Most Underrated Serial Killer Movies on Netflix That Deserve More Love


Over the years, the serial killer movie fan base has solidified even more, encouraging filmmakers to bring more and more macabre and heinous crime narratives to our screens. Even fans have welcomed such movies with open hands and have developed a sense of fascination with these twisted characters, who lack empathy and have no control over their actions, resulting in several brutal crimes. While some serial killers’ roots come from their past traumatic experiences or some kind of abuse, others might simply be the result of being exposed to a violent environment or genetic abnormalities, but not all these factors are always the case or to be blamed because some serial killers are hard to comprehend — they are just psychopaths.




Despite their origin stories and whatever motivations they have to go on a killing spree, many of us get hooked on these films that keep us on the edge of our seats, making us curious about the killers’ unpredictable moves while also making us feel sorry for the innocent victims. Even though devoted fans might have already watched famous movies like Psycho, Se7en, Hannibal, and others, we have picked some underrated Netflix serial killer movies for you so you don’t run out of intriguing serial killer content.


17 The Murderer (2023)


If you’re looking for something a little different, The Murderer is a Thai film and a dark comedy with an intriguing plot. It takes place amid the backdrop of a string of murders in a small provincial town. Given the community’s closeness, the killings have residents shaken. A determined detective is soon on the trail of the murderer. A British man named Earl, who is married to a woman named Sai, soon sticks out. As a “farang”, Earl is a foreigner and is viewed with suspicion by everyone else in the community, even among his own in-laws. This makes him the prime suspect.

Dark Comedy About Killing and Social Issues

With subtle social commentary against racism and xenophobia and a dark comedic undertone, The Murderer makes for a morbidly entertaining film amid its fractious characters and themes. Director Wisit Sasanatieng previously directed the impressive films The Whole Truth and Tears of the Black Tiger, released in 2021 and 2000 respectively, with the former laying the foundation for the horror-based storytelling found here. If you’re looking for an unconventional serial killer film that also tackles social issues, The Murderer is a good pick.


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16 In the Shadow of the Moon (2019)

A very creative and intriguing film, In the Shadow of the Moon starred Boyd Holbrook as a cop who becomes obsessed with a single case to the point of his entire life crumbling around him. It all starts in 1988 with a string of mysterious deaths that have no logical explanation. Wanting to become a detective, Officer Lockhart begins investigating these strange deaths. He soon realizes that this is the work of a serial killer, though one that only appears every nine years, with seemingly no logical reason why. His obsession with the case begins to consume him, and he tragically ends up the only person convinced of his wild theory that the killer may be time-traveling. However, it later emerges that the entire reason and agenda of the killer has a far more significant societal purpose than initially meets the eye.


Serial Killer Drama with a Twist

With direction from Jim Mickle and an impressive lead performance from Boyd Holbrook (Gone Girl, Logan), In the Shadow of the Moon is a rare instance of science-fiction crossing over with serial killers. It’s a combination that’s admittedly hard to get right, though this violent tale manages to do so in a way that’s both compelling and engaging. Michael C. Hall, Cleopatra Coleman, and Bokeem Woodbine additionally round out the cast of this engaging (and underrated) serial killer film.

15 The Good Nurse (2022)


The Good Nurse is based on the serial killer named Charles Cullen, who, in his profession as a nurse, murdered 40 or more patients and has confessed about the same as well. During his childhood, he lived in a toxic environment where his close friends and family constantly bullied him. This film showcases Eddie Redmayne as Cullen, whom the Parkfield Memorial Hospital recruits due to his experienced nursing background. He quickly forms a friendly bond with his colleague, Amy (Jessica Chastain), who suffers from cardiomyopathy.

Suddenly, when too many patient deaths start occurring, Amy and even the detectives grow suspicious of Cullen due to his past minor criminal history. Even though Cullen had a bit of empathy for his friend Amy and her condition, he showed no mercy while killing his own patients. He claims that he did it because no one stopped him.


Based on the Case of the Infamous Serial Killer Nurse

Although the film is about the most disturbing killer in medical history, what makes it even more horrifying is that it raises questions in viewers’ minds about the reality of the broken healthcare system and illegal activities that keep happening in the dark until a shocking case pops up. Eddie Redmayne’s performance would be a particular point of praise for this film, netting Best Supporting Actor nominations from the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, and the Satellite Awards.

14 The Devil All the Time (2020)

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Directed by Antonio Campos, The Devil All the Time is not just a good serial killer story; it also sheds light on themes like mental illness and trauma, societal pressure, how sinful activities take place in the name of religion, suicides, and the negative impact of grief on one’s mind.


