Black thriller movies are scary and suspenseful. If you want to add some action and fear into your movie nights, you won’t go wrong picking a film from this list. You’ll find films featuring love triangles, murder mysteries, and religious con-men. There are many amazing recent offerings, but this list also covers hits from the ‘90s and even a classic from the ‘70s.
Here are the best Black thriller movies showcasing stellar Black talent.
The Bone Collector (1999)
The Bone Collector is a superb thriller directed by Phillip Noyce and stars Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie, Queen Latifah, Michael Rooker, and Ed O’Neill. It revolves around a police forensic team in New York City who investigates a serial killer case in the world of big money stock trading.
The storyline is what makes the movie so great. Denzel Washington, a quadriplegic forensic criminology expert, guides the rookie policewoman. He holds the knowledge needed to work the case effectively. However, he randomly has seizures and needs someone to look after him 24/7.
New Jack City (1991)
New Jack City is the story of drug tycoon Nino Brown and his followers. People call them the Cash Money Brothers because they are the top drug lords of New York City. Nino is a heartless dealer, turning an apartment complex into a crack house and kicking out the tenants.
In the film, when the empire becomes an astounding multimillion-dollar empire, two police officers work to bring Nino and his team down. However, it comes at the risk of going undercover and endangering the lives of their informants.
King of New York (1990)
King Of New York, directed by Abel Ferrara, stars Christopher Walken, Laurence Fishburne, David Caruso, Victor Argo, Wesley Snipes, and Steve Buscemi.
The movie revolves around Frank White, who returns home after ten years in prison for drug charges. In his absence, other gangs have taken over the city. Frank wants to take them out of the running so he can take back his power.
After a change of heart, Frank decides to run for mayor and use his drug money to improve the community hospital. But his gang isn’t on board with this new mission. They bring in corrupt cops to help ensure Frank doesn’t get his way, even if it means pinning crimes on the former dealer.
Shaft, directed by Gordon Parks Jr., stars Samuel L. Jackson, Vanessa Williams, Busta Rhymes, Richard Roundtree, Jeffrey Wright, and Christian Bale. It is about a cop that has to bring down a murderer and protect the witness of the crime.
The challenge is that the witness wants to stay quiet because they paid her off to forget what she saw. As she lives her life in fear each day, John Shaft must persuade her to talk, keep her safe, and bring down the murder.
Eve’s Bayou (1997)
Eve’s Bayou, directed by Kasi Lemmons, stars Samuel L. Jackson, Lynn Whitfield, Debbi Morgan, Diahann Carroll, Meagan Good, and Kate Reid.
The movie revolves around an African American family in Louisiana struggling to make it. They experience a lot of tough times before realizing that nothing is as it seems on the surface.
The movie deals with several controversial issues, including rape accusations against an admired family patriarch, and supernatural elements that enhance this view of life in the deep south.
Cotton Comes To Harlem (1970)
Cotton Comes to Harlem, directed by Ossie Davis, stars Godfrey Cambridge, Raymond St. Jacques, Calvin Lockhart, Judy Pace, and Redd Foxx. Gravedigger and Coffin Ed are cops known for bending the rules. When Reverend Deke O’Malley rubs them the wrong way, they decide to keep their eyes on him.
The cops discover that the Reverend is swindling people out of their money, promising them a good life in Africa. But Gravedigger and Coffin Ed think things aren’t what they seem, especially when a bale of cotton goes missing in the middle of Harlen.
This tremendous Black thriller movie has action, lightheartedness, and humor. It became an overnight sensation, so don’t miss it.
Ma stars Octavia Spencer as a middle-aged woman who becomes friends with a group of teenagers. She eventually lets them conduct a party in her basement.
She requests that the teens follow several house rules when they use her home for a party. Ma begins to ignite suspicion in her young friends with some of these strange rules. Her wanting to be cool with the kids eventually takes a nasty turn to obsession when one kid wakes up with their lips sewn together.
The party started as a great way for the teens to have fun without dealing with their parents. But it turned into something far worse than they ever could wrap their minds around.
Candyman, directed by Bernard Rose, stars Tony Todd, Xander Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, Vanessa Williams, and Virginia Madsen.
Helen, a grad student, is researching folklore and urban legends when she learns about Candyman, a villain with a hook for his hand. Say his name five times in the mirror and he appears behind you, then murders you.
With dozens of the town’s deaths attributed to Candyman, Helen wonders if the only way to get to the root of the myth is by encountering Candyman herself.
Us is a Black thriller movie starring Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Evan Alex.
A family of four travels to their summer home on a Fourth of July weekend, only to find that evil doppelgänger versions of themselves are there for more than a friendly visit.
This extraordinary thriller has an unexpected twist at the end that links the action to a past traumatic experience—one that eventually becomes a reality.
Get Out (2017)
Get Out is a thriller film directed by Jordan Peele. The movie stars Catherine Keener, Daniel Kaluuya, LilRel Howery, Allison Williams, and Bradley Whitford. The story unfolds when a Black man joins his white girlfriend on his first visit to meet her parents. He quickly discovers something is very wrong with this seemingly ideal suburban family.
