18 Best Kidnapping Movies on Netflix (March 2024)

Image Credit: Glen Wilson/Netflix

Kidnappings are used frequently in cinema because they create a unique type of atmosphere. They immediately build tension and stimulate empathy from the viewers, sometimes before you even know who the characters are. You will find a diverse group of films in our selection of the best kidnapping movies on Netflix. We will also look at the movies that have a slightly broader spectrum than the mere word “kidnapping.”

Kidnapping movies often contain the best of the action, grit, and sometimes spellbinding CGI, along with performances that are key to such films. Here is a list of some really good kidnapping movies on Netflix that will make you witness the nail-biting action and sometimes romance or comedy for a change and experience thrill in its raw form.

18. Lost Girls (2020)

Directed by Liz Garbus, ‘Lost Girls‘ stands out as a gripping kidnapping movie based on true events. Amy Ryan delivers a compelling performance as Mari Gilbert, a mother determined to unveil the truth behind her daughter’s disappearance. The film skillfully weaves a narrative of unsolved murders and bureaucratic hurdles, transcending the genre with its raw intensity and emotional resonance. ‘Lost Girls’ not only captivates with its suspenseful storytelling but also delves into the complexities of a mother’s unwavering quest for justice, making it a standout in the realm of kidnapping thrillers. Feel free to stream it here.

17. Extraction II (2023)

Tyler Rake, having recovered from his perilous mission in Dhaka, leads his team on a new assignment. Their objective: rescue the family of a crime syndicate leader from a heavily fortified prison complex. With determination and the assistance of two trusted associates, Tyler faces formidable resistance as they launch a high-stakes rescue operation. The suspenseful narrative unfolds as the team navigates through challenges, highlighting Rake’s strategic acumen in overcoming powerful adversaries. Feel free to stream here.

16. Doctor (2021)

In the movie ‘Doctor,’ the theme of kidnapping unfolds with gripping intensity. Directed by Nelson Dilipkumar, the film centers around Dr. Vijay, played by Sivakarthikeyan, whose life takes a harrowing turn when his daughter is abducted. As the narrative unfolds, ‘Doctor’ skillfully explores the psychological toll of the kidnapping, delving into the complexities of a father’s desperation and the moral dilemmas faced in the pursuit of justice. With a compelling storyline and Sivakarthikeyan’s powerful performance, the movie provides a riveting exploration of the emotional and ethical dimensions surrounding the theme of kidnapping. You can watch it here.

15. The Beast (2020)

The Beast‘ primarily revolves around ex-special forces captain Leonida Riva, who lives with PTSD stemming from his previous combat experience. Riva seems like a completely private person whose lifestyle effectively alienates him from his wife and children, who live separately. Although Riva works hard to keep up a working relationship with his children, his son loathes him, while his daughter is much more appreciative. However, when his daughter, Teresa, gets abducted from a local diner, all hell breaks loose. Determined to stand by his children and save Teresa, Riva fights his PTSD episodes, reengages his military skills, and puts his life on the line for a one-man rescue operation. Drawing inspiration from movies like ‘Taken,’ ‘The Beast’ is a wild, exhilarating, and thrilling ride that will keep you rooting for Riva until the final credits. You can watch the movie here.

14. Extraction (2020)

Extraction‘ is set in modern-day India and Bangladesh as it follows ex-SAS operator and present mercenary Tyler Rake on a mission to rescue an Indian drug lord’s son. The film opens with the kidnapping, as corrupt police officers working for rival drug lord Amir Asif abduct Ovi Mahajan. Ovi is the son of an incarcerated drug lord who, through his sources, recruits Tyler Rake to rescue his son. Rake easily infiltrates the kidnappers and rescues Ovi, but the mission turns on its head when Saju betrays Rake and kills most of his men. With Ovi now on the run, Amir Asif orders a complete lockdown of Dhaka with no way in or out. Thus, the scene is set for an epic showdown between an experienced ex-special force agent and the entirety of Dhaka’s underworld. You may watch the film here.

