Best psychological thrillers

Best psychological thrillers DEFAULT

Like many of us, Ree Drummond loves to hate horror films. There's something to be said about scary movies that can make you jump out of your seat (or shamelessly crawl over to your honey's side of the couch &#;)—especially around Halloween. But sometimes, you might be in the mood to watch something with fewer ghosts and gore and a bit more suspense and drama. That's where psychological thrillers come in.

As the name of their genre suggests, these types of films deliver thrills, chills, and plenty of intrigue. The best psychological thriller movies will make you feel uneasy long after the credits have rolled and usually have an ending that makes you say, "What the heck did I just watch?!" If you're an old-school movie buff, you'll love classics like The Silence of the Lambs, American Psycho, and Misery. But don't sleep on more modern thriller movies. (You really won't sleep after watching them. Ha!) Recent hits like Get Out, The Invisible Man, and Joker are as shocking as they are thought-provoking.

After you've watched a few of the top psychological thrillers, you might be in need of a little palate cleanser. Pop on a romantic comedy, make some popcorn, and try to relax!

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The 25 Best Psychological Thriller Movies of All Time

01of 25

The Silence of the Lambs ()

Jonathan Demme's film adaptation of The Silence of the Lambs (based on the novel by Thomas Harris) swept the Academy Award ceremony; it won five Oscars that year. The movie follows young agent Clarice Starling, an FBI cadet who seeks the help of psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter, an incarcerated serial killer, to catch another just-as-terrifying one who's on the loose by learning his modus operandi.

After a senator’s daughter is abducted, Starling must cut quid pro quo deals with her source to catch her man. Prequels include Red Dragon (), Hannibal Rising (), and even a sequel, Hannibal (), but none of them holds a candle to the original, with stellar performances by Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

02of 25

Seven ()

In David Fincher's film noirSeven, homicide detectives David Mills (Brad Pitt) and old-timer William Sommerset (Morgan Freeman) hunt a sociopathic serial killer who commits bizarre and brazen murders that follow in the vein of the Bible's seven deadly sins. A young Gwyneth Paltrow plays Mills' adoring wife.

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

03of 25

The Sixth Sense ()

Ah, the infamous "I see dead people," quote. The Sixth Sense features a troubled eight-year-old boy who's somehow able to see ghosts and commune with their spirits, and the successful—albeit stumped—child psychologist played by Bruce Willis who tries to help him. The film earned its supernaturally-obsessed director M. Night Shyamalan two Oscar noms, and led to other well-received films, such as the science-fiction piece Signs () and the period-thriller The Village ().

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

04of 25

The Shining ()

Adapted from Stephen King's novel by the same name, Stanley Kubrick's The Shining embodies everything psychological thrillers are supposed to be; it's expertly acted, riveting, and terribly scary. Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic with anger issues, decides to reconnect with his wife and son by taking a job as the winter caretaker of a historic resort deep in the Colorado Rockies.

Snowstorm after snowstorm seems to put Jack in a tenuous state, and the viewer is left to wonder whether increasing supernatural occurrences are all in his head. Strangely enough, the Oscars snubbed this one, but Shelley Duvall's performance as the browbeaten wife is spot-on.

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

05of 25

Psycho ()

Considered one of the Master of Suspense's best films—and often cited as one of the best movies of all time—Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho paved the road for mainstream American cinema's inclusion and acceptance of violence, deviant behavior, and sexuality.

In s Phoenix, Arizona, the real-estate secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) absconds with $40, cash she's meant to bring to the bank and proceeds to drive to California to meet her paramour. On the way, she shelters at the Bates Motel, wherein Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) is the boyish proprietor.

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

06of 25

Fight Club ()

David Fincher's Fight Club (based on the Chuck Palahniuk novel) follows an unnamed insomniac protagonist (Edward Norton) who has a chance meeting with Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), a badass anarchist soapmaker, on a flight.

Bored to death of his job and his life, the narrator moves in with Durden and the two create a men's-only underground club that holds brutal bare-knuckle fights. As the club blossoms in popularity, both the club and the narrator's relationship with those around him (and himself) increasingly spiral out of control.

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

07of 25

Vertigo ()

Another of Hitchcock's film noirs that has achieved critical best-of-all-time status, Vertigo, based on the French novel, D'entre les Mortswhich is now published asVertigo, follows former San Francisco police detective Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart), who retires from the force early due to a case of vertigo brought on by his severe fear of heights.

Things go south—very south—after Ferguson goes on the hunt for his friend's wife, Madeleine (Kim Novac), whom he's been told is a danger to herself. As is typical of most Hitchcock films, Vertigo is, at once, romantic, glamorous, suspenseful, and weird.

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

08of 25

Nocturnal Animals ()

Based on Austin Wright's fictional novel Tony and Susan, and directed by fashion designer Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals is a twofer. Meaning: It has two different plotlines.

It all starts in L.A. with Susan Morrow (Amy Adams), an art gallerist who's asked by her ex-husband, Edward Sheffield (Jake Gyllenhaal) to read his new book manuscript. As it turns out, it's violent and sad—and she just can't seem to shake the idea that it's a metaphorical, and in some cases, non-fictional, rehashing of their troubled relationship.

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

09of 25

Ex Machina ()

Ex Machina is a riveting, mysterious science-fiction piece that's scarily truer to life than one would imagine. In it, young computer programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) wins a chance to spend a week in the mountains with his company's reclusive CEO, Nathan (Oscar Isaac).

Once Caleb arrives, he's informed that he's also won the chance to participate in a groundbreaking experiment: interacting with the world's first humanoid robot with ultra-superior artificial intelligence, the beautiful Ava (Alicia Vikander). The Alex Garland-directed film also won an Oscar for its visual effects, which are stunning.

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

10of 25

Taxi Driver ()

Scorcese's tour de force Taxi Driveris the story of Vietnam War vet Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), a mentally unstable, lovelorn New York City cab driver.

Scene by scene, we watch as Bickle becomes increasingly sicker, fed up with the criminal element of, and "cesspool" that is New York City. Determined to save the world, Bickle hatches a plan to assassinate a politician and rescue Iris (year-old Jodie Foster), a child sex worker he meets in his cab.

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

11of 25

Black Swan ()

Natalie Portman won a Best Actress Oscar playing Nina Sayers in Black Swan, a Darren Aronofsky film about a New York City ballerina whose obsession with dance takes over every aspect of her life.

To win prima ballerina status in the company's new production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, the lead must play both the role of the pure, innocent Swan Queen and the sensuous, cunning Black Swan. While Nina is a shoo-in for Queen, her competition, Lily (Mila Kunis), perfectly embodies the Black Swan. As the two compete for the lead, their twisted friendship slowly unravels.

Available On: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube

12of 25

Gone Girl ()

Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike bring Gillian Flynn's novel to life as Nick and Amy Dunne, the husband and wife in Gone Girl, a thriller with some spectacular twists and turns. When Amy goes missing on the couple's fifth wedding anniversary, Nick becomes the prime suspect—and a media frenzy ensues.

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

13of 25

American Psycho ()

American Psycho was adapted from 's sickening, satirical novel by Bret Easton Ellis—and for fans of Christian Bale, this one's a must-see. Picture New York City: By day, Patrick Bateman (Bale) is an impeccably well-coiffed, wealthy investment banker who, by night, lives a secret life as a serial killer.

It's a surprisingly hilarious deep-dive into what makes a psychopath tick, and it's also profoundly dark and brutally honest—its portrayal of s American materialism is uncanny. Its cast of characters (Jared Leto, Chloë Sevigny, Reese Witherspoon, Justin Theroux) makes it super-juicy.

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

14of 25

The Sinner ()

While technically this qualifies as a mini-series, it still joins the rank of one of the best psychological thrillers to watch, in our humble opinion. Jessica Biel stars as a young mother who inexplicably stabs someone to death, but doesn't remember a thing about the attack. A detective tries to unravel the mysteries in her mind while the rest of us hang on to the edge of our seats.

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

15of 25

The Undoing ()

This 5-part limited series follows Nicole Kidman and Hugh Grant as they play a couple who has it all in NYC. After a violent death and a chain of terrible truths are revealed, Kidman's character is forced to examine her life and find out who she can really trust.

Available on: HBO Max

16of 25

Run ()

Resident thriller actress Sarah Paulson plays an overbearing mother, Diane, in this Hulu original. Her daughter Chloe, played by Kiera Allen, has been raised in total isolation and is completely controlled by her mother—that is, until she learns of a few family secrets and decides to, you guessed it, run.

Available on: Hulu

17of 25

Mother! ()

In this thriller, a young poet and his wife are living idyllically and peacefully in their restored mansion—that is, until they welcome in some unexpected guests. Of course, they are bringing some chaos along with them, and with Jennifer Lawrence as Mother, you know the performance is bound to be great.

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

18of 25

Searching ()

Exactly 37 hours after his daughter goes missing, David Kim (John Cho) turns to the one thing that knows her best to crack the case: her laptop. This new thriller strikes a strong chord in today's technologically ruled world, and you'll be glued to the screen from beginning to end.

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

19of 25

The Girl on the Train ()

Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt) watches a happy couple from the window of her train commute each day. But, after watching a shocking event unfold in front of her eyes, Watson now presumes that one half of the couple is dead. As she embarks on her own investigation, there are plenty of twists and turns to follow.

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

20of 25

Ma ()

A middle-aged woman, played beautifully by Octavia Spencer, strangely befriends a group of teenagers and ultimately lets them throw a party in her home. As "Ma's" hospitality soon curdles, though, the teenagers are wondering if their dream is turning to a nightmare.

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

21of 25

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo ()

Daniel Craig stars as Mikael Blomkvist, a disgraced financial reporter who just got an assignment that could save his career from a wealthy industrialist named Henrik Vanger: solve the year-old murder of his niece, Harriet. Accompanying Blomkvist on his dangerous quest is Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), a genius investigator whose know-how might just solve the case.

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

22of 25

Get Out ()

Chris, a young Black man, is heading to upstate New York to visit his white girlfriend's family—so he thinks. The real reason for the visit is much more diabolical, and the family's overly welcoming behavior soon becomes anything but.

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

23of 25

Us ()

Another of Jordan Peele's masterpieces, Us followsAdelaide Wilson as she revisits the beach house of her past. With her fear increasing each day, they soon are met by four unwanted intruders—all which are doppelgangers of the family.

