Psychological Horror Films

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Psychological Horror Films

When it comes to Psychological Horror Films, there are so many directors reporting on this idea. We gathered 25 of the best ones.

Se7en (1995)

Se7en
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From David Fincher, starring Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Andrew Kevin Walker
Rated R

Se7en is a psychological thriller directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Spacey. The film follows two detectives, Somerset (Freeman) and Mills (Pitt), as they investigate a series of bizarre and horrific murders in a city that seems to be crumbling beneath the weight of its own moral decay. As the detectives race to catch the killer, they begin to realize that each murder is connected to one of the seven deadly sins: sloth, envy, gluttony, greed, pride, wrath, and lust. What follows is an intense, thrilling, and emotionally gripping journey as the detectives try to catch the killer before his plan comes to fruition.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The Silence of the Lambs
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Jonathan Demme, starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons
Rated R

The Silence of the Lambs is a psychological horror-thriller film directed by Jonathan Demme, starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins. Clarice Starling (Foster) is an FBI trainee who is assigned to the agency's training academy in Quantico, Virginia. She is asked by Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn), the head of the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit, to interview the brilliant and dangerous psychiatrist, Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins). Lecter is a former psychiatrist and incarcerated serial killer suspected of multiple murders. Throughout their conversations, Lecter offers psychological insights that help Clarice profile a serial killer known as Buffalo Bill. He also gives her clues to the identity of the killer which ultimately leads her to the lair of Buffalo Bill, who is trying to make a "woman suit" out of the skins of his victims. With Lecter's help, Clarice is able to track down Buffalo Bill and rescue his latest victim, Catherine Martin (Brooke Smith), just in time. In exchange for his help, Clarice helps Lecter escape from prison and grants him his freedom. The Silence of the Lambs is a thriller that explores the themes of morality, power, justice, identity, and the relationship between a victim

Psycho (1960)

Psycho
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Alfred Hitchcock, starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin
Rated R

Psycho is a 1960 horror thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film follows Marion Crane, a young woman who is on the run with $40,000 of stolen money. After a stopover at a mysterious motel, Marion soon finds out that the owner, Norman Bates, is hiding a dark and disturbing secret. As Marion desperately attempts to escape the motel, she falls victim to Bates' deranged and murderous ways. The film follows Marion's path to her tragic and inevitable end, as well as the aftermath of Bates' true identity. Psycho is considered a masterpiece of the horror genre and is one of the most iconic and influential films of all time.

Oldboy (2003)

Oldboy
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Park Chan-wook, starring Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Kang Hye-jeong, Kim Byeong-Ok
Rated R

Oldboy is a 2003 South Korean neo-noir mystery thriller film directed by Park Chan-wook. The story follows Oh Dae-su, a businessman who is mysteriously kidnapped and held captive for 15 years in a private prison. When he is suddenly released, he embarks on a quest for revenge against his captors. Along the way, he discovers shocking truths about his past that will change his life forever. The film has received widespread critical acclaim, and is regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. It won the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival and was also the first Korean film to be featured in the Directors' Fortnight section at the same festival.

The Shining (1980)

The Shining
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Stanley Kubrick, starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers
Rated R

The Shining is a 1980 psychological horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on the 1977 novel by Stephen King. The film follows the story of Jack Torrance, an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic, his wife Wendy, and their son Danny, who move into the isolated Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies for the winter. As the hotel's caretaker, Jack has been promised complete creative freedom to work on his writing, but he slowly descends into madness after a supernatural presence influences his sanity. As Jack's sanity deteriorates, Danny is beset by terrifying visions and is haunted by a malevolent force known as "The Shining". As Jack's descent into madness becomes more and more violent, Wendy and Danny must attempt to escape from the hotel before it is too late.

The Sixth Sense (1999)

The Sixth Sense
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From M. Night Shyamalan, starring Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams
Rated PG-13

The Sixth Sense is a supernatural horror-thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film follows a child psychiatrist, Dr. Malcolm Crowe (played by Bruce Willis), as he attempts to help a young boy, Cole Sear (played by Haley Joel Osment), who is haunted by a number of ghosts. Cole is able to see and communicate with the dead, and through his therapy with Dr. Crowe, he learns to accept his paranormal ability. Throughout the course of the film, we discover that Malcolm is haunted by a different kind of ghost – one from his own past. Eventually, Malcolm and Cole come to terms with their respective ghosts, and in the end, Malcolm learns to accept his own death.

