50 Slow Burn Thriller Movies: Suspense Mystery Thrillers

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In a world where instant gratification often reigns supreme, these slow burn thriller movies keep us guessing, engaged, and coming back for more. Movies like Se7en, Rosemary’s Baby and Prisoners.

text "50 slow burn thrillers" with images from the movies "the gift" and "zodiac"

Not all suspense thrillers rely on action or jump scares.

If you’re someone who can appreciate the slow burn thriller movies like Se7en, Rosemary’s Baby, The Usual Suspects and Prisoners, than checkout this list of hand picked mystery thrillers that burn slow but the wait pays off!

A slow burn thriller has simmering tension, lingering mysteries and a plot that unfolds methodically, gripping audiences as they wait for the reveal.

The thrill lies not in immediate shocks but in the gradual build up of unease and anticipation. Deliberate pacing, intricate storytelling, and nuanced character development keep viewers paying attention to every subtle glance and lingering silence.

These 50 slow burn thriller movies have mastered the art of keeping audiences on the edge of their seats through methodical storytelling and atmospheric immersion. They prove that sometimes, the most thrilling journeys are the ones that unfold slowly, lingering in the mind long after the credits roll.

50 slow burn thriller movies checklist

50 Slow Burn Thriller Movies with Intense Mystery and Suspense

1. The Witch (2015)

  • Director: Robert Eggers
  • Actors: Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie
  • Genre: Horror, Mystery
  • Rating: R
  • ‘The Witch’ on IMDb

In 1630s New England, a devout Christian family faces sinister forces lurking in the woods near their isolated farm. As their crops fail and their newborn son vanishes, suspicion and paranoia grip the family, leading to a chilling confrontation with an unknown evil.

2. The Sacrament (2013)

A Vice documentary crew heads to a remote commune where a friend’s sister has joined. Initially greeted with warmth, they soon uncover a disturbing truth beneath the commune’s tranquil surface, escalating into a tense and unnerving situation.

3. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

A young couple moves into a new apartment in Manhattan. When Rosemary becomes pregnant, strange events lead her to suspect that her neighbors and husband have sinister plans for her unborn child.

4. Se7en (1995)

  • Director: David Fincher
  • Actors: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey
  • Genre: Crime, Drama
  • Rating: R
  • ‘Se7en’ on IMDb

Two detectives, one nearing retirement and the other a young hotshot, team up to catch a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi. The investigation takes them on a twisted and psychologically haunting journey with a shocking unforgettable ending.

5. House of the Devil (2009)

Desperate for cash, a college student takes a babysitting job at a remote house. As the night progresses, she discovers that she’s in for a terrifying and occult filled night that she may not survive.

6. Sundown (2021)

  • Director: Michel Franco
  • Actors: Tim Roth, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Iazua Larios
  • Genre: Drama, Thriller
  • Rating: R
  • ‘Sundown’ on IMDb

A wealthy family’s vacation in Acapulco takes a dark turn when unexpected events lead to a violent incident. Tensions rise as they grapple with guilt, privilege, and the consequences of their actions.

7. The Swerve (2018)

  • Director: Dean Kapsalis
  • Actors: Azura Skye, Bryce Pinkham, Ashley Bell
  • Genre: Drama, Thriller
  • Rating: NR
  • ‘The Swerve’ on IMDb

A woman’s seemingly perfect life begins to unravel amidst mounting pressures from her job, family, and personal struggles. As she spirals into a harrowing mental state, reality blurs, and her world becomes increasingly unsettling.

8. The Crying Game (1992)

After a British soldier is abducted by the IRA, an unexpected bond forms between his captor and him. Secrets unfold, leading to an intense exploration of loyalty, identity, and the complexities of human relationships.

9. Rear Window (1954)

  • Director: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Actors: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey
  • Genre: Mystery, Thriller
  • Rating: PG
  • ‘Rear Window’ on IMDb

A wheelchair bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced that one of them has committed murder. His obsession with uncovering the truth leads to a suspenseful and nail biting climax.

10. Zodiac (2007)

  • Director: David Fincher
  • Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr.
  • Genre: Crime, Mystery
  • Rating: R
  • ‘Zodiac’ on IMDb

Based on true events, this gripping film follows the hunt for the notorious Zodiac killer in San Francisco during the late ’60s and ’70s. As investigators chase leads and suspects, the case takes a toll on their lives and sanity.

