Thrillers

The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked 

Ranker Film
Updated August 1, 2019 1.5k votes 245 voters 16.5k views 46 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite thriller movies released by independent studios.

This list contains information on the best indie thriller movies, ranked from best to worst by user votes. The best indie thriller films come in many forms. Some indie suspense movies involve life and death situations while other good indie thriller films are about revenge. A few of the best indie thrillers even took home Academy Awards.

What films will you find on this top independent thriller movies list? Memento has to be at the top. This 2000 movie followed a man – with a severe memory disorder – investigate and punish the killer who murdered his wife. The film's writer/director, Christopher Nolan, later went on to direct such big budget films as the Dark Knight franchise. Donnie Darko is another good indie thriller full of suspense.

Only God Forgives, Nicolas Winding Refn's 2013 film about an American ex-pat navigating the criminal underworld in Bangkok, is a true white-knuckle viewing experience. Other good independent thrillers featured on this list include The Usual Suspects, Drive, and American Psycho.

Do you have a favorite independent suspense film? Give the best movies a thumbs up and please add any good thrillers we may have missed.

list ordered by
1
Donnie Darko is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale, Jake Gyllenhaal

Released: 2001

Directed by: Richard Kelly

Donnie Darko is a 2001 American supernatural drama film written and directed by Richard Kelly and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Noah Wyle, Jena ...more
2
Seven is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman

Released: 1995

Directed by: David Fincher

Seven is a 1995 American psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher. The film stars Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, with Gwyneth Paltrow, R. Lee Ermey, John C. McGinley, and Kevin ...more
3
Pulp Fiction is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman

Released: 1994

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American crime film directed by Quentin Tarantino. The lives of two mob hitmen (Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta), a boxer (Bruce Willis), a gangster's wife (Uma ...more
4
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Steve Buscemi, William H. Macy, Frances McDormand

Released: 1996

Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Fargo is a 1996 American neo-noir dark comedy crime film written, produced, edited, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It stars Frances McDormand as a pregnant Minnesota police chief who ...more
5
Get Out is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Allison Williams

Directed by: Jordan Peele

Get Out is a 2017 American horror film directed by Jordan Peele. A young African-American (Daniel Kaluuya) visits his white girlfriend's parents for the weekend, where his simmering uneasiness ...more
6
Memento is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano

Released: 2000

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Memento is a 2000 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan. The screenplay was written by Nolan based on his younger brother Jonathan Nolan's short story ...more
7
Prisoners is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello

Released: 2013

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve

Prisoners is a 2013 American drama thriller film directed by Denis Villeneuve. Two young girls in Pennsylvania are kidnapped and the father of one of the girls, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), must ...more
8
The Usual Suspects is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro, Gabriel Byrne

Released: 1994

Directed by: Bryan Singer

The Usual Suspects is a 1995 German-American neo-noir crime thriller film directed by Bryan Singer and written by Christopher McQuarrie. It stars Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio del ...more
9
It Follows is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Linda Boston

Released: 2014

Directed by: David Robert Mitchell

It Follows is a 2014 supernatural psychological horror film written and directed by David Robert Mitchell. After carefree teenager Jay (Maika Monroe) sleeps with her new boyfriend, Hugh (Jake ...more
10
Nightcrawler is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton

Released: 2014

Directed by: Dan Gilroy

Nightcrawler is a 2014 American neo-noir thriller film written and directed by Dan Gilroy in his directorial debut. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal who starts shooting footage in Los Angeles and ...more
11
Drive is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Christina Hendricks, Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan

Released: 2011

Directed by: Nicolas Winding

Drive is a 2011 American neo noir arthouse action directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac and Albert Brooks. It is adapted from the ...more
12
American Psycho is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto

Released: 2000

Directed by: Mary Harron

American Psycho is a 2000 American neo-noir satirical psychological horror film directed by Mary Harron, based on the 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Wealthy New York City investment banking ...more
13
The Machinist is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside

Released: 2004

Directed by: Brad Anderson

The Machinist is a 2004 English-language Spanish psychological thriller film directed by Brad Anderson and written by Scott Kosar. The film stars Christian Bale with Jennifer Jason Leigh, John ...more
14
The Astronaut's Wife is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Charlize Theron, Johnny Depp, Joe Morton

Released: 1999

Directed by: Rand Ravich

The Astronaut's Wife is a 1999 American science fiction/thriller film directed and written by Rand Ravich. It stars Johnny Depp and Charlize Theron.
15
The Art of Self-Defense ... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, Imogen Poots

Released: 2019

Directed by: Riley Stearns

The Art of Self-Defense is a 2019 American dark comedy film, written and directed by Riley Stearns. A young man, Casey Davies (Jesse Eisenberg), who after a rough encounter on the street, ...more
16
The Boondock Saints is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Willem Dafoe, Norman Reedus, Billy Connolly

Released: 1999

Directed by: Troy Duffy

The Boondock Saints is a 1999 American film written and directed by Troy Duffy. The film stars Sean Patrick Flanery and Norman Reedus as fraternal twins, Connor and Murphy MacManus, who become ...more
17
One Hour Photo is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Clark Gregg

Released: 2002

Directed by: Mark Romanek

One Hour Photo is a 2002 American psychological thriller film written and directed by Mark Romanek and starring Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan, Gary Cole, and Eriq La Salle. ...more
18
Hard Candy is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Ellen Page, Sandra Oh, Patrick Wilson

Released: 2005

Directed by: David Slade

Hard Candy is a 2005 vigilante thriller film focusing on the a 14-year-old female vigilante. The film was directed by David Slade, written by Brian Nelson, and starred Ellen Page and Patrick ...more
19
The Neon Demon is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Elle Fanning, Karl Glusman, Jena Malone

Released: 2016

Directed by: Nicolas Winding Refn

The Neon Demon is a 2016 psychological horror film directed by Nicolas Winding Refn. An aspiring model (Elle Fanning) in Los Angeles generates intense fascination and jealousy within the
20
Mulholland Drive is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Melissa George

Released: 2001

Directed by: David Lynch

Mulholland Drive is a 2001 American neo-noir mystery film written and directed by David Lynch and starring Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, and Justin Theroux. It tells the story of an aspiring ...more
21
The Nightingale is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Baykali Ganambarr

Released: 2018

Directed by: Jennifer Kent

The Nightingale is a 2018 Australian period thriller film directed by Jennifer Kent. In 1825 Tasmania, a young convict (Aisling Franciosi) seeks out revenge against the one who killed her
22
The Strangers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Liv Tyler, Gemma Ward, Scott Speedman

Released: 2008

Directed by: Bryan Bertino

The Strangers is a 2008 American horror film written and directed by Bryan Bertino and starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman as a young couple who are terrorized by three masked assailants, who ...more
23
You're Next is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Sharni Vinson, Barbara Crampton, Amy Seimetz

Released: 2011

Directed by: Adam Wingard

You're Next is a 2011 American independent action-horror slasher film directed by Adam Wingard, written by Simon Barrett, and starring Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, A. J. Bowen, ...more
24
Saw is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Danny Glover, Monica Potter, Shawnee Smith

Released: 2004

Directed by: James Wan

Saw is a 2004 horror film written by Leigh Whannell and directed by James Wan, in Wan's directorial debut. In the film, Adam (Whannell) and Lawrence (Cary Elwes) awaken chained in a large ...more
25
Primer is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
Shane Carruth, David Sullivan, Keith Bradshaw

Released: 2004

Directed by: Shane Carruth

Primer is a 2004 American science fiction drama film about the accidental discovery of a means of time travel. The film was written, directed, produced, edited and scored by Shane Carruth, who ...more