5 Awesome Indie Thrillers You Have to Watch

Of all the genres to choose from, there’s nothing like soaking in the suspense with a thriller movie. They keep your head spinning with apprehension, whether it be scary or action-packed. The best thrillers of all time include Inception from Christopher Nolan, The Silence of the Lambs from Jonathan Demme and Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Shutter Island.

But what about the great lesser-known thrillers, made outside of mainstream Hollywood? Here I’ve curated the following list of heart-pounding indie thriller movies that you may have missed.

Blood Simple (1984)

Blood Simple

Let’s start with a fun fact: when The Coen Brothers finished editing their first film Blood Simple, they looked around for a distributor but were rejected by all the major studios. Joel Cohen said, “We saw everybody from the studios to the lowliest sleaze-bucket distributors in L.A. And they all said no.” Thankfully, indie company Circle Films picked it up and the movie came out with great reviews.

These days, Blood Simple isn’t spoken about much and it has more or less faded into history. It’s not as good as The Coen Brothers’ other films, like Fargo and No Country for Old Men. But it still has their voice and style, though it’s understandably less polished. In the movie, Ray (John Getz) hires a private detective to kill his cheating wife and her new man. As expected, things get out of control and the suspense is played to perfection all the way through.

Triangle (2009)


Straight horror or sci-fi thriller? I’ve seen this film three times and still, I have so many questions. The story in Triangle revolves around a group of friends on a yacht, who come across an Ocean liner. When they jump on board, the ship appears to be abandoned, but quickly they discover they’re not alone. A masked figure with a shotgun starts picking them off.

The plot doesn’t sound particularly inventive, does it? The truth is – without spoiling anything – the film is built around fascinating myths and paradoxes. The start misleads you into thinking it’s a slasher movie, but it turns into a brilliant puzzle-box thriller that confuses the crap out of you.

Click to read full review of Triangle

Retreat (2011)


Retreat keeps viewers in the dark about what to believe and the action all happens in the same location. Martin (Cillian Murphy) and Kate (Thandie Newton) are on a remote island for a holiday retreat, but a few nights in a stranger (Jamie Bell) washes up ashore, bloodied and battered. When he comes round, he tells the couple there has been an outbreak of an airborne disease.

I have seen quite a lot of bad reviews for this one, but I thought it was good. It’s a nail-biter and a great example of what a thriller should be. Considering it only has three actors, there are many moments of tension and a creepy performance by Jamie Bell.

Side Effects (2013)

Rooney Mara in Side Effects

More than just a noir psychological thriller, Side Effects is about mental health and the pharma industry. With top performances by Rooney Mara and Jude Law, the film sways you back and forth from feeling unnerved to being intrigued. However, I found it flawed because there are a few things, I thought, could have been done differently, which I’m sure many viewers would agree.

But the story compelling and I was in an anxious, puzzled mindset when watching. Mara plays Emily, who at the start is awaiting the release of her husband (Chaining Tatum) from prison. Their lives descent into madness when Emily’s doctor (Jude Law) prescribes her a new drug – intended to treat anxiety and depression – has severe side effects. This is a high tempo, smart thriller with a clever twist.

’71 (2014)

Jack O'Connell in 71'

When I saw Jack O’Connell in the teen drama show Skins, I always suspected he would go onto to do great things in movies. So far, he has. In 71, he plays Gary Hook, a British soldier who is sent to Belfast in 1971 at the height of “The Troubles”. For those who don’t know, this was a major political conflict in Northern Island.

The main drama comes when Hook gets separated from his unit during riots on the streets and has to fight alone and find his way to safety. This is a fact-based action thriller that’s powerfully acted and directed. It’s intense and disorientating, with some scenes taking on a nightmare quality. This unrelenting film never lets you take a breather. It’s well worth checking out.


As you can see, “thriller” bleeds into many genres to create rich drama and complex mysteries. A good thriller is entertaining and suspenseful for any number of reasons. So, if you’re a thriller junkie, these five films have you covered!

If you enjoyed reading this list, then feel free to comment, like and share! 


10 thoughts on “5 Awesome Indie Thrillers You Have to Watch

    1. Thanks Paul. It is underrated, I don’t know too many people who have seen it or even heard of it, but it’s class. Retreat is a good movie also – a tense, cagey thriller!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Good list but Triangle is not really good. Bad acting, cheap jumpscares, the characters are so cliched. The premise was good though. I wish I loved it more…

    Lets make a bet. Try watching Time Crimes, Source Code or Time Lapse – all films that have something to do with ‘timeloops’ or time travel – and then we will see if they aren’t better than Triangle? What would you say? 😃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought Triangle was genius. I don’t think the characters are that important for that particular film. The protagonist ‘Jess’ was well developed and I thought the actress who played her was really good. Yeah it’s not a ‘great’ movie, but is ‘awesome’ IMO haha.

      I’ve seen Source code, I’m on the fence whether or not I prefer it over triangle though. You can read my source code review here: https://motionpictureblog.com/2016/07/13/source-code-2011/

      I’ll definitely check out the other two.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 😃 I felt like it was a remake of the Spanish film “Time Crimes” (not a masterpiece, but original and captivating). The plot lines and motivations are pretty similar.

    I tried to be objective and criticize ‘Triangle’ without simply ranting… It was very well done from the technical point of view. Check here, if you have time: https://indiescifi451.com/2017/05/05/triangle-movie-review/

    P. S. ‘Predestonation’ is also a nice flick about timeloops and stuff 😊


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