11. L.A. Confidential (1997)

Set in the 1950s, this neo-noir crime film follows three Los Angeles policemen with differing ideologies as they uncover corruption within their department while investigating a series of interconnected crimes.

12. Gone Baby Gone (2007)

Private detectives are hired to find a missing child in a case that takes unexpected turns, forcing them to confront moral dilemmas and question the true nature of justice.

13. Wind River (2017)

  • Director: Taylor Sheridan
  • Actors: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Graham Greene
  • Genre: Crime, Mystery
  • Rating: R
  • ‘Wind River’ on IMDb

A tracker helps an FBI agent investigate the murder of a young Native American woman on a remote reservation. As they dig deeper, they uncover chilling truths about the harsh realities faced by the community.

14. The Night House (2020)

  • Director: David Bruckner
  • Actors: Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Vondie Curtis-Hall
  • Genre: Horror, Mystery
  • Rating: R
  • ‘The Night House’ on IMDb

After the sudden death of her husband, a widow begins to experience eerie and inexplicable occurrences in their lakeside house, leading her to unravel dark secrets about her late spouse.

15. Coherence (2013)

  • Director: James Ward Byrkit
  • Actors: Emily Baldoni, Maury Sterling, Nicholas Brendon
  • Genre: Sci-Fi, Mystery
  • Rating: NR
  • ‘Coherence’ on IMDb

A dinner party takes a bizarre turn when a comet passing by Earth disrupts reality, causing strange occurrences and challenging the guests’ perceptions of themselves and their relationships.

16. Watcher (2021)

  • Director: Chloe Okuno
  • Actors: Maika Monroe, Karl Glusman, Burn Gorman
  • Genre: Horror, Thriller
  • Rating: R
  • ‘Watcher’ on IMDb

A young woman rents an old apartment, only to discover that her neighbor might be watching her every move. Paranoia sets in as she tries to uncover the truth behind the unsettling occurrences.

17. Greta (2018)

  • Director: Neil Jordan
  • Actors: Isabelle Huppert, Chloë Grace Moretz, Maika Monroe
  • Genre: Drama, Thriller
  • Rating: R
  • ‘Greta’ on IMDb

A young woman befriends a lonely widow in New York City, but their relationship takes a dark turn when she discovers the widow’s sinister intentions.

18. Berlin Syndrome (2017)

A passionate holiday romance in Berlin turns into a nightmare when a young Australian photographer realizes she’s trapped in her lover’s apartment, unable to leave.

19. The Empty Man (2020)

  • Director: David Prior
  • Actors: James Badge Dale, Marin Ireland, Sasha Frolova
  • Genre: Horror, Mystery
  • Rating: R
  • ‘The Empty Man’ on IMDb

A former police officer investigates the disappearance of a girl, leading him into a secretive group’s sinister rituals that may connect to a supernatural entity known as the Empty Man.

20. The House That Jack Built (2018)

This controversial film follows the disturbing life and crimes of a highly intelligent serial killer named Jack, portraying his meticulously planned and grotesque murders over the course of years.

21. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

A surgeon’s life takes a sinister turn when a teenage boy he’s taken under his wing begins to exhibit mysterious and malevolent behavior, leading to a moral dilemma with horrifying consequences.

22. Don’t Look Now (1973)

A grieving couple heads to Venice after the death of their daughter. As they encounter strange occurrences and haunting visions, they become embroiled in a series of inexplicable events.

23. Dead of Winter (1987)

An aspiring actress is hired for a role that takes her to a remote mansion. As she delves deeper into the role, she realizes she’s part of a dark game orchestrated by the mansion’s eccentric and sinister inhabitants.

24. Solaris (1972)

  • Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
  • Actors: Natalya Bondarchuk, Donatas Banionis, Jüri Järvet
  • Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
  • Rating: PG
  • ‘Solaris’ on IMDb

Psychologist Kris Kelvin arrives at a space station orbiting the mysterious planet Solaris to investigate strange occurrences. As he grapples with his own haunting memories, the planet begins to manifest eerie simulations from the crew’s minds.