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

24of 25

Shutter Island ()

Based on the eponymous Dennis Lehane book, Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Islandtakes place in and begins with an investigation—conducted by a WWII-vet-turned-federal marshal—to find a murderer who escaped from an island-bound hospital for the criminally insane. (And you can just imagine what goes on in that hospital.) It's a beautifully shot film with solid performances by Leonardo DiCaprio and Ben Kingsley—and its eerie plot twists will keep you on the razor's edge.

Available on: Amazon Prime Video

25of 25

Parasite ()

In this Oscar-winning thriller/drama/comedy, Parasite follows the Kim family as their son, Ki-woo, gets an opportunity to tutor the daughter of the wealthy Park family and dissect the class differences between the two families. The film discusses class discrimination as the Kims attempt to climb the social ladder at the Parks’ expense.

Available on:Amazon Prime Video

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All movies are great in their own way, but let's be real: thrillers are the best. It's because they have the best elements of every genre. A little bit of fear, without diving into horror. All the speed of action, but with more plot. And dashes of drama and comedy without having to fully commit to either. It requires your full attention because it's everything, wrapped into one.

We dare you to half-pay attention to either Safdie Brothers movie on this list—Uncut Gems or Good Time. You'll miss everything in the span of one whirlwind second. Go ahead and attempt to follow Yorgos Lanthimos's Killing of a Sacred Deer while sneaking a moment to doomscroll. You can't do it! So, go ahead and take your cell phone and bury it under some blankets in another room, because it's not going to serve you well during a watch of any of the great thrillers below.

Netflix offers a massive library of movies at your fingertips, but the best of them when you need a real, absolute distraction is a good thriller. Below, we've rounded up the best thrillers on Netflix, which include true crime, horror, noir, comedy, action, and more. When your'e done with that, go ahead and browse our list of best movies of all time, which has a fair share of classic thrillers to keep the thrills coming.

Jaws

The film came out nearly 50 years ago, and it's still a primary reason kids don't want to go swimming in the ocean. We live in the age of big productions that go boom, but all Jaws needed to keep you on the edge of your seat was the threat of something gargantuan, yet incredibly out of sight most of the time.

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Training Day

Sometimes, you don't need some big supernatural force to make a great thriller. Take Training Day for instance. Denzel Washington won his Oscar for playing a narcotics officer in a crime-riddled neighborhood of Westlake.

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The Net

Thank you Sandra Bullock for trying to alert us to the dangers of the internet before we really got into the throes of it. Bullock plays a woman in peril after her identity is stolen and manipulated in ways beyond comprehension. SHE IS ANGELA BENNETT.

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The Da Vinci Code

Remember when everyone and their mom was reading The Da VinciCode? That was a real bastion of the mid-naughts for a while. When the book was turned into a film, starring Tom Hanks no less? Well that made it a full on phenomenon.

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The Beguiled

This Sophia Coppola flick combines the best of the thriller genre: the thread of danger, sexual tension, and an incomprehensible Nicole Kidman accent. Long live the genre. Set during the Civil War, an ailing soldier finds comfort in a school for women, but obviously, things get complex really quickly.

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Stowaway

You know how sometimes you go to space with two other people and everything is fine, and then all of a sudden, someone falls out of the roof of the ship because they were doing last minute maintenance and now y'all don't have enough oxygen for everyone to live? BUMMER.

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Shutter Island

Get out of here with your terrifying mind games, Martin Scorsese! Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo front this psychological thriller about two agents who go to an insane asylum on an abandoned island, trying to answer questions about a mysterious a murderer disappears. But like the genre suggests, nothing is quite as it seems, and the story gets darker the longer the two agents remain on the island.

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The Woman in the Window

Notoriously awful? Messy in scope? Sure. Those things are true. But also, The Woman in the Window is a psychological thriller that is so over the top and campy that it's impossible to stop watching. Watching Amy Adams navigate the fallout after witnessing a murder is intoxicating, especially as you decide whether or not she's a reliable witness.

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Double Jeopardy

It's peak late 90s thriller content. Starring Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones, the film follows a woman framed for her husband's murder. Everything starts unraveling though after she serves her time and sets off to uncover the truth: her husband isn't dead. But hey—it's double jeopardy, right? You can't be charged for the same crime twice.

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I Care a Lot

Somewhere between terrifying and hilarious lies I Care a Lot: the thriller starring Rosamund Pike as a legal caregiver who manipulates the judicial system to scam elderly people out of everything they own. Things are going great until she nabs someone with ties that bind a little more tightly than she's used to. The movie will literally have you asking if you're more comfortable with human trafficking or elder abuse, which is really a no-win situation. And yet, the film is so damn good.

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Ava

Tate Taylor's Ava stars Jessica Chastain as an assassin who starts doubting her choice to enter into this chaotic world when a job goes awry. Turns out, having a family while you're, well, killing people is even more complicated than it reads on paper.

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Uncut Gems

Sometimes the most terrifying thrillers are the ones that feel like they could legitimately happen. Well, that is, if you're constantly seeking the thrill of big, risky bets. Adam Sandler shines (no pun intended) as the star of Uncut Gems, playing Howard Ratner, a jeweler who makes a big bet that could either reset him financially or put his life on the line.

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Sweetheart

Being shipwrecked on an island seems like it would be thrilling (is that the right word?) enough, but being shipwrecked on a deserted island and then finding out you're not alone? No thanks. Sweetheart follows one woman's desperate attempt at survival. Bonus: it's a quick one hour and 22 minutes.

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Bad Genius

Lori Loughlin? Child's play. In Bad Genius, a group of highly gifted students set up a college entrance exam scam that leads to higher and higher stakes the more successful they become. The Thai heist film (more! heist! films!) has a percent on Rotten Tomatoes and is critically acclaimed, so flex on your film buff friends with that.

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See You Yesterday

You might have slept on this Spike Lee-produced film, but it's on Netflix and waiting on your binge. The thriller sees two science prodigies who are experimenting with time travel, but when one of their brothers ends up murdered by an officer, their experiment becomes more important than ever before.

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93 Days

Sometimes, the best thrillers are just sourced from the moments when the world outdoes itself with terrifying disease. Sound familiar? This African film dives headfirst into the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria, when someone arrives from Lagos with the disease. The thriller focuses on real life events and how (spoiler?) the Nigerian government's response ultimately saved countless lives.

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Acclaimed director Yorgos Lanthimos won for best screenplay at Cannes for this psychological thriller starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman as a married couple whose family starts falling apart after inviting an orphaned boy into their home.

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Gerald's Game

Directed by new horror master Mike Flanagan (the mind behind Doctor Sleep and The Haunting of Hill House), Esquire ranked Gerald's Game as one of the top 10 best Stephen King adaptations. It's the story of a woman whose husband dies suddenly of a heart attack but she's left handcuffed to the bed and must find a way to survive

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Fractured

This Netflix psychological thriller shows a family on a road trip for Thanksgiving. When his young daughter suffers an injury, Ray takes her and his wife to the nearest emergency room and waits as the two are taken to get a CT scan. However, the two disappear, and Ray becomes convinced that the hospital is hiding something.

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Good Time

Before the Safdie brothers created Uncut Gems and before Robert Pattinson would star as the new Batman, the three collaborated in Good Time. Pattinson stars as a street hustler and bank robber desperately trying to get his brother (played by Benny Safdie) out of prison after a job goes wrong.

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follows a farmer to Nebraska, where he sets on the path to write a confession for a murder from his past. The Netflix film is adapted from a Stephen King novella.

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Bird Box

Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, Trevante Rhodes, and John Malkovich star in this dystopian thriller (and Netflix original film) about a woman who must travel blindfolded along with her children to safety as an unseen force stalks them on their journey.

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Cam

Madeline Brewer plays an enterprising camgirl who discovers that she's somehow been replicated in various videos that have been uploaded to her own website in this Internet-inspired horror thriller and Netflix original.

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The Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino delivers an Agatha Christie-style mystery set in the American West just after the Civil War with a stellar cast that includes Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

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Hush

This is the O.G. A Quiet Place. That’s that.

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I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House

Lily (Ruth Wilson) is a live-in nurse who moves into the remote New England mansion owned by her patient, an elderly horror novelist who suffers from dementia. Soon Lily starts to question if the unsettling things that are taking place in this house came straight from one of her patient's books.

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The Invitation

A gathering of friends at a swank Hollywood Hills mansion turns deadly in Karyn Kusama's chilling and unsettling thriller, which sees a seemingly innocuous dinner party devolve into a cult-inspired killing spree.

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The Perfection

The Perfection is absolutely bonkers, so when it comes to thrillers, it fits the bill perfectly. If you’re looking for unnerving twist and turns, you’re going to be hard pressed to find one with more than this film about two cellists vying for the top spot in a conservatory.

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Secret Obsession

Brenda Strong deserves one insane Netflix thriller a year, and Secret Obsession is her entry for

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Velvet Buzzsaw

This horror satire from Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy is a mix of The Square and Eyes of Laura Mars, with Jake Gyllenhaal starring as an art critic who discovers that the mysterious paintings by an unknown artist have supernatural abilities—and take their revenge on anyone attempting to profit off of them.

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Justin Kirkland Justin Kirkland is a writer for Esquire, where he focuses on entertainment, television, and pop culture.

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The 25 Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time

By William Bibbiani

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From Hitchcock to Fincher, here are the movies guaranteed to get in your head.

It could be said that we go to the movies in the first place for the thrills. The desire to experience new stories, to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, to live out exciting events that might otherwise never be possible. We long for escapism.

But that’s not what psychological thrillers are all about. Psychological thrillers focus less on external adventure and threat and more on the interior worlds of heroes and villains whose grasp on reality is dangerously close to failing. They are stories of paranoia, delusion, phobias, and abuse. They exploit the anxieties of the audience while providing much-needed catharsis, putting our fears out in the open and revealing that they can either be conquered or, at the very least, have genuine validity.

However, it can be difficult to pin down which films are psychological thrillers and which ones are just thrillers in which the characters - like they would in any other genre - are motivated by their own, personal psychology. Like many genres of storytelling, the criteria can be a little nebulous and we’re not going to get hung up on that. We are, instead, just going to focus on the films we think are absolutely, % thrilling, and absolutely, % rooted in psychological anxiety.