Carl and Sandy are murderers who have a weird fascination; before killing, the former photographs their victims having sex with the latter and typically picks up hitchhikers as their target. Elsewhere, Willard suffers from PTSD; he killed a sergeant during World War II to release him from his pain; and he has a superstitious belief that he could cure his wife Charlotte, who is suffering from cancer, by impressing God with a sacrifice. He also has a son named Arvin, who tries his best to protect his adopted sister, Lenora, and other underage girls from the lustful eyes of the preacher. The question remains: Will Arvin walk on the path of killings, blinded beliefs, and societal fear like other twisted characters, or will he stand out?


Diving Deep Into the Mentality of a Killer

The film has a star-studded cast: Bill Skarsgard, Harry Melling, Tom Holland, Robert Pattinson, Riley Keough, Sebastian Stan, Jason Clarke, Eliza Scanlen, and Halley Bennett. The film also juggles the stories of various fascinating characters, some of whom are serial killers, a post-World War II family, and an amoral preacher. It continues to be the latest and greatest by Antonio Campos, who not only chronicled the life of Christine Chubbuck in Christine, but also tackled the real-life case of Michael and Kathleen Peterson in 2022’s The Staircase.

13 The Pale Blue Eye (2022)

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An alcoholic former detective named Augustus Landor, played by Christian Bale, is tasked with investigating matters regarding gruesome murders taking place back-to-back. He decides to involve world-famous writer Edgar Allan Poe (Harry Melling) in this mission to find the culprit. But throughout their investigation, they find out in shocking detail that the serial killer hangs his targets and removes their hearts. At some point, the duo are also convinced that someone is seeking the aid of black magic for their evil motivation and has to find out the real truth behind the crimes happening in the city.

A Macabre Tale of Murder

The Pale Blue Eye is based on a novel of the same name written by Louis Bayard and is helmed by Scott Cooper. Even though the narrative incorporates Poe, it isn’t a real story about him, but obviously has quite a few references from his famous works. The film title is also inspired by Poe’s renowned short story, “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Amidst the mystery-thriller nature of the film, the color palette sets a perfect atmospheric, dark, and gothic vibe throughout — it’s the kind of serial killer film that one would love to watch during the Halloween season.


12 The Invisible Guardian (2017)

If you like to discover serial killer movies from different countries that offer intriguing yet thrilling stories, then The Invisible Guardian, which originally goes by the name El guardián invisible, is surely for you. The story is about Amaia Salazar (Marta Etura), a Policía Foral inspector and former FBI agent who returns to her hometown of Baztan for an investigation into the murder case of a young teen named Ainhoa Elizasu. The body was found naked in the woods with a cake placed on it.


When Amaia and her husband James (Benn Northover) move to their hometown, they also meet their family members, some of whom greet her nicely, but her own blood sister Flora (Elvira Minguez) seems to hate her and has also parted ways with her husband Victor. Throughout their investigation, they connect the dots with the events of past murderous events and find out about a person named El Basajaún, also known as the Lord of the Woods. But the question remains: is he the real killer Amaia is looking for, or is it someone in her close circle?

An Enthralling Spanish Thriller

The film is an amalgamation of plot twists, interesting characters, dark atmospheric visuals, and drama surrounding family and crime. It’s the first in a trilogy of related stories, being followed up by The Legacy of the Bones in 2019 and Offering to the Storm in 2020. It’s a film that leaves a lot of questions up to interpretation — or to be solved in the sequels — but what’s there is incredibly effective. It blends family drama, a tense serial killer plot, and even folklore monsters into a narrative you won’t really find elsewhere.


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11 The Forest of Love (2019)

Over the years, movies from Japan have earned worldwide recognition, especially in the horror genre, due to their fascinating way of storytelling that focuses on aesthetics and complex characters while also incorporating dreadful ghosts and serial killer-like elements in their movies. The Forest of Love is about Joe Murata (Kippei Shiina), who claims to be a screenwriter but is a conman in disguise.


He starts working with three young, talented filmmakers who want to make movies exploring criminal behaviors. But Joe isn’t just a con artist; he has some sinister motives in store for the youngsters, and throughout the film, he scams them in the name of fame. Soon, the characters are trapped in a world of manipulations, suicides, horrific murders, and the maniacal behavior of the villain, Murata.

Cinematic Chaos from Japan

The film is indeed inspired by the Japanese serial killer Futoshi Matsunaga, who was sentenced to death for murder and manslaughter during the mid-1990s. The unconventional Japanese director Sion Sono applies his signature style to every scene, having previously risen to prominence through similarly-morbid films like Suicide Club and Love Exposure. Even in Sono’s wider filmography, this intriguing serial killer film is thoroughly underrated.


10 Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

A brilliant chronicle of the life and times of notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile starred Zac Efron as Bundy. In a frighteningly realistic portrayal, it wasn’t how scary Efron seemed as Bundy, but how ordinary and charming he was as him instead. This was, of course, Bundy’s modus and how he often got to his victims, since he was known to be good-looking, smooth-talking, intelligent, and, by all accounts, an infectiously charming person.


