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The 25 Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time

23 April 2014 | Features, Film Lists | by Andrew Lowry

Described as a story which emphasizes the psychology of its characters and their unstable emotional states, the following films are benchmarks for what a successful psychological thriller should aspire to be. Instead of displaying legions of gore and violence, their main objective is to play with your mind. To leave it up to you to construct the tension of what you have just witnessed.

As the great perplexer David Lynch once said: “when you are spoon-fed a film, more people instantly know what it is. I love things that leave room to dream and are open to various interpretations. It’s a beautiful thing.” So read on and enjoy the ride.


25. Das Experiment


Das Experiment is a 2001 German thriller from director Oliver Hirschbiegel, starring Moritz Bleibtreu as Tarek Fahd, or later only to be known as Prisoner 77.

Tarek reads a newspaper advert regarding a social experiment in a simulated prison. With a financial reward given, provided participants complete the full 14 day stay, it’s an offer this reader can’t refuse. The 20 curious volunteers are first divided up into Prisoner and Guards and are then asked to remain in their role throughout.

Monitored and observed by scientists, the trial takes a plummet into the dark depths of human behaviour. With the prisoners becoming more than disenchanted with the guard’s superiority, the guards take matters into their own hands, becoming merciless, brutal enforcers of their dungeon.

A gruelling yet compelling watch, what makes Das Experiment even more powerful, is the fact that it is based on actual events. Known as the Stanford Prison Experiment, this was concocted as a study of the psychological ramifications of becoming a prisoner or guard.


24. Kill List


In Kill List, we are presented with a film that has obviously been heavily influenced by some of the horror heavy-weights. Take The Wicker Man(1973), add a dash of Race With the Devil and a pinch of Rosemary’s Baby and presto! Kill List doesn’t fail to deliver!

Two ex-army pals, Jay (Neil Maskell) and Gal (Michael Smiley), are now plying their trade as hit men (the latter rather reluctantly). After agreeing to another ‘hit’, the two comrades are in the middle of the assignment when they comprehend that they are involved in something much more sinister than anticipated.

From English director, Ben Wheatley, in just his second feature film, Kill List is a formidable beast that contains graphic scenes and is not for the faint-hearted.


23. Angel Heart


Angel Heart is an American psychological thriller directed by Alan Parker and stars Mickey Rourke and Robert DeNiro. Released in 1987, but set in the 50’s, it was well ahead of its time and has now reached cult status.

Mickey Rourke stars as Harry Angel, a rugged private investigator that has been hired by a man named Louis Cyphere (DeNiro), to uncover the whereabouts of a disappeared singer, Johnny Favourite. Along the way, Angel meets several characters that all share information on the story of Favourite. However, with these characters being killed shortly after meeting with Angel, he finds himself a lot more involved than he could ever care to have wished for.

With Rourke in top form, giving possibly his best performance and the genius casting of DeNiro in his role, Angel Heart is an atmospheric, intelligent, bloody horror, with much duplicated but never surpassed twists. An unforgettable classic.


22. Tell No One


This French thriller stars Francois Cluzet as Alex Beck, a man continuously struggling with grief after losing his wife 8 years ago. When Alex receives material hinting that his wife is alive and well, a complex chain of events results in a chaotic manhunt for him.

With an excellent supporting cast of Marie-Josee Croze, Andre Dussollier and Kristin Scott Thomas, this suspenseful tale is comparable to the work of Alfred Hitchcock. Full of twist and turns, with such a well-executed plot, Tell No One is a frantic, edge of your seat chef-oeuvre.


21. Timecrimes


Released in 2007, Timecrimes is a Spanish sci-fi thriller based on time travel. Directed by Nacho Vigalondo and starring Karra Elejalde, the film was shot on an extremely low budget, without any CGI or flashy special effects. Easily one of the more intelligent and complex time loop movies, it is frantically paced and superbly executed.

Timecrimes introduces Hector (Elejalde), who is currently renovating his house, along with his wife in the countryside. Whilst surveying the nearby woods through his binoculars, he spots a young woman undressing.

Curiously he enters the woods to investigate, when suddenly he is attacked and chased by a man covered in bloody bandages, wielding a pair of scissors. Can Hector escape from this madman? And exactly why was he assaulted in the first place?

Certainly a prime example of cinema where the less known is for the better, Timecrimes will continuously keep you on your toes and have you doubting your own thoughts, much like our Hector.


