A psychological thriller movie is one that deals with suspense by getting into your mind. Instead of just being about blood and gore, the plot focuses on how the mind can be disturbed and horrified. These psychological suspense movies may have lots of action and some blood, but the main intent is the element of the psyche.
I have to admit, I really want to write a great psychological horror thriller, one that chills the watcher of the movie to the core. This movie would make you have nightmares for a year, and the images would never leave the viewer. Right now, I have just been writing articles, such as this one on my picks for existing top psychological thrillers. Check back with me in the years to come and see whether I have accomplished my task. For now, here are ten mind bending movies to watch.
1. The Shining (1980). Jack Nicholson was one of our original psychologically disturbed guys in a horror film that wasn’t just about blood and guts. By watching this movie, you see the disintegration of his mind from sanity to insanity, and witness what happens when you are locked down in a hotel for months from being snowed in. It’s really horrifying to see what happens to this seemingly normal family.
2. 1984 (1984). The movie 1984 was made from the book with the same name. 1984 was written originally by George Orwell, who was portraying what he thought the future would look like when a superpower determined what we could do, and watched our every moves. It’s funny how alot of what he wrote turned out to be true, perhaps not literally, but figuratively for the most part. For instance, the government may not have actual tv screens in each person’s home so they can see what we do, but there are computers with attached cameras and computers that record almost everything we can do that the government could access if needed. The movie is scary because it shows that if we aren’t careful, the government or governing body will end up controlling us and taking away our freedoms a little at a time until they are all gone.
3. Blair Witch Project (1999). I really enjoyed this movie because it was about how these students were scared because of their own minds. They were so sure that the Blair Witch existed, that they started scaring themselves into believing that everything was a sign that the witch had been there and was messing with them. The question was, throughout the movie, does the witch exist or is this just their minds playing tricks on them?
4. Insomnia (2002). So, if you don’t get any sleep for a long period of time, what effects does this have on your brain? Do you see things clearly? Do you think clearly? Al Pacino was tested time and again to see if he could maintain his sense of reality, or whether his mind would get the best of him in this awesome psychological thriller movie. Robin Williams and Hillary Swank join Al Pacino for this film.
5. Zodiac (2007). The movie Zodiac starred one of my favorite actors for psychological suspense, Jake Gylenhaal, and also starred a favorite from the 80’s, Robert Lee Downey, Jr. So, you can guess that this is one of my favorite psychological suspense movies. Zodiac is based on a true story about a serial killer in San Francisco, a yet unsolved crime today. The killer sends messages to the newspaper, where Robert Lee Downey, Jr. is a reporter and Jake Gylenhaal is a cartoonist. Jake Gylenhaal gets to participate as he is able to help crack the codes the killer uses in his messages. The killer haunts the mind of the reporter so badly that he ends up leaving his job. I highly recommend this as a mind twisting movie!
6. War of the Worlds (2005). This movie stars Tom Cruise and shows that if we don’t pay attention, aliens can be watching us and landing here and we won’t even know what hits us when they decide to attack. This movie is so action packed that you are on your toes the whole time. Luckily for humans, the aliens end up dying because of being subjected to foreign contaminants on the earth that their bodies haven’t developed immunities to. This is a psychological thriller because Tom Cruise and his children must figure out how to avoid being killed by the aliens and survive. They have to outsmart them.
7. The Matrix (1999). Starring Keanu Reeves, this movie is about the future, where machines have created a universe where people live in a simulation of the year 1999. Neo (Keanu Reeves) is introduced to all of these secrets, and he will strive to get rid of the machines so humans can go back to reality. This movie has edge of the seat drama all the way through, and will leave you thinking and pondering at all times. To fully understand the movie, you may have to watch it more than once!
8. Malice (1993). Malice is an oldie but goodie psychological thriller. It stars Alec Baldwin and Nicole Kidman. In this movie, a husband and wife move into a Victorian home in Boston. They let Alec Baldwin move into the third floor apartment. The antics involve a scandal whereby Nicole Kidman undergoes an operation to remove her ovaries due to problems, and the baby is aborted in the process. This is all for Nicole Kidman and Alec Baldwin to get a large sum of money. But, will the husband find out the truth and prevent them from keeping the money? This movie is mindbending because you never really know who the good guy is and who the bad guy is. The movie keeps you on the edge of your seat.
9. The Ring (2002). The Ring may seem like your normal horror flick, but to me it offers more. The suspense builds as the mother tries to find a way not to die after viewing the video tape that ensures you will die seven days later. In this quest, she has to find the origin of the tape, and discover its secrets. You might not at first find this to be a psychological thriller, but I think it deserves the merit.
10. Panic Room (2002). This movie stars Jodie Foster as the mother who tries to protect her child when robbers break into her home. The mother and daughter go into the panic room, a place designed to protect the previous owner of the home from intruders. The movie is about how to be safe in the panic room, despite the fact that the daughter’s glucose injection for her diabetes is outside of the room, and she needs it! The movie is full of suspense and drama.
What are your favorite psychological suspense thriller movies?