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Top 15 Psychological Thrillers

Jamie Frater . . . Comments

Psychological thrillers are my favorite types of film. They hold the majority of positions in my DVD collection and are the ones I watch most often. Nothing can beat the heart racing as you anticipate the next move and better yet, these films don’t need to be filled with gore and blood to shock and frighten. These are films that involve the brain – not just the senses. So here are my pick of the ten best psychological thrillers ever. As usual, if you don’t agree – or simply think of others that would be great for an extended list, mention it in the comments. Competition: this list includes a competition. More information is given at the bottom of the article.

15

The Talented Mr Ripley
Anthony Minghella, 1999

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The 1950s. Manhattan lavatory attendant, Tom Ripley, borrows a Princeton jacket to play piano at a garden party. When the wealthy father of a recent Princeton grad chats Tom up, Tom pretends to know the son and is soon offered $1,000 to go to Italy to convince Dickie Greenleaf to return home. In Italy, Tom attaches himself to Dickie and to Marge, Dickie’s cultured fiancée, pretending to love jazz and harboring homoerotic hopes as he soaks in luxury. Besides lying, Tom’s talents include impressions and forgery, so when the handsome and confident Dickie tires of Tom, dismissing him as a bore, Tom goes to extreme lengths to make Greenleaf’s privileges his own. This was the first film I saw Matt Damon in, and I was extremely impressed by the way he managed to make me feel so uncomfortable in every scene. To top it off, Philip Seymour Hoffman makes a cameo appearance in the film.

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14

Fatal Attraction
Adrian Lyne, 1987

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Happily married New York lawyer Dan Callagher has an affair with his colleague Alex, and the two enjoy a love weekend while Dan’s wife and kid are away. But Alex will not let go of him, and she will stop at nothing to have him for herself. Just how far will she go to get what she wants? This film has prevented me from ever seeing Glenn Close as anything but evil – watch this for some good old 80s frights.

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13

The Game
David Fincher, 1997

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When workaholic businessman Nicholas Van Orton turns 48, his long absent drug-addicted brother turns up and gives him a special gift for his birthday – membership of an exclusive game. Nicholas, against his better judgement signs the waiver form and his life is turned upside down. This film is a lesser known work by the director of Se7en – and while it is not as popular, it is an excellent film which really draws you in to the suspense and intrigue. I guarantee you will love it. From a perspective of the twisted psychological aspects of the film, this probably tops the list.

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12

Cape Fear
Martin Scorsese, 1991

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Sam Bowden is a small-town corporate attorney/”Leave It to Beaver”-esque family-man. Max Cady is a tattooed, cigar-smoking, bible-quoting, psychotic rapist. What do they have in common? Fourteen years, ago Sam was a public defender assigned to Max Cady’s rape trial, and he made a serious error: he hid a document from his illiterate client that could have gotten him acquitted. Now, the cagey, bibliophile Cady has been released, and he intends to teach Sam Bowden and his family a thing or two about loss. It was a toss up between this film and the Departed – and I chose Cape Fear because the Departed is a fairly new film and is a remake of an Asian film. Having said that, if you haven’t seen the new Departed – you should see that too.

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11

American Psycho
Mary Harron, 2000

American Psycho-1

Patrick Bateman is handsome, well educated and intelligent. He is twenty-seven and living his own American dream. He works by day on Wall Street, earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. At night he descends into madness, as he experiments with fear and violence. This film has more cringe moments than any other I have seen. This is probably the most gruesome of the films on the list – but it does manage to keep it as “tasteful” as possible. The worst scene for me is one involving a drawer full of medical implements. If you have seen the film you will know what I mean.

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10

Les Diaboliques
Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1955

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The wife and mistress of a sadistic boarding school headmaster plot to kill him. They drown him in the bathtub and dump the body in the school’s filthy swimming pool… but when the pool is drained, the body has disappeared – and subsequent reported sightings of the headmaster slowly drive his ‘killers’ (and the audience) up the wall with almost unbearable suspense. This film was remade under the title Diabolique in 1996 starring Sharon Stone. The original is so much better – avoid the new one.

