Colors of Evil Red: 10 Similar Thriller Movies You Must Watch

Netflix’s ‘Colors of Evil: Red’ is a crime thriller that revolves around the murder of a young woman, Monika Bogucka (Zofia Jastrzębska), whose body washes up on one of Poland’s Tricity beaches. When ambitious prosecutor Leopold Bilski (Jakub Gierszał) is assigned to investigate the case, he uncovers striking similarities between Monika’s death and an old, unsolved homicide from over a decade ago. Even though Bilski’s superior forbids him from reopening the old files, determined to seek justice, he partners with Monika’s grieving mother, Helena (Maja Ostaszewska).

Helena, a judge whose life is in havoc due to her daughter’s death and her strained marriage, joins Bilski to uncover a web of dark secrets and corruption. Directed by Adrian Panek, ‘Colors of Evil: Red’ is based on Małgorzata Oliwia Sobczak’s book, ‘Kolory Zła: Czerwień.’ For those enchanted by stories involving the relentless pursuit of justice, extensive investigations, grief and thirst for vengeance, and multiple twists and turns, we present you with 10 movies like ‘Colors of Evil: Red.’

10. Murder by Numbers (2002)

Starring Ryan Gosling in one of his earliest roles, this psychological thriller revolves around two high school students, Richard (Gosling) and Justin (Michael Pitt), who believe they can execute the perfect murder. Mimicking the plot of Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Rope,’ the crime film follows Detective Cassie Mayweather (Sandra Bullock), a homicide detective with her own past traumas, and her new partner, Sam Kennedy (Ben Chaplin), as they investigate the seemingly random killing of a woman.

Directed by Barbet Schroeder, ‘Murder by Numbers’ transforms into a cat-and-mouse game between the cops and the teenagers, fuelling suspense and thrill. The extensive manipulation, control, and psychological motives behind the murder in Tony Gayton’s screenplay are reminiscent of those in ‘Colors of Evil: Red.’ Both stories slip into the psyche of both the investigators and the perpetrators, in addition to having a murder as the basic premise. The films also share their tense atmospheres, intensifying with every clue the cops find.

9. Wind River (2017)

A mystery thriller set on the remote and icy backdrop of the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming, it follows Jeremy Renner’s Cory, a Fish and Wildlife Service agent, who discovers the frozen body of a young Native American woman, Natalie. Rookie FBI agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) is assigned to assist Lambert in uncovering the truth behind Natalie’s death. The investigation comes across the harsh realities of life on the reservation, where despair and violence often go unchecked.

A chilling film — literally and figuratively — the Taylor Sheridan directorial masterfully presents the criminal investigation and the obstacles one may face seeking justice. These elements and the isolated setting and overall narrative style of ‘Wind River‘ firmly match those found in ‘Colors of Evil: Red.’ In portraying determined investigators confronting an internally personal and externally challenging case, the thrillers do not shy away from the most disturbing and horrifying aspects of humanity.

8. Anatomy of a Fall (2023)

Another thriller set amidst an icy backdrop, this French thriller revolves around Sandra (Sandra Hüller), a successful writer who finds herself accused of murdering her husband. The plot thickens as her son, Daniel (Milo Machado-Graner), becomes a key witness in the case as it heads to the courtroom with no time to spare. Directed by Justine Triet, who won an Academy Award for co-writing the screenplay, the legal drama highlights the scrutiny of the law Sandra faces.

The script oscillates between the legal strategies employed by Sandra’s defense attorney and the emotional turmoil Sandra and Daniel face. Like ‘Colors of Evil: Red,’ Triet’s mystery angles also tackle multiple layers of deceit, perception, the unreliability of sources, and the ultimate truth. ‘Anatomy of a Fall‘ also touches on the dramatical themes found in the latter, which include grief, familial relationships, and the complexities of a marriage.

7. The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009)

Based on the second installment of Stieg Larsson’s ‘Millennium’ novel series, this Swedish crime thriller stars Noomi Rapace in her second outing as Lisbeth Salander, a hacker who has been set up to take the hit for three murders. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist) works to clear her name, only to uncover a sinister web of human trafficking and corruption. A sequel to ‘The Girl With Dragon Tattoo,’ the Daniel Alfredson directorial comprises an intense narrative and strong female lead to parallel ‘Colors of Evil: Red.’ In their exploration of hidden crimes and relentless pursuit of justice, both stories come upon dark secrets and complex relationships, with protagonists facing personal and professional challenges.

6. Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

Where the Crawdads Sing’ is a mystery drama that follows Kya Clark (Daisy Edgar-Jones), a reclusive young woman living in North Carolina, as she becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation. Based on the eponymous novel by Delia Owens, the story unfolds Kya’s troubled past and her struggle for survival in the face of societal rejection. Olivia Newman’s direction steadily brings out Kya’s internal demons in the form of agony, isolation, and resilience, which she must embody. The protagonist’s brutal efforts to uncover the truth resonates with Maja Ostaszewska’s Helena, as the drama thriller expands upon the primary investigation, stretching it to a fight against prejudice and societal injustice.

