released: July 12

What Is It?

This creature feature, directed by Alexandre Aja (High Tension and Piranha 3D) takes place during a category 5 hurricane and as the water rises, so do the thrills. While most of her hometown heads to higher ground, a reluctantly dutiful daughter (Kaya Scodelario) goes to her childhood home in a Florida swamp to check in on her father (Barry Pepper). She finds him injured and unconscious in the crawl space underneath the house. Swampy waters and everything that comes with them are now filling the streets and buildings. What was once dry land is now their domain. Who's going to make it out alive?

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Celebrity Sightings In Los Angeles - July 24, 2018
DiCaprio and Pitt on-set.
PG/Bauer-GriffinGetty Images

Released: July 26

What Is It?

Quentin Tarantino’s newest movie takes on the Manson Murders of the 1960s, showing Los Angeles in all of its gritty, glamorous glory. It’s also reliably star-packed: Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Al Pacino, and more will show up.

47 Meters Down: Uncaged

Released: August 16

What Is It?

In this sequel to 47 Meters Down, instead of a lone Mandy Moore, trapped in a cage at the bottom of the ocean surrounded by sharks, we have four adventurous teens trapped in an underwater city with the devil-eyed predators—it's as if The Descent and Jaws had a Gen Z baby who would go to any lengths for the perfect IG photo.

The Woman in the Window

Vanity Fair Oscar Party 2019 - Post Party Arrivals
David CrottyGetty Images

Released: October 4

What Is It?

Amy Adams will bring this thriller—a gender-swapped take on Hitchcock’s iconic Rear Window—to life this fall. In this version, rather than an injured Jimmy Stewart doing the snooping, we have a woman who suffers from agoraphobia and who, as a result, lives vicariously through the lives of her neighbors.

The Rhythm Section

Versace Fall 2019 - Arrivals
Roy RochlinGetty Images

Released: November 22

What Is It?

Directed by Reed Morano and based on the Mark Burnell novel of the same name, this movie follows the story of a woman (played by Blake Lively) who assumes a new identity to figure out the truth behind a plane crash that killed her family. Hell yeah.

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