12 Best Mystery Movies to Watch

Staff & contributors

The Murder Case of Hana & Alice is a charming and whimsical anime film that tells the story of two teenage girls who team up to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a classmate. The film is beautifully animated in a rotoscoped style giving it a unique and dreamlike quality. Hana and Alice, who is new to the town, decide to team up to solve the case. 

Part mystery, part coming-of-age story, and part slice-of-life make for a refreshing and unpredictable viewing experience as the film commits itself to each. The cast makes the story funny and heartwarming with their well-timed quips and well-written dialogue. This is a truly unique and enjoyable animated film about a beautiful friendship budding most unexpectedly.

Genre: Animation, Comedy, Drama, Mystery

Actor: Anne Suzuki, Haru Kuroki, Kaku Tomohiro, Midoriko Kimura, Ranran Suzuki, Ryo Katsuji, Sei Hiraizumi, Shoko Aida, Tae Kimura, Tomohiro Kaku, Yu Aoi

Director: Shunji Iwai

Even with its morale apparent early in the film, Fireworks marries its mental health/loneliness discussion with a "locked room"-type mystery and the cosmic loop of a group suicide attempt gone wrong. It does take care not to glamourize suicide (or needlessly persevering through struggles), but it teeters between virtue signaling and the sincere reminder to reach out to others for help. With anxiety, hopelessness, grief, and redemption at its core, the film still tugs on the heart even though it pulls away from ruminating on the more intense emotions and thoughts that aren't easily dismissed in a single (even if endless) encounter. 

Genre: Drama, Science Fiction, Thriller

Actor: Donny Damara, Hanggini Purinda Retto, Imelda Therinne, Marsha Timothy, Vino G. Bastian

Director: Herwin Novianto

It seems unfair to call Neeyat India’s (and Amazon Prime’s) answer to the Knives Out series of films, but it often feels that way. It’s a murder mystery that sides with the poor and satirizes the rich, and it mostly takes place in a grand manor that forces its colorful cast of characters to interact until, inevitably, their hidden motives surface. Of course, Neeyat isn’t an exact replica; it has its own inflections and charms, and figuring out how India’s ultra-rich live, specifically, is its own kind of fun. In fact, this is when the film shines the most, when it allows its talented cast to parade the silliness of their characters. Like Knives Out, it makes for a great ensemble movie. But as a murder mystery, Neeyat is not as successful in weaving multiple mysteries and pulling off twists. It’s bogged down by unnecessary melodrama, flashbacks, and exposition, eventually falling off the rails of logic. It’s still enjoyable, for sure, but maybe more as a campy comedy than as a genuinely thrilling mystery. 

Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Amrita Puri, Dipannita Sharma, Neeraj Kabi, Niki Aneja Walia, Prajakta Koli, Rahul Bose, Ram Kapoor, Shahana Goswami, Shashank Arora, Shefali Shah, Vidya Balan

Director: Anu Menon

Whodunnits are the cornerstone of murder mysteries, and their occasional resurgence is usually a reprieve from films with more complicated structures and twists. See How They Run gives the Agatha Christie mystery spoof a go, dissecting the cozy mystery conventions anew. With quirky British humor, solid acting, and good period-piece visuals, the familiarity and predictability culminate into an easy, well-paced watch. With no desire to reinvent the genre, the film seems to implore its audience to indulge in self-indulgence. Enjoy watching a piece of cinema for the sake of it.

Genre: Comedy, Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Actor: Adrien Brody, Angus Wright, Ania Marson, Charlie Cooper, David Oyelowo, Gregory Cox, Harris Dickinson, Jacob Fortune-Lloyd, Lucian Msamati, Maggie McCarthy, Paul Chahidi, Pearl Chanda, Philip Desmeules, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Reece Shearsmith, Ruth Wilson, Sam Rockwell, Saoirse Ronan, Shirley Henderson, Sian Clifford, Tim Key, Tolu Ogunmefun

Director: Tom George

Rating: PG-13