Thinking about Psychological Horror Movies, there are many movies talking about this topic. We wrote about 25 of our favorites.
From David Fincher, starring Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Andrew Kevin Walker
Se7en is a 1995 mystery-thriller film directed by David Fincher, starring Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt. The plot follows detectives Somerset (Freeman) and Mills (Pitt) as they investigate a series of grisly murders seemingly inspired by the seven deadly sins. As the detectives struggle to apprehend the elusive killer, they come to realize that the murderer is carrying out a twisted plan to punish those who he believes are guilty of the world's ills. In their pursuit of justice, they must confront their own fears and prejudices as they slowly uncover the truth behind the murders.
From Jonathan Demme, starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons
The Silence of the Lambs is a psychological horror-thriller directed by Jonathan Demme. The movie follows FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) as she attempts to track down a sadistic serial killer known as “Buffalo Bill”. To get closer to the killer, Clarice seeks the help of the incarcerated but highly intelligent psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins). To gain his help, Clarice must enter into a dangerous psychological cat-and-mouse game with Lecter as he reveals clues to her investigation. As the story progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that Lecter is a dangerous adversary with an agenda of his own. This classic chiller is not only a suspenseful thriller, but also a character study of the darkness that lurks in the human mind.
From Alfred Hitchcock, starring Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin
Psycho is a 1960 psychological horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The film tells the story of Marion Crane, a woman who steals $40,000 from her employer and goes on the run. She takes refuge at the remote Bates Motel, where she meets Norman Bates, a disturbed young man with an intense interest in taxidermy and a strange relationship with his mother. As Marion's stay at the motel grows longer, the tension builds and her sanity begins to unravel, leading to a shocking and iconic conclusion. Psycho is often lauded as one of Hitchcock's greatest films and is credited with popularizing the slasher genre.
From Park Chan-wook, starring Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Kang Hye-jeong, Kim Byeong-Ok
Oldboy is a South Korean neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Park Chan-wook. The film follows the story of Oh Dae-su, who is mysteriously released after spending 15 years imprisoned in a hotel room-like cell. After his release, he embarks on a quest to discover the identity of his captor and the reason for his imprisonment. Along the way, he forms an unlikely alliance with a young sushi chef and the two set out to uncover the truth behind the conspiracy that has changed the course of their lives. With a mix of violence and psychological horror, Oldboy is a gripping tale of revenge and redemption.
From Stanley Kubrick, starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd, Scatman Crothers
The Shining is a horror film directed by Stanley Kubrick and based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. The film follows Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson), a writer and recovering alcoholic, who takes a job as the winter caretaker at the isolated Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies. He brings his wife, Wendy (Shelley Duvall), and son, Danny (Danny Lloyd), along for the job. Danny has the psychic ability to "shine," enabling him to see the hotel's horrific past. As the Torrance family settles in, the hotel's supernatural forces grow stronger, driving Jack to the brink of insanity. He becomes increasingly violent and Wendy and Danny must find a way to escape the hotel before they become its latest victims.
From M. Night Shyamalan, starring Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams
The Sixth Sense is a psychological horror-thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The movie follows the story of eight-year-old Cole Sear, a troubled boy who is able to see and talk to the dead, and child psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe who is determined to help him. As the story progresses, Dr. Crowe discovers that the ghosts Cole has been seeing are actually trying to tell him something and it is up to him to uncover the truth. The film is known for its twist ending, which reveals the true nature of Cole’s ability and the reason why the ghosts are reaching out to him.
From John Carpenter, starring Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David, Richard Masur
The Thing is a 1982 science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter. Set in Antarctica, the story follows a group of American researchers who discover an alien being, the eponymous "Thing", with the ability to perfectly mimic and assimilate other organisms. As the researchers attempt to contain the creature, they are slowly picked off one by one as paranoia and mistrust among the remaining members tear the group apart. Ultimately, only two members remain to confront the Thing in an all-out battle for survival. The Thing is considered a classic of the horror genre, praised for its suspenseful atmosphere, intense special effects, and John Carpenter's iconic score.
