Original murder mystery movies seemed like a dying genre. Studios stopped green-lighting big-budget whodunnits, until 2019. Rian Johnson flipped that trend by bringing us Knives Out, a suburb mystery with both comedic flair and entertaining investigative work brought to life by a stunning cast and inventive script. Today, ONE37pm takes a look at what films are similar and explores 20 movies like 'Knives Out.'
In the Mood for a Good "Whodunit?" Check Out These 20 Movies Like 'Knives Out'
1. Mystic River
While Knives Out follows the aftermath of a death in the family, so does Mystic River. Director Clint Eastwood brings us a film about revenge, violence, and its consequences. The film follows three men's lives, who were all childhood friends, who get shattered when one of them suffers a family tragedy. Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon play the leading characters who all bring their best to the table to create a gripping detective drama.
Naturally, the acclaimed writer and director of Knives Out, Rian Johnson’s first feature film had to make this list. A high school teenage loner joins an underground crime ring to find out what happened to his murdered ex-girlfriend. Although the film is set in high school, Rian Johnson stylizes the film to make it feel just like a detective movie. After watching this, it’s interesting to see the film that got Rian Johnson started and can be a cool look at what his early directorial style looked like.
3. 'Logan Lucky'
Another film featuring the star of Knives Out Daniel Craig, Logan Lucky is an entertaining heist movie with heart and a lot of laughs. Two brothers try to pull off a heist during a NASCAR race in North Carolina. Helmed by acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh and featuring a top-tier cast including Channing Tatum and Adam Driver (in addition to Daniel Craig) Logan Lucky is a damn good time that is sure to entertain just like Knives Out.
4. 'Murder on the Orient Express' (1974)
Legendary director Sidney Lumet brings us an Agatha Christie adaptation that feels very similar to Knives Out. Murder on the Orient Express follows detective Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney) as he traverses his way on a luxury transcontinental train to solve a murder that occurred in his train car the night before with a handful of potential suspects. If you want to go back to the roots of murder mysteries, look no further than Murder on the Orient Express.
5. 'A Simple Favor'
While sharing similar concepts to Knives Out, A Simple Favor is much more than the title states. A widowed mother, Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) with a cooking vlog forms an unlikely friendship with Emily (Blake Lively), whose values highly differ, but when Emily goes missing, Stephanie takes it upon herself to find Emily. With many unexpected plot twists, A Simple Favor is sure to keep you encapsulated for its entirety.
6. 'The Royal Tenenbaums'
While the story is not similar to Knives Out in the slightest, if you enjoyed watching the family dynamic of the Thrombeys, The Royal Tenenbaums features another family that must cope with their issues. Helmed by acclaimed writer and director Wes Anderson, this is a stylistic film that follows a flawed family that must gather under the same roof because of many different reasons. It’s funny, entertaining and one of Anderson’s best which should put this film towards the top of your list.
7. 'Game Night'
While Knives Out knows how and where to put its comedy, Game Night takes the comedy mystery genre to a new level and is sure to make you hysterically laugh. As a group of friends meets up for their regularly scheduled game night, they find themselves trapped in a real-life mystery when the brother of a player is kidnapped by gangsters. The ensemble of this film has excellent chemistry together. Similar to the Thrombey family in Knives Out, these characters' relationships feel real because more of the jokes tend to land, resulting in the overall movie being a success instead of falling flat.
A true cult classic, Clue is another hilarious murder mystery film that is as campy as it gets. Six guests are invited to a strange mansion for dinner, but after their host is killed they must come together as a team to solve the murder mystery before more bodies start piling up. When this was released in theaters, the filmmakers made three different endings for the film, so depending on which theater you saw the movie in, you would end up with a different result. Once released on home video, the endings occurred one after the other until the third was designated as canon. Definitely check this classic out if you haven’t already.
9. 'Ready or Not'
An underrated gem from 2019, Ready or Not is wickedly entertaining and shares similar values and themes to Knives Out. A newly wedded bride must take part in a deadly game after her new inlaws take an unexpected sinister turn for the worse. Featuring some excellent comedy that balances well with the action, this film will most definitely make you think differently about the simple child's game of "ready or not."