20. A Tale of Two Sisters


Asia is well known for being the cutting edge of horror movies, with emphasis given to the build-up of tension and creepy atmosphere, the premeditated pacing and menacing images, A Tale of Two Sisters, is no different. The highest grossing Korean horror, this masterpiece is a brilliant, visceral horror, brimming with bewildering twists.

The story embarks with a teenage girl named Soo-Mi (Su-Jeong Lim) being cared for in a mental hospital, why she is there, we are not told. In the next scene, Soo-Mi is shown travelling and arriving with her father and younger sister Soo-Yeon (Geun-Young Moon), to their lakeside estate. They are welcomed on arrival by the daughter’s stepmother, Eun-Joo (Jung-ah Yum), much to the disgust of the daughters.

From this moment on we witness the bitter divide between stepmother and stepdaughter, with the uneasy tension flourishing within the household. With the mysterious presence of an intrusive ghost only heightening the already strained atmosphere, the feeling of impending doom leads to a heartbreakingly shocking finale.

A gut-wrenching, modern day horror, this 2003 gem is a tour de force of Korean cinema, by director Kim Jee-Woon.


19. The Secret in Their Eyes


‘El Secreto de sas ojos’ is an Argentine crime drama from 2009. Directed by Juan Jose Campanella, the film stars Ricardo Darin and Soledad Villamil. With outstanding storytelling and immaculate acting, this movie will have you hooked from start to finish.

In 1974, Federal Justice Agent, Benjamin Esposito (Darin), is delegated to the crime of a brutal rape and murder of a young woman. Upon promising the husband that the killer will be caught and will serve life in jail, two innocent men are accused and held, by a competing co-worker, in order to get a quick conclusion.

Expertly told the story continuously flickers back and forth to 1999 where the case is still unresolved and still troubling Esposito. With the co-operation of an alcohol dependant assistant and a love-that-never-was ex-boss Irene (Villamil), the case is reopened.

Revealing incredible, gut-wrenching outcomes and a thrilling finale, this is a truly touching, emotional masterpiece of world cinema.


18. Jacob’s Ladder


Jacob’s ladder is a psychological horror directed by Adrian Lyne and starring Tim Robbins. Portraying the horrors of his time serving in the Vietnam War, Jacob Singer (Robbins)journey to uncover the truth is told in shocking flashbacks and visions.

Jacob wakes in a New York City subway alone, in his postal worker uniform. Continually reminded of his ex-wife and the death of his son Gabe (a very young Macauley Culkin), these thoughts are meshed with progressively hellish hallucinations.

After meeting with his old Army friends, they concur that they too have been experiencing the same horrors. However, after discovering a breakthrough in the reasoning behind these visions, Jacob involuntarily finds that the truth is not relinquished amicably.

In what is considered by many to be Tim Robbins best performance, Jacob’s ladder can leave you depressed, heartbroken and confused. Nonetheless, with such a strong, atmospheric plot, you’ll want to watch this one again.



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  • Ted Wolf

    great list, although I’m not sure that Angel Heart isn’t a bit outclassed by the rest of the list. Perhaps Altered States, or the Serpent and the Rainbow could replace that one.

  • Andrew lowry

    Thanks for the comment and recommendations. Yes, you’re possibly right, (although I do love Angel Heart) they are both very fitting for this list. There were just too many films to squeeze in. I could easily have made 2 lists on this subject. Who knows, maybe I’ll do a sequel!

  • Tessa Dunn

    Psychological films are really interesting, not only it’s creepy, its mind boggling also

  • therrick

    Obviously, I am in the minority, but I’ve always found “Vertigo” terrible.

    • vesey

      i liked it, but like Casablanca, i thought it was overrated…………for me the most compelling movies on this list were “Angel Heart” and “Night of the Hunter”……….

      • kevinbaken

        Night of the Hunter is a garbage film for garbage people.

        • Kirstie Harman

          maybe your the garbage for judging someones opinion so rudely

        • Ryan Lawrence Spann

          Spoken by kevinbaken, who can’t even get a job as a garbage man…unless you have contributing information to share…just be quiet.

    • Jérôme Blanchet

      I believe Vertigo become miraculous in fonction of what you know about cinema


    • Gabriel Gallardo Alarcón

      Why? I mean, as an honest question, why is it terrible for you?

    • Laslo Bigsby

      Yes, You are correct! You ARE in the minority. It’s a masterpiece! I suppose you liked the “Matrix” didn’t you?