The Thing (1982)

The Thing
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From John Carpenter, starring Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur
Rated R

The Thing is a 1982 science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter and written by Bill Lancaster, based loosely on the 1938 novella Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell. Set in an Antarctic research station, the film tells the story of a group of scientists who discover an alien life form that has the ability to assimilate and imitate other organisms. The creature begins to pick off the researchers one by one, and it becomes increasingly difficult to determine who is human and who is the Thing. The crew must find a way to stop the creature before it can reach civilization. With its suspenseful atmosphere, intense action sequences, and innovative special effects, The Thing is considered a classic of its genre.

Persona (1966)

Persona
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Ingmar Bergman, starring Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook, Gunnar Björnstrand
Rated Not Rated

Persona is a psychological drama directed by Ingmar Bergman that follows the story of Elisabet, a famous stage actress who suffers a nervous breakdown and is rendered mute. She is sent to a secluded island to recuperate, and is accompanied by Alma, a nurse assigned to take care of her. As their relationship develops, the two women become increasingly intertwined, with Alma gradually assuming Elisabet's identity and personality. The film explores the complex roles of identity, self-expression and communication, and questions the nature of reality and truth. It is an intense, emotionally charged exploration of the dynamics of human relationships, identity, and communication.

Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Darren Aronofsky, starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder
Rated R

Black Swan is a psychological thriller film written by Mark Heyman and directed by Darren Aronofsky. It follows Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), an ambitious young dancer in New York City’s most prestigious ballet company, as she struggles to overcome her psychological demons and her desire to be perfect as she competes for the lead role in a new production of Swan Lake. As she starts to unravel, Nina’s obsessive desire for perfection and her rival, Lily (Mila Kunis), leads her to confront her own dark side in a journey of self-discovery and transformation. Through this exploration of the depths of the human psyche, the film examines the consequences of ambition and the beauty of artistic expression.

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Rosemary's Baby
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Roman Polanski, starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer
Rated Approved

Rosemary's Baby is a 1968 psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski and based on the 1967 novel of the same name by Ira Levin. The film follows Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow), a young wife who becomes pregnant after having a strange dream. As the pregnancy progresses, Rosemary begins to suspect that the child she is carrying may be the product of a pact between her husband, Guy (John Cassavetes), and a mysterious cult of Satanists. With the help of her neighbor, Minnie (Ruth Gordon), Rosemary must unravel the mystery and protect her child from the insidious forces that threaten it. The film is widely considered to be one of the greatest horror films of all time and was a box office success upon its release.

The Innocents (1961)

The Innocents
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Jack Clayton, starring Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave
Rated Not Rated

The Innocents is a psychological horror film directed by Jack Clayton and starring Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave, and Megs Jenkins. Set in Edwardian England, the film follows two governesses, Miss Giddens (Kerr) and Miss Grose (Jenkins), who are hired to look after two young orphans, Miles and Flora, in a remote country estate. However, soon after their arrival, the governesses begin to suspect that the house is haunted and that the children are possessed by ghosts. Throughout the film, Miss Giddens attempts to uncover the truth behind the hauntings while trying to protect the children from the malevolent spirits. As the story progresses, the governesses are forced to confront their deepest fears and accept the reality of the supernatural. The Innocents is a classic horror movie that uses suspense and atmosphere to create a suspenseful and eerie atmosphere.

Blue Velvet (1986)

Blue Velvet
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From David Lynch, starring Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern
Rated R

Blue Velvet is a 1986 American neo-noir psychological thriller film written and directed by David Lynch. Starring Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, and Laura Dern, the film tells the story of a young college student, Jeffrey Beaumont, who discovers a severed human ear in a field. Investigating its origins leads him to the seedy underground of his small town and into a dark world of crime and deviance, with a psychotic criminal, Frank Booth, at its center. Filled with elements of surrealism, dark humor, and an exploration of the duality of human nature, Blue Velvet is both a gripping crime drama and a thought-provoking study of the darkness that lies beneath the American Dream.

Get Out (2017)

Get Out
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Jordan Peele, starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener
Rated R

Get Out is a 2017 American horror film directed by Jordan Peele. The story follows a young black man named Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) who is invited by his white girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) to meet her family at their home in the countryside. Despite the warm welcome from Rose's parents, Chris quickly becomes aware of a sinister presence in the estate. As his suspicions grow, Chris must race to uncover the truth before it is too late. Along the way, he discovers a disturbing secret about the family and their unsettling racial prejudices. Get Out is a chilling exploration of racism, oppression, and the power of love.