These are our picks for the greatest psychological thrillers ever made, with only one caveat: there’s only one film from each director, because some filmmakers make a cottage industry of this genre, and it’s important to share as many brilliant films from as many different perspectives as possible.

Gaslight ()

George Cukor’s Gaslight isn’t just a psychological thriller, it’s officially synonymous with manipulation and horror. Literally, this film’s very title has entered the popular lexicon to describe a form of psychological abuse. Ingrid Bergman stars as a young opera singer who meets the love of her life, a handsome older gentleman played by Charles Boyer. But no sooner are they married and move into the London townhouse - where her mother was mysteriously murdered many years ago - does the relationship devolve into a nightmare. Our heroine, it seems, is losing her mind. Or is she?

Gaslight is a remake of a British thriller (which was almost lost to history after MGM bought the remake rights and tried to destroy the original negatives). And while it may have twists that seem telegraphed today, now that we all know what “gaslighting” is, the bleak and angry heart of the film still pumps blood. Bergman’s Oscar-winning performance, as a woman pushed to the brink of her mental endurance, is vulnerable and raw, trapped and clawing, captivatingly genuine, and Boyer’s twisted villainy will always be the stuff of goosebumps.

Rear Window ()

No catalogue of the great thrillers - psychological or otherwise - would be complete without Alfred Hitchcock, whose films transformed and frequently exemplify the genre. Rope, Spellbound, Shadow of a Doubt, and Vertigo all arguably deserve their own entry here, but if we have to narrow Hitchcock’s oeuvre down to one timeless classic, Rear Window deserves that honor.

Rear Window stars James Stewart stars as a thrill-seeking photographer, now trapped in his apartment, and going a little stir-crazy, after breaking his legs in a work-related accident. So he amuses himself by spying on his neighbors, each of whom has their own unique personalities and foibles. It’s an obsession that infuriates his girlfriend, played by Grace Kelly, and which may go too far, since he’s pretty sure he just saw one of his neighbors murder his wife. Maybe. Kinda.

Hitchcock films this whole movie from the interior of Stewart’s apartment, limiting the range of movement we expect from a motion picture, creating a claustrophobic environment and transforming everyone into voyeurs. By only witnessing what our hero sees, we don’t even think to question his interpretation of the crime. So whenever any of the other characters point out just how thin the actual evidence is (and it’s thin indeed) we’re forced to either deny logic and fall into our hero’s paranoid mentality or admit - begrudgingly - that we may have been cleverly tricked.

Les Diaboliques ()

Henri-Georges Clouzot’s ingenious and sultry thriller Les Diaboliques stars Véra Clouzot as the long-suffering wife of an abusive husband, played by Paul Merisse. She’s so isolated that her only friend is her husband’s mistress, played by Simone Signoret, because she’s the only other person who understands just what a monster he is. What a twisted and unexpected situation in which to find oneself; it’s exactly the sort of pressure cooker relationship that seems likely to lead to murder.

Which, of course, it does. At first, it goes just swimmingly. And then… the body disappears.

The allure of Les Diaboliques goes well beyond its twisty-turny plot (which is twisty-turny as all heck). Clouzot and Signoret are iconic as dual femme fatales, one sensitive and guilt-ridden, the other unflappable and icy, thrown together into increasingly bizarre circumstances and thinking out all of their unthinkable choices. Les Diaboliques sinks you into a pool of suspense and suspicion, and forces you to drown in it.

The Bad Seed ()

Everybody likes to think that their child is perfect, even if they do bad things sometimes. But in the seemingly idyllic suburban world of The Bad Seed, Rhoda, an eight-year-old girl played by Patty McCormack isn’t just a little naughty sometimes. She’s a serial killer who knows just how to manipulate adults into thinking she’s a precious little angel.

A child serial killer is frightening enough in the abstract, but the real horror show of The Bad Seed is watching Nancy Kelly, playing Rhoda’s mother, resist and then eventually arrive at that shocking realization that her little girl is an unrepentant murderer. Both McCormack and Kelly were Oscar-nominated for their roles - as was Eileen Heckart as the mother of one of the victims - but Kelly steals this show, peeling away the pieces of her sanity as she realizes just how evil her own precious angel truly is, and exposing a tangle of raw nerves underneath.

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? ()

In the bizarre and grotesque What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, filmmaker Robert Aldrich exposes what appears to be a deep-seated loathing for the entertainment industry, specifically the lifelong toll it takes on young performers. The film tells the story “Baby” Jane Hudson, a child star of the s whose career eventually took a back seat to her sister, Blanche, who was the superior actor. A tragic accident left Blanche paralyzed, and left Jane blamed for the tragedy, and begrudgingly acceptable a role as her sister’s unwilling caretaker.

Decades later, the Hudson house is a rat’s nest of festering resentment. Blanche, played by Joan Crawford, lives upstairs as the mercy of Jane, played by Bette Davis. The abuse Blanche suffers is shocking, and the decay of Jane’s psyche is repulsive, but both Crawford and Davis are wholly committed to making this bizarre mutually destructive life seem plausible. These, the movie argues, are the larger than life consequences of living larger than life, and the gruesome fate that befalls these sisters plays out as though it was ripped from particularly salacious headlines, a tabloid story that couldn’t be, and shouldn’t be, but feels wholly true. Riveting performances and prurient dread await you.

Shock Corridor ()

As a filmmaker, Samuel Fuller reveled in pushing narrative boundaries, and in his absolutely electric psychological thriller Shock Corridor he practically burst through them. Peter Breck plays Johnny Barrett, a journalist obsessed with winning the Pulitzer Prize, who embarks on a daring scheme to catch a headline. He will go undercover in a mental hospital, live amongst the inmates, and get to the bottom of an unsolved murder.

It’s the kind of idea that sounds clever on paper, but puts Barrett in a harrowing position. Without backup, without a confidante, without any chance of respite or escape, he’s plunged into an environment of abuse, paranoia and delusion, and repeatedly falls under the spell of his fellow inmates. Whether or not he solves the murder becomes a secondary concern; he’s trapped in a never-ending battle for his own sanity. Outstanding performances, disturbing writing, and daring imagery keep Shock Corridor shocking over 60 years later.

Repulsion ()

The almost threadbare simplicity of Repulsion may be jarring. Catherine Deneuve stars as Carol, a young woman living with her sister Helen, who is repulsed by her sister’s boyfriend, her own would-be suitors, and menial elements of her life which would, under usual circumstances, be minor annoyances. When Helen suddenly leaves town for a romantic getaway Carol is left to her own devices, and finds herself suddenly mired in her own anxieties, phobias, and, gradually, hallucinations.

The majority of Repulsion is just Catherine Deneuve fraying her nerves in an apartment, and yet that only makes her descent into psychotropic horror seem universal. Devoid of contrivance and narrative trickery, Repulsion highlights the subconscious associations Carol has, revealing a web of unchecked, undiagnosed trauma that has finally been given an opportunity to fester, free from seemingly unwelcome distractions of other people.

Sisters ()

Brian De Palma crafted the majority of his career around acrobatically photographed, labyrinthine psychological, and frequently sexual thrillers. But although Dressed to Kill, Obsession, Body Double and Raising Cain are all stellar, whirlwind shockers, it’s his first foray into Hitchcockian suspense that stands out. Sistersis a twisted, grotesque, unexpected delight.

The story of Sisters takes many sharp turns, beginning with an amusing anecdote of voyeurism, segueing into young love and jealousy, careening into murder, and then returning once again to voyeurism. From there on out we’re in Nancy Drew territory, as a plucky young reporter, played by Jennifer Salt, investigating a murder she’s sure was committed by an aspiring actress, played by Superman’s Margot Kidder, or possibly her identical twin sister. That is, until De Palma’s Grand Guignol climax, where the rules go out the window and so does the mystery, as though the filmmaker couldn’t wait to show you just how disturbing and fascinating his imagination is.

The Baby ()

One of the strangest psychological thrillers you’ll ever see, and in a bizarre way one of the best, is Ted Post’s disturbing grindhouse cult classic The Baby. This discomforting tale tells the story of a social worker named Anne, played by Anjanette Comer, whose latest assignment is the Wadsworth family. An abusive mother, two abusive sisters, and a grown man called only “Baby,” who lives in a crib, wears a diaper, cannot speak, and whose disability checks keep the family afloat.

The horrors that Baby endures on a daily basis are frightening, but what’s more, Anne begins to discover that Baby’s condition may exclusively be the result of the Wadsworth’s abuse, and that he could be capable of living a typical, self-sufficient existence. It’s only when Anne decides to rescue Baby that we realize just how far the Wadsworths are willing to go to preserve their lifestyle, and how far Anne is willing to go to protect him. The Baby is strange, bold, and creepy in the extreme, and it does not go where you would expect.

The Conversation ()

In the early s, between making The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, Francis Ford Coppola directed one of the best psychological thrillers ever made. The Conversation stars Gene Hackman as Harry Caul, a surveillance expert who records a conversation between two young lovers, and examines and re-examines the audio obsessively, thinking he may have uncovered a murderous plot.

Inspired by Michael Antonioni’s similar Blow-Up- about a photographer who keeps enhancing an image, thinking it’s evidence in a murder - Coppola’s film adds governmental paranoia into the mix, and highlights the lonely existence of a man who knows just how little privacy there is in the modern world, specifically because he’s so good at invading it. It’s a profound character piece, featuring one of the most nuanced performances of Hackman’s career, and a smart and unexpected thriller about how little we know, no matter how much we hear.

Manhunter ()

The first film adaptation of Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter novels, based on the novel Red Dragon, goes deeper into psychological terror than any of the others (at least until the TV show came along). Michael Mann’s Manhunter stars William Peterson as Will Graham, an FBI profiler who’s so talented at getting into the mind of a killer that he loses his own personality and drowns in the darkness. Will is on the trail of “The Tooth Fairy,” a serial killer home invader with a unique M.O., and once again starts to lose himself in his work, at the cost of his own soul.

Hannibal Lecter appears, inexplicably named “Hannibal Lecktor,” and played with a disarming casualness by Brian Cox, whose take on the character is more insidious and less mannered than the other actors who have taken on the role. That gives him the power to worm his way into Will’s mind more nimbly, until they’re chatting on the phone like teenagers. Meanwhile, as Mann brings out the madness in his protagonist, he’s exploring the humanity of his murderer, Francis Dollarhyde, played by an impossibly frightening, and impossibly tragic Tom Noonan. Stylish and insightful and terrifying, and in some respects, perhaps the best adaptation of Harris’s work to date.