10. 'Death on the Nile' (1978)
Another Agatha Christie adaptation only this time helmed by a different director in John Guillermin, Death on the Nile takes place on the water and stars yet again the world-class detective Hercule Poirot (Peter Ustinov). The film follows Poirot as he searches to find the murderer of a newlywed heiress on board before they reach their destination and the killer roams free forever. Another absolute classic tale, Death on the Nile is a must-watch for all murder mystery fans.
11. 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo '
Another film where Daniel Craig stars as a lead detective, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a chilling detective mystery that can at times be extremely disturbing. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is hired by a wealthy industrialist to figure out who killed his niece over 40 years ago, but Blomkvist quickly learns that this job is out of his league and gets aid from an anti-social yet very efficient computer hacker Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara). The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo is a gripping, dark, and violent mystery movie.
12. 'Bad Times at the El Royale'
Similar to Knives Out, Bad Times At the El Royale features an amazing cast and has an excellent murder mystery story which is why it easily cracks this list. Taking place over one night, six strangers each holding their valued secrets all meet at the El Royale hotel, and as the night unfolds, each stranger begins to unravel more information about one another resulting in potential chaos. The film is wacky, secretive, and holds more mysteries than one might expect by just looking at the surface of this one.
13. 'Scream' (1996)
Similar to Knives Out but told in a different manner, Scream is a classic murder mystery movie that is sure to be adored by all fans of Knives Out. Focused on the lives of high school students, a teenage girl and her friends become targets of a killer who are all part of a deadly game. One of the acclaimed horror director Wes Craven’s best, Scream is sure to be enjoyed by all fans of a good, entertaining, and frightening murder mystery flick.
While not having the same exact premise as Knives Out, Prisoners is another detective mystery film with a much darker plot. Undeniably being one of the most captivating movies on this list, Denis Villeneuve, who is now considered one of the greatest directors working today, brings us a mind-blowing masterpiece early in his career. Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) works tirelessly to hunt down the kidnapper of two young girls, but one of the girls' fathers, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), feels like the police could be doing more. As the film goes on, Dover gets fed up and tries to take matters into his own hands which is where the film shifts gears and takes detective work to a whole different level.
15. 'Sherlock Holmes' (2009)
A standard, run-of-the-mill, yet entertaining detective mystery, Sherlock Holmes does the job. Not too much to say about this one, but if you’re looking for another film with sparky energy like Knives Out featuring some solid action, this film will provide you with an enjoyable adventure.
16. 'Gone Girl'
A mystery film that has a somewhat similar style to Knives Out, director David Fincher delivers a brilliant film in Gone Girl. When his wife suddenly disappears, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) desperately goes searching for her all while the media closes in on Nick and increasingly considers the possibility that Nick could’ve killed her. The film constantly bounces between perspectives and you really don’t know who to trust, Nick or his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike). If you enjoyed the detective work in Knives Out then definitely check this film out as it brings many new ideas to the table and has an ending that will leave you stunned.
17. 'The Hateful Eight'
Possibly the most far-out film on this list, The Hateful Eight is a slow-burn crime drama that, similarly to Knives Out, features a stellar cast and has lots of witty banter. The film follows a bounty hunter and his prisoner as they find shelter in a secluded cabin in Wyoming that is unbeknownst to them, already inhabited by villainous individuals. It features all the classic Tarantino traits, strong violence, language, and wild characters that make this a must-watch.
18. 'The Nice Guys'
A detective comedy that has similar tropes to Knives Out, The Nice Guys deserves more recognition. The film stars Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling who team up to investigate a missing girl and the strange death of a pornstar in 1970s Los Angeles. Crowe and Gosling's chemistry is perfect and they elevate the film to a higher level than most. Go seek out this movie for a unique, entertaining, and fun watch.
19. 'Murder by Death' (1976)
This is Knives Out but 1000 times goofier and not taken seriously at all (but in a good way). Five famous detectives and their sidekicks all get invited to a strange mansion to solve an even stranger mystery. It’s hysterical and is one of the greater, older mystery films of all time that blends in comedy to perfection.
20. 'The Usual Suspects'
An intriguing mystery that keeps you guessing till the end, The Usual Suspects will no doubt leave you stunned. The only survivor of a brutal gun battle is questioned about the events leading up to it and how he was involved. If you are unfamiliar with this movie, it’s an absolute classic with one of the greatest film endings of all time and it comes with no surprise that it won the Academy Award for best original screenplay.