Knives Out was one of the surprise hits of 2019. In a year where superhero flicks and action blockbusters ruled the box office, Rian Johnson’s star-studded mystery went under the radar before word of mouth turned it into a smash hit. There really needs to be more movies like Knives Out getting cinematic releases.
The film follows Detective Benoit Blanc’s (James Bond’s Daniel Craig) investigation into the death of the Thrombey patriarch, Harlan Thrombey. The Knives Out mystery will keep you guessing right up until the end, with the tight plot full of twists and turns. Not only is the script well written and the directing from Johnson top-notch, but the supporting cast is incredible. Ana de Armas, Don Johnson, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, and Katherine Langford all feature in varying roles.
The announcement of a sequel following the further adventures of Craig’s southern PI Benoit Blanc has got moviegoers excited. The fact the new cast also includes heavy hitters such as Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kathryn Hahn, Jessica Henwick, Kate Hudson, and Dave Bautista, has got fans salivating at the mouth.
While still some months before Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (the name of the sequel) is released, we thought we would round up some similar films you can enjoy in the meantime.
18 Movies Like Knives Out
The Nice Guys (2016)
Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe team up in this 70s-era buddy crime drama from Lethal Weapon scribe Shane Black. Gosling’s struggling private eye Holland March is hired to find out if porn star Misty Mountains is really dead. Enforcer Jackson Healy (Crowe) gets mixed up in the drama and the duo decides to team up to find out what’s really going on.
Anyone who has seen a Shane Black movie before will know what to expect. Witty dialogue, great action, and timely comedic moments are all part of the charm of The Nice Guys. It’s great to see Gosling cast as a bumbling fool, enabling the former Dinsey star to flex his acting chops. Crowe is as solid as ever while Keith David, Kim Basinger, and Matt Bomer provide admirable support.
Ready or Not (2019)
If you ever needed a reason not to get married, this is the film for you. Newlywed Grace (Samara Weaving) quickly discovers that she’s married into a family who made a pact with the devil for fame and fortune. Part of the deal requires the family to play a game every time someone new becomes a member of the Le Domas clan. Grace soon finds herself hunted by the family and must survive until dawn.
While not a murder mystery in the traditional sense, Ready or Not is set in a mansion and does contain elements of classic mystery films. There’s also enough blood and guts to keep horror fans sedated.
Game Night (2018)
This film is downright silly but entertaining enough if you leave your brain at the door. When Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie’s (Rachel McAdams) game night is interrupted by a murder and the kidnapping of Max’s brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler), those present think it’s all part of the game Max had instigated. It’s not long before they realize everything that’s happening is real and that they are in fact playing for their lives.
Game Night is cleverly written and features lots of belly laughs, especially whenever Max and Annie’s lonely cop neighbor Gary (Jesse Plemons) is on screen. A great movie to watch with popcorn and a few glasses of red.
4. Sherlock Holmes (2009)
When it comes to famous detectives, Sherlock Holmes is at the top of the list. The creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is a whip-smart private dick, who along with his sidekick Dr. Watson, solves a myriad of baffling crimes in the late 19th century. There have been many film versions of the great detective but none quite as enjoyable as Guy Ritchie’s.
The man behind Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch gave a new generation of movie lovers a taste of Holmes in the form of Robert Downey Jr. Joined by Jude Law as Watson, this action mystery feature finds Holmes on the hunt for a missing dead man, uncovering a magic society intent on bringing down the British government. Sherlock Holmes remains the definitive big-screen adaption of the character and a fun period romp.
5. Brick (2005)
Long before Knives Out, Rian Johnson made his feature directorial debut with Brick. This extremely underrated crime neo-noir is inspired by classic hardboiled detective stories of the past. One of the big points of difference from other similar flicks is that the characters are mainly high school students.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is on the hunt for his missing ex-girlfriend and gets dragged into the local underworld. Although set in modern times, the dialogue is very pulpy and feels like an old detective movie from yesteryear. This adds to the style of the movie and helps it stand out.
