Best Movies On Netflix For Your True Crime Fix

True crime is one the most popular genres today and these are the best available to stream on Netflix.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

One of the most fascinating things about movie audiences is that people might hate one genre and then get into a similar one. For example, we know plenty of people that hate the bloody ickiness of horror movies, but they go gaga for a good true crime film. If that sounds like you and you’re in the mood for some true crime movies that will keep you on the edge of your seat, we’ve compiled the best films you can stream on Netflix right now.

Lost Girls

If you’re a fan of true crime, then you know that most of its films are quite a bummer, and that’s certainly true of the Netflix film Lost Girls. This movie takes place in Long Island and focuses on the real phenomenon of sex workers that were murdered in that area, and it’s based on a nonfiction book of the same name by Robert Kolker that came out back in 2013. The primary plot focuses on a woman played by Amy Ryan, who is worried about her missing daughter, and her private investigation into the matter leads her down a rabbit hole of mystery and murder (the cornerstones of any good true crime film).

Aside from the general bleakness of the subject matter, Lost Girls is also notable for providing an unflinching view of how the deck was stacked against these sex workers from the very beginning. As Ryan’s character discovers, these murders would have likely been solved long ago if not for both the local community and local authorities essentially not giving a damn about prostitutes. In short, if you weren’t already a cynic about the casual cruelty of your community neighbors and the horrific indifference of the American judicial system, this movie will likely change your mind.

Girl In The Picture

If you like your true crime a bit less dramatized, then you’ll probably enjoy the Netflix documentary Girl in the Picture. Of course, your enjoyment hinges on how well you like edge-of-your-seat misery and horror: this film follows the wild story of a young mother who dies, and then her son is kidnapped, leading to countless questions about a mystery that has been decades in the making. In addition to being a gripping film in its own right, longtime true crime fans will appreciate that this documentary was directed by Skye Borgman, who previously brought us the similarly-thrilling movie Abducted in Plain Sight.

Perhaps the most interesting thing about this film is that it keeps gaining new fans through word-of-mouth, but not the usual word-of-mouth talking about how good it is. While the movie is good (great, even), much of its reputation comes from audiences watching it and instantly telling everyone they know it’s one of the most disturbing things they have ever seen. We’re guessing that many of the people saying this were trying to warn others from diving into something a little too scary, but they instead helped recruit true crime fans and horror junkies who wanted to see what the hype is about.

The Good Nurse

In its own way, the true crime film The Good Nurse on Netflix is one of the most star-studded examples of the genre. In this film, based on a true story about a deadly nurse using his medical position to cause misery and suffering, killer character actor Noah Emmerich is joined by Oscar-winning actors Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne, the latter playing the titular not-so-good nurse (one who is basically the polar opposite of the character he played in the Harry Potter spinoff films).

The film takes its name and premise from the 2013 book The Good Nurse: A True Story of Medicine, Madness and Murder written by Charles Graeber. Both the book and the movie follow the murderous misadventures of Charlie Cullen, a real-life ICU nurse who is able to do something that every murderer dreams of: killing his victims with complete impunity, secure in the knowledge that nobody can stop him or even has any idea what he has been doing. Both the premise and the performances make this a standout film in the true crime genre, and it successfully mines terror from the kind of question likely to keep you up at night: what if the people meant to save you were secretly out to kill you?

Extremely Wicked Shockingly Vile And Evil

It’s fair to say that the wordy Extremely Wicked Shockingly Vile And Evil is one of the most controversial true crime films that you can stream on Netflix or anywhere else. The movie focuses on Ted Bundy, one of the most infamous serial killers in history, but it’s not the brutality of Bundy’s crimes that makes the film so controversial. Instead, it’s the fact that this film featuring Zac Efron seems perhaps a little too fascinated by the killer, and Efron’s portrayal led to some disturbing online discourse about how attractive the real Bundy was.

That’s doubly dark because it was Ted Bundy’s good looks and charming personality that helped him lead a minimum of 30 women to their grisly deaths (Bundy went to his grave in 1989, having never disclosed the exact number of his victims). But, perhaps by accident, director Joe Berlinger’s fascination with Bundy as well as the unexpected audience reaction, makes this one of the most compelling true crime films we’ve ever watched. In an age when many true crime fans are rightfully exasperated by the sheer amount of repetitive content getting released, there is something exciting about a film that takes creative risks and tries to do something new with the genre.