      • Henke

        The Matrix is one of the giants just like most of the movies on this list.

        • charlie

          dude the matrix was awesome, no question about it.

        • If you like Matrix probably you also have read William Gibson’s “Neuromancer” and you saw Blade Runner (which is a real thriller, Matrix it isnt), or even “Ghost in the Shell” (is not a simple thriller, it´s a Philosophical Thriller)… Just say the Matrix is based on all these..

          • Natasha

            You may also say that Ghost in the shell was based on Blade runner. I do respect when the influence is working as symbiosis, as a mutual beneficial relationship between different “creators” without loosing their authenticity.

  • Krystina Bair

    I’m sure Rosemary’s Baby was shocking during it’s time, but when I watched it (a few years ago) I actually laughed at the ending. Seemed pretty cheesy.

    • Jane

      I found it really boring TBH 🙂 And slightly silly. A lot of the “classics” in this list are actually quite boring to me but hey that’s just me.

  • Iam_Spartacus

    The Machinist is a good one.

    • Aggelos Agnostic

      Actually the Machinist is the best psychological thriller i have watched so far! I just finish watching it and it really surprise me how original it was as scenario! I won’t write down any spoilers because the people who will read my reply before watching the movie will be disappointed but i really loved Christian Bale’s interpretation as Trevor Reznik!

      My -so far- favorite psychological thrillers are:

      5)Shutter Island (2010)

      4)Spider (2002)

      3)Fight Club (1999)

      2)The Butterfly Effect (2004)

      1)The Machinist (2004)

      Of course,this is a rough approximation and there are a lot more psychological thrillers worth to mention but these 5 really deserve to be in anyone’s must-watch list!

      All the above thrillers i mentioned are about people who have paranoid schizophrenia (except The Butterfly Effect which is basically the deja vu’s reincarnation to cinema) and paranoid schizophrenia is what makes any psychological thriller worth to be mentioned!

      For anyone who liked the above and seeks for more similar films i suggest you visit

      See ya!

      • Biji M.

        “The Butterfly Effect”?? the Ashton Kutcher thing? hey, man, to each his own!

      • gab ger gop

        I actually like the Butterly Effect, but I find shutter island terribly acted by the lead, it could of been great if Dicaprio didnt have ADD in real life.

      • Sebastián Inda

        Hey dude… nothing outside shining Hollywood??? You are missing really great movies

    • yess i whatch . very very goood

  • James
  • williamdais

    I’d also add “The Machinist” and Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive.” Then there is “The Stepford Wives” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” since the paranormal isn’t being excluded.

    • Andrewlowry

      Thanks for comments. Like I said before, too many to choose from, plus I tried to stay away from the more mainstream. Both ‘Mulholland Drive’ and ‘The Machinist’ are up there amongst my favourites.

  • kardsufur

    eyes wide shut >>>>>> anything on this list

    • Andrew lowry

      Its on the list.

  • Tina Matthews

    Night of the Hunter was awesome! I watched it one day, not knowing anything about it and was captivated.

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  • Deh

    Funny Games anyone?

    • Andrew lowry

      i put it in my Home Invasion list. Check it out if you can.

  • Kerry Aggen

    I’m glad to see “Wicker Man” (1973) on the list! I only watched it for the first time relatively recently, and although much about it’s look is dated (clothes, hair styles, etc.), of course, the heart of it is essentially timeless… And, it makes you wonder just what, and where, and when, our personal, religious, social, cultural, scientific, etc., beliefs, taboos, superstitions, etc., stem from – and if they are still relevant or applicable today… This movie is not just horror, but a deep psychological thriller. And, more than all of that, it’s a social, cultural, religious, scientific commentary that applies to ALL beliefs of all kinds… It makes you wonder just what you truly believe, and what you truly don’t – and why…

    “Ravenous” (1999) is another movie that got to me. It wasn’t gory, which I appreciate. But, the psychological underpinnings were, I thought, well done. You didn’t SEE the gore and violence, but you KNEW it had happened – I think that style of story-telling can be just as psychologically disturbing, perhaps even more so depending on how it’s done, as the show-everything variety, like “Saw” and all it’s sequels. Robert Carlyle did an amazing job in this film – I can’t watch him in anything to this day without envisioning his character in this film – well, also his “Full Monty” character ;). It creeps me out just thinking about it! You realize that can truly ever “know” someone, or even yourself, as we all change over time, and, given the right (or wrong?) circumstances, underneath all our “civilized” appearance, we are all capable of unspeakable acts.