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9

Straw Dogs
Sam Peckinpah, 1971

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Upon moving to Britain to get away from American violence, astrophysicist David Sumner and his wife Amy are bullied and taken advantage of by the locals hired to do construction. When David finally takes a stand it escalates quickly into a bloody battle as the locals assault his house. This is Dustin Hoffman as you have never seen him. This is one of my favorite psychological thriller cum revenge movies – it is definitely worth the purchase/download. Be warned: some of the scenes in this film are quite disturbing.

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8

Play Misty for Me
Clint Eastwood, 1971

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Disc jockey Dave Garver (Clint Eastwood) attracts the amorous attentions of a demented fan named Evelyn Draper (Jessica Walter). Evelyn lets Dave pick her up at a bar; later at her apartment, Evelyn admits that she is the cooing caller who repeatedly asks Dave to play the Erroll Garner classic “Misty.” From then on, the film is a lesson in how one casual date can turn your whole life around. Evelyn stalks Dave everywhere, ruins his business lunch, assaults his maid, mutilates his house and all of his belongings, and finally threatens to butcher his girlfriend Tobie Williams (Donna Mills). You’ll never be able to hear that song again without looking over your shoulder. This was Clint Eastwood’s directorial debut, and what a debut it is!

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7

The Usual Suspects
Bryan Singer, 1995

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After a waterfront explosion, Verbal, an eye-witness and participant tells the story of events leading up to the conflagration. The story begins when five men are rounded up for a line-up, and grilled about a truck hijacking (the usual suspects). Least pleased is Keaton a crooked cop – exposed, indicted, but now desperately trying to go straight. The cops won’t leave him alone, however, and as they wait for their lawyers to post bail, he is talked into doing one more job with the other four. All goes tolerably well until the influence of the legendary, seemingly omnipotent “Keyser Soze” is felt. Although set in the modern day, it has much of the texture of the forties, plus suspense, intrigue (a fairly high body count), and lots of twists in the plot. This movie ranks #20 on the IMDB top 250 – and for a very good reason: it has a star studded cast, excellent direction, and excellent cinematography.

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6

Memento
Christopher Nolan, 2000

Memento1

Memento chronicles two separate stories of Leonard, an ex-insurance investigator who can no longer build new memories, as he attempts to find the murderer of his wife, which is the last thing he remembers. One story line movies forward in time while the other tells the story backwards revealing more each time. This is not just a thrilling film – it is a clever film that really does leave you guessing all the way through. Guy Pearce is fantastic in this must-see movie.

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5

Se7en
David Fincher, 1995

Picture 4-6

This thriller portrays the exploits of a deranged serial-killer. His twisted agenda involves choosing seven victims who represent egregious examples of transgressions of each of the Seven Deadly Sins. He then views himself as akin to the Sword of God, handing out horrific punishment to these sinners. Two cops, an experienced veteran of the streets who is about to retire and the ambitious young homicide detective hired to replace him, team up to capture the perpetrator of these gruesome killings. Unfortunately, they too become ensnared in his diabolical plan. Anyone who has seen this film can not deny the psychological thrill of waiting to see what nasty thing the serial killer has lined up for the next sin! This is a brilliant film and if you haven’t seen it – you must.

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Or get the artistic Se7en Poster at Amazon.com!


4

Taxi Driver
Martin Scorsese, 1976

Picture 1-33

New York City cab driver Travis Bickle constantly, almost obsessively, reflects on the ugly corruption of life around him, and becomes increasingly disturbed over his own loneliness and alienation. In nearly every phase of his life, Bickle remains a complete outsider, failing to make emotional contact with anyone. Unable to sleep night after night, Travis haunts the local pornography emporiums to find diversion, and begins desperately thinking about an escape from his depressing existence. The superb acting of Robert De Niro gives this film a constant chill. Every minute he is on the screen – the viewer is nervous. This is a masterful thriller by one of the modern greats – Scorsese.

