Check out our other video for the Top 10 Psychological Thrillers if you feel we've missed a title! Did YOUR favorite psychological thriller film make our list? Let us know in the comments!
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Check out our other video for the Top 10 Psychological Thrillers if you feel we've missed a title! Did YOUR favorite psychological thriller film make our list? Let us know in the comments!
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Another Top 10 Psychological Thrillers



Another Top 10 Psychological Thrillers

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: George Pacheco
Get ready for another journey deep into the darkness of the mind. For this list, we're looking at more of the greatest movies with intense psychological themes and thrills. We're excluding straight horror films, which deserve their own list. Our list includes such rollercoaster thrill rides as "Gone Girl" (2014), "Donnie Darko" (2001), "Fight Club" (1999), "Shutter Island" (2010), "Nightcrawler" (2014), and more! Check out our other video for the Top 10 Psychological Thrillers if you feel we've missed a title! Did YOUR favorite psychological thriller film make our list? Let us know in the comments!

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Script written by Nick Spake

Another Top 10 Psychological Thrillers

Get ready for another journey deep into the darkness of the mind. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for Another Top 10 Psychological Thrillers.

For this list, we'll be looking at more films which possessed intense psychological themes and thrills that played or blurred the lines between reality and fantasy. These films could also deal with characters suffering from severe mental trauma or illness, but we're staying away from straight horror films, as those deserve a list of their own. Check out our other video for the Top 10 Psychological Thrillers if you feel we've missed a title!

#10: "Shutter Island" (2010)

Okay, so we're not going to pretend that the ending twist of Martin Scorsese's "Shutter Island" wasn't a bit predictable, but the journey was certainly tense and stylish enough to make it all worthwhile. Based on a 2003 novel by Dennis Lehane, the film centers on a U.S. Marshal attempting to unravel a mystery, although it may be his sanity that’s really unraveling. The premise of a mysterious, remote mental hospital dealing with a missing patient is perfectly suited for the disturbing characters and thrilling twists we’d expect from the genre, making for a satisfying entry to Scorsese’s filmography.

#9: "Donnie Darko" (2001)

Surprisingly, this cult classic has actually improved with age. Writer/director Richard Kelly’s film is full of surreal imagery and dense, some might say "obtuse" storytelling that nevertheless lends itself to repeated viewings. Moreover, the psychological implications of lead Jake Gyllenhaal's disturbing visions of annihilation make us want to keep watching, in order to try and uncover the reasoning behind all of bizarre set pieces and cinematography. What's up with the bunny? Is the world actually going to end? Does Donnie make it out alive? Watch the film and find out for yourself.

#8: "Crash" (1996)

In the world of cult cinema, there's messed up, and then there's David Cronenberg messed up. The Canadian-born writer and director carved a career out of creating disturbing, devilish, and downright disgusting examples of what would become known as the "body horror" genre. Cronenberg's obsession with forcing us to watch his twisted viscera has become well documented. "Crash" may not be as well-known as some of his other titles, but this 1996 effort is an equally bizarre journey into the world of trauma survivors who become sexually aroused by car accidents and their physical aftermath. "Extreme" doesn't begin to describe the implications of "Crash's" sexual deviancy/fetishism vs. accidental violence; it simply must be seen to be believed.

#7: "Don't Look Now" (1973)

This film isn't a violent or exploitative affair, but rather one that explores themes of grief, loss, and regret in a disturbing fashion. "Don't Look Now" was released in 1973, but continues to win fans today, thanks to the film's atmosphere and one-of-a-kind shock ending. The film stars Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as a married couple who are inconsolable after losing their daughter, who drowns while the two are making love. This drives home the guilt they feel as a direct cause in her death, while director Nicolas Roeg utilizes sharp editing techniques, color, and music in a way that feels both disorienting and dreamlike to the viewer. Finally, the "out of nowhere" ending delivers that sharp, final shock that audiences will never forget.