    And that reminds me of another one – “The Hills Have Eyes” (2006). I watched this film for the first time relatively recently also… Holy crapola! It, too, was not just horror, but a deep psychological look into some truly disturbed minds.

    And, speaking of disturbed, well, certainly out-of-the-norm beliefs… That episode of the “X-Files” called “Home” (1996) – wow, that still haunts me today…

    • Andrew lowry

      Thanks for the comments Kerry, ‘Wicker Man’ is an awesome and deeply disturbing classic. I own but have not yet watched ‘Ravenous’ although i definately will do soon. ‘The Hills have eyes’ is a great film also. Actually one of the few films were the remake is much better than the original. As for the x-files, i watched bits and pieces when i was a kid but never was a huge fan.
      Thanks again.

  • Rocksie

    Glad to see Timecrimes on here, its a great film so often overlooked.

    • Jon Doe

      Agreed! If you like Timecrimes I would also recommend Triangle (2009). Quite similar, but I enjoy them both equally.

  • Corbett Smyth

    Insomnia (1997)

  • MMAddict

    Of course it would kill you to put something from the past decade on this list. Ancient films that don’t hold up are so overrated. Reviewers are so pretentious if it’s before 1980 they eat it up without a second thought. How about something that isn’t from the same 2 directors? Pretty sure you put 7 films from them up here.

    Where is pans labyrinth, the host, the mist, identity, primal fear, donnie darko, momento, american psycho, oldboy, basic instinct?!

    • Andrew lowry

      Im struggling to understand your incoherent babbling. 12 of the 25 are after 1980. I added the whole ‘Apartment trilogy’ by Polanski and yes there are 2(!) films on the same list by Cronenberg, aside from that, and correct me if im wrong, every other director is featured once!? 25 films – 22 directors.
      Go figure……

      • MMAddict

        Pretty sure 1980 isn’t this past decade, my point stands.

        Only 12 of the 25 within the past 34 years? Wow, thanks for proving exactly what I was saying.

        • Andrew lowry

          And what a point it is.

        • Nani Lawrence Weasley

          Dude, you’re a snob. God for-fucking-bid people appreciate things from the past.

          • MMAddict

            God forbid you snobs appreciate something from the past decade. Hypocrite.

          • Nani Lawrence Weasley

            Did I touch a nerve? Poor baby.

          • MMAddict

            You tried and failed

          • JJHensucker

            How is something automatically better just because it’s new?

            By that rationale, you become an even suckier, less relevant person every time a baby is born…

            Cinema is over 100 years old now. Only an idiot could seriously argue that all of it was rubbish until (the massively overrated) Donnie Darko or Oldboy came along and showed everyone how it should have been done all along. Neither movie, by the way, counts as a Psychological Thriller.

        • Arnold Lanier

          Why is it bad that this list features many older titles? I mean just sit and think about it for a moment. Why does older have to mean worse? Does something’s age really determine its quality? Should the writer next time make sure that half of the films listed can be found in the local Redbox nearest you — would that make you happy? Or can we have an adult discussion about the history of film?

      • Guest

        I remember the “The Tenant” by Polanski and “Replusion” with Catherine Deneuve. What was the third?

        • Andrew lowry

          Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby then The Tenant. Great trilogy!!

      • Ryan Lawrence Spann

        Can’t go wrong with Polanski, but you can probably branch out…

      • LorinThePhotographer

        I loved your list and am working my way through it. I cant find das experiment.

        You might enjoy Session 9 and Sleep tight.

        • Andrew lowry

          Thanks Lorin. Hope you can find it, I think the DVD is available on Amazon depending on where you are. Thanks for the recommendations, I’ve seen both and really like them, especially the latter. Can’t beat a bit of home invasion!!

    • Indy

      I AGREE. All these lists and the movies are so old and dated, where are the recommendations for the new stuff? 90s and upward, i would appreciate that a lot.

    • Aidan Taylor

      You mean where is the list you would have compiled? Waiting for you to make it and post it somewhere presumably. ‘Ancient films… are so overrated’. Whereas newer films are better by default? The reason that certain older films are still highly regarded is usually because (bizarrely enough), they have been good enough to stand the test of time. Movies, both good and bad have been made in every era of film-making. It may not be hip for you to like anything that didn’t hit the screens in the last 20 years, but it doesn’t make everybody else a klutz. And with further regard to your lack of basic math comprehension, 22 different directors in a list of 25 movies represents an eclectic choice.