From Ingmar Bergman, starring Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook, Gunnar Björnstrand
Rated Not Rated
Persona is a psychological drama directed by Ingmar Bergman and released in 1966. It follows two women, Alma and Elisabet, who develop an intense and intimate bond as Elisabet retreats into a state of near-total silence. Alma is a nurse tasked with caring for Elisabet, and as she attempts to draw out the withdrawn patient she finds that their identities are becoming intertwined. As the film progresses, the two women's relationship becomes increasingly complex and the boundaries between their personas become increasingly blurred. Themes of identity, communication, and the power dynamics of caretaker and patient are explored throughout the film.
From Darren Aronofsky, starring Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder
Black Swan is a psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky. It tells the story of a young ballet dancer, Nina, who is forced to confront the darker side of her psyche in order to perfect her performance for an upcoming production of Swan Lake. She is pushed to her limits by a demanding instructor and her fierce competitor, a rival dancer. As the opening night draws nearer, Nina struggles to distinguish reality from her own paranoid hallucinations. In a desperate attempt to perfect her dancing, she discovers a hidden talent and strength, but at a great cost to her mental and physical health.
From Roman Polanski, starring Mia Farrow, John Cassavetes, Ruth Gordon, Sidney Blackmer
Rosemary's Baby is a psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski and released in 1968. The film stars Mia Farrow as Rosemary Woodhouse, a young housewife who believes that her husband, Guy (John Cassavetes), has made a pact with their sinister neighbors, the Castavets, in order to gain success in his acting career. Rosemary soon finds herself pregnant and discovers that her unborn baby is part of a sinister plot by the Castavets to birth a child of the devil. Rosemary must fight against the sinister forces and her own husband in order to protect her unborn child and save her family from the horrors of the Castavets. The film is a classic of the horror genre, with its intense atmosphere and psychological horror elements. It is often seen as a classic of feminist horror, as the film centers around Rosemary's struggle to protect her unborn child against an oppressive and sinister patriarchy.
From Jack Clayton, starring Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave
Rated Not Rated
The Innocents is a 1961 British psychological horror film directed by Jack Clayton and starring Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave and Peter Wyngarde. The film is an adaptation of Henry James' 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw. The story follows a governess who, upon taking over care of two orphaned children, begins to see apparitions of ghosts that may or may not be real. As the governess slowly unravels, the film builds an atmosphere of dread and fear as she struggles to determine if the ghosts are a manifestation of her own mind or truly real. The Innocents has been praised for its atmosphere of tension and suspense and its great use of black-and-white cinematography. It has been described as one of the most effective ghost stories ever put to film.
From David Lynch, starring Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern
Blue Velvet is a neo-noir thriller directed by David Lynch and released in 1986. Set in a small American town, the story follows Jeffrey Beaumont, a college student who returns to his hometown after his father has a stroke. While walking home, Jeffrey finds a severed human ear in a field, which leads him to investigate a strange mystery involving a nightclub singer, a psychopathic gangster, his drug-addicted girlfriend, and a bizarre family. As the investigation progresses, Jeffrey is drawn deeper into a dark and dangerous underworld, and must confront the violence, depravity, and secrets that inhabit it. The film is considered a cult classic and is seen as a subversive exploration of the darker aspects of human nature.
From Jordan Peele, starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener
Get Out is a horror/thriller film written and directed by Jordan Peele and starring Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, and Catherine Keener. The film follows Chris Washington (Kaluuya), a young African-American man who travels to the suburbs to meet his white girlfriend Rose Armitage (Williams) and her family. He quickly discovers that something sinister is afoot. As Chris soon discovers, a sinister secret lies beneath the veneer of politeness and hospitality of the Armitage family’s estate: they are part of a sinister cult that uses hypnosis to implant white people’s consciousness into black people’s bodies in order to preserve their own immortality. With the help of his friend Rod (LilRel Howery) and a mysterious figure from his past, Chris must find a way to escape the family and their wicked plan. Get Out is a gripping, satirical, and socially conscious suspense thriller that explores racism, class, and the perils of privilege.
