15 Best Kidnapping Movies on Netflix Right Now

Kidnappings are used frequently in cinema because they create a unique type of atmosphere. It immediately builds tension and stimulates empathy from the viewers, sometimes before you even know who the characters are. In our selection of the best kidnapping movies on Netflix, you will find a diverse group of films that includes a documentary, sci-fi, and very interesting thrillers. In this list, we are also going to take a look at the movies which have a slightly broader spectrum than the mere word – kidnapping.

As far as Netflix is concerned, there aren’t many kidnapping movies that are available as of today, given it is a very scoped subject, yet we were able to sort the best ones out for you to enjoy. Kidnapping movies often contain the best of the action, grit, and sometimes spellbinding CGI, along with performances that are key to such films. Having that said, here is the list of some really good kidnapping movies on Netflix – movies that will make you witness the nail-biting action and sometimes romance or comedy for a change, and experience thrill in its raw form.

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.

14. Extraction (2020)

‘Extraction’ is set in modern-day India and Bangladesh as it follows ex-SAS operator and present mercenary Tyler Rake in 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 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.

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 tries to weave a thrilling tale, but the problems arise when he sticks too close to the original source material. The film is one that works on the twists and turns present in the narrative, and so if you cannot come up with anything new while making a remake, then it won’t seem interesting.

12. Abducted in Plain Sight (2018)

Directed by Skye Borgman, the true-crime documentary film is also known as Forever B. The disturbing story is shared by the different people involved in the actual incident, the bizarre abduction and rape of the 12-year-old, Jan Broberg by their neighbor Robert Berchtold. The story makes us feel helpless and frustrated because of how close and deeply intertwined the perpetrator was to Jan’s family. The appearance of Jan Broberg herself in the documentary is a great pull for the viewers. All of this had happened before the age of the internet, social media, and lightning-fast communication and availability of information, which justifies how a young girl and her family could have been brainwashed into normalizing and believing something so disturbing.

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 herself is a married woman but does not share a warm relationship either with her husband or with her children. The only respite from her normal existence is the poetry class that she attends. Though she tries to write something unique, most of her work is labeled as ‘derivative’ by the teacher. 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 to nurture the same. 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 definitely the highlight of the film.

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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 while returning from school by an infamous gang. 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 get the girl free. There is something inherently fun about movies like these. Made on a meager budget, they ooze earnestness and unrestricted love for filmmaking.

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 turns 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.

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.

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 was being held captive by some strangers. The film then takes a turn towards something even more sinister and intriguing.

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.

5. Hush (2016)

An invasion thriller at the outset, Maddie is deaf and mute and a stay-at-home writer who lives in a secluded place. As she has been deaf and mute for about half of her life now, she’s used to it. Her house is frequented by her friend Sarah, who occasionally comes to have a check on her. Sarah, as soon as she exits, on one fine day, comes back running at her door and even starts pounding on the door, but we see a nonchalant Maddie cook her food and do her chores, while Sarah gets slaughtered. When the killer knocks on the door and Maddie doesn’t respond, he becomes fascinated with her and steals her cellphone, takes pictures of her, and sends her back. In a strange turn of events, as was expected, she overpowers him and kills the killer in the end. ‘Hush’ has the gentle scares which otherwise would look normal in any other movie but gets your heart-pounding, given the film’s excellent sound design.

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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).

3. Tallulah (2016)

Ellen (Elliot) Page appears in a leading role in this movie, which circles around Tallulah, a young homeless girl who lives with her boyfriend Nico, practically on the road. Notwithstanding each other’s ways, they both separate 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 premise 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.

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2. Savages (2012)

Directed by Oliver Stone, ‘Savages‘ revolves around a woman, Ophelia “O” Sage (Blake Lively), and her two lovers, John “Chon” McAllister Jr. (Taylor Kitsch) and Ben Leonard (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Chon and Ben run an illegal marijuana dealing business in Laguna Beach, California. They are contacted by a Mexican drug cartel with an offer of partnership. Although Chon and Ben decline the offer, they tell the other party that they are willing to hand over their network in its entirety. However, the cartel wants their expertise, so they kidnap Ophelia to force Chon and Ben into compliance. Predictably, the abduction of their mutual romantic partner sends Chon and Ben on a war path. After speaking to their government connection, the corrupt DEA agent Dennis (John Travolta), they map out how to engage the cartel in a brutal feud.

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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 at 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”.

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