25. The Invitation (2015)

  • Director: Karyn Kusama
  • Actors: Logan Marshall-Green, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michiel Huisman
  • Genre: Drama, Thriller
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • ‘The Invitation’ on IMDb

A man attends a dinner party hosted by his ex wife and her new husband. As the evening progresses, he becomes increasingly suspicious of their intentions, leading to a tense and unnerving atmosphere.

26. Hell or High Water (2016)

Two brothers embark on a series of bank robberies to save their family’s ranch from foreclosure. As they execute their plan, they find themselves pursued by a determined Texas Ranger.

27. A History of Violence (2005)

A small town family man becomes a local hero after thwarting a violent robbery at his diner. However, his newfound fame brings attention that reveals his mysterious and dangerous past.

28. The Hateful Eight (2015)

In post Civil War Wyoming, a bounty hunter and his prisoner seek refuge from a blizzard in a remote stagecoach stopover. As tensions rise among the occupants, secrets and betrayals come to light in a powder keg of violence.

29. Blood Simple (1984)

  • Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen (uncredited)
  • Actors: John Getz, Frances McDormand, Dan Hedaya
  • Genre: Crime, Thriller
  • Rating: R
  • ‘Blood Simple’ on IMDb

A Texas bar owner hires a private investigator to kill his unfaithful wife and her lover. However, things spiral out of control as misunderstandings and a series of fatal errors ensue.

30. Diabolique (1955)

  • Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
  • Actors: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse
  • Genre: Crime, Drama
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • ‘Diabolique’ on IMDb

The wife and mistress of a cruel boarding school headmaster conspire to murder him. However, after the deed is done, his body disappears, leading to a series of chilling and unexpected events.

31. Under the Skin (2013)

  • Director: Jonathan Glazer
  • Actors: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay
  • Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi
  • Rating: R
  • ‘Under the Skin’ on IMDb

A mysterious woman lures men into a surreal and nightmarish journey, exploring themes of identity and humanity in a visually stunning and enigmatic narrative.

32. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)

A New York City doctor delves into a surreal and sexually charged underworld after his wife’s confession about her sexual fantasies. This leads him on a provocative and psychologically intense odyssey.

33. Burning (2018)

  • Director: Lee Chang-dong
  • Actors: Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, Jeon Jong-seo
  • Genre: Drama, Mystery
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • ‘Burning’ on IMDb

A young man encounters an enigmatic and wealthy old friend, whose mysterious hobby and disturbing confession about burning greenhouses spark a tense and haunting chain of events.

34. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

In the midst of the Cold War, retired British spy George Smiley is tasked with uncovering a Soviet mole within the highest echelons of MI6, navigating a world of deceit and betrayal.

35. The Gift (2015)

  • Director: Joel Edgerton
  • Actors: Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton
  • Genre: Mystery, Thriller
  • Rating: R
  • ‘The Gift’ on IMDb

A married couple’s life takes a sinister turn when an old acquaintance re enters their lives, bringing with him a series of mysterious and unsettling gifts that unearth buried secrets.

36. Nocturnal Animals (2016)

A successful art gallery owner receives a manuscript from her ex husband, and as she reads it, she becomes engrossed in a dark and violent thriller that parallels their past relationship.

37. The Handmaiden (2016)

  • Director: Park Chan-wook
  • Actors: Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo
  • Genre: Drama, Romance
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • ‘The Handmaiden’ on IMDb

Set in 1930s Korea, a young handmaiden is hired to assist a Japanese heiress, but a web of deceit and forbidden desires unravels in this visually stunning and erotically charged tale.

38. Incendies (2010)

  • Director: Denis Villeneuve
  • Actors: Lubna Azabal, Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette
  • Genre: Drama, Mystery
  • Rating: R
  • ‘Incendies’ on IMDb

Twins embark on a journey to the Middle East to unravel their deceased mother’s secrets, leading to a harrowing discovery about their family’s tragic past amidst a war torn landscape.

39. The Guilty (2021)

  • Director: Antoine Fuqua
  • Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Ethan Hawke, Riley Keough
  • Genre: Crime, Thriller
  • Rating: R
  • ‘The Guilty’ on IMDb

A troubled police officer working at an emergency call center receives a distressing call from a kidnapped woman, plunging him into a tense race against time to save her.