The Stepfather ()

“Wait a minute,” Jerry Blake asks his wife. “Who am I here?” He really means it. Terry O’Quinn plays Jerry, a serial killer who insinuates himself into the life of single moms, marries them, and tries to live the perfect American suburban life. When they fail to live up to his Reagan Era conservative values, he starts charming the next single mom, living two lives simultaneously, and eventually murdering the family that offends him.

Joseph Ruben’s exquisite and frightening psychological thriller covers all the angles: the suspicion of a new father figure, the hypocrisy of the nuclear family, the perverse logistics of living multiple lives simultaneously. And at the center of it all is O’Quinn, giving an all-timer performance as one of cinema’s most fascinating monsters, who really does seem to be searching for what American culture promised him, and who seems utterly incapable of understanding that he was lied to.

Dead Ringers ()

David Cronenberg spent the majority of his career exploring the terrors of the human body, and our unnerving psychological obsessions with our own organics. Our various organs, including the brain, are inextricably linked - literally and thematically - and are all too easily malformed by his protagonists and villains. And while he’s made several classic films along these lines, it is perhaps Dead Ringers that stands out as his crowning accomplishment.

Jeremy Irons co-stars alongside Jeremy Irons, as identical twin gynecologists who share each other’s work, each other’s lives, and - without telling them - the same women. Elliot is confident and domineering, Beverly is shy and sensitive, and when they begin a romantic relationship with one of their patients, played by Geneviève Bujold, the strain becomes too much to bear. Beverly sinks into depression and delusion, imagining his patients as bizarre mutations, and Elliot soon sinks right in with him, choosing to live with his brother, even on the brink of madness, no matter what the cost.

Irons gives two devastating performances, with subtle, impeccable editing creating the unmistakable illusion, using old-fashioned techniques, that he’s somehow cloned himself. Dead Ringers is a technical marvel, and a sublimely weird, twisted psychological thriller.

The Vanishing ()

George Sluizer’s absorbing Dutch thriller Spoorloos (aka The Vanishing) tells the story of a young couple on a road trip. In the middle of a rest stop, Saskia (Johanna ter Steege) excuses herself to get drinks. Hours later she has not returned, and Rex (Gene Vervoets) cannot find her. Years later, the mystery still unsolved, Rex remains obsessed with solving the mystery of her disappearance and will do anything for the answer.

It’s easy to understand Rex’s obsession. It’s less clear what Saskia’s kidnapper, Raymond (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu), has done with her, let alone why. The Vanishing flits back and forth between cat and mouse, teasing the answers and unveiling everyday villainy. It’s absolutely captivating how matter-of-fact the grotesque imagination and humdrum rehearsals of a terrible crime can be, and by the end of Sluizer’s film, we too are dying to know the solution to this insidious puzzle. And like Rex, we may very well regret that we asked.

(George Sluizer remade his own film in America in , with Kiefer Sutherland and Jeff Bridges, and it’s a textbook example of how Hollywood can ruin a brilliant story by focusing on pleasing a crowd instead of reveling in their torment. Whatever you do, see the original instead!)

Jacob’s Ladder ()

Jacob Singer is a mild-mannered postal worker, recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder after a bloody tour in the Vietnam War. His family is no longer with him, his son died years ago, and he’s just barely putting the pieces of his life together with his new girlfriend… when he sees a tentacle on the subway. And mysterious men with blurry faces. All the demons of hell seem out to get Jacob Singer, but is it his PTSD affecting him, or something far, far more sinister?

Adrian Lyne is a director best-known for sensual cinema, films like Fatal Attraction, Unfaithful, and 9 1/2 Weeks, but in Jacob’s Ladder, he seems eager to explore the opposite of attraction. The repulsion that Jacob, played by an impressively vulnerable Tim Robbins, has for his present visions and his ugly past permeates into the grimy cityscapes around him. They represent a Hell of his mind’s own making, and by watching his story we are trapped in Hell with him. Jacob’s Ladder is a surreal and captivating vision of psychological horror; it should come as no surprise that it was a direct influence on the Silent Hill franchise.

, ()

In Park Chul-soo’s engrossingly gross thriller , we meet a pair of neighbors. Song-hee (Bang Eun-jin) lives in apartment , and she’s an aspiring chef. Yoon-hee (Hwang Shin-hye) lives in apartment , and she’s a writer with a debilitating phobia of food. She when Song-hee tries to make nice by cooking Yoon-hee delicious meals, she’s offended to the point of obsession when she realizes her neighbor has been throwing them away uneaten.

Why, oh why, is Yoon-hee terrified of food? Song-hee will get the answers by any means necessary, and their story takes wild and unexpected turns. The answers we receive are not the answers anybody could possibly want, and as the neighbors gradually form a unique relationship, we begin to realize that these two people should probably never have met, for the sake of sanity, for the sake of decency. But for the sake of the audience, it’s an unusual and absolutely riveting tale of cruelty and pain.

Cure ()

Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Cure may very well be the most hypnotic psychological thriller ever made, and quite literally. Cure tells the story of a detective, played on by Kōji Yakusho, tasked with solving an impossible series of murders. In each case a person was murdered, the murderer is found nearby, with no memory of what happened or why. And the only connection between them is a mysterious drifter named Mamiya (Masato Hagiwara) who doesn’t even know who he is or where he is.

What he does know, and what both Mamiya and Kurosawa employ all too well, are the techniques of hypnosis. Mamiya lulls everyone in his path into a psychologically pliable state, under they are impressionable enough to do almost anything. Kurosawa lets the technique play out for the audience as well, giving Cure a unique sense of cinematic thrall. Its horrors are tranquil. Its evils are under the skin and deep inside of you. It’s one of the very finest films of its kind, and one of the pinnacles of the psychological horror genre.

Perfect Blue ()

Japanese animator Satoshi Kon’s too-short directorial career comprised only four feature films before his death, all of them brilliant, as well as the unbelievably ingenious mini-series Paranoia Agent. The psychotropic and inventive thriller Perfect Blue was his debut, and it remains a watershed for the genre, cleverly foreshadowing techno horror, cracking open the perils of modern celebrity culture, and the dangers of losing oneself in their work.

Perfect Blue tells the story of a teen music icon, Mima Kirigoe (Junko Iwao), who decides to give up her extremely popular band and pursue a career in acting. To her fans, who refuse to allow her to change or live her own life, it’s a personal betrayal. To Mima it’s a pitfall into insecurity and a crisis of identity; who is she really? Is she who she thinks she is, who everyone else says she is, or who she plays on TV? And how is it that there’s a blog online that knows everything she’s doing, and even what she thinks while she’s doing it, if she’s not posting it herself?

Energized, creative and influential, and genuinely frightening, Perfect Blue made a mark on the thriller genre and turned Koa into a filmmaker’s filmmaker, with directors like Darren Aronofsky and Christopher Nolan both taking direct inspiration from his distinctive imagery and storytelling style.

American Psycho ()

American Psycho is, on the surface, a serial killer story. Christian Bale plays Patrick Bateman, a handsome yuppie in the s who works in finance, takes extremely good care of his body, and lives a life of absurd luxury. He’s also homicidal, and over the course of the film murders co-workers, sex workers, and even tries to feed a cat into an ATM.

But Mary Harron’s film isn’t a mere saga of violence and brutality. It’s a bitter and incisive comedy, in which the horrors committed by Bateman are balanced by the absurdity of his fragile ego. Here is a muscular Adonis, a titan of industry, whose psyche can be shattered by the appearance of a business card more stylish than his own. The horrors of American Psycho are clear, and threatening, but the real nightmare is the possibility that even Bateman’s most violent, powerful fantasies are nothing more than an immature, macho fantasy. Or worse, that the world exists explicitly to cater to immature, macho fantasies, and enable the worst and most pathetic brand of toxic masculinity.

However you read it, American Psycho is a ripping psychological thriller, and a bitter indictment of the mentalities that feed into the so-called “American Dream,” specifically of manliness and success.

Memento ()

Christopher Nolan’s second and breakthrough feature stars Guy Pearce as Leonard Shelby, a man with anterograde amnesia, who cannot make new memories. As a result, every few minutes he has to reorient himself, and ask where he is and what he is doing. Placing that man in the middle of a murder mystery is an ingenious bit of plotting. Editing the film around his point of view - i.e. telling the story in reverse order scene-by-scene so the audience is constantly re-orienting themselves too - is beyond brilliant.

Memento can’t help but feel like a “gimmick movie,” because of course, that’s what it is. The unique storytelling gimmick is undeniably part of the film’s appeal. But Memento doesn’t rest on its laurels and let the gimmick do all the work. It’s a tragic drama of cycles and reversals, of betrayal and futility. The unique psychological state of the hero propels the film in unusual directions but the story would hold up if told in chronological order, a canny bit of screenwriting that Nolan presents impeccably. Memento is still, perhaps, the filmmaker’s greatest marvel.

Mulholland Dr. ()

David Lynch tells stories on the edge of reason, usually leaning in the other direction. Sometimes there’s only a tenuous connection to reality of any kind, but there are just enough threads connecting the filmmaker’s hallucinatory imagery and dream-logic events to our universal anxieties to make them seem powerful instead of merely weird. Blue Velvet, Eraserhead, Lost Highway, and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me are all must-see films for enthusiasts of the psychological thriller genre, but his masterpiece may very well be Mulholland Dr.

And frankly, it’s a minor miracle that the film works at all, since it’s been repurposed from a failed TV pilot, which was given a new and completely different ending to quickly wrap up all the threads. Naomi Watts stars as a young and idealistic ingenue who moves to Hollywood and quickly takes up with an amnesiac, played by Laura Harring, who may be on the run from murderers. Together they navigate the twisted world of behind the scenes studio conspiracies, the underground dream world of independent theater and, most shockingly, a revelation that will destroy them.

Mulholland Dr. is perhaps Lynch’s most successful thriller, whether or not it’s his best film, because the new finale wraps everything up satisfactorily, while still never quite explaining what the nightmare behind the diner really was. It provides the thrills we seek, the depth we crave, and the inexplicable mysteries we couldn’t possibly solve without ruining the mystique.

