Winter Thrillers and Similar Cinema to Watch if You Loved the Book

Tobias Menzies as James Fitzjames in ‘The Terror’ season 1 episode 3 (Photo Credit: AMC)

It’s the perfect season to cozy up with a blanket and a few winter thrillers. From mysteries with dark characters to chilling atmospheric horror novels, the desolate backdrop of snow and ice makes everything a little creepier. Since you’re already snuggled up on the couch, it’s also the ideal time to pair your reading with some winter thriller movies and shows. We’ve rounded up the top choices for cold weather books, plus some perfect counterparts available to stream. So go ahead—light a fire, make some tea, and settle in. There are plenty of mystery & thriller book options to get you through the rest of this cold interlude. Winter thrillers and similar movies/shows you can watch if you’ve read and loved the book.


Television Counterpart: The Terror, AMC

Set aside a healthy block of time and a space heater when preparing to binge the iciness of AMC’s The Terror series. Starring Jared Harris, Tobias Menzies, and Paul Ready, this 2018 show spans 10 episodes and brings the absolute bleakness of the novel to life. Gripping horror is the best way to describe the unseen monster, as well as the atrocities of being trapped on a ship in the Arctic.

Movie Counterpart: Wind River

The vast, snowy landscape of Wyoming sets the scene for this 2017 film directed by Taylor Sheridan. When a wildlife officer (Jeremy Renner) discovers the body of an Indigenous woman on the Wind River Indian Reservation, he must work with an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) to solve the crime.

Movie Counterpart: The Shining

The classic Stephen King novel was brought to life by director Stanley Kubrick in 1980. Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, an aspiring writer with a complicated past who goes to work as the off-season caretaker at the Overlook Hotel. Accompanied by his wife and son, the Torrance family is trapped in the hotel after a fierce winter storm. The snow-covered Colorado Rockies set an icy backdrop as the main character slowly descends into darkness.

Movie Counterpart: Winter’s Bone

Tasked with caring for her younger siblings and mentally ill mother, teenager Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) is trying to manage a destitute family. After their drug-dealer father gets out on bail by putting their house up as bond, he then disappears. Ree goes on a perilous journey to track him down, break a code of silence, and save the only home they know.


Movie Counterpart: Smilla’s Sense of Snow

After a day of work studying ice crystals in a Copenhagen lab, Smilla returns home to find her six year old neighbor dead in the snow. While authorities claim he fell off the roof, Smilla knows the boy was afraid of heights and their story isn’t adding up. She uses her intuition to track down a secret corporation that has been covering up “accidents” for many years.