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3

The Manchurian Candidate
John Frankenheimer, 1962

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After Raymond returns from the Korean War as a decorated hero, the other members of his platoon can’t really remember what he did to win his medal. Two of the soldiers start having recurring nightmares, and one of them decides to investigate Raymond’s current activities. What dark and sinister secrets are being withheld by the Government and the Army? This film was so good that it spawned a remake (a far inferior one, I should add) starring Denzel Washington. This original version includes excellent performances from Janet Leigh, Frank Sinatra, and the indomitable Angela Lansbury.

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2

Rear Window
Alfred Hitchcock, 1954

Picture 2-15

Professional photographer L.B. “Jeff” Jeffries breaks his leg while getting an action shot at an auto race. Confined to his New York apartment, he spends his time looking out of the rear window observing the neighbours. He begins to suspect that the man opposite may have murdered his wife. Jeff enlists the help of his society model girlfriend Lisa Freemont and his nurse Stella to investigate. I could only select one Hitchcock film for this list (otherwise it would be a top 10 Hitchcock list) and Rear Window seemed the obvious choice. It has brilliant acting, excellent film work, and plenty of suspense.

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1

Silence of the Lambs
Jonathan Demme, 1991

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Clarice Starling, a young intelligent FBI trainee, has been sent to the Batlimore state hospital for the Criminally insane to interview an inmate Dr. Hannibal – the cannibal – Lecter. A brilliant and renowned psychiatrist turned serial killer. She must match wits with Lecter to gain clues in the search for “Buffalo Bill” – an unknown psychopathic serial killer. Silence of the Lambs has to take number one spot – not only is it clearly the best of the genre, it introduced to the world one of the most scary, intelligent, and vile characters in film history: Dr Hannibal Lecter. I think it is also fair to say that it was one of the best performances of Jodie Foster.

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Extra

Mulholland Drive
David Lynch, 2001

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I have added this as a bonus rather than putting it in the list because it seems to me to be more suited to the surrealist genre. Having said that, it does certainly contain many elements of a psychological thriller so I want to give it a mention at least. This atmospheric film takes you on a bizarre ride through Los Angeles and the life of a budding film star – and ultimately takes you nowhere. It is typical of Lynch in that the film simply can not be explained – watch out for the surrealist film list – it will certainly feature there.

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Bonus

Competition

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At 1pm GMT tomorrow, I will select one commenter from this list to win a prize of the great recently published book Top 10 For Men – a book of over 250 lists of interest to men (though women will no doubt love it also). Topics include What’s the most common murder weapon? What is the hottest variety of chilli? Who is the most searched for woman on the internet? To read an official excerpt of the book, go here.

The prize winner will be one randomly selected commenter – as usual you can enter more than one comment to improve your chances, but your comments must add value to this list – that means no comments designed just to have a better chance at winning. The winner must be a registered user of the List Universe. You can click here to register.

Finally, many thanks to Octopus Books for donating the prize for this competition.

Sources: this article uses synopsis information from IMDB – the Internet Movie Database

Jamie Frater

Jamie is the owner and chief-editor of Listverse. He spends his time working on the site, doing research for new lists, and collecting oddities. He is fascinated with all things historic, creepy, and bizarre.

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  • Winglock

    I think to make a thriller work you have to care for the main character/victim. This may sound a bit sick but when I watched Cape Fear the film didn't make me care much for the lawyer and it lost it's suspense. Still a great movie though.

    • That’s almost the point in a way, the main thing Scorsese changed from the original film is the whole aspect of the family. In the original, he has a daughter aged around 11, supposed to be innocent and loving. In Scorsese’s remake, he made her an older teenager, removing the innocence and created tension in the family because he cheated on his wife. In a way, he wanted to make DeNiro’s part a physical metaphor of what he was doing to his own family, tearing them apart.