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William Bibbiani (9 Articles Published)

William Bibbiani is a professional critic who has written for publications like The Wrap, Fangoria, Collider and Bloody Disgusting, and who hosts multiple podcasts every week on The Critically Acclaimed Network.He is a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, a connoisseur of pop culture esoterica, a cult film enthusiast and a horror movie fanatic. Most importantly he just loves movies, dang it.

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Psychological thrillers best

Thriller movies are reserved for the most fearless of movie fanatics.

Rather than the blood and gore of many horror films, thrillers are full of conflict, unexpected twists and tensions that have you on the edge of your seats. Better yet, the anxiety, terror and uncertainty inflicted on a viewer by thrillers can force them to question themselves, their close ones and even their own reality.

From Oscar winner Parasite, which delves into the subjects of greed and class, to Rosamund Pike’s scene-stealing performance in psychological thriller Gone Girl, the best thrillers are the ones that seem so real they give us nightmares.

That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of the best thriller movies to watch that are sure to have you biting your nails throughout.

1The Guilty ()

This film had us holding our breath for the majority of it given the fast-paced, nail-biting tension that builds thanks to Jake Gyllenhaal's incredible performance. The plot sees an incredibly anxious and angry police detective (Gyllenhaal) working as a operator after being demoted from his detective position, and trying to help a distressed caller.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

2The Power Of The Dog,

This film has Oscar nominations written all over it, in our eyes. It's a part Western, part thriller that sees Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch) gaslight and subtly bully his brother-in-law's (Jesse Plemons) new wife Rose (Kirsten Dunst) on the family ranch. Cumberbatch's whistle continues to send shivers down our spine.

WATCH ON NETFLIX FROM DECEMBER 1

3I See You ()

If you love Helen Hunt's then prepare yourself for this psychological thriller. A year-old boy goes missing and the case's investigator Greg Harper is struggling issues at home with his wife, Jackie (Hunt) and son Connor. However, Jackie and Greg's family soon finds itself tormented by unexplainable events that may be linked to the child's disappearance. One watch of this trailer and you'll be clicking 'play film' immediately.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

4Red Dragon ()

Edward Norton plays ex-FBI agent Will Graham who comes out of retirement, years after capturing Dr. Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), in order to solve a new batch of murders carried out by someone know as the Tooth Fairy. Unfortunately for Will, he has realises in order to find the serial killer he needs to confront his former demons and enlist the help of Lecter. Creepy? You bet.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

5Mulholland Drive ()

This film, directed by David Lynch, stars Naomi Watts and Justin Theroux. The film begins when Rita (Laura Elena Harring) loses her memory following a car crash. Stumbling around Los Angeles, confused, she finds shelter in an apartment and is found by Betty (Watts) who then helps to try to solve Rita’s history. Wildly dubbed as one of the best films to come out of the 21st Century in the US, this is not to be missed.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

6Buried ()

Being buried alive might be one of our worst fears. And it’s made even worse now that we’ve seen Ryan Reynolds star in this film, which sees his character Paul (a truck driver in Iraq) placed inside a coffin underground with nothing but a lighter and mobile phone. And breathe.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

7The Gift ()

A psychological thriller film written, co-produced, and directed by actor Joel Edgerton, The Gift sees couple Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) meet Gordo (Edgerton), from Simon’s past, who exposes a pretty terrifying secret which causes Robyn to question how much she knows about her beloved.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

8Woman In The Window,

Amy Adams plays agoraphobic Dr. Anna Fox in this film and boy does she give a scene-stealing performance. Living alone in her large Manhattan house, Anna's life is turned upside down even further when she witnesses something from her window while spying on the new family who have moved in over the road. But, did she really see what she thinks she saw? Watch to find out.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

9Run,

Run is a spine-tingling thriller which explores the relationship between a teenager (Kiera Allen) and her overprotective mother (Sarah Paulson) who locks her away from the outside world. However, the teen soon starts to question why her mother is so hellbent on keeping her isolated and starts to investigate into her mother's web of dark secrets.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

10Greta,

Greta is a psychological thriller film which really gives us the heebie jeebies.

It stars Isabelle Huppert (who plays a lonely widow named Greta) and Chloë Grace Moretz (a young woman named Frances) who become friends. That is, until Greta becomes obsessed with Frances (and we mean really obsessed). When Frances tries to end the creepy relationship, Greta takes things into her own hands.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

11The Revenant,

The acting, combined with the location, combined with the soundtrack of consistent, building drumming that essentially runs through the entirety of this film means that you literally feel your heart is beating in time with the film. Suspense is an understatement when it comes to this film which saw Leonardo Dicaprio finally win a Best Actor Oscar.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

12Panic Room,

See a young Jodie Foster and an even younger Kristen Stewart play a mother and daughter who move into a home which features an actual panic room. On one terrifying night they are forced to take refuge in the panic room, when three men (led by Forrest Whitaker, Dwight Yoakam and Jared Leto) storm their home.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

13Oxygen,

We feel breathless even thinking about this film. Starring Mélanie Laurent, this French-language sci-fi thriller sees her character wake up in a cryogenic chamber with no memory of how she got in there. With time and oxygen running out, she has to figure out how to escape before time is up.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

14Split,

This is James McAvoy like you've never seen him. The Scottish actor plays Kevin who has been diagnosed with 23 personalities, which his psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley) is fully aware of. However, there appears to be one personality that is yet to emerge and is believed to dominate all of the others when it does. Things get pretty terrifying when McAvoy's character kidnap three women who must escape before the 24th personality arrives on the scene.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

15Slender Man,

In a town in Massachusetts, US a group of friends became fascinated by the internet story of a character named Slender Man, and attempt to prove he doesn't exist. That is until one of them goes missing. We don't want to give too much away on this one but it's a not one for the faint hearted.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

16Widows ()

Steve McQueen's crime heist thriller documents three recently widowed women (played by Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez and Elizabeth Debicki) who attempt to execute the heist their late husbands were planning. Also starring Cynthia Erivo, Colin Farrell and Daniel Kaluuya, this is not one to be missed.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

17Stowaway,

If the thought of being lost in space has you jumping under the duvet, then wait until you hear about this film.

Starring Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim and Toni Collette, this film sees a group of astronauts head to Mars and find out an unintended stowaway has slipped on board their spaceship and caused damage to their life support systems. Will time not on their side, the crew must make some pretty serious decisions about survival.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

18Dark Waters,

When are thrillers even more thrilling? When they're based on real-life events

Dark Waters is based on the true story - and a fascinating New York Timesarticle- about a lawyer's determination to bring DuPont (who make pots, pans and a lot of other household equipment), to justice in this gripping Erin Brockovich-esque film.

Shining a light on the devastating effects on a community in West Virginia after the company dumped chemicals into the grounds and water, it's a story so shocking that you won't believe you haven't heard of it up until now.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

19The Girl On The Train,

Based on the bestselling book by Paula Hawkins, Emily Blunt plays Rachel, an alcoholic struggling with her divorce. On her daily commute every day, (in the book it's into London, in the movie it's into New York City) she watches an attractive young couple who live next door to her ex-husband. Until one day, the woman she watches every day goes missing and Rachel ends up embroiled in the investigation.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

20Zero Dark Thirty

Chronicling the capture and military attack of Osama Bin Laden from his Pakistani compound in , following a decade-long manhunt for America's most wanted man after the 09/11 terrorist attacks. The movie follows the journey it took the CIA to arrive at that point and stars Jessica Chastain as a fictional CIA operative (Chastain won a Golden Globe for her performance).

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

21Blood Diamond,

Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connolly star in this devastating film about the effects of the mining of diamonds in conflict zones, otherwise known as 'blood diamonds'.

WATCH ON SKY CINEMA/NOW TV

22Drive,

Starring Ryan Gosling as stunt driver for movie productions and robbers alike, his character falls in love with young mother Irene (Carey Mulligan) whose husband Standard (Oscar Isaac) soon causes trouble for the motorman.

Involving one of the most bloody bathroom killing scenes we’ve ever seen on screen, this is a film with a soundtrack just as good as its cast, plot and cinematography.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

23Uncut Gems,

This is Adam Sandler like you’ve never seen him before. In this American crime thriller the actor plays Howard Ratner, a smooth-talking jeweller and gambling addicting in NYC, who is on a mission to find a gem he bought to pay off his mounting debts.

Starring Eric Bogosian (Succession) and Idina Menzel (Frozen) this is a fast-paced drama that will have your heart racing from start to finish (and make you want all the diamonds).

WATCH ON NETFLIX

24Zodiac,

A San Francisco cartoonist isn’t the first person you’d think of to delve into the amateur detective world but that’s what you can expect from this film.

Based on the non-fiction book of the same title by Robert Graysmith, Zodiac explores the story of the search for the Zodiac Killer - a serial murderer in the San Francisco Bay Area during the s and s who haunted the public with cryptic messages and creepy phone calls.

The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey Jr and scores a staggering 89 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes ‘tomatometer’.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

25Rebecca,

A modern adaptation of the novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier and Alfred Hitchock’s thriller film, the latest version’s cast (Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas) are just one persuading factor when it comes to choosing this film.

If you don’t already know the plot, Rebecca details the experiences of a newlywed who arrives at her husband’s family’s estate on the English coast and finds herself haunted by his ex wife, the late Rebecca, in the house.

The setting alone is spectacular.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

26Fear,

A film starring Reese Witherspoon and Mark Wahlberg, Fear is one to add to the viewing list, pronto.

Nicole Walker (Witherspoon) falls in love with David McCall (Wahlberg) in a Seattle nightclub and despite their age gap (she’s 16 years old to his 23 years) McCall charms his partner’s family, despite the teen’s father having doubts. Unfortunately for Walker’s dad (played by William Petersen), his concerns are proven right as McCall turns out to have a darker more sinister side to him. Marky Mark, he is not!

WATCH NETFLIX

27House At The End Of The Street,

Don’t let the seemingly sweet title of this film fool you as this film has made us scared of scrolling through Rightmove for at least a fortnight. After a mother and daughter arrive in a small town in search of a fresh start, they’re given a rude awakening when the area soon reveals its haunting past.

Starring Jennifer Lawrence, this film is certainly not one to watch when home alone.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

28The Invitation,

A man (Logan Marshall-Green) attends a dinner party hosted by his ex-wife. Sounds slightly complicated but not creepy, right?