13. Kidnapping Stella (2019)

Kidnapping Stella,’ a German thriller by Thomas Sieben, is a remake of the 2009 film, ‘The Disappearance of Alice Creed.’ If you want to check out what a minimalistic movie is, you can have a look at ‘Kidnapping Stella’ to get an idea. The film centers around three characters – two criminals called Tom and Vic, and the girl they end up kidnapping, Stella. It depicts how Stella uses her limited strength to free herself while being bound and gagged by her captors. With limited locations and only three actors, Sieben weaves a thrilling tale that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. Feel free to check out the movie here.

12. Missing (2023)

An anthology sequel to 2019’s ‘Searching’ and a spiritual sequel to 2020’s ‘Run,’ ‘Missing’ is directed by Will Merrick and Nick Johnson. It follows the story of an 18-year-old girl whose mother goes missing during a week-long trip to Colombia with her new boyfriend. Starring Storm Reid in the role of June, the events begin with her mother, Grace, happily leaving for a well-deserved vacation. A week later, when June goes to the airport to pick up her mother and her boyfriend, they are nowhere to be seen. June calls the hotel where her mother had been staying and discovers that her luggage is still there. When the authorities are of no help, she decides to look into the matter herself, but the problem is that she cannot go to Colombia. She’ll have to do it from her home in America. You can check out the film here.

11. The Kindergarten Teacher (2018)

One of the best Netflix original films of 2018, ‘The Kindergarten Teacher,’ tells the story of Lisa Spinelli, a teacher who gets obsessed with one of her young students after he shows a prodigious talent for writing poetry. Lisa is a married woman but does not share a warm relationship with her husband or children. The only respite from her normal existence is the poetry class that she attends. Though she tries to write something unique, her teacher labels most of her work as ‘derivative’. This is when Lisa discovers the poetic talent of this little child called Jimmy and even tells his father about his immense potential.

However, Jimmy’s father is not that interested in his son’s poetic talents and does not show any interest in nurturing them. Lisa decides that something should be done, and so she ends up kidnapping Jimmy. ‘The Kindergarten Teacher’ is a remake of an Israeli film, and though the director, Sara Colangelo, does capture the spirit of the original work, the movie still has a distinct tone. Maggie Gyllenhaal‘s stunning performance as the leading character is the highlight of the film. You can watch ‘The Kindergarten Teacher’ here.

10. Nyara: The Kidnapping (2020)

One of the great things about Netflix is that it allows us access to films that we would have never seen otherwise. The case in point is ‘Nyara: The Kidnapping,’ a Swahili-language film from Tanzania. The story follows Rehema, the daughter of a wealthy businessman, who gets abducted by an infamous gang while returning from school. Soon enough, the worried father is contacted by the goons, who demand $150,000 and warn Rehema’s parents against contacting the police. However, Rehema’s aunt works with the authorities, and the girl’s parents reach out to her immediately. The narrative subsequently turns into a cat-and-mouse game as the police officers race against time to free the girl. You may watch ‘Nyara: The Kidnapping’ here.

9. Apostle (2018)

One of the finest horror films of 2018, ‘Apostle,’ set in the early twentieth century, is the story of a man called Thomas Richardson who comes to know that his sister has been kidnapped by a religious cult and is being held on a heavily guarded island. Eager to free his sister from the clutches of this murderous organization, Thomas decides to infiltrate the island, pretending to be a member of the cult. Once he reaches the island, Thomas is shocked by the atrocities carried out by the figureheads of the cult and how brutally they treat their prisoners. This island was set up as a safe haven away from the corruption of the mainland, but it turned out to be even more sinister and unforgiving.

The production value of this film is what sets it apart from most other horror films. Writer-director Gareth Evans brilliantly conjures up this sinister piece of land where the cult operates and immerses us into the darkest realms of his imagination. If you are a horror film fan and have not checked out ‘Apostle’ yet, you are doing yourself a great disservice. You may watch it here.

8. Secret Obsession (2019)

Secret Obsession‘ revolves around a woman whose identity is left a mystery as the film portrays her fleeing from an unknown pursuer before crashing into a car. Waking up, she finds a man, calling himself Russell Williams, introducing himself as her husband. Russell claims that the woman is named Jennifer, and although she loses her memory in the crash, the man slowly helps her regain it through past photographs. However, after discharging herself from the hospital, Jennifer starts having flashbacks, which hint that her past was very different from her current reality. Additionally, with a police officer investigating Jennifer’s disappearance and the discovery of her parents’ corpses, the case turns on its head as the lines between truth and lies get blurred. You can watch the movie here.