  • bucslim

    jfrater – again with Mulholland Drive? More like lesbians lost in space. The only thing psychological about it is trying to sit through the whole thing without tearing your eyes out. Any film that makes you wonder if you left the iron on at home isn't worthy of a mention. If I'm constantly looking at my watch wondering when this is going to end, 'thrilling' doesn't come to mind. I've watched episodes of Sponge Bob that made more sense. Mulholland Drive makes Magnolia look like Citizen Kane.

    Gotta hand it to you though on the Hitch thing, but I think Frenzy was worthy too. And not to beat a dead horse, but Chan Wook Park's Trilogy was definitely in this category – especially Lady Vengeance. They're mostly about revenge, but you could definitely label them thrillers. And there was plenty to be thrilled about in No Country for Old Men.

    • Bob

      Frenzy! My mum introduced me to that film…we had it on a tape copied off tv and she had it labelled as “The Neck-Tie Strangler”. Never seen anyone else mention that film but it’s always been a personal Hitchcock fave, a perfect balance of chilling and hilarious. “Lovely…lovely”.

    • John W.

      Well aren’t you the master of all things movie. I agree that because you are unable to understand it, Mulholland Drive must be meaningless. What else do you not understand in this world? I can guarantee that whatever it is will be meaningless as well. Whenever I don’t understand, I attack as well. It keeps me from admitting to my mental limitations.

      I looked at my watch seven times while reading your short post. I took that as a good sign. What does that tell you? It tells me that Citizen Kane is to Magnolia as dog feces is to your opinion. See how thrilling ? A list of thrillers? All I know is that I can’t wait for the next Twilight, how bout you?

  • Daithi

    Would Fight Club count as a psychological thriller? Awesome twist, great acting, fantastic suspense and tension.

    • Ash

      Would Fight Club count as a psychological thriller???? Well the two main characters were actually the same guy with a split personality. So…

  • cb

    Zodiac, The Secret Window, Butterfly effect, hide and seek are all good ones absent from the list.

    • Craig

      Butterfly Effect was horrible

  • sid

    Hmm… must say a very predictable list, i’ve seen most of ’em, but how can you even forget Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”.

  • tarheel

    Great list!

  • ylekiot

    Great list love that Silence of the Lambs is #1

  • sid: did you actually read it? Let me quote from item 2:

    “I could only select one Hitchcock film for this list (otherwise it would be a top 10 Hitchcock list) and Rear Window seemed the obvious choice.”

    Additionally – Psycho is more horror than thriller.

    • tacolabeanz

      I understand that you felt the need to only list one amazing Hitchcock film, but I just protest in favor of Psycho. Did you know that Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, and he original Texas Chainsaw Massacre are all loosely based ob the very real story of Ed Gein…?!

      • Craig

        Silence of the lambs uses characters fabricated from composites of real serial killers. Ed Gein is only a part

    • American Psycho’s a great book, i’m guessing the picture is the part with Bethany… I also liked Silence of the Lambs

  • Spart

    Plenty to add to this list :

    Sexy Beast – Ben Kingsley as you have never seen Gandhi
    The Machinist – Christian Bale in full blown immersion

    or

    Lantana – very good Australian thriller, though not well known

  • Ghidoran

    Hmm not my type of film.

  • MojoRisin

    I love all these movies. I would also say maybe;
    LA Confidential
    Henry: Portrait of a serial killer
    American Beauty
    and Pi

    Not sure if they all count, it is a very inclusive genre however.

    And yes I must backup Spart on Lantana. Excellent Australian film. see it if you haven’t yet.

    Also I have an idea for a list Jamie, how about Top 10 neo-noir films?

  • thethema

    Another good list, will have to go out and buy ‘The Game’, was years ago that I saw it and I remember it being fantastic but somehow I had forgoten it even existed.

    and ‘Silence of the Lambs’ is a worthy number 1

    thanks again

  • Winglock

    Also I think that ‘Event Horizon’ with Sam Neil is a must see for any thriller fans. When I first saw it it blew my mind.