40. Winter’s Bone (2010)

A resilient teenager in the Ozarks searches for her missing father, navigating a world of poverty, crime, and secrecy while trying to keep her family together.

41. The Titan (2018)

  • Director: Lennart Ruff
  • Actors: Sam Worthington, Taylor Schilling, Tom Wilkinson
  • Genre: Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Rating: R
  • ‘The Titan’ on IMDb

In a near future Earth on the brink of environmental collapse, a military experiment aims to genetically evolve humans to survive on Saturn’s moon, Titan. But as the experiment progresses, unforeseen consequences and moral dilemmas arise.

42. China Moon (1994)

  • Director: John Bailey
  • Actors: Ed Harris, Madeleine Stowe, Charles Dance
  • Genre: Crime, Drama
  • Rating: R
  • ‘China Moon’ on IMDb

A detective becomes romantically involved with a woman involved in a troubled marriage. When her abusive husband is found dead, the detective gets embroiled in a web of deceit and intrigue.

43. The Hunt (2012)

  • Director: Thomas Vinterberg
  • Actors: Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Annika Wedderkopp
  • Genre: Drama
  • Rating: R
  • ‘The Hunt’ on IMDb

A kindergarten teacher is wrongly accused of child molestation, causing a small community to turn against him. As he fights to prove his innocence, the situation spirals into a tense and emotionally charged ordeal.

44. The Wailing (2016)

  • Director: Na Hong-jin
  • Actors: Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, Chun Woo-hee
  • Genre: Horror, Mystery
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • ‘The Wailing’ on IMDb

In a small South Korean village, a series of mysterious deaths coincide with the arrival of a stranger. A local policeman investigates, uncovering supernatural forces that threaten the community.

45. Kill List (2011)

  • Director: Ben Wheatley
  • Actors: Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Harry Simpson
  • Genre: Crime, Horror
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • ‘Kill List’ on IMDb

A hitman, struggling with his personal life and financial difficulties, takes on a new assignment with his partner. As they delve deeper into the job, they encounter a dark and disturbing underworld.

46. Prisoners (2013)

  • Director: Denis Villeneuve
  • Actors: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis
  • Genre: Crime, Drama
  • Rating: R
  • ‘Prisoners’ on IMDb

When two young girls go missing, a desperate father takes matters into his own hands, crossing ethical lines to find them. As a determined detective pursues the case, disturbing truths come to light.

47. One Hour Photo (2002)

  • Director: Mark Romanek
  • Actors: Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan
  • Genre: Drama, Thriller
  • Rating: R
  • ‘One Hour Photo’ on IMDb

A photo lab technician becomes fixated on a family whose pictures he develops, leading to an obsession that unravels his fragile mental state and reveals dark secrets.

48. The Woman (2011)

  • Director: Lucky McKee
  • Actors: Pollyanna McIntosh, Sean Bridgers, Angela Bettis
  • Genre: Horror, Drama
  • Rating: R
  • ‘The Woman’ on IMDb

A lawyer discovers a feral woman living in the woods and decides to civilize her. His disturbing intentions and treatment of the woman lead to an unforgettable confrontation.

49. The Wicker Man (1973)

  • Director: Robin Hardy
  • Actors: Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento
  • Genre: Horror, Mystery
  • Rating: R
  • ‘The Wicker Man’ on IMDb

A police sergeant investigates the disappearance of a young girl on a remote Scottish island, uncovering a pagan community with sinister rituals and a shocking climax.

50. Nightcrawler (2014)

A driven and morally ambiguous man enters the underground world of freelance crime journalism in Los Angeles, chasing sensationalized stories and blurring ethical boundaries to get the best footage.


The allure of slow burn thrillers is undeniable. These films are a testament to the power of patience, where the tension builds slowly on the journey to the final reveal.

Suspense doesn’t always need flashy explosions or a sudden scare.

These slow burn thrillers stand as a testament to the artistry and precision that filmmakers wield, challenging our expectations. They remind us that true suspense isn’t just about the destination but the artful journey it takes to get there.

In a world where instant gratification often reigns supreme, these slow burn thrillers keep us guessing, engaged, and coming back for more.

50 slow burn thriller movies checklist

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So, what are your thoughts on the movies included in this list? What additional movies would you have included? What movies would you have left off?

We encourage all comments and discussion!

Everyone is welcome!


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