From Alejandro Amenábar, starring Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Fionnula Flanagan, Alakina Mann
The Others is a 2001 psychological horror-thriller film written, directed, and scored by Alejandro Amenábar. It stars Nicole Kidman as Grace Stewart, who lives with her two young children in a sprawling English mansion on the Isle of Jersey during World War II. Grace is a deeply religious woman who is struggling to raise her two children alone while awaiting news of her missing husband. When three mysterious servants appear at the mansion, Grace suspects they may be the source of the strange occurrences happening in her home. As the servants become more entrenched in her life, the events become more terrifying and inexplicable, forcing Grace to confront her own faith and beliefs. In the end, it is revealed that the servants are actually ghosts, and the house is haunted by the souls of those killed in a war-time tragedy that occurred in the house years before. Grace is forced to accept the truth and confront her fears in order to protect her children and save their souls. The film explores themes of faith, mortality, family, and the power of belief.
From Roman Polanski, starring Catherine Deneuve, Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Yvonne Furneaux
Rated Not Rated
Repulsion is a psychological horror film directed by Roman Polanski and released in 1965. The film follows a young woman named Carol (Catherine Deneuve) who is slowly driven to madness by her own repressed sexuality and lack of a meaningful relationship with a man. She begins to experience hallucinations and increasingly violent behavior as a result of her psychological state. As the film progresses, her mental state worsens until she finally snaps and lashes out at those around her. The film culminates in a shocking conclusion that leaves the audience wondering about the nature of Carol’s mental state. Repulsion is a powerful and thought-provoking exploration of the depths of human emotion and one of Polanski’s most acclaimed films.
From Pedro Almodóvar, starring Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Jan Cornet, Marisa Paredes
The Skin I Live In tells the story of renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Ledgard, a man consumed by his quest to develop a synthetic skin that could have saved his late wife from a horrific burn accident. After years of research, he eventually succeeds and creates a skin that is stronger, more elastic, and resistant to burns and aging. However, his obsession turns dark when he begins to use his latest invention on a mysterious, captive woman named Vera. As the story unfolds, Dr. Ledgard’s twisted past is revealed in a tale of revenge, obsession, and a shocking discovery. The Skin I Live In is a thrilling exploration of identity, revenge, and the consequences of obsession.
From Michael Haneke, starring Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisch, Frank Giering
Rated Not Rated
Funny Games is a 1997 psychological thriller directed by Michael Haneke. The film follows a family of three (Peter, Anna, and their son, Georgie) as they are subjected to a two-man home invasion, played by Arno Frisch and Frank Giering. As the two men terrorize the family with violent and cruel games, the family fights for their lives and sanity in an attempt to break free from the men’s grasp. Ultimately, the film is a social commentary on the way in which violence is used in media and entertainment, as it critiques and questions the audience’s consumption of and reaction to such forms of entertainment.
From John Krasinski, starring Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe
A Quiet Place is a 2018 American horror film directed by John Krasinski, who co-wrote the screenplay with Bryan Woods and Scott Beck. The plot follows a family of four living in a post-apocalyptic world populated by monsters that hunt by sound. To survive, they must remain absolutely silent, communicating only through sign language and avoiding any sound that might attract the monsters. But when the family is faced with a terrible, life-changing choice, they must find a way to make noise in order to survive. The film stars Krasinski, Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, and Noah Jupe in the lead roles. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning praise for its direction and performances, as well as its themes of family, communication, and courage.
From Robin Hardy, starring Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Britt Ekland
The Wicker Man (1973) is a British horror-mystery film directed by Robin Hardy. It follows police sergeant Neil Howie, an uptight Christian, who is sent to a remote Scottish island to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. On the island, Howie discovers a neo-pagan comunity who are worshipping ancient Celtic gods and following an ancient tradition of human sacrifice, known as "The Wicker Man". As Howie investigates the case, he finds himself embroiled in a sinister plot to carry out a human sacrifice, with himself as the offering. The film is notable for its eerie atmosphere and its themes of religious fanaticism, sexual repression and paganism.
From J.A. Bayona, starring Belén Rueda, Fernando Cayo, Roger Príncep, Mabel Rivera
From Kiyoshi Kurosawa, starring Masato Hagiwara, Kôji Yakusho, Tsuyoshi Ujiki, Anna Nakagawa
Rated Not Rated
From Robert Eggers, starring Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe, Valeriia Karaman, Logan Hawkes
From Na Hong-jin, starring Jun Kunimura, Hwang Jung-min, Kwak Do-won, Woo-hee Chun
From Adrian Lyne, starring Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña, Danny Aiello, Matt Craven
From Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange, Juliette Lewis
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