6. Slueth (1972)
No, we’re not talking about the horrible 2007 remake but the 70s original starring Academy Award winners Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. Sleuth features Olivier as a successful crime author who invites his wife’s lover over to discuss an arrangement between the two. What follows is a game of cat and mouse as both Olivier and Caine try and put one over each other.
Similar to Knives Out, this flick is set in a giant mansion, something Rain Johnson has admitted inspired the setting for his mystery movie.
7. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
This is the second Shane Black film to feature on this list and the screenwriter’s directorial debut. The film that many cite as helping put Robert Downey Jr back on the map, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a hardboiled detective story set in Los Angeles. Downey Jr’s on-the-run criminal and Val Kilmer’s private eye team up and try to solve several connected murders.
This is a black comedy with plenty of action and great dialogue showcasing the talents of Downey Jr and Kilmer. The buddy cop element plays well and the supporting cast (Elizabeth Monaghan, Rockmond Dunbar, Shannyn Sossamon) make this movie one not to be missed.
8. Clue (1985)
Films based on board games are generally bad. If you need convincing, check out Battleships. But there is one that manages to work, thanks to its ensemble cast and well-written script. Clue is based on the murder mystery board game of the same name.
Six strangers are invited to the home of Mr. Boddy and told to kill Wadsworth the butler, who is blackmailing them all. Things don’t go to plan and Mr. Boddy finds himself the one being murdered. The remaining guests then have to find out who committed the crime before the police arrive and they all become suspects.
The film, like the game, is set in a mansion and features the same characters (Colonel Mustard, Miss Scarlet) and weapons (candlestick, lead pipe). While being a mystery, the film is full of jokes that come thick and fast while a stand-out performance from Tim Curry as Wadsworth is enough reason to watch this classic.
9. The Long Goodbye (1973)
An adaptation of Raymond Chandler’s classic novel, The Long Goodbye stars Elliott Gould as private detective Philip Marlowe. Tasked with finding a missing writer who has a substance abuse problem, Marlowe soon finds himself mixed up with gangsters and unsavory types. He also discovers his close friend who he thought committed suicide might not actually be dead.
When you think of hardboiled crime movies, The Long Goodbye is at the top of the list. Gould fully embodies the no-nonsense, wisecracking PI whose methods aren’t always above board. Director Robert Altman really catches the seedy side of LA in the 70s, and although a box office bomb, The Long Goodbye became a cult hit and has received universal retrospective praise.
10. Bad Times at the El Royale (2019)
This 2018 neo-noir didn’t do well commercially but is another flick that found an audience when it hit streaming services. Written, directed, and produced by Drew Goddard (the guy who wrote Cloverfield), this visually interesting thriller focuses on six hotel guests and the one employee working there. While all strangers, each of the character’s motivations and reasons for being at the hotel are slowly uncovered as they interact with each other and discover they have more in common than they thought.
Bad Times at the El Royale explores several themes around right and wrong, faith, and redemption, with a kick-ass soundtrack and great performances from Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Chris Hemsworth, and Dakota Johnson. A fantastic mystery with enough murder, intrigue, and suspense to keep you engaged until the very end.
11. Gosford Park (2001)
When it comes to movies like Knives Out, they don’t get much closer than Gosford Park. A group of wealthy Brits (and their American friend) gather for a weekend away when one of them ends up murdered. As the investigation unfolds, the film is told from the point of view of the servants and guests.
Family secrets are soon exposed as the guests begin to turn on each other in search of the truth. Unlike the experienced Benoit Blanc in Knives Out, Stephen Fry’s bumbling Inspector Thompson is in too deep but does his best to find the murderer responsible for Sir William McCordle’s death.
12. Identity (2003)
Identity is another film where a group of strangers finds themselves stuck together. Loosely based on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, the movie takes place at an isolated hotel where ten seemingly unconnected people are being killed off one by one. Part mystery, part horror, Identity is full of red herrings and misdirection and features a great cast that includes John Cusack, Amanda Peet, Alfred Molina, and the late, great Ray Liotta.