      • MMAddict

        When did I say that newer films were better by default? Please, point out exactly where I said it and I will eat crow.

        The irony is, this was the entire freaking point I was making: “Movies, both good and bad have been made in every era of film-making.” Yet not a single one from the past 2 decades is mentioned.

        You can finish the rest of the argument with yourself thanks.

    • Joe Trudnak

      Yes! American Psycho!

      • MMAddict

        Amazing movie, love how they dived into the mind of a psychopath so well

    • Laslo Bigsby

      Because those are just good or very good movies but not even close to being in the “classic ” category. MMAddict I like some of those movies you mentioned but you have to know the difference between movies you like and are good from movies that are GREAT and a classic. Because if you add the movies you mentioned than you can add a hundred other “good movies” and you completely dilute the pool of what is considered to be a classic movie. I don’t remember if “Shawshank Redemption” was on the list but if not, that is a movie that is a “classic” and belongs on that list.

      • MMAddict

        Something can’t be a ‘classic’ unless it’s old, and that is a fallacy. Those movies were never considered ‘classics’ until much later. Much like some recent movies are better than those ‘classics’

      • MMAddict

        Try thinking for yourself instead of what people tell you is good.

        • Laslo Bigsby

          Look jackwagon, I’ve been watching movies and making decisions ON MY OWN for over 50 years. Yes, I’ve read very good books on film and studied film in college but I don’t need anyone to tell me if a movie is good or not. I can figure that on my own. I was trying to be polite to you but have changed my mind. You haven’t a clue as to what really constitutes a good movie. The Mist? You’re joking, right? With that alone you have lost all credibility. Don’t come back with guns a blazing and trying to attack me. I don’t give a f**k. You just throw tons of movies out there as “classics” and you don’t rally understand what a classic is. For example, the only absolutely great AMERICAN movie in the last 10 years was Scorsese’s “The Departed” Oh, there have been some really good movies in that time BUT that movie stands apart. That is what makes a classic. Donnie Darko? The Mist? Get with the program!

          • MMAddict

            “The Program”, pretentious garbage that appeases the masses. The only great movie. Right. lol.

    • Vincenzo Politi

      … and are Pans Labyrinth, the Host, the Mist, Donnie Darko supposed to be “psychological thrillers”? And is “Basic Instinct” supposed to be a “great psychological thriller”???

    • charlie

      This guy for world leader ^^

    • SCParegien

      Netflix? Amazon? That’s where they are. It’s a list. A list that includes films that some people have forgotten or have not come around to seeing yet because they are young. your inclusion of basic Instinct is your choice. That’s fine. I like Oldboy, American Psycho still has a cult following and I like it. Everyone owns a collector’s edition Momento DVD book. We’re all aware of it. Donnie Darko to me is not a thriller and is barely psychological. It’s more absurdist dream than anything. The rest are okay. Decent list.

  • theonlyaa

    You missed a new indie film titled The Projectionist… It’s beyond amazing!!! def worth checking out.

    • Andrew lowry

      Sounds good. Will check it out. Thanks.

    • Joel Zachariah

      how did you watch it ? is it available online ?

  • Tea Bear

    Referring to the book or movie series, it should be “Hannibal Lecter”… It was only spelled “Lecktor” in Manhunter, and then only in the credits. Spell it correctly, as Thomas Harris did, unless referring specifically to Manhunter.

  • JBiehl

    Fuck everyone who had their hand in creating this, Donnie Darko………

  • Tragalac

    This list craves for Stepford Wives, as someone mentioned. Besides, Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt is a masterpiece if you talk about psychological themes.
    Kill List was a big disappointment…

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  • Danielle

    Great list Andrew! Thanks! I do agree with some of the other comments -Identity is one of my favourites but I’m glad to see a list with a few suggestions of movies I haven’t yet seen.

  • Mega Thingz

    Like cool toys and geeky gifts? Check out! Give us a like and a follow!

  • biteljuz

    ** El secreto de sus ojos



  • Jose A Decastilla

    I love Dark Passage.

  • Vinashak

    No Shining?

