Mystery movies are a popular genre that often feature a suspenseful plot that keeps audiences guessing until the very end. These movies typically involve a crime, such as a murder, that needs to be solved by a detective or an amateur sleuth.

The best mystery movies keep audiences on the edge of their seats, with unexpected plot twists, red herrings, and clues that lead to a satisfying conclusion.

Some of the best mystery movies have become classics and continue to captivate audiences decades after their release. From psychological thrillers to murder mysteries, the mystery genre offers a wide range of films that can appeal to a variety of tastes.

Best Mystery Movies

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best mystery movies that have stood the test of time and continue to entertain audiences today.

1. Se7en (1995)

“Se7en” is a psychological crime thriller film released in 1995, directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Spacey. The film follows two detectives, played by Pitt and Freeman, who are investigating a series of brutal murders in an unnamed city.

Each of the murders is themed after one of the Seven Deadly Sins – gluttony, greed, sloth, envy, wrath, pride, and lust.

As the detectives race against time to catch the killer, they become embroiled in a twisted game of cat-and-mouse with the perpetrator, played by Kevin Spacey.

The film’s intense atmosphere, shocking twists, and graphic violence have made it a cult classic and one of the defining films of the crime thriller genre.

“Se7en” has been praised for its meticulous direction, atmospheric cinematography, and exceptional performances from its cast. The film’s themes of morality, justice, and the human condition have also garnered critical acclaim and cemented its place in popular culture.

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2. The Prestige (2006)

The Prestige is a 2006 mystery thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, and Scarlett Johansson.

The film is based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Christopher Priest and follows two rival magicians in late 19th-century London as they engage in a bitter feud to create the ultimate illusion.

The Prestige is noted for its intricate and layered narrative structure, its exploration of themes such as obsession, sacrifice, and the nature of illusion, and its stunning cinematography and production design.

The film is praised for its strong performances by the cast, particularly Jackman and Bale, and its gripping and suspenseful story that keeps audiences guessing until the very end.

The Prestige was a critical and commercial success, earning two Academy Award nominations and being widely regarded as one of Nolan’s finest films.

The film is seen as a masterpiece of mystery and thriller cinema, and is celebrated for its complex characters, intricate plotting, and stunning visual style.

The Prestige
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine (Actors)
  • Christopher Nolan (Director) - Christopher Priest (Writer)
  • English, Spanish, French (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

3. Shutter Island (2010)

Shutter Island is a psychological thriller film released in 2010, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane.

Set in 1954, the film follows two U.S. Marshals, Teddy Daniels (played by DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (played by Mark Ruffalo), as they investigate the disappearance of a patient from the Ashecliffe Hospital, a mental institution located on Shutter Island.

As Teddy delves deeper into the investigation, he begins to unravel the dark secrets of the institution, including the use of unethical and inhumane methods of treatment.

As the story progresses, Teddy’s own traumatic past and personal demons begin to surface, leading to a shocking and suspenseful finale.

Shutter Island is widely regarded as a masterful psychological thriller, with Scorsese’s direction, DiCaprio’s nuanced performance, and the film’s haunting atmosphere all contributing to its success.

The film was also praised for its exploration of complex themes such as trauma, guilt, and the nature of reality.

Overall, Shutter Island is a gripping and thought-provoking film that keeps the audience on edge until the very end.

Shutter Island
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo (Actors)
  • English, French, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

4. The Green Mile (1999)

“The Green Mile” is a 1999 American fantasy-drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont, based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. The movie is set in 1935 and revolves around the story of a death row corrections officer named Paul Edgecomb,

Played by Tom Hanks, and his experiences with a towering black man named John Coffey, played by Michael Clarke Duncan, who is convicted of murder and sentenced to death.

As Edgecomb interacts with Coffey, he begins to suspect that Coffey is not what he appears to be, and that he may possess supernatural powers. The film deals with themes of compassion, redemption, and the human condition.

“The Green Mile” was a critical and commercial success, receiving four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and grossing over $280 million worldwide. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest adaptations of Stephen King’s work and as a timeless masterpiece in the genre of fantasy-drama.