That is until the man soon realises his ex (Tammy Blanchard) doesn’t exactly turn about to be the hostess with the moistest, thanks to the help of her new husband (Michiel Huisman) and the twisted fates they have planned for their guests.

This film is why we now think very carefully before posting an RSVP to a wedding – just saying.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

29The Platform,

The Platform (El Hoyo) is a Spanish thriller based on the story of a vertical prison with two ‘prisoners’ situated on each level.

In the middle is hole where a platform comes down with food that is the remains of the upper levels’ dining. The higher you go, the more food you have to eat. But is that the true moral of this film?

Warning: This film might put you off your dinner.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

30American Psycho,

Starring Christian Bale, Reese Witherspoon and Justin Theroux, American Psycho explores the dark interests of Patrick Bateman (Bale) – a Wall Street businessman who is also a psychotic killer who appears to have a love of raping, killing and dismembering his victims.

This is dark and creepy as it is a magnificent thriller.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

31Winter’s Bone,

Ree Dolly (Jennifer Lawrence) is a teen living in Ozarks, Missouri, who must protect her family from being evicted by finding her absent father.

Earning Lawrence an Oscar nomination for ‘Best Actress’, the film explores Ree talking to a local crime boss and meth-addicted uncle in a bid to find out what happened to her dad.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

32Bird Box,

If you’re scared of the dark, you might want to give this film a miss. Bird Box experiments with the idea of an invisible monster taking over the world and exterminating humanity. Well, it's invisible unless you look straight at it, that is, in which case, then you end up dead.

Malorie (Sandra Bullock) finds herself caring for her two children and having to undertake a two-day journey while blindfolded down a dangerous river.

Starring Trevante Rhodes, Sarah Paulson and John Malkovich, this is a must-watch thriller.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

33The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,

Directed by David Fincher, this film – based on the first book in a trilogy by Stieg Larsson – stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara.

It follows a journalist, Mikael Blomkvist (Craig) who investigates the disappearance of a wealthy industrialist’s niece from 40 years ago who is believed to have been killed. He’s helped in his investigation by a tattooed computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander (Mara).

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

34Nocturnal Animals,

Written and directed by Tom Ford, this film was the winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival.

Starring Amy Adams as wealthy art gallerist Susan Morrow and Jake Gyllenhaal as author Tony Hastings, it's a romantic thriller about a divorced couple finding out some hidden truths about each other.

Morrow finds herself haunted by her ex-husband's writings, which she becomes convinced is a form of revenge on his part. But is it?

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

35The Departed,

Directed by Martin Scorsese, this Boston-based film is about an organised crime scene involving corrupt policemen, the mafia and undercover agents.

The film has a stellar cast including Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Ray Winstone, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson and Matt Damon.

We could watch this film again and again.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

36mother!,

Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence play a couple – Mother and Man, respectively – in this bizarre thriller.

Their relationship is put to the test by another couple (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer) who invite themselves into their lives and their seemingly idyllic country home.

Trust us, you won’t be able to sleep after viewing this one.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

37You Were Never Really Here,

A man who tracks down missing girls for money, Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) takes on a case which wakes him from his seemingly depressive state.

Hired by a politician to rescue his daughter, who is believed to have been taken by a human trafficking group, Joe uses the only thing he knows – violence – to retrieve her. This film forces you to question everything you’ve ever thought about the bad and good guys.

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38Argo,

Winning a ‘Best Director’ Oscar for lead actor Ben Affleck, Argo chronicles the true story of a rescue operation of a group of Americans during a hostage incident in Iran.

CIA ‘exfiltration’ specialist, Tony Mendez (Affleck) is forced to come up with a plan to get the Americans safely out of Iran before danger occurs. This film will have you on the edge of your seats for its duration, we promise.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

39Fatal Attraction,

If you didn’t think a marital affair was a bad idea before, let us just leave you with these two words: Bunny Boiler.

Dan’s (Michael Douglas) decision to have an affair with Alex (Glenn Close) goes horribly wrong when she tells him that she’s pregnant and won’t leave him or his family alone until she can win him back. Forcing Dan to take responsibility for his actions, Alex stalks his family and turns his life into a living nightmare, proving that every decision has a consequence.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

40Ex Machina,

Writer Alex Garland (28 Days Later) is the director behind this marvellous thriller, starring Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) – a programmer who wins a competition at his company to spend a week at the estate of its CEO, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac).

Smith learns that he’s been chosen as the human test for a Turing-like consciousness experiment for Bateman’s latest ‘batch’ of artificial intelligence, Ava (former ELLE UK cover star Alicia Vikander).

If ever there was a lesson that humans shouldn’t mess with mankind, this is it.

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41Parasite,

It’ll come as no surprise to film fans that this scooped the 'Best Picture' award at the Oscars.

The film sees the Kim family infiltrate the lives of the affluent Park family as their driver, tutor, art therapist and house maid. Perfectly exploring issues of servitude, poverty, greed and power, this film is a must-see.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

42Hush,

This is why people shouldn’t live alone in the woods unless briefly attending a cute teddy bear’s picnic, in our opinion.

Author Maddie Young (Kate Siegel) lives alone after losing her hearing in her youth, that is until a masked face of a psychotic killer appears at her window. Maddie is left in the hands of the killer who sadly underestimates her power.

Will she survive? Watch and find out.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

43Gerald’s Game,

Handcuffed to the bed in a lake house without a soul in close proximity is not how we’d like to spend a Saturday morning.

As it turns out, neither does Jessie (Carla Gugino), who is left in such a sorry state after her husband’s sex game goes topsy turvy. Based on Stephen King’s novel Gerald's Game, Jessie must figure out a way to escape her situation and her mind playing tricks on her.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

44Jaws,

‘Two notes and you've got a villain,’ is how Jack Black’s character sums up the beauty that is Jaws in The Holiday. And he couldn't be more spot on.

The reason why so many of us are terrified of sharks, this Steven Spielberg-directed film sees several people become victims to a murderous predator. However, a group of fisherman believe they can take on the great white and save their local community.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

45Basic Instinct,

Police detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) is investigating a case of the brutal murder of a wealthy musician. In his findings, he comes across prime suspect, Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) – a writer who – unsurprisingly – he falls head over heels for.

Tramell’s manipulation only goes so far as Curran begins to slowly unravel the threads of the case and focuses his attention more acutely on her.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

46Shutter Island,

Film duo Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio come together in his dramatic thriller. It sees DiCaprio’s character, federal marshall Teddy Daniels and his partner Chuck (Mark Ruffalo) head to Shutter Island – the location of a mental hospital for the criminally insane.

Through their investigations of a patient named Rachel Solando (Emily Mortimer), Teddy begins to struggle with the memory of his wife’s murder at the hands of an arsonist who is on the island and is forced to question his own mental state.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

47Prisoners,

You’re going to want to grab the big pillow to hind behind for this one.

Keller Dover’s (Hugh Jackman) daughter goes missing and he begins to launch his own investigation to find out who kidnapped her.

Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is on the case and repeatedly warns Dover to stand down and let the authorities do their job, despite his suspicions over a local boy named Alex Jones (Paul Dano). What comes next is as thrilling and spine-tingling as you can imagine.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

48Black Swan,

Earning Natalie Portman an Oscar for her lead performance in this psychological thriller, the film sees her play Nina – a ballet dancer obsessed with her career to the point of mental health deterioration. When artistic director Thomas Leroy (Vincent Cassel), replaces prima ballerina Beth MacIntyre (Winona Ryder) for Nina in the upcoming production of Swan Lake, things soon turn ugly.

Things get even worse when ballerina Lily (Mila Kunis) enters the picture. As Nina and Lily’s friendship intensifies, the new ‘prima’ finds herself turning to the dark side.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

49Silence Of The Lambs,

The only reason we don’t like fava beans and chianti is thanks to this multi-Oscar winning thriller starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins.

In the film, Foster’s character Clairce Sterling is an FBI student who goes to interview Dr Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins), who is a psychiatrist and psychopath serving time for murder and cannibalism. In exchange for his thoughts on a high-profile case, Lecter asks to be moved to a more comfortable facility and begins to dig into Sterling’s past, making her a prime target for his wicked ways.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

50Nightcrawler,

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, this film is set in Los Angeles, primarily at night.

Lou Bloom (Gyllenhaal) becomes fascinated with crime journalism and develops an interest in nightcrawling – filming scenes of crimes and selling to news outlets for a profit.

However, little does Bloom realise that his love of the cut-throat nightcrawling world would lead him to becoming a victim of a crime, too.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

51The Machinist,

Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) works in a factory but struggles with severe insomnia. An accident at work sees him further isolated from his colleagues.

He also finds notes on the fridge in his apartment and has visions of people who aren’t really there. In an attempt to find out who is behind his downward spiral, he begins to question his own sanity.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

52Gone Girl

Based on the bestseller of the same name by Gillian Flynn, this film proves why you should never trust the ‘cool girl’ façade.

Five years into his marriage, Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) reports that his wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) is missing. But as the media and police close in on their seemingly picture-perfect lifestyle, it appears that the world he thought he lived in with his wife is far from ideal.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

53Inside Man

Directed by Oscar winner Spike Lee, this film is all about a showdown between a police officer (Denzel Washington) and a bank robber (Clive Owen) during a heist.

Dalton Russell (Owen) is the perfect thief, planning every detail of a crime down to the last second. However, when Madeline White (Jodie Foster) is asked to join Detective Keith Frazier’s (Washington) case, it seems like there’s something else at play than just good planning.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

54Rear Window

Alfred Hitchcock brings this lockdown story to life as photojournalist L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) is forced to stay at home with a broken leg and takes to using binoculars to watch the goings on in the surroundings of his apartment.

However, his imaginings that neighbour Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr) has murdered his nagging wife might just turn out to be true. Full of suspense and drama, this film teaches us all to stay vigilant but be aware that voyeurism isn’t always a harmless bit of fun.

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55Se7en

Director David Fincher ticked every thriller-lover’s box when it came to making this dark film. Homicide specialist Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and young policeman David Mills (Brad Pitt) team up to find the culprit behind some pretty gross murders.

The killer chooses victims to represent the seven deadly sins. Unfortunately for the pair, and Mills’ wife Tracy (Gwyneth Paltrow), the serial killer turns his attention on them.