  • DMR

    Nice. I’m definitely gonna watch some of those. By the way, Disturbia was a semi-remake of Rear window, might wanna add that to its entry.

  • unhanand

    I put a vote in for Gone Baby Gone. Without giving things away, this movie kept me guessing and was thrilling in a more abstract, philosophical way. (Though it does have aspects of more conventional thrillers.)

  • Lyn

    Weeeeeee.. all my fave movies in one list :D Excellent work, btw

  • Another reminder of how uncultured I am.

    All though I’ve seen the last half hour of; “Silence of the lambs.”

    I’m gonna see these this summer, seeing as I have the time.

  • astraya

    Trivia fact: Anthony Hopkins’ performance in The Silence of the Lambs was the shortest performance to win best actor. He’s on screen for a total of 17 minutes.

    I would call myself a fan of psychological thrillers, but I haven’t seen most of these.

  • Forgive me for not knowing the name, but wasnt there a movie staring the guy who played superman that was kind of like “rear window.”

  • Doghouse Riley

    All good stuff, but I would not have left “Wait Until Dark” off the list.

  • Meiz

    I love psychological thriller movies. I havent watched most of them and now I know what movies I should watch for weekend. Thanks Jamie!! I love u!

  • Dewsgirl

    Excellent list, I hadn’t realized how much I love these types of movies. I love your website and you do a fantastic job with it.
    jfrater: For the last week I have been obsessed with reading your lists and commments. I think I have learned more this week than I did an entire year of college. Thank you so much and keep up the good work.

  • Lewis_RATM

    Why does everyone love ‘Silence of the Lambs’ so much?Hannibal is just a super anti-hero! I’s a gory superhero flick, He’s super smart and strong and he can do this that and the other, it just really glorifies violence.

  • rushfan

    Love the genre. Love the list. Great job! WarningDon’tReaadThis: you must see as many of these movies as possible. Especially Memento, American Psycho, Taxi Driver and Seven. :) Oh, and The Usual Suspects.

  • Djb522

    Great list. One other movie I would have added is Sleuth (the old version with Michael Caine and Lawrence Olivier, not the new one with Jude Law). That movie had me guessing the entire way through. Truly an excellent film that any psychological thriller fan would love

  • fishing4monkeys

    I love movie lists :D That picture for #11 looks absolutly freaky! Why don’t more movies use nailguns as weapons? Guns are so cliche`! haha

  • fishing4monkeys

    Isn’t there a remake of rear window with Johnny Depp? Forgive me if i’m wrong.

  • deedee0323

    Awesome list! I’ve seen most of the movies on this list but I’m dying to see American Psycho

  • Djb522

    fishing4monkeys

    the johnny depp movie was secret window i believe. it’s actually based on a stephen king story. rear window is more like disturbia

  • Hobolad

    “Isn’t there a remake of rear window with Johnny Depp? Forgive me if i’m wrong.”

    There’s that “Secret Window” with Johnny Depp in it, but that’s something else.

  • Hobolad

    Beaten to it *shakes fist*

  • jake ryder

    No Polanski?

    Repulsion, Rosemary’s Baby and Death and the Maiden all possible. I still think this is a good list though.

  • Mark

    Good list.

    • anna

      The sea of love

  • fabrulana

    Interesting list, adding a few :

    – Eyes of Laura Mars
    – The Shining
    – Blind Terror
    – The Hitcher (1986 version)

  • Macness

    I love most of those movies that I have seen on that list…but you should really put The Number 23 on there.

    • saloni

      i totally agree

  • warrrreagl

    I’m going to buck the trend here and make a comment that doesn’t involve telling you what you left off. Since it’s your list, I thought I’d say it was enjoyable reading, and if I wanted to add/replace items, I’d go somewhere and make my own list. As it stands now, I thought you did a superb job (and I’ve seen all but one of them).