#6: "Nightcrawler" (2014)

What would you do to make a buck? The moral implications of this question and more are asked in "Nightcrawler," the feature debut from writer/director Dan Gilroy. The film hinges upon star Jake Gyllenhaal’s deeply committed performance as Louis Bloom, a small-time crook who films nighttime crimes and accidents, selling the stories to local news outlets. Gyllenhaal is captivating in the film, portraying Bloom as hungry and desperate, to the point of obsession, and this is reflected in his stark and gaunt visual appearance. Gyllenhaal always looks like he hasn't slept in days, with the physical effects of his role directly impacting how we view his character. We know he's an amoral bloodsucker, yet we can't stop watching him right to the very end.

#5: "Gone Girl" (2014)

Is it unfair to refer to writer/director David Fincher as one of the masters of the psychological thriller? We don't think so, as evidenced by this excellent entry from the man's filmography, "Gone Girl." Fincher didn't write this effort, but instead adapted a screenplay by the author of its source material, Gillian Flynn, yet "Gone Girl" still seems very much indebted to Fincher's sense of style. The austerity of the film's cinematography boosts the performances of its A-list cast, which includes Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, and Neil Patrick Harris, while "Gone Girl's" classic murder mystery tropes are elevated from an excellent script. Twists, turns, and one truly horrifying death scene make "Gone Girl" a psychological thriller that will definitely stick with you.

#4: "Mulholland Drive" (2001)

Speaking of twists and turns, we defy anyone to uncover the mysteries behind "Mulholland Drive" upon their initial viewing. We've grown accustomed at this point to question reality in almost everything done by writer/director David Lynch, yet "Mulholland Drive" just might be one of the man's finest efforts. This is thanks not only to the epic and layered performances from Naomi Watts and Laura Harring, but also the film's near perfect script. Lynch has always loved to venture below the dark, seedy underbelly of "The American Dream," and this time sets his sights firmly on the Hollywood fantasy. The results are a stunning and entrancing work, one that hits us psychologically and emotionally in a way few other films have since its release.

#3: "Rebecca" (1940)

"Rebecca" isn’t the most well-known film from the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, but this Best Picture winner certainly deserves more attention from modern audiences. Although it’s based on a novel by English author Daphne du Maurier, "Rebecca" still feels "Hitchcockian" in its execution, with themes of romantic jealousy, grief, and obsession surrounding its leads, Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier. Fontaine plays the second wife of the widowed Olivier, whose first spouse still seems to loom over his entire existence, perhaps to an unhealthy degree. We're not going to spoil the ending here, but trust us when we say that you will NOT see it coming.

#2: "Fight Club" (1999)

David Fincher returns once again to our list, this time with a film that's very much of its time, while also serving as one of the most popular flicks from the late nineties. "Fight Club" was based upon the book from Chuck Palahniuk, and practically drips with a grimy style and throbbing, electro-industrial soundtrack. Fincher's film questions the status quo of 9 to 5 white-collar America, as well as our own feelings of discontent and self-worth. "Fight Club" was violent and controversial, yet endlessly quotable and quick-moving, with plenty of memorable moments and one of the most iconic ending sequences of its time. Don't blink, and don't believe your eyes, because "Fight Club" loves to play tricks, right until the very last frame.

Before we name our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions!

"Joker" (2019)

"The Prestige" (2006)

"Falling Down" (1993)

"Cape Fear" (1991)

"Play Misty for Me" (1971)

#1: "Taxi Driver" (1976)

There are few characters in cinema as tragically damaged as Travis Bickle, the frightening anti-hero in director Martin Scorsese's masterpiece, "Taxi Driver." Paul Schrader's dark and creepy script highlights Bickle's crumbling mental state, as he delivers long monologues on rainy New York nights about "washing away" what he views as the scum of the city. The adult theaters of 1970s Times Square serve as the perfect backdrop as Bickle dates a political volunteer, becomes obsessed with an underage prostitute, and eventually cracks under the pressure of his inner demons. De Niro is magnetic during the film's final, ultra-violent climax while New York almost serves as a character unto itself, underscored by exquisite cinematography and Bernard Herrmann's iconic jazz score. This one deserves all the praise.