    • The Shining is more “conventional horror” as it’s the ghosts of the hotel that drive Nicholson’s character crazy. These are more “WTF” movies, though “Rosemary’s Baby” shouldn’t be here for that very same reason (supernatural rather than human influence).

      But that’s just my take on it….

  • Sahil Sachdeva

    though blue velvet was (lynch’s) better but mulholland drive deserved to be mentioned

  • Mullholland Drive, Seven, Black Swan and The Machinist ?

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  • Umar

    Where is Shutter Island ? The best psychological thriller movie of this century ?

    • Lea

      You mean the most predictable psychological thriller of this century? Snore.

    • Jane

      not very good and unfortunately I agree with Lea – very predictable.

  • Sam Kin

    idk if false alarms does a big harm to a movie…..but i kinda find Orphan-2009 a brilliant movie with an awesome storytellin!! It makes u feel like a ghost movie which eventually ends up being an psychological thriller!!

    • Louise Mullins

      I saw this only four months ago with my sister ans bought the film to freak my hubby out. One of the best psychological thrillers, aside from ‘Before I go to sleep’ that I have ever enjoyed.

  • Lukasz Grobelny

    You know it was Lecktor only in Manhunter?

  • Nicolás Riveros

    Donnie Darko!! Where is it?

  • acgogo

    Memento with guy pearce.

  • Mystery Man

    Lost Highway (1997), The Silence of the Lambs
    (1991), Identity
    The Jacket

  • Johann Vock

    What about Mulholland Dr.?

  • Laslo Bigsby

    Takeshi Miike’s “Audition” should be on this list!

  • HLLH

    It’s “El secreto de sus ojos” not “El Secreto de sas ojos”, wtf.

  • Angel Heart is good. To view the film please visit:

  • Qualiarella18

    plz, join this cinema forums

  • fred_reade

    Great list. Tough to pick the best Bergman for this, but I believe you did with Hour of the Wolf. I appreciate how many foreign films are on this list, they are often overlooked. thanks again.

  • Nathan Manning

    Just finished watching Vertigo–saw it was #1 on your list and had to watch it. I try to remove myself from time and look down from above, objectively, while watching movies, but this one made it hard. (Spoiler Alert) At end, I was left with a bad taste in my mouth. A weak female character who became an accomplice to murder, and then who fell helplessly in love with a superficial man–who was capable of falling in love with an ostensibly mentally disturbed woman–in an extremely short amount of time, committed suicide after being exposed by the man she loved… Not only does this strike a strong “I’m from the Era of rampant mysoginy ” chord, but there were also many plot holes (e.g. how did Judy and the husband climb down and leave the scene of the crime unnoticed while a number of people were around?). I honestly wanted to like it, and I’m not some guy that runs around pointing out stuff like this whenever I get the chance. It just didn’t do it for me. I think some of these older films, while very good for their time in terms of techological limitations and how it fit into the cultural pulse, no longer stand the “test of time.” Just my humble opinion–and I’ve been very wrong before.

    I do really like the idea behind it, though. I think an improvement could have been with a greater role for Midge and a deeper purpose for her relationship to Scotty. That dynamic was interesting and could have been explored–perhaps more dynamic than the relationship between the two mains.

  • i think silence of the lambs is the good one.

  • Carl Peter Yeh


  • Susan F

    No sense of cinema history. Gaslight. Der Letzte Mann, Fury, The Trial, Chinatown, Cape Fear, Wait Until Dark, Sorry Wrong Number.

  • Susan F

    No sense of cinema history. Gaslight where Charles Boyer drives Ingrid Bergman to insanity with the help of Angela Lansbury. The Trial. Fury. Der Letzte Mann. The Blue Angel, where a staid professor give up all for a trollope.Of Human Bondage. In a Lonely Place. Cape Fear. Last Tango in Paris. Now Voyager. Spellbound. Random Harvest. Shadow of a Doubt. The Little Foxes. The Children’s Hour. The Pawnbroker.

  • Brady Demarest

    The movie Enemy is one of the, if not the most psychological movie I have ever seen. It is very well done and Jake Gyllenhaal is awesome in it. I highly recommend it.

  • Klaus Dannick

    Any list of great psychological thrillers should include Spoorloos (The Vanishing). Also, it wouldn’t occur to me to label Jacob’s Ladder, Videodrome, or Angel Heart as psychological thrillers, but I can see that the definition works.