5. Lady Vengeance (2005)

The last entry in Park Chan-wook’s ‘Vengeance Trilogy,’ this South Korean film follows Lee Geum-ja (Lee Young-ae), a woman wrongfully imprisoned for child murder. Upon her release 13 years later, Lee embarks on the quest for revenge against the true culprit. The neo-noir actioner unfolds through non-linear storytelling, revealing Geum-ja’s tragic past, transformation, and pursuit of justice.

The most apparent similarities between ‘Colors of Evil: Red’ and ‘Lady Vengeance’ lie in their emotional parts, which showcase the mother’s grief. Furthermore, the two screenplays also correspond to each other’s handling of retribution and hidden truths. More parallels arise with their protagonists’ deep sense of injustice, desire to expose corruption and resort to questionable measures to fulfill their missions.

4. The Girl on the Train (2016)

This psychological thriller from Tate Taylor stars Emily Blunt as Rachel Watson, a person with alcohol addiction who becomes entangled in a missing person’s investigation, which blurs the lines between perception and reality. Rachel spends her days commuting aimlessly on a train, observing the lives of a seemingly perfect couple, Scott (Luke Evans) and Megan Hipwell (Haley Bennett). When Megan goes missing, Rachel’s unreliable memories hold a crucial piece of the puzzle she must solve.

Adapted from ‘The Girl on the Train’ novel by Paula Hawkins, the murder mystery focuses on a troubled protagonist that aligns with ‘Colors of Evil: Red.’ Moreover, it correspondingly revolves around unraveling complex mysteries and features characters confronting personal demons while seeking justice. The suspenseful narrative and detailed exploration of a murder investigation and the lives of everyone caught in the middle of it — from victims’ families, investigators, and town folks — paint a compelling picture of different mindsets.

3. Insomnia (1997)

The first film Christopher Nolan ever remade, director Erik Skjoldbjærg’s Norwegian psychological thriller follows detective Jonas Engström (Stellan Skarsgård), who is sent to a small town in Northern Norway to solve the murder of a young girl. As the investigation progresses, Engström accidentally shoots his partner during a chaotic pursuit and ends up covering up the incident out of fear and guilt. Engström’s sleeplessness and moral struggles intensify as he faces increasing pressure from the investigation and his own conscience.

The film’s intense psychological depth and moral ambiguity resonate with ‘Colors of Evil: Red,’ which is also set against the backdrop of a murder investigation. Both stories feature lead characters struggling with personal guilt and professional responsibilities, often creating obstacles in their already complex investigations. The bleak, atmospheric settings and the portrayal of internal conflicts add to their chilling narratives, making ‘Insomnia’ a compelling companion to ‘Colors of Evil: Red.’

2. High and Low (1963)

Legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s ‘High and Low’ is a Japanese police procedural drama that revolves around Kingo Gondo (Toshiro Mifune), a wealthy executive whose son becomes a kidnapping target. However, the kidnapper mistakenly takes the chauffeur’s son, putting Gondo in a moral dilemma over whether to pay the ransom. Detective Tokura (Tatsuya Nakadai) leads the investigation to track down the kidnapper and rescue the boy in one of the most accurate and detailed on-screen investigations in cinema history.

Along with its already rich elements of societal and class issues, Kurosawa’s adaptation of Evan Hunter’s ‘King’s Ransom’ shares numerous other thematic elements with the Netflix film. The moral dilemma faced by privilege, minute details the detectives stumble on while investigating, and the grief-stricken families of the victims take the similarities to a higher level.

1. Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

‘Murder on the Orient Express,’ directed by auteur filmmaker Sidney Lumet, is a classic whodunit based on Agatha Christie’s best-known novel. The plot follows renowned detective Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney) as he investigates the murder of an American tycoon, Ratchett (Richard Widmark), aboard the luxurious Orient Express train. As Poirot interviews each passenger, he comes across a web of lies and connections, revealing that everyone on board has a motive for the murder. The intricate plotting and diverse character ensemble of the murder mystery has inspired hundreds of movies, all of which share certain similarities with the classic.

Keeping up with the tradition, ‘Colors of Evil: Red’ too focuses on a meticulous investigation full of hidden truths. Both films showcase a determined detective piecing together clues from various suspects, each with their own secrets. The suspense and detailed character interactions in ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ align with the investigative depth and complexity found in the latter, along with the tragic crimes that prompt the plot of ‘Colors of Evil: Red’ in the first place.

Read More: Is Colors of Evil: Red Based on a True Story?