Let’s just say this isn’t a PG film that will give you #FridayFeels.

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56Memento

A man named Leonard (Guy Pearce) struggles with short-term memory after a man beats him and brutally rapes and murders his wife. To keep track of his day-to-day life, he must take notes and Polaroid photos to piece together crucial bits of information he knows he will forget.

He sets out to seek revenge for his wife’s killer with the help of barmaid Natalie (Carrie-Anne Moss) and friend Teddy (Joe Pantoliano), despite the fact Leonard has a suspicion the latter cannot be trusted. For what reason? You’ll find out.

WATCH ON AMAZON PRIME

57Vertigo,

Widely viewed as being one of director Alfred Hitchcock's best films, this literary adaptation of the French novel D'entre les morts sees personal investigator Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) realising he has vertigo after a police officer tries to rescue him from falling off a building.

Despite retiring from his job, he is asked to do one last case for an old friend, whose wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak) is believed to have been possessed by a spirit.

His friend, Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore) wants him to follow his wife but Scott finds himself falling in love with her. Of course, tragedy ensues.

WATCH ON NETFLIX

Katie O'MalleyDeputy Digital EditorKatie O’Malley is the Deputy Digital Editor, at ELLE UK.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io

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5 MIND BENDING MOVIE SCENES

30 Psychological Thrillers on Netflix That Will Make You Question Everything

Watching horror movies that give us actual nightmares is one thing (we’re looking at you, The Conjuring). But when it comes to psychological thrillers that delve into the complexities of our own minds, that’s a whole different level of scary—which makes it all the more entertaining. From mind-bending films like The Vanishedto international thrillers like The Call, we found 30 of the best psychological thrillers on Netflix right now.

RELATED: The 12 Best Netflix Original Movies & Shows of (So Far)

1. &#x;Clinical&#x; ()

You may want to watch this one with the lights on. In Clinical, Dr. Jane Mathis (Vinessa Shaw) is a psychiatrist who suffers from PTSD and sleep paralysis, all because of a patient’s terrifying attack. Against her doctor’s advice, she continues her practice and treats a new patient whose face is horribly disfigured from a car accident. When she takes on this new patient, strange things begin to occur in her home.

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2. &#x;Tau&#x; ()

A young woman named Julia (Maika Monroe) falls asleep at home and wakes up to find herself in a jail cell with a glowing implant in her neck. While trying to escape her high-tech prison, she discovers that she’s being used as a test subject for an even bigger project. Will she ever hack her way out?

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3. &#x;Fractured&#x; ()

After his wife, Joanne (Lily Rabe), encounters a stray dog and suffers injuries, Ray (Sam Worthington) and their daughter decide to take her to the hospital. As Joanne goes to see a doctor, Ray falls asleep in the waiting area. When he wakes up, he finds that both his wife and his daughter are missing, and the hospital seems to have no record of them. Prepare for your mind to be blown.

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4. &#x;The Vanished&#x; ()

This gripping thriller recently skyrocketed to the second spot on Netflix's list of top movies, and judging by this trailer, we can see why. The movie follows Paul (Thomas Jane) and Wendy Michaelson (Anne Heche), who are forced to launch their own investigation when their daughter suddenly disappears during a family vacation. Tensions rise as they discover dark secrets about the lakeside campground.

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5. &#x;Calibre&#x; ()

Childhood friends Vaughn (Jack Lowden) and Marcus (Martin McCann) go on a weekend hunting trip in a remote part of the Scottish Highlands. What starts off as a pretty normal trip turns into a series of nightmarish scenarios that neither of them prepared for.

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6. &#x;The Platform&#x; ()

If you're into dystopian thrillers, then you’re in for a treat. In this compelling film, prisoners are kept in a Vertical Self-Management Center, also known as "The Pit." And in the tower-style building, a wealth of food typically descends by floor where the lower-level inmates are left to starve while those on top eat to their heart’s content.

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7. &#x;The Call&#x; ()

In this fascinating South Korean thriller, we follow Seo-yeon (Park Shin-hye), who lives in the present, and Young-sook (Jeon Jong-seo), who lives in the past. Both women get to connect through a single phone call, which winds up twisting their fates.

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8. &#x;The Girl on the Train&#x; ()

This Bollywood remake of the terrifying film (originally based on Paula Hawkins’s book of the same name) actually jumped to the third spot on Netflix’s top ten list earlier this month. Parineeti Chopra stars as Mira Kapoor, who looks forward to observing a seemingly perfect couple during her daily commute. But one day, when she witnesses a disturbing event, causing her to get entangled in a murder case.

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9. &#x;Bird Box&#x; ()

Based on Josh Malerman's best-selling novel of the same name, this movie takes place in a community where people are driven to commit suicide if they make eye contact with the manifestation of their worst fears. Determined to find a place that offers sanctuary, Malorie Hayes (Sandra Bullock) takes her two children and embarks on a terrifying journey—while totally blindfolded.

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&#x;Fatal Affair&#x; ()

Ellie Warren, a successful lawyer, agrees to have a few drinks with David Hammond (Omar Epps), an old college friend. Although Ellie is married, sparks seem to fly, but before things go too far, Ellie takes off and returns to her husband. Unfortunately, this prompts David to obsessively call and stalk her, and it escalates to a point where Ellie begins to fear for her safety.

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&#x;The Occupant&#x; ()

Due to unemployment, former advertising executive Javier Muñoz (Javier Gutiérrez) is forced to sell his apartment to a new family. But he can’t seem to move on, because he begins to stalk the family—and his motives are far from pure.

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&#x;The Guest&#x; ()

The Guest tells the story of David Collins (Dan Stevens), a U.S. soldier who pays an unexpected visit to the Peterson family. After introducing himself as a friend of their late son, who died while serving in Afghanistan, he begins to stay in their home. Not long after his arrival, a series of mysterious deaths occur in their town.

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&#x;The Son&#x; ()

This critically acclaimed Argentinian film follows Lorenzo Roy (Joaquín Furriel), an artist and father whose pregnant wife, Julieta (Martina Gusman), exhibits disturbingly erratic behavior during her pregnancy. Once the child is born, her behavior gets even worse, putting a huge strain on the entire family. We won’t give away any more details, but the twist ending will definitely leave you speechless.

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&#x;Lavender&#x; ()

Over 25 years after her entire family gets murdered, Jane (Abbie Cornish), who has amnesia due to a head injury, revisits her childhood home and discovers a dark secret about her past.

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&#x;The Invitation&#x; ()

This one will make you think twice before accepting an invitation to your ex’s dinner party. In the film, Will (Logan Marshall-Green) attends a seemingly friendly gathering at his former house, and it’s hosted by his ex-wife (Tammy Blanchard) and her new husband. However, as the evening rolls on, he begins to suspect that they have darker motives.

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&#x;Buster's Mal Heart&#x; ()

This flick follows Jonah Cueyatl (Rami Malek), a hotel concierge turned mountain man. While on the run from authorities, Jonah is haunted by memories of his past life as a husband and father. FYI, Malek’s performance is absolutely brilliant.

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&#x;Secret in Their Eyes&#x; ()

Thirteen years after the brutal murder of investigator Jess Cobb’s (Julia Roberts) daughter, former FBI agent Ray Kasten (Chiwetel Ejiofor) reveals that he finally has a lead on the mysterious killer. But as they work with district attorney Claire (Nicole Kidman) to continue pursuing the case, they uncover secrets that shake them to their core.

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&#x;Delirium&#x; ()

After spending two decades in a psychiatric hospital, Tom Walker (Topher Grace) is released and goes to live at the mansion that he inherited from his father. However, he becomes convinced that the house is haunted, due to a string of strange and mysterious events.

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&#x;The Paramedic&#x; ()

An accident leaves paramedic Ángel Hernández (Mario Casas) paralyzed from the waist down, and, unfortunately, things only go downhill from there. Ángel’s paranoia leads him to suspect that his partner, Vanesa (Déborah François) is cheating on him. But when his disturbing behavior pushes her to leave him for good, his obsession with her actually increases tenfold.

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&#x;The Fury of a Patient Man&#x; ()

The Spanish thriller follows the seemingly quiet José (Antonio de la Torre), who strikes up a new relationship with café owner Ana (Ruth Díaz). Unbeknownst to her, José has some pretty dark intentions.

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&#x;Rebirth&#x; ()

In this thriller, we follow Kyle (Fran Kranz), a suburban dad who’s convinced to go on a weekend-long Rebirth retreat that requires him to give up his phone. Then, he gets pulled down a bizarre rabbit hole that’s virtually inescapable.

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&#x;Shutter Island&#x; ()

Leonardo DiCaprio is U.S. Marshall Teddy Daniels, who’s tasked with investigating the disappearance of a patient from Shutter Island’s Ashecliffe Hospital. As he delves deeper and deeper into the case, he’s haunted by dark visions, causing him to question his own sanity.

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&#x;House at the End of the Street&#x; ()

Moving into a new home is stressful enough for Elissa (Jennifer Lawrence) and her newly divorced mom, Sarah (Elisabeth Shue), but when they learn that a gruesome crime took place in the house next door, they’re especially unnerved. Elissa starts to develop a relationship with the killer’s brother, and as they get closer, a shocking discovery comes to light.

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&#x;Secret Obsession&#x; ()

After Jennifer Williams (Brenda Song) gets struck by a car, she wakes up in a hospital with amnesia. Shortly after, a man appears and introduces himself as her husband, Russell Williams (Mike Vogel), proceeding to fill her in on all the details she’s forgotten. But after Jennifer is discharged and Russell takes her home, she suspects that Russell isn’t who he says he is.

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&#x;Sin City&#x; ()

Philip (Kunle Remi) and Julia (Yvonne Nelson) seem to have it all, including successful careers and a seemingly perfect marriage. That is, until they decide to get away for some needed quality time and end up on a last-minute trip to an exotic hotel. Watch as their relationship gets tested in ways they never would’ve expected.

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&#x;Gerald&#x;s Game&#x; ()

A kinky sex game between a married couple goes horribly wrong when Gerald (Bruce Greenwood), Jessie’s (Carla Gugino) husband, suddenly dies of a heart attack. As a result, Jessie is left handcuffed to the bed—without a key—in an isolated house. Worse yet, her past begins to haunt her and she starts to hear strange voices

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&#x;Gothika&#x; ()

In this classic thriller, Halle Berry portrays Dr. Miranda Grey, a psychiatrist who wakes up one day to find herself trapped in the same mental hospital where she works, having been accused of murdering her husband. Penélope Cruz and Robert Downey Jr. also star in the movie.