    Nice list, here is my list of 25 best psychological thrillers I’ve seen on quota,

  • Ramkumar

    Can anyone suggest a good movie similar to Vanilla Sky or Shutter Island?

    • Rachel S.

      Mr. Nobody

      • Ramkumar

        Thanks! I’ll check it out.

  • charlie

    the fact american psycho isn’t on here is fucking outrageous.

  • Jasper Edrawn

    Shutter Island
    Butterfly effect(only recommend 1st movie in 2004)
    No 23
    inception(not much psychological but it will twist ur mind)

  • Steve Bakewell

    I stopped taking this list seriously when i saw Wicker man on the list.

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  • Phred

    High Anxiety not on the list?

  • Keko Burazin

    Dead Ringers..Jeremy Irons one of the best acts..

  • Ankit Khettry

    No Mulholland Dr? Seriously?

  • This list is a very good one!

  • Guido Von M

    Maybe we could also add The Others by Amenabar?

  • acgogo

    I absolutely love “The Innocents” Great writing, terrific actors and brilliant direction with surprisingly creepy modern sounding sound effects for it’s time. This is the best movie (other than “To Kill a Mockingbird”) where you see black and white film raised to an art more beautiful than any color film can possibly achieve (with a nod to Woody Allen). Deborah Kerr should have received an Oscar along with the two child actors who are flawless.

  • acgogo

    “The Tenant” is a film you just never get to see. Talk about a decent into madness! I’ve sent emails to TCM begging them to show the full Polanski “apartment trilogy” all three appropriately noted here.

  • leeahgiovanna

    Great List ! So many other lists use all the well-known mainstream ones that aren’t as good but I like this selection a lot, just wanted to acknowledge a job well done

  • Interesting list and by “interesting,” I do mean “thought-provoking.” There are a few on here that I haven’t seen, but now definitely intend on viewing.

    By chance have you seen Lars Von Trier’s “The Element of Crime (1984)?” I think that it might have a place on a revised list of yours, once you have seen it.

  • Prometheus

    Martyrs has to be one of the very best/most disturbing/thought-provoking psychological thrillers ever made. Check it out

    • Bath Cat

      BAM, this. I didn’t really think of it immediately but seeing people saying that the older psychological thrillers were so “boring” I thought perhaps they’d like Martyrs. Brilliant movie that could never be said to be boring.

  • Bluegrasslass

    Urgh! Hitchcock was a big, fat, greasy pervert with a mean streak a mile wide.

  • Bryce

    Saw tell no one on the bookshelf, picked it up and couldn’t put it down. Didn’t know there was a French adaptation until recently… Hope Hollywood takes a crack at it.

  • Ranadheer Reddy

    i think this list is incomplete there are many Psychological thrillers that you need to add to the list like shutter island,psycho,identity,memento,Mulholland drive etc

  • Yea, nice post today, allways a pleasure to see before work.

  • sol

    Personally, I really appreciated the list, thank you. It’s cute yet disturbing to witness how absurdly mad everybody gets over someone elses’s opinions.

  • John Pendergrass

    Thank you for your list. Of course, all opinions differ. I will thankfully take your recommendations and watch the movies that you have suggested.
    As for myself, I think a few movies should be included like Fight Club, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Sixth Sense, Momento, and Layer Cake. I’m going to watch Vertigo right now, so Have a great day everyone!

  • Melody Lanzatella

    I think this list is terrible! I can think of many better movies than the ones listed! For example, “I saw the Devil”!

  • Farah

    The Shining and Session 9 are the two best psychological movies I’ve watched. They bot had no jumpscares nor involved some paranormal stuff but the scenes themselves are terrifying.

  • merlin moro ???

  • Sheriff Hortixoon

    Mulholland Drive???

  • Colleen Macmillan

    “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Liz Taylor and Richard Burton tear it up!

  • Daniele Concina

    You should have included Oldboy. But definitely a good list

  • thomas

    Amazing content. Just love it and will be sure to visit you again for more apps like this. Keep it up.

    Spotify Premium APK

  • Nathan Duthoy


  • shubham goyal
  • m m
  • Dave McCrory

    That there is a fine list of movies Andrew I think Rosemary’s Baby has to come out top though

  • Sebastián Inda

    Love this ranking, many movies that I haven´t seen. As an argentinian is good to see “El secreto de sus ojos” (and totally fair) in it. Hollywood tried to make his own version, but is not even close to the original. Love this ranking because is not just a Hollywood bubble,