The Charisma of a Killer

Told through the perspective of his girlfriend, who, for a long time, refused to believe the truth about him, the film also captured just how good he was at inventing truth as he saw it. Bundy was famous for defending himself at trial, capturing the public’s attention, and never once confessing. He took this obstinate line of feigned innocence most of his life, and the film does a brilliant job of showing how murky it made his innocence or guilt seem to those who only knew him as the good guy.

9 ​​​​The Legacy of the Bones (2019)

The Legacy of the Bones serves as the sequel to The Invisible Guardian mentioned above, and it’s also the second part of the novel written by Dolores Redondo. After finding out about the serial killer who murdered young girls, a pregnant Amaia Salazar returns to investigate the suicides transpiring in the Baztán Valley, and she thinks it has a similar connection to the previous case she solved. Along with looking into the investigation, she also had to deal with her mother, Rosario, who is mentally ill and is now after her newborn baby. The previous criminal case and recent murders make her question the family she was raised in.


Supernatural and Superstition

Similar to The Invisible Guardian, this film gives you an intense storyline filled with suspense and memorable characters that will keep you invested throughout. Ideas introduced in the first film without a major resolution are appropriately explored, and the returning Marta Etura as Amaia Salazar does a standout job in the lead role once more. Suffice to say, if you enjoyed The Invisible Guardian, this sequel is also worth a watch.

8 Holy Spider (2022)

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A terrific film that was entered for the Palm d’Or prize at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, Holy Spider is an intense tale of religious extremism through the lens of a serial killer. The film’s lead, Zar Amir Ebrahimi, was exceptional in it and won the Best Actress Award at the festival. She played an Iranian journalist who travels from Tehran to the holy city of Mashad to investigate a slew of murders.


There’s a definite pattern to each death since they all involve Iranian sex workers. Her investigation takes her to the seedy underbelly and corrupt inner workings of the city. It’s soon clear that the killer known as the ‘Holy Spider’ believes he is doing God’s work by cleansing the area of sinners. As things unfold, the tragedy is that, given the region’s dominant cultural and fundamentalist religious beliefs, most people, and even the police, support his deeds.

Extremism Through the Lens of a Serial Killer

Based on a true story, this one makes for a harrowing journey into the religious politics of how and why one man can be a killer to some and a hero to others. Though it wouldn’t win the Palme d’Or, it’s worth noting that Zar Amir Ebrahimi, who played the role of Arezoo Rahimi, would go on to win the Best Actress Award at Cannes instead. It would also sweep the Danish Robert Awards, winning Best Danish Film, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, and a slew of other awards.


7 The Chase (2017)

South Korean movies’ popularity has stayed consistent, with the films and actors having developed a rabid fanbase here in the West. Many excellent crime movies have come out of the Korean industry, with themes targeted toward modern society, and The Chase (2017) is one such intriguing crime thriller film that gives a typical serial killer movie a twisted turn and has some multifaceted characters.


The film follows Shim Deok-soo (Baek Yoon-sik), a grumpy and unempathetic landlord who is despised by his tenants and leaves no opportunity to knock on their doors for rent money. Suddenly, one day, the police take away the dead bodies of two of his tenants; one is a local drunk and the other is a lonely pensioner. The murder seems to have been connected to past crimes committed by a serial killer 30 years ago. Several killings start taking place in the neighborhood. The now-innocent Deok-soo is blamed for the death of a veteran police officer, but he and former detective Park Pyung-Dal (Sung Dong-il) team up to track down the real cunning serial killer.

A Case 30 Years in the Making

A fantastic film from director Kim Hong-sun, The Chase tells a fascinating tale of redemption with powerful performances from Baek Yoon-sik and Sung Dong-il. Its focus on age as its central theme, combined with some excellent chemistryb between the leading duo, makes for a unique viewing experience that you can’t typically find in the serial killer genre. This is especially true when you compare The Chase to some of its more popular South Korean contemporaries.


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6 The Call (2020)

Directed by Lee Chung-hyun, The Call is based on a British and Puerto Rican supernatural horror film called The Caller, directed by Sergio Casci. The story takes place in 2019 when Kim Seo-yeon (Park Shin-hye) is traveling to see her mother, who is ill, and loses her phone during the journey. She arrives at her mom’s place and comes across an old cordless phone, through which she receives a call.


The woman on the other side of the call, Oh Young-sook (Jeon Jong-seo), claims that she is being abused by her own mother. She learns that Young-sook lived approximately 30 years ago, in the same house. The old phone is the only string to connect the two different times and to exchange information. But Seo-yoon has no idea what she has gotten herself into; her fate changes when Young-sook uses her for her personal gains.