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&#x;Circle&#x; ()

The film’s plot is kind of like a competitive game, except there’s a deadly and sinister twist. When 50 strangers awake to find themselves trapped in a darkened room, with no memory of how they got there…and they’re forced to choose the one person among them who should survive.

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&#x;Stereo&#x; ()

This German thriller film follows Erik (Jürgen Vogel), who leads a quiet life and spends most of his time at his motorcycle shop. His life gets turned upside down when Henry, a mysterious stranger, shows up in his life. To make matters worse, Erik begins to encounter a bunch of sinister characters who threaten to harm him, which leaves him no choice but to turn to Henry for help.

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Sours: https://www.purewow.com/entertainment/psychological-thrillers-on-netflix

Now discussing:

Psychological thrillers belong to the tradition of truly unhinged films. Even the genre’s definition refuses coherence–somehow these movies can be horror, crime, mystery, or even action films, but they are all united under the same organizing principle: there are always characters who are mentally tortured or situations that are disturbingly removed from reality. A revenge fantasy or a political drama that raises your heart rate and fills you with a suspense-ridden dread is probably a psychological thriller.

Luckily for us, we live in the age of overstuffed streaming services and a lot of pandemic-related time on our hands. So, if you’re down to be stressed for anywhere between 90 minutes to three hours, this list of movies is guaranteed to give you enough anxiety and creeping thrills that you may even forget the worries of the world for a moment. Although, one of the best parts about psychological thrillers is their ability to reveal systemic issues in our society or function as elaborate thought experiments. Totally fun, chill stuff!

While these movies aren’t as escapist as they seem on its face, here are some of the best psychological thrillers of all time.

'Psycho'

This list wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of Alfred Hitchcock, who may be one of the pioneers of this genre. If you haven’t already seen Psycho, it’s not a spoiler to say that the famous bathroom stabbing sequence is a nail biter.

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'Perfect Blue'

This anime from director Satoshi Kon about a pop-star-turned-actress still manages to give me chills. After Mima Kirigoe leaves her Japanese idol group for a bit part in a TV show, she discovers an obsessive fan who continues to stalk her. The movie is about fame and feminism, while being weirdly prophetic about the future ubiquity of internet blogs and social media impersonation/catfishing.

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'Get Out'

The jury is out on what genre Get Out belongs to, but I do know this–there has never been a better psychological examination of the racism that white liberals employ in the name of their upholding their supremacy. And that reality is genuinely unsettling.

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'Burning'

There’s luscious cinematography, a slow-burn of a plot, and ill-fated trips to the countryside in Lee Chang-dong’s film Burning. Also, Steven Yeun is kinda hot in it.

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'Mulholland Drive'

Unreliable narrators (read: Naomi Watt’s character) lead us astray for over two hours in this movie, the most Lynchian David Lynch work to ever emerge. He gave us Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, and Eraserhead, so it’s no surprise that Mulholland Dr.’s tale of an aspiring actress who befriends an amnesiac goes off the rails, fast. There’s no way to distinguish what's a dream and what's reality.

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'Parasite'

Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning masterpiece–his Academy Award sweep is also known as the only good thing that happened in –tells the story of a desperately cash-strapped and destitute family who all gain employment at the home of insanely rich people. But the circle cannot hold because poor people can simply never catch a break in the world as we know it.

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'The Conformist'

Okay, okay, this may or may not be more of a political thriller, but the movie delves into the psychology of fascism, so I’m giving myself a free pass to include it. Marcello Clerici is an agent working in Mussolini’s Italy, charged with assassinating his old college professor. Clerici craves the stability of conformism and ultimately sacrifices everything for acceptance in the order that fascism affords, all to the backdrop of pristine architecture and decadent set design.

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'The Shining'

A guy loses his mind while stuck at home with his family. Sound familiar?

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'Rosemary's Baby'

Perhaps one of the most terrifying movies on this list, Rosemary’s Baby follows Rosemary (Mia Farrow) as she comes to believe that her child may not be a normal human baby. Both her weird elderly neighbors and husband are acting especially suspicious–can they be launching a satanic-slash-cultish plot involving the child?

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'The Conversation'

Francis Ford Coppola didn’t miss in the seventies (um, have you seen The Godfather or Apocalypse Now?), and this film proved just how original his vision can get. The Conversation tells the story of a paranoid surveillance expert who is hired to tail a mysterious couple. Haunted by a previous job that went wrong, the guy grows more and more crippled by the case as the movie chugs along. Nothing is as it seems.

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'The Handmaiden'

Part psychological thriller, part romance, The Handmaiden tells the story of an elaborate deception from the perspective of the conwoman and the noble woman being conned. The two also fall in love in this story set in Japanese-occupied Korea. It’s also a genuinely fun watch.

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'Ma'

Ma is on its way to becoming a canonical cult classic. Just watch it.

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'Persona'

This movie is mostly just vibes, but it’s also a series of quiet mind games. Directed by Ingmar Bergman, Persona is the story of an actress who becomes mute after she experiences a blackout during a performance. After a recommendation to go recover at the beach with her nurse, she begins to lose track of where she ends and the nurse begins.

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'Blow Up'

Who doesn’t want to watch a movie about a 60s-era fashion photographer with a messy sex life who accidentally stumbles upon criminal activity?

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'Blue Velvet'

Just writing “Laura Dern” would suffice, but I’m feeling slightly overachieving. David Lynch’s movie is about a pair of young adults who team up to investigate the case of a loose ear that they find abandoned in a field. Throughout their detective cosplay, they encounter an underground world populated by a lounge singer and a weird, sexually depraved Dennis Hopper.

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'Diabolique'

Two women, united by their mutual hatred, successfully plot to murder the abusive boarding school headmaster, only to misplace his corpse.

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'The Lighthouse'

Set in 19th century America, Robert Pattinson and Willem Defoe lose their minds at a lighthouse in the middle of the sea. Unsurprisingly, Pattinson’s character somehow hooks up with a mermaid?

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'Fatal Attraction'

This classic film starring thee Glenn Close (author’s note: watch her in Dangerous Liaisons!!) is about a married man who begins an affair with Close’s character. However, she can’t seem to let him go, so, naturally, she must violently stalk him. They just don’t make chaotic and off-the-rails movies like this anymore!

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'Repulsion'

If you want to be on the edge of your seat and seriously worry about the well-being of a young woman, then this is the movie for you. Manicurist Carole has been abandoned by her sister for an Italian holiday, so she must fend for herself, dealing with her suitors and repetitive job. But what if she becomes too stressed to work and all men suddenly give her the ick (plus terrifying hallucinations)? So, she goes a little mad.

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'Shutter Island'

One of Marty’s more underrated films (that’s Martin Scorsese for you locals), Shutter Island stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a U.S. Marshal charged with investigating the escape of a murderer at a remote island asylum. But can the marshal escape with his own sanity intact?

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'Stranger by the Lake'

This movie tells the story of Franck, who cruises at a nude beach in France. He eventually meets Michel, who may or may not be murderous.

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'No Country for Old Men'

Don’t stumble on a hitman while out hunting. It won’t end well.

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'Uncut Gems'

I have never felt such massive and continuous pangs of anxiety over an extended period of time until I watched the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems. But, is it a psychological thriller? Quite frankly, all I know is that Adam Sandler’s portrayal of gambling addict Howie is spot on, the electronic score took years off my life, and there is no winning for anyone in the post-recession global neoliberal economy of (except for maybe the mob and, like, other rich people IDK).

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'Memento'

After his wife’s brutal rape and murder, Leonard resolves to track down the perpetrator. The only problem–his lapses in memory make for a difficult manhunt as he cannot remember anything from fifteen minutes in the past.

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'Fight Club'

Brad Pitt plays Tyler Durden, a traveling soap salesman who befriends a lonely and depressed man (Edward Norton). Together, the two men form a secret underground club in David Fincher’s mind-bending movie.

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'Black Swan'

Natalie Portman plays a ballerina who slowly loses it while she battles for the prima ballerina spot for a production of Swan Lake.

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'Dirty Pretty Things'

Two immigrants in London contend with squalid conditions and the illegal organ trade in Stephen Frears’ topical film. The dark underbelly of the city, and reality of exploitation, make for a disturbing ride.

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'American Psycho'

Businessman by day, serial killer by night, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) keeps himself busy.

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'Silence of the Lambs'

Jodie Foster plays Clarice Starling, an FBI agent who is studying the psychology of Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lector for insight into an open case. But could Clarice be the key for Hannibal’s prison break? The film took home five Oscars in the top categories–including Best Picture, Best Director, and acting honors.

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'Gone Girl'

After Amy (Rosamund Pike) goes missing, her husband Nick (Ben Affleck) becomes a suspect in her disappearance. As secrets begin to surface, we see who the couple truly are behind their facade.

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'Purple Noon'

Before The Talented Mr. Ripley, there was Purple Noon. Tom Ripley is an opportunistic social climber who gets paid to go to Italy and persuade his happy-go-lucky friend to return home. But why send your friend back to his father if you can comfortably live off his money indefinitely? Or even steal an identity?

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'Ex Machina'

Alicia Vikander plays a robot who slowly betrays her sentience. Domhnall Gleeson stars as the programmer who must participate in a Turing test to determine the robot’s capabilities. It gets a little Westworld-y.

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'Eyes Wide Shut'

Tom Cruise plays a bitter doctor who grows upset after his wife (Nicole Kidman) admits to fantasizing about other men. In a huff, he wanders around a gritty New York City, where he eventually stumbles upon an underground sex club. Obviously, he can’t hang.

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'Taxi Driver'

Martin Scorsese’s classic movie about a veteran who obsesses over New York City’s criminal activity dives into the psychology of vigilante’s and our cultural fascination with them.

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'We Need to Talk About Kevin'

This movie about a disturbed child who eventually commits unforgivable sins features Tilda Swinton as a bohemian-woman-turned-housewife Eva. After she becomes a stay-at-home mom to take care of her son, she watches him grow into a troubled teen, forcing her to deal with the consequences of his actions.

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