The summer weather is keeping things hot outside, but a good sexy thriller can keep things steamy all year long. Sexy and erotic thrillers have largely fallen by the wayside in theaters, but the genre still has a home on Netflix. These are the films that are about more than just romance or sex. After all, it’s more fun to see secrets, lies, and dangers get in the way of an otherwise normal relationship. All of that just spices things up and keeps things entertaining.
To help you get through this long hot summer, we’ve put together a small list of the five sexy thrillers on Netflix that you need to watch. These may not be Oscar-worthy movies or films that are beloved by critics, but they are films that have had a lot of success on Netflix from the way that they turn on the heat, so to speak.
Deadly Illusions (2021)
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Do you want to get meta? Because it doesn’t get more meta than Netflix’s Deadly Illusionswhich is a thriller about a thriller writer. Mary Morrison (Kristin Davis) was a master of the thriller genre, but she’s lost her touch. It’s only when Mary hires a nanny named Grace (Greer Grammer) that she rediscovers her passion for writing.
Unfortunately, Mary also seems to be developing a passion for Grace while experiencing vivid fantasies of her husband, Tom (Dermot Mulroney), having an affair with Grace. Is Mary imagining things? Or has Grace infiltrated her life so completely that she is destroying Mary’s family from within? You’ll have to tune in to find out.
Watch Deadly Illusions on Netflix.
Ok, technically, this is a series. But at only four episodes long ranging from 33 minutes to 43 minutes in length, Obsession plays like a really long, intoxicating movie. That’s largely due to its source material as it’s a remake of the 1992 erotic drama Damage starring Jeremy Irons, Juliette Binoche, and Miranda Richardson. The plot of both is largely the same: a prominent British man (Richard Armitage) with a rich wife and a happy family meets his son’s fiancée (Charlie Murphy) at a bar and almost immediately begins an affair with her.
The “Obsession” in the title derives not from where you’d expect in a genre like this; instead of the female mistress becoming obsessed with the man, it’s the man who becomes determined to find out everything about his mysterious, aloof lover, and to continue their affair even though it risks upending both of their lives. The series is appropriately erotic (there are copious amounts of full-frontal nudity), but it’s also an incisive look at how infatuation can quickly turn into something dangerous and inevitable.
Watch Obsession on Netflix.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover (2023)
The granddaddy of erotic dramas, Lady Chatterley’s Lover isn’t technically a thriller, but it does contain the simple structure of your standard erotic thriller: An upper-class wife has an affair with a working-class man, and the principal tension is whether or not their romance will be discovered by the jilted spouse.
Of course, anyone who has read the 1928 D.H. Lawrence novel on which this movie is based, or even knows about the many adaptations that have been made in the nearly 100 years since the book’s publication, knows that the story is so much more than that. It’s about the nature of desire, how the rise of industrialized society suppresses humanity’s innate natural instincts, and how the relationship between a man and a woman is, well, complicated. It’s all those things, yes, but’s also a great erotic movie, filled with sex scenes that are graphic but never gratuitous. If you’re in the mood for something a little more serious and sensual, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is just the movie for you.
Watch Lady Chatterley’s Lover on Netflix.
You may notice certain similarities between Deadly Illusions and Chloeeven though Chloe was released years earlier. Julianne Moore headlines the film as Dr. Catherine Stewart, a woman who is convinced that her husband, David Stewart (Liam Neeson), is being unfaithful. After befriending a call girl named Chloe Sweeney (Amanda Seyfried), Catherine hires her to test David’s fidelity.
Much to Catherine’s disappointment, Chloe reports that David is cheating on her. But Catherine’s sexual desire soon turns towards Chloe herself even though it quickly becomes clear that Chloe hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with the truth.
Watch Chloe on Netflix.
365 Days (2020)
365 Days is a Polish erotic thriller that was absolutely hated by critics while rising to the top of Netflix’s movie charts. Anna-Maria Sieklucka stars as Laura Biel, a woman who was unaware that she is the obsession of a mobster named Massimo (Michele Morrone). During a near-death experience years earlier, Massimo briefly glimpsed Laura and became gripped with desire for her.
In the present, Massimo kidnaps Laura and says that he will hold her captive for a year in the hope that she will come to love him in return. And despite the undesirable circumstances, Laura discovers that she does indeed have feelings for her captor. 365 Days is one of the most controversial Netflix movies, and also one of the streamer’s most successful; it spawned a trilogy, so if you like this movie, you’ll probably like the sequels as well.
Watch 365 Days on Netflix.