Mystery, Time Travel, and Horror

The 2020 film adds mystery, time travel, horror, suspense, and violent elements to the overall narrative, making it a total masterpiece. At first, one might feel the two leading women are just trying to help each other out until the sinister plan starts to unfold. It’s another example of time travel incorporating itself into the serial killer genre, but it’s done in a much more intimate and terrifying way compared to something like In the Shadow of the Moon. The director of The Call, Lee Chung-hyun, would later go on to direct the action-thriller film Ballerina for Netflix.


5 Lost Girls (2020)

Based on the true case of the Long Island Serial Killer (Rex Heuermann), Lost Girls follows a woman, Mari Gilbert (Amy Ryan), in a relentless search for her missing daughter, which gets her entangled in a string of murders targeted at sex workers in the area. The film highlights the police investigation, which also becomes tainted due to bias towards those working in the industry.

Based on the Infamous Long Island Serial Killer

Amy Ryan’s performance as a mother fighting for her daughter and, ultimately, justice is captivating in its range and intensity. It really draws viewers into the frustrations many felt during the period when Rex Heuermann was claiming victims with little care from the authorities. Still, what works best about Liz Garbus’ film is how it manages to both get its message across in concern about social concerns facing the vulnerability of sex workers while still crafting an engaging and emotionally driven story.


4 Creep (2014)

Creep

Creep

Release Date
June 23, 2014

After videographer Aaron answers an online ad for a one-day job to record the last messages of a dying man named Josef (Mark Duplass) in a remote town, he thinks he has found an easy payday with a slightly eccentric character. However, as the two get to know each other more, Josef becomes more intense and controlling of his new-found ‘friend.’

Friendship Has Never Been so Terrifying

Creep is a fascinating mash-up of genres: dark comedy, found-footage horror, and psychological thriller. However, all this works wonderfully under the jarring performance of Mark Duplass, who manipulates his way into Josef’s life in unnerving ways as the two spend more time together. The movie is best to go into blind, but the ‘serial killer’ element slowly reveals itself in an interesting way, which also feeds wonderfully into the sequel Creep 2, which is also on Netflix.


3 The Abandoned (2022)

A troubled detective, Wu Jie, on the brink of ending his own life, is brought back to the force by the case of a mysterious corpse of a Southeast Asian woman found in his jurisdiction. More bodies soon start to appear, and it seems as though Wu Jie has a serial killer on his hands. Pushing through his own struggles, and with the help of a rookie colleague, the two police dive head first into a dark and chilling case that pushes both of them to their breaking point.


A Stylish Serial Killer Thriller from Taiwan

The skill of Taiwanese filmmakers and their prominence in the Asian film industry are often overlooked when discussing foreign films, which will make Ying-Ting Tseng’s The Abandoned a perfect jumping-on point for many. Boasting strong performances, a tight script that keeps viewers on edge, and a sharp visual style, the serial killer thriller hits all the right notes one would want. In addition, for those looking for greater commentary, the film also weaves in issues concerning the struggles of marginalized populations within Taiwan.

2 The Silencing (2020)

Having faced the loss of his daughter and withdrawing from society to live in the woods, Rayburn Swanson (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is brought back to society after a body is discovered in the woods. As the case unravels, it turns out that the police may have a serial killer on their hands, who also may be responsible for Rayburn’s missing daughter.


A Father’s Chance at Redemption

Fatherhood can be complex, and the degree to which a father will go to protect his child and the potential fallout when something happens is often understated and under-explored in cinema. The Silencing certainly starts on a strong emotional note, showing a broken man who is given the chance for redemption while still dealing with the scars of the past and his distrust of the world. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau gives a great performance as Rayburn, and the movie wonderfully captures small-town paranoia and confusion when something tragic strikes a sleepy town.

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1 The Postcard Killings (2020)

After losing his daughter and son-in-law after they disappear while on their honeymoon in Europe, New York City detective Jacob Cannon (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) begins to investigate for himself. He soon learns that the case is connected to a series of murders by a killer, or killers, with a macabre modus operandi where they drain the blood of their victims and post them to resemble classic art pieces. Jacob struggles with foreign authorities who feel his presence unwelcome, but he becomes determined to find his daughter and learn the truth behind the crimes.


A Father Investigates Ghastly Crimes in Europe

The Postcard Killings leans on a rather sensational premise, with the killer(s) having a very flashy way of presenting their victims as well as taunting family members. Still, the movie hits a lot of the expected beats of the serial killer/drama genre, making the story feel familiar to many that came before it. What makes this one stand out is the performance by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who manages to represent the grizzled detective and a troubled father with skill. Despite the film’s popularity on Netflix, where it became the No. 1 movie in the Top 10 on its debut, it has still remained a bit of a hidden gem on the platform for those looking for serial-killer-themed movies and TV.



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