7. Forgotten (2017)

One of the most interesting films on this list, ‘Forgotten,’ is the story of a young man, Jin-seok, who decides to find out the truth behind the abduction of his brother. Yoo-seok, his brother, was kidnapped for a period of 19 days and then suddenly released. However, the family never comes to know what actually happened to him in those days because Yoo-seok does not remember anything at all. Over a few days, Jin-seok starts having doubts about his brother and family, and it slowly dawns on him that they are not who they are pretending to be. Afraid that his life is in danger, Jin-seok goes to the police to tell them that he is being held captive by some strangers. The film then takes a turn towards something even more sinister and intriguing. You may watch the film here.

6. TAU (2018)

‘TAU’ is a science fiction thriller that highlights the interaction between a woman and artificial intelligence, called Tau (Gary Oldman). Julia (Maika Monroe) is abducted from her home and gains consciousness to find an implant in the back of her neck. In an attempt to escape, she destroys the cell she was held in and the adjacent lab. Her abductor, Alex (Ed Skrein), wants her alive as he faces a setback in his work with his lab having been destroyed. In her captivity, she develops a rapport with Tau, who gives her information about the house and Alex’s experiments in exchange for information about the outside world. Feel free to check out the movie here.

5. The Guilty (2021)

Directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead role, ‘The Guilty‘ follows the story of Joe Baylor, an LAPD officer who is on the night shift at a 911 call center. The events of the movie take place over one night as tension builds for Joe when he picks the distress call of a woman who reveals that she has been kidnapped and is being taken away in a van. The call cuts off before she can say anything else, leading Joe to figure out the pieces by himself and soon, lest anything bad happen to the woman and her loved ones. You can check out the film here.

4. The Most Hated Woman in America (2017)

This true story is based on the final days of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, who was a talk show regular and pushed for religious freedom. After having two children out of wedlock, her devout Christian parents were outraged. The trigger for her movement was when her son was forced to recite the Lord’s Prayer in school, after which she started a campaign to ban prayer in school. This resulted in the Supreme Court making mandatory prayer in school illegal. The controversial lady earned the name of “The Most Hated Woman in America” when she started minting money as an Anti-religious leader and founded the American Atheists. Having pulled publicity stunts before, no one took it seriously when Madalyn (Melissa Leo) was kidnapped, along with her son and granddaughter, for a ransom of one million dollars by her disgruntled employee David Waters (Josh Lucas). You can watch ‘The Most Hated Woman in America’ here.

3. Tallulah (2016)

Elliot Page appears in a leading role in this movie, which centers on Tallulah, a young homeless girl who lives with her boyfriend Nico, practically on the road. Notwithstanding each other’s ways, they discontinue their relationship, and Lu (Tallulah) heads to NYC to look for food and shelter. She’d often steal the leftovers outside hotel rooms to survive. During one of her such stealing acts, she’s encountered by a woman named Carolyn, who asks Lu to watch over her baby. As police surround the hotel premises and Carolyn is nowhere to be seen, Lu takes the baby to Margo, Nico’s mother, and proclaims that the baby is theirs. Margo then reluctantly accepts both of them into her house. Although technically a kidnapping movie, the lighter subject and the dark humor make it up for a delightful watch. You may watch it here.

2. Split (2016)

From the mind of M. Night Shyamalan comes a psychological thriller starring James McAvoy as Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man who is diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. This has given birth to 23 different identities within him. One of these identities kidnaps three little girls. Why? We do not know. But time is running out, and someone has to find a way to save them before the 24th personality, aka the Beast, who apparently wants to rid the world of those who haven’t suffered, takes over. A mind-bending movie, as is mostly the case with M. Night Shyamalan, ‘Split’ is a must-watch. You can do so right here.

1. Lucid Dream (2017)

Dae-ho, a journalist, seeks to track down the whereabouts of his son, who was kidnapped three years ago. The investigation has gone cold, but an experimental technique allows Dae-ho to relive the day his son was taken through lucid dreaming. ‘Lucid Dream’ will keep you on the edge of your seat from the beginning till the end. The investigations taking place in the dreams and the real world intersect in interesting ways, and the story has a lot of twists. It is a smart South Korean take on ‘Inception.’ You can watch the movie here.

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