He finds out that her family paid for his body to keep an elderly white man’s brain alive. And worse, he isn’t the first sacrifice. The movie is creepy, but the undertones of the storyline of racism make a strong point. The film was an unexpected hit, though it dealt with controversial issues.
The Perfect Guy (2015)
The Perfect Guy is a Black thriller movie directed by David M. Rosenthal and stars Sanaa Lathan, Michael Ealy, and Morris Chestnut. It’s about a woman who starts to question her relationship with her boyfriend when he isn’t ready to marry her and start a family.
When she breaks off her relationship with her boyfriend, she meets a new man. Sparks fly, and she is having fun until his inner psychopath emerges.
No Good Deed (2014)
No Good Deed, directed by Sam Miller, stars Idris Elba, Taraji P. Henson, Leslie Bibb, Kate del Castillo, and White Dee. Terri’s husband is out of town when Colin knocks on her door. He’s had a car accident and wants to use her phone to call a tow truck.
Terri lets him in and responds to how attentive Colin is when she compares him to her husband. She takes care of Colin’s injuries and lets him play with her kids while they wait on the tow truck. But when Terri notices that Colin has a gun, everything takes a turn for the worst.
The Intruder (2019)
The Intruder is a Black thriller starring Michael Ealy, Meagan Good, Dennis Quaid, and Joseph Sikora. A couple buys their dream home but discovers their new neighbor is watching them in the shower and peeping in their windows.
It’s another awesome Black movie that’s filled with suspense and drama. Their sudden bliss of being in a new home turns into a nightmare as the previous owner refuses to let go of his obsession with them and his old home. The movie wraps up with a confrontation that destroys the couple’s life.
Obsessed is a great thriller movie starring Idris Elba, Ali Larter, and Beyonce. It’s about Lisa, a woman who becomes extremely obsessed with Derek, her married boss. Derek just got a promotion and can’t wait to share the news with his wife and son.
Lisa’s obsession leads to bizarre behavior, even kidnapping his son. The man’s wife becomes stuck between figuring out whether her husband is a cheater or if the woman chasing him is crazy. Derek, once on top of the world, is now struggling to keep his family together.
The Call (2013)
The Call, directed by Brad Anderson, features Halle Berry, Morris Chestnut, Abigail Breslin, Michael Eklund, and David Otunga. It’s about an emergency operator who fails to save an abducted young girl. She uses everything she learned about the case to ensure this doesn’t happen to another child on her watch.
Then, it happens. The kidnapper has zeroed in on her and is now stalking her as she gets closer to discovering who he is.
She has to use everything she learned from the failed attempt to protect herself and her chance to save the next kidnapped child. The film has many unexpected twists, making it suspenseful throughout.
The Little Things (2020)
The Little Things is a Black thriller movie starring Denzel Washington and Olivia Washington. Deputy Sheriff Joe “Deke” Deacon works with Sgt. Jim Baxter to get to the bottom of the mystery of the Los Angeles serial killer.
The closer they get to finding out what is going on, crumbs of Deke’s past show up that uncover disturbing secrets that could threaten more than his case. The movie is very suspenseful and exciting, with twists that keep you on the edge of your seat.
Unthinkable is a Black thriller movie starring Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Sheen, and January Jones. It’s about the elite counterterrorist unit Taskforce responsible for protecting U.S. interests from terrorist attacks, based on the true-life story of Rob Colombo.
An FBI Agent is racing to discover three nuclear bombs set to detonate in different cities. Authorities arrest a terrorist connected to the event, who announced the murderous plot in a video.
Special operative Samuel L. Jackson conducts the interrogation. He takes escalating measures to extract answers from the terrorist. The race is on as the time on the bombs ticks away.
When the Bough Breaks (2016)
When the Bough Breaks is about a young and successful couple, who are willing to do what it takes to have a child after years of being unable to conceive.
After exhausting all other options, the couple hires a surrogate. Unfortunately, this beautiful young woman develops a dangerous obsession with the husband as she progresses through her pregnancy.
She thinks she can keep the baby and the man and get rid of the wife. As the couple digs deeper to save their child, they discover their sweet surrogate is not as she seems. In fact, she’s a psychopath with the power to change their lives forever, for better or worse.
Fatal Affair (2020)
Fatal affair stars Nia Long and Omar Epps. The story is about a woman who tries to mend her marriage after an inappropriate yet brief encounter with an old friend. It doesn’t take long for her to realize that her ex-lover is more dangerous and unstable than she thought.
Now she faces a deadly game of cat and mouse that puts her life and the lives of her husband and daughter in jeopardy.
Best Black Thriller Movies Ever, Final Thoughts
These are some of the best Black thriller movies ever made. The movies will keep you on the edge of your seat with their suspenseful plot twists and surprise endings. If you want to see a showcase of Black talent, add these films to your watchlist.