10 Underrated Murder Mysteries That Make Viewers Feel Like Master Detectives, According To Ranker

With Knives Out 2 confirmed to hit Netflix in late 2022, fans eagerly wait to feel like master detectives on a board of Clue once again. While most crime thrillers offer the typical investigation setup that will lead to shocking revelations, only a few manage to deliver a truly immersive story that makes viewers feel like they're part of the case.

In a heap of characters and unreliable suspicions, both the viewers and the detectives must weigh the usual suspects to crack the case, and the conclusion might not always be the right one. Taking into consideration all-time classics and hidden gems, Ranker offers the 10 best movies that make viewers feel like true detectives.

Note: Due to the nature of Ranker's voting, these results may change. At the time of publication, this list is correct.

10 The Red Riding Trilogy (2009)

The Red Riding is a trilogy of movies aired on television that adapt the famous novel quartet written by David Peace, offering three intriguing murder mysteries to binge-watch. The cast is quite remarkable; Andrew Garfield is brilliant in the role of a crime reporter investigating a series of child murders in the first movie.

Related: 10 Underrated Andrew Garfield Films, According To Reddit

As the film titles suggest, each installment follows different characters in the years 1974, 1980, and 1983. The crime mystery lingers as the years pass and different people take over the case with different suspicions, and the viewers are drawn into the puzzling and complex investigation which offers a shocking conclusion.

9 Mother (2009)

Mother is the kind of movie that highlights how psychological thrillers are Bong Joon-ho's specialty. In this film, the quiet life of a mother is turned upside down when her son is accused of brutally murdering a young girl. Believing that he's innocent, she desperately tries to find the responsible for the crime.

The narrative of Mother is never quite what it seems, and the nuanced characters that come and go change drastically as the mystery progresses, leaving the task of figuring out what comes next a tough one for the viewers.

8 The Nice Guys (2016)

The Nice Guys isn't the standard crime thriller nor a conventional comedy, but has a little bit of both. The movie follows a goofy private detective as he joins forces with a goon who beats up people for money in order to find a missing woman. The chemistry of the duo is remarkably funny and the movie puts them in the most chaotic situations as they get closer to solving a puzzling mystery.

The murder mystery itself is put in the background of the interaction between characters, creating the hook that catches the viewer's attention until the final conclusion while still entertaining them with hilarious running gags and unexpectedly funny life-or-death situations.

7 Witness (1985)

Witness is an underrated crime film with a brilliant performance by Harrison Ford. He plays detective John Book in the tough task of protecting the sole witness of a brutal murder, a little Amish boy who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

In order to ensure the boy's life is safe, John goes undercover in the local community, where everyone seems to have something to hide. Witness offers plenty of suspicious situations for the viewers to chew on, but also a great romance and some nip and tuck confrontations that made the movie so famous by the time it was released, earning eight Oscar nominations and two wins.

6 The Clovehitch Killer (2018)

The Clovehitch Killer is a precious hidden gem in Netflix's catalog, offering a traditional serial killer thriller in one unexpected scenario: home. In the film, a young man begins to suspect his father Don actually is a serial killer responsible for the murder of 13 women ten years prior.

Vague suspicions begin to point to solid indications, as a cache of disturbing images in his father's possession leads the young man into dark secrets about the person he used to trust the most. In what feels like a game of detective, viewers are left with inconclusive leads and unreliable proofs regarding the film's biggest revelation, as every time pieces of evidences point to Don being the killer, something else comes up to contest them.

5 The Gift (2000)

Just like any other Sam Raimi project, The Gift is a very stylish movie even though it shies away from Raimi's most traditional themes. This time he goes for a crime thriller, following a psychic who gets caught up in the search for a missing woman. As her visions lead the investigation to an eerie revelation, other mysteries begin to unravel.

Related: 10 Unrealized Sam Raimi Projects Redditors Want To See The Most

Although The Gift lingers as an intriguing thriller, it also offers Raimi's conventional trademarks by flirting with horror elements here and there. In this narrative where reality is untangled by seemingly supernatural events, viewers will likely have to play detectives to figure out what is really going on.

4 Zodiac (2007)

Zodiac is considered one of the best movies by David Fincher, depicting the true story of the exhaustive investigation around the Zodiac killer, who terrified the San Francisco Bay Area between 1968 and 1983 and taunted the police with enigmatic ciphers and letters.

It initially looks like a traditional crime thriller story, but David Fincher turns it into something much more intimate. Instead of focusing on the Zodiac's activities, the movie follows every step taken by the detectives of the case as they become obsessed and fatigued with the lack of answers and the killer's constant provocations. Fincher drives the viewers into the frustrating investigation in a way they become as affected as the detectives.

3 Wind River (2017)

Acting alongside Jeremy Renner, another MCU actor, Elizabeth Olsen delivers one of her most outstanding performances in this puzzling thriller. Wind River tells the story about an FBI agent who teams up with a town's veteran game tracker to investigate the murder of a young woman on a Native American reservation.

Although the setup is quite run-of-the-mill, the movie finds itself in the importance of the details, catching the viewer's attention with the breathtaking snowy landscapes. The small distressing revelations about what's going on in the reservation quickly snowball into a mystery of a much higher scale and, needless to say, Wind River also addresses important topics on the situation of American reservations in the country.

2 Dead Again (1991)

Another murder mystery with hints of supernatural drama is Dead Again, which is starred and directed by Kenneth Branagh. In the movie, a mute amnesiac woman shows up at an orphanage, and a private investigator is called in to track down her identity. However, he soon finds out the woman might have a mysterious connection with a crime committed in the 1940s.

Related: 10 Best Kenneth Branagh Movies, Ranked According To IMDB

The viewer might feel like a detective because just like the movie's private investigator, they must dissect the past in order to understand the present, almost like the investigation happens in two parallel timespans.

1 Brick (2005)

Years before releasing the massive box office hit Knives Out, Rian Johnson showed the world that what he does best is make the audience feel like master detectives on a seemingly impossible case. In Brick, this works especially because the protagonist is a teenage loner with not much expertise in solving crimes.

In an underground high school setup, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character takes it upon himself to find out what happened to his missing ex-girlfriend. Offering plenty of references to the Noir subgenre in stylish fashion, Johnson presents the viewers with a contemporary adolescent reality and an engaging, yet suspicious set of characters that ferment this intriguing murder mystery.

Next: 10 Thriller Movies That Nailed Their Final Scene

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