The timeline jumps around and the twists are great (until the end), with Identity offering everything you could want in a murder mystery.
13. Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
While many might enjoy the Kenneth Branagh version of Murder on the Orient Express, it’s hard to go past Sidney Lumet’s 1974 adaptation. Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (a fine Albert Finney) finds himself investigating a murder on the famous Orient Express. The murder suspects are portrayed by a cavalcade of famous actors and actresses, including Sean Connery, Lauren Bacall, Anthony Perkins, Michael York, Jacqueline Bisset, and Ingrid Bergman.
Murder of the Orient Express is widely regarded as the definitive Agatha Christie movie and features a great mix of drama, comedy, and whodunit mystery that still holds up almost five decades later.
14. A Simple Favor (2018)
Stephanie Smothers (Anna Kendrick) is a widowed single mother who is befriended by Emily Nelson (Blake Lively), the PR director of a fashion company whose son goes to the same school as Smothers’. When Nelson goes missing, Smothers decides to find out what happened, learning more about her new friend than she ever imagined.
This is a taut mystery thriller with commendable performances from Kendrick and Lively. Paul Feig, known more for directing comedies such as Bridesmaids and Spy, handles the mystery genre with aplomb. The movie proved so successful that A Simple Favor sequel is apparently in the works.
15. Mystery Team
Before he became a world-famous rapper, Donald Glover starred in this underrated comedy. Glover is Jason Rogers, aka “Master of Disguise,” who is part of a three-man team of teenage detectives who go by the name Mystery Team. Looking to prove themselves as real detectives, the naive trio tries and solve a double homicide in their hometown. Hilarity ensues as the three encounters a colorful cast of characters and soon find themselves in some sticky situations.
It’s no masterpiece but this movie has enough to keep Glover fans entertained and is a great glimpse at what he was like before making it big in the entertainment world.
16. The Usual Suspects (1995)
Not a murder mystery, but The Usual Suspects has enough suspense and intrigue that will leave you guessing right up until the clever final revel. If you haven’t seen this film you need to adjust your priorities, but the basic premise involves a group of criminals doing a job for the mysterious crime lord Keyser Soze.
Easily one of the most inventive thrillers of the past three decades, The Usual Suspects features an incredible cast (Gabriel Byrne, Kevin *cough* Spacey, Benicio del Toro, Stephen Baldwin, Kevin Pollak, Chazz Palminteri, and Pete Postlethwaite) and remains director Bryan Singer’s best film.
17. Dial M for Murder (1954)
Alfred Hitchcock has a filmography like few others. Almost every movie he directed is a classic. Dial M for Murder certainly fits that bill. Tony Wendice is a former tennis pro who discovers his rich wife Margot is having an affair with crime writer Mark Halliday. Wanting to claim his wife’s fortune for himself, Wendice blackmails Halliday into killing her. As is often the case, things don’t go to plan and Wendice finds himself in the crosshairs.
It’s a classic murder mystery with an unbelievable cast (Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, Anthony Dawson, and John Williams) that will leave you guessing until the end. Hitchcock’s trademark visual flair is on show for all to see in what is certainly one of his greatest movies.
18. Murder Mystery (2019)
Adam Sandler’s recent output has been very hit and miss. For every Uncut Gems there is a Sandy Wexler. Murder Mystery falls somewhere in the middle. Sandler and Jennifer Aniston are a married couple who head off to Europe for a romantic vacation. They find themselves invited to dine with a billionaire on his yacht when a murder occurs. With the police suspecting the innocent due, Sandler and Aniston must try and solve the murder themselves before they end up behind bars.
This is everything you would expect from a Sandler film: simple plotting, stupid humor, and great cameos. Somehow the Sandman always attracts fantastic actors and actresses, with the likes of Luke Evans, Terrance Stamp, and Gemma Arterton all starring. Although widely panned, Sandler fans will enjoy this one. Look out for a sequel coming to Netlfix later this year.