Top 10 Classic Psychological Thriller Movies

psychological thriller

If there’s any genre of movie that manages to make you thankful for the simple life you live, it’s psychological thrillers. This genre offers insight into the worst of the human condition, forcing you to reckon not with the horror of monsters or ghosts. But the sheer evil of people driven over the edge.

So in the interest of escaping the current world and meeting some truly horrific, twisted characters, here are some of the best psychological thriller movies to watch right now:

Silence of the lambs- Psychological thriller

This movie follows two characters – Clarice, who is an FBI agent, and Hannibal Lecter, a convicted cannibal serial killer. The premise of the whole film revolves around Clarice searching for a new serial killer on the loose and enlisting the help of Hannibal. The film takes many unexpected twists and turns and the scenes with Clarice and Hannibal will keep you at the edge of your seat.


Based on Batman’s antagonist from the superhit Batman comics by DC, the Joker is a look into the origin story of a beloved villain. Set in the fictional Gotham City it details the deconstruction of Arthur Fleck and the rise of the Joker, his evil alter ego. It’s not for the faint of heart, dealing with themes of self-destructive behavior and exclusion from society.


The story is based on three girls who are kidnapped by a frightful individual with 23 personalities. They must find a way to escape before the 24th personality comes loose. With fantastic acting by James McAvoy and stellar direction by M. Night Shyamalan, the movie is gripping, horrific, and will stay with you long after you watch it.


Based on the book of the same name by Daphne DuMaurier, Rebecca is impinging on the edge of horror. The story follows a newlywed couple in England. They move into a family estate owned by the husband, however, the woman is constantly waylaid by the legacy of his first wife – Rebecca. 
The movie takes quite a turn and is perfect for anyone who likes unconventional romance movies.

Shutter Island

Another murder-based movie, this one follows a US marshal in the 1950s who investigates the escape of a murderer from an asylum. Starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Mark Ruffalo, you don’t need to be interested in the plot to settle in and be entertained by some eye candy. 


The follow up to Split, this movie follows a security guard as he tries to find the kidnapper from Split. With the same main characters and director, Glass is a worthy successor and a great choice for a terrifying binge marathon.


Based on the real Zodiac killer investigation, this movie follows a cartoonist who attempts to track down the killer.  The Zodiac killer communicated with the press via cypher and the cartoonist uses his skills to attempt to crack the code. Starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jake Gyllenhaal, this movie is a must-watch.

American Psycho

If you’re not interested in the plot you should at least watch this movie for its pop-culture significance. It has a particularly popular montage of the main character getting ready for his day and his narrative that plays is so neurotic it’s chillingly funny. The story follows an investment banker, Patrick Bateman who appears completely normal but is just hiding his psychopathic tendencies from the world.

Gone Girl

Based on the book by Gillian Flynn, this movie is replete with characters that you will love to hate. No really, they’re all so messed up. You don’t want to root for any of them, but you’ll find yourself taking turns rooting for all of them. Not only is this movie perfect to watch on a random Tuesday, but it’s also perfect to rewatch. The twists and turns are just as satisfying no matter how many times you watch it and the characters, just as insane. 

It follows a middle-aged couple who move to the suburbs and chronicles the disappearance of the wife and their marriage falling apart. It’s an insightful look into gender roles, society, and the roles we play in society.

Black Swan

This movie is confusing, to say the least. It’s not a one-watch movie it’s one of those movies you’ll probably google the meaning of the ending to. It tells the story of a ballet dancer who slowly loses her sanity as she gives much more than she is capable of to get a role in a production. It concerns themes of jealousy and rage and how much of yourself you should give to achieve your goals.
It’s a difficult movie, but one that’s great if you’re in the mood to think big thoughts.

Happy watching!