The Green Mile
  • widescreen
  • Tom Hanks, David Morse, Michael Clarke Duncan (Actors)
  • Frank Darabont (Director)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

5. Memento (2000)

“Memento” is a neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan and released in 2000. The film tells the story of Leonard Shelby, a man suffering from anterograde amnesia, who is unable to form new memories and is trying to track down the man who raped and murdered his wife.

The film stars Guy Pearce as Leonard Shelby, with a supporting cast that includes Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Mark Boone Junior. The film is known for its non-linear narrative structure, which presents events in reverse chronological order, starting with the end and working backwards.

“Memento” is also notable for its exploration of themes related to memory, identity, and perception. The film raises questions about the nature of truth and the reliability of memory, and challenges viewers to question their own assumptions about what they think they know.

Overall, “Memento” is a thought-provoking and intense film that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish. The film’s unique narrative structure and philosophical themes have made it a cult classic and established Nolan as one of the most innovative filmmakers of his generation.

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Memento
  • Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano (Actors)
  • Christopher Nolan (Director) - Jennifer Todd (Producer)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

6. The Usual Suspects (1995)

The Usual Suspects is a neo-noir crime thriller film directed by Bryan Singer and released in 1995. The film follows a group of criminals who are brought together for a heist, but things quickly go awry and they become embroiled in a larger conspiracy involving a mysterious and elusive figure known only as “Keyser Soze.”

The film is known for its intricate plot and twist ending, as well as its memorable characters and dialogue. The cast includes Kevin Spacey, Benicio Del Toro, Gabriel Byrne, and Stephen Baldwin, among others.

Spacey’s performance as Verbal Kint, a small-time criminal with a gift for storytelling, earned him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

The Usual Suspects is often praised for its clever writing and direction, as well as its ability to keep the audience guessing until the very end.

The film explores themes such as loyalty, trust, and the nature of truth, and features a memorable score by composer John Ottman.

Overall, The Usual Suspects is a gripping and suspenseful film that rewards multiple viewings, as new details and clues are revealed with each watch. It is a must-see for fans of crime thrillers and anyone who appreciates a well-crafted story.

The Usual Suspects [DVD]
  • Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri (Actors)
  • Bryan Singer (Director) - Christopher McQuarrie (Writer)
  • Spanish (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

3 Characteristics of Mystery Movies

Intricate Plot: Mystery movies are characterized by complex and intricate plots that often involve puzzles, riddles, or enigmas that need to be solved by the protagonist or the audience.

Suspense and Tension: Mystery movies often rely on suspense and tension to keep the audience engaged and guessing about what will happen next. They use various techniques such as foreshadowing, misdirection, and plot twists to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

Unpredictable Endings: Mystery movies are known for their unpredictable endings that often leave the audience stunned and surprised. The resolution of the mystery is usually revealed in a dramatic climax that ties together all the loose ends and provides a satisfying conclusion to the story.

3 Reasons To Watch Mystery Movies

Engaging Storylines: Mystery movies are known for their intriguing plotlines, which often involve puzzles and enigmas that the audience must try to solve along with the characters in the film. These movies can be both intellectually stimulating and emotionally satisfying, keeping viewers engaged and invested in the story until the very end.

Suspenseful Atmosphere: Mystery movies often create a tense and suspenseful atmosphere that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. They are frequently filled with unexpected twists and turns, which can make for a thrilling viewing experience. This sense of anticipation and uncertainty can make mystery movies particularly compelling.

Strong Performances: Many mystery movies feature outstanding performances from their lead actors, who are often tasked with portraying complex and nuanced characters. These performances can be both captivating and memorable, adding an extra layer of depth and richness to the movie. Some of the most iconic performances in film history have come from actors who starred in mystery movies.

Best Mystery Movies – Wrap Up

In conclusion, mystery movies are a genre that can offer thrilling, suspenseful, and mind-bending experiences for viewers. From classic whodunit films to mind-bending psychological thrillers, mystery movies can keep you guessing until the very end.

Some of the best mystery movies that we have discussed in this series include “The Sixth Sense,” “The Usual Suspects,” “Gone Girl,” and “Chinatown,” among others. These films showcase the range and depth of the mystery genre, with compelling storylines, memorable characters, and expert direction.

If you’re a fan of mystery movies, there are plenty of great options out there to explore. Whether you enjoy classic noir films or modern-day thrillers, the mystery genre has something to offer for everyone.