The Others (2001)

The Others
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Alejandro Amenábar, starring Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Fionnula Flanagan, Alakina Mann
Rated PG-13

The Others is a 2001 supernatural horror film written, directed, and scored by Alejandro Amenábar. The film stars Nicole Kidman as Grace Stewart, a devoutly religious woman living in an old country house with her two young children during World War II. After seeing strange occurrences in the house and hearing reports of a mysterious family living in the house before them, Grace begins to suspect supernatural forces are at work. The Others is a tense and creepy psychological thriller that explores the power of faith, the boundaries between reality and fantasy, and the devastating consequences of secrets.

Repulsion (1965)

Repulsion
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Roman Polanski, starring Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Yvonne Furneaux
Rated Not Rated

Repulsion is a 1965 psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski. The film follows Carol, a repressed and fragile young woman, who begins to experience horrifying visions and hallucinations after her older sister leaves her alone in their shared London apartment. As her mental state deteriorates, she descends into madness and begins to commit increasingly violent acts against those around her. The film explores themes of alienation, sexuality, guilt, and the fragility of the human mind.

The Skin I Live In (2011)

The Skin I Live In
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Pedro Almodóvar, starring Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Jan Cornet, Marisa Paredes
Rated R

The Skin I Live In is an intense psychological thriller directed by Pedro Almodóvar and starring Antonio Banderas. The film tells the story of Dr. Robert Ledgard, a brilliant plastic surgeon, who has developed a revolutionary new skin for burn victims. His research is funded by a mysterious and wealthy benefactor who has requested that the skin be tested on a human subject. Ledgard's obsession with the project leads him to make a shocking decision - to use his own unwitting prisoner, Vera Cruz, as the guinea pig for his revolutionary medical breakthrough. As the story progresses, secrets from Ledgard's past come to light that reveal a much darker and twisted motivation behind his actions. Along with a powerful performance from Banderas, The Skin I Live In features stunning visuals and a haunting score by Alberto Iglesias.

Funny Games (1997)

Funny Games
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Michael Haneke, starring Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisch, Frank Giering
Rated Not Rated

Funny Games is a 1997 Austrian/German psychological thriller film written and directed by Michael Haneke. It follows a family of three who are held hostage at their vacation home by two young men, who play a series of sadistic games with them. As the games become increasingly violent and extreme, the family must cling to each other in order to survive the ordeal. The film is a statement on violence in media and its effects on society, and a reflection on the human capacity for violence. With its intense violence and graphic scenes, Funny Games has been both heavily debated and acclaimed by critics.

A Quiet Place (2018)

A Quiet Place
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From John Krasinski, starring Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe
Rated PG-13

A Quiet Place is a 2018 horror film directed by John Krasinski, who also stars alongside his real-life wife Emily Blunt. The film follows a family of four as they struggle to survive in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by blind alien creatures that hunt their prey based on sound. The family must remain completely silent, communicating only through sign language, in order to avoid detection and death. As they fight to stay alive, they must also confront the fear of being discovered, the impact of their loss, and the tension that comes with living in constant fear.

The Wicker Man (1973)

The Wicker Man
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Robin Hardy, starring Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Britt Ekland
Rated R

The Wicker Man (1973) is a British horror/mystery film directed by Robin Hardy and starring Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, Diane Cilento, and Christopher Lee. The film tells the story of a devout Christian police sergeant, Neil Howie, who is sent to the isolated Scottish island of Summerisle to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. Upon arriving, Howie finds a strange pagan culture on the island, and realizes that the inhabitants have been keeping secrets from him. With the help of a local girl, Willow, he begins to uncover a sinister plot involving the ancient pagan practice of sacrifice by fire. The film culminates in a shocking and iconic finale that has become part of cinematic history.

The Orphanage (2007)

The Orphanage
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From J.A. Bayona, starring Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep, Mabel Rivera
Rated R

Cure (1997)

Cure
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Kiyoshi Kurosawa, starring Masato Hagiwara, Kôji Yakusho, Tsuyoshi Ujiki, Anna Nakagawa
Rated Not Rated

The Lighthouse (2019)

The Lighthouse
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Robert Eggers, starring Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe, Valeriia Karaman, Logan Hawkes
Rated R

The Wailing (2016)

The Wailing
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Na Hong-jin, starring Jun Kunimura, Hwang Jung-min, Kwak Do-won, Woo-hee Chun
Rated TV-MA

Jacob's Ladder (1990)

Jacob's Ladder
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Adrian Lyne, starring Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello, Matt Craven
Rated R

Cape Fear (1991)

Cape Fear
★★★★
★★★★
2.9 out of 4 stars

From Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis
Rated R

 



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