10 Best South Indian Thriller Movies of All Time

Written by: Kaushik Jethva

Last Updated: August 17, 2023

south indian thriller movies
south Indian thriller movies

South Indian cinema, often overshadowed by its Bollywood counterpart, has undeniably given us some of the best movies in the thriller genre. South Indian cinema, renowned for its rich tapestry of stories, delves deeper into narratives that have the power to leave audiences on the edge of their seats. Among the myriad genres that South Indian films explore, the thriller genre stands out for its gripping plots and unexpected twists. Let’s explore some of the best South Indian thriller movies that have garnered critical acclaim and left an indelible mark on the audience.

1 The World of South Indian Thriller Movies

Vikram Vedha (2017)

vikram vedha poster
Vikram Vedha poster

Directed by Pushkar and Gayatri, this Tamil sleeper hit revolves around a police officer and a notorious gangster. The story is an engaging play between the cop, where the lead roles – Vikram (played by Madhavan), and the criminal, Vedha (Vijay Senthupathi). Vikram Vedha is not just a battle of good versus evil, but it delves deeper into the moral grey areas. With its intense performances and one of the best climaxes in South Indian cinema, it’s no wonder that the movie earned both box-office success and critical acclaim.

U Turn (2016)

u turn poster
U Turn poster

Crafted by Pawan Kumar, “U-Turn” is a Kannada police drama centered on a mysterious murder case involving a flyover in Bangalore. The plot thickens as a young journalist (played by Shraddha Srinath in the original version and later by Samantha Akkineni in the remake) investigates the serial killings. The story’s unexpected twists and the tumultuous ordeal faced by the lead only add to its gripping narrative.

Ratsasan (2018)

ratsasan poster
Ratsasan poster

A Tamil sleeper hit, Ratsasan revolves around a police officer (played by Vishnu Vishal) who is hot on the trail of a psychotic killer targeting school girls. The movie, featuring Sri Divya in a lead role, beautifully captures the essence of the investigation, the underlying cyber crime theme, and the psychological inhibitions of its characters. It’s a must-watch for those seeking a critically acclaimed suspense thriller.

Drishyam (2013)

drishyam poster
Drishyam poster

Jeethu Joseph’s Malayalam film starring Mohanlal and Meena is a masterpiece. The story revolves around George Kutty (Mohanlal), a simple cable TV operator, who goes to great lengths to protect his family after an unexpected incident. As a father’s death leads to a missing case, the narrative gradually unveils the layers of planning George Kutty undertook to prove his family’s innocence. Its cathartic finale left audiences applauding the brilliance of the plot.

Anjali CBI (2019)

anjali cbi poster
Anjali CBI poster

Originally titled “Imaikkaa Nodigal”, this Tamil film stars Nayanthara, Atharvaa, and Anurag Kashyap. It revolves around a police officer on the hunt for a serial killer. The dynamic between the rock star-like psychotic killer and the officer makes for a captivating watch. The movie, with its thrilling plot, sits comfortably among the best South Indian suspense thriller movies.

Premam (2015)

premam poster
Premam poster

While not strictly a thriller, it would be remiss to discuss critically acclaimed South Indian movies without mentioning the iconic Malayalam film, “Premam”. Directed by Alphonse Puthren, the story revolves around the love life of George (played by Nivin Pauly) from his teenage years to adulthood. One of the film’s highlights is the enchanting performance by Sai Pallavi, who garnered immense fame and adoration for her role as Malar, a young school teacher. The film stars Sai Pallavi in a role that etched her into the hearts of audiences, marking her as one of the shining stars in South Indian cinema.

Kshanam (2016)

kshanam poster
Kshanam poster

This Telugu film features the tale of a private investigator who is pulled into the life of his ex-girlfriend to solve a mysterious disappearance. With the past playing a significant role and the story unfolding in a small village, the movie keeps the audience engaged from start to finish. It was later remade in Tamil as “Sathya” and in Hindi as “Baaghi 2”.

Evaru (2019)

evaru poster
Evaru poster

This Telugu adaptation of the Spanish film “The Invisible Guest” revolves around a young school teacher, played by Regina Cassandra, caught in a murder case. A corrupt cop, two raw agents, and the intertwined lives of the main characters make for a compelling narrative. The movie delves deeper into themes of truth, deceit, and the immigrant class in South India.

Kali (2016)

kali poster
Kali poster

Starring Dulquer Salman and Sai Pallavi, this Malayalam film explores the life of an impulsive individual who gets entangled in a dangerous situation due to his short temper. The story revolves around a tumultuous ordeal over a day in a hill station, pushing the characters to their limits.

Lucia (2013)

lucia poster
Lucia poster

Directed by Pawan Kumar, this Kannada film is a beautiful blend of art house cinema and mainstream thriller elements. The plot pivots around an insomniac leading a dual life, and its gripping narrative, filled with dreams and reality, has garnered critical acclaim.

2 Wrapping Up

From intense police force dramas, and heart-wrenching tales of a father’s quest to prove his innocence, to the unsettling journeys of private investigators, South Indian cinema offers a plethora of options for thriller enthusiasts. With movies that consistently challenge norms, presenting twisted tales and unexpected climaxes, they remain etched in the annals of cinematic history. Whether you’re investigating a mysterious murder in a small village with George Kutty or unravelling the past of a psychotic killer, these films promise a roller-coaster of emotions. For anyone keen to experience some of the best climaxes, unexpected twists, and deeply-rooted narratives, these South Indian thriller movies are a must-watch.

Do note, while this blog provides a glimpse into some of the best South Indian thriller movies, it merely scratches the surface. With the diverse and rich tapestry of South Indian cinema, there’s a vast world out there waiting to be explored, one movie at a time.

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About This Article

Kaushik Jethva
Written by: Kaushik Jethva author

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Updated: August 17, 2023
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