Watchworthy

The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked 

Ranker Film
Updated August 1, 2019 1.6k votes 256 voters 18.1k 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.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
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

More Donnie Darko 

Travel Through Time With The Best 'Donnie Darko' Quotes #756 of 1,026 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #614 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

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

More Seven 

#1 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #80 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #30 of 130 Movies That Should Never Be Remade

3
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 3 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

More Fargo 

Theories About Why The Coen Bros. Had Marge Gunderson Go On A Date In Fargo #271 of 395 The Best Western Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Pulp Fiction is listed (or ranked) 4 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

More Pulp Fiction 

Genius Fan Theories About What's In The Briefcase In 'Pulp Fiction' #42 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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

More Get Out 

Things You Didn't Know About The Making Of Jordan Peele's 'Get Out' #254 of 728 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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

More Memento 

#12 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #641 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #10 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endings

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

More Prisoners 

#31 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #737 of 850 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #69 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

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

More The Usual Suspects 

#10 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #112 of 130 Movies That Should Never Be Remadelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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

More It Follows 

#118 of 850 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #52 of 114 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies #16 of 22 The Most Pretentious Horror Movies Ever Made

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

More Nightcrawler 

#122 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #14 of 121 The Greatest Directorial Debuts Of All Time #10 of 24 Great Movies Where The Hero Doesn't Change Or Grow At All

11
American Psycho is listed (or ranked) 11 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

More American Psycho 

#14 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #121 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #104 of 130 Movies That Should Never Be Remade

12
Drive is listed (or ranked) 12 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

More Drive 

#228 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #357 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #175 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

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

More The Machinist 

#25 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #407 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time #43 of 149 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time

14
The Boondock Saints is listed (or ranked) 14 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

More The Boondock Saints 

#95 of 112 The Very Best Movie Franchises #151 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #30 of 114 The Best Mafia Films

15
One Hour Photo is listed (or ranked) 15 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

More One Hour Photo 

#110 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #34 of 149 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time #26 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

16
The Astronaut's Wife is listed (or ranked) 16 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.
17
Hard Candy is listed (or ranked) 17 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

More Hard Candy 

#76 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #273 of 850 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #26 of 149 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time

18
Mulholland Drive is listed (or ranked) 18 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

More Mulholland Drive 

#66 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #640 of 850 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #869 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

19
The Art of Self-Defense ... is listed (or ranked) 19 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
20
The Strangers is listed (or ranked) 20 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

More The Strangers 

#85 of 850 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #1,654 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #44 of 149 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time

21
The Neon Demon is listed (or ranked) 21 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
22
Saw is listed (or ranked) 22 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

More Saw 

The Best Saw Characters in the Whole Franchise, Ranked #21 of 850 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #1,065 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

23
The Nightingale is listed (or ranked) 23 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
24
You're Next is listed (or ranked) 24 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

More You're Next 

#311 of 850 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #12 of 20 Horror Movies That Originally Had Much Darker Endings #82 of 128 The Best Horror Movie Franchises

25
Berserk is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Indie Thriller Movies, Ranked
James Roday, Erin Moriarty, Nora Arnezeder

Released: 2019

Directed by: Rhys Wakefield

Berserk is a 2019 Australian thriller film directed by Rhys Wakefield. When three characters realize they have never felt true-fear, they set out over the course of one night to trick each other ...more