  • Peri

    #16 WarningDontReadThis: Yes, Christopher Reeve starred in a made-for-tv remake of Rear Window in 1998.

  • SocialButterfly

    Amazing list Jamie.. .very well done! I am soo pelased to see some of my suggestions on here…lol.

  • Lauren

    Great list! I love psychological thrillers but I’m sad to say I’ve only seen about half of the films on this list. Looks like I should head to blockbuster today!

  • I haven’t seen any of the films on this list. I think i would either scare the shit out of myself or like them too much. Lol.

  • SoCalJeff

    Good list. Memento, The Usual Suspects, and of course the work of the master Rear Window are amazing films. Could watch many of the films on this list over and over.

    Have to admit I’m not a big fan of the Talented Mr. Ripley…but it seems to be on more than a few people’s “best of” lists so I must be in the minority on that on.

  • Ooh I haven’t seen ANY of these movies. I’ve seen Event Horizon (mentioned by Winglock) and half of The Machinist (mentioned by Spart). Event Horizon gave me nightmares and put me off thrillers. I fell asleep watching the Machinist.

    Of the movies on the list I think I’d most like to see The Talented Mr. Ripley (‘cos Matt Damon is hot (-; ) and maybe Memento, Taxi Driver and The Usual Suspects. Definitely not Silence of the Lambs!

    What attracts people to thrillers may I ask?

  • I forgot to say: nice list, I enjoyed reading it :-)

  • Tempyra: The thrill?

  • Sorry bad joke xD

    Why wouldn’t you want to see silence of the lambs?

  • dangorironhide

    The only film I’ve seen on this list is ‘Silence of the Lambs’, it’s easily one of the best films I’ve ever seen.

    “It puts the lotion on it’s skin…”

  • WarningDontReadThis: *laughs* … but generally being ‘thrilled’ is a good thing, and ‘thrillers’ aren’t normally about good things, that’s what puzzles me.

    I don’t wanna watch Silence of the Lambs because it sounds scary and gross :-P

  • e4zy

    Zodiac?

  • JwJwBean

    3rd list with Straw Dogs on it. I think I will definitely need to make hubby add it to the blockbuster list.

  • Navik

    thanks, i had planned on going to the movie rental place today, now i can look for some of these

  • Silarulz!

    I think *Disturbia* is a remake of *Rear Window*. Dont know if its poor, Ive not watched *Rear Window* yet.

  • Elsa

    I read the book Silence of the Lambs a few years before it came out on film. I was so nervous about whether they would do the story justice, as I have rarely seen a great story in written form translate well to the screen.

    I was pleasantly suprised at what a great job they did.

    Even knowing the story, it still scared the bejesus out of me

    nice list.

  • watching

    Yay! Silence of the Lambs is one of my favourite movies of all times. I love psych thrillers too.

    I really liked The Sixth Sense too.

    I actually prefer Rebecca or Psycho over Rear Window.

  • Joel

    Just watched Les Diaboliques this week, and it was amazing. One of the most suspenseful films I’ve ever seen. Though I would have chosen the original Cape Fear from 1962, because Robert Mitchum is disturbingly creepy. Great list overall, some of my favorite films on on here!

  • Joel

    *are on here.

  • SoCalJeff

    @48 / I don’t think Disturbia is a remake of Rear Window. Similar theme, but very different approach imho. If it is a remake, it certainly take very little from the original plot-line. I’m a little bit of a Hitchcock snob…don’t like any remakes of his films. Will say that I did enjoy Disturbia thought it was a decent, maybe not a great film but kept me watching.

  • Melissa

    I actually think I would have picked Vertigo over Rear Window for a Hitchcock entry. Then again, I’m a sucker for movies with the “whoa, I didn’t see that one coming!” factor in it.

    So when’s the surrealist film list coming out? I’m expecting to see at least one Greenaway movie on it (and I do kinda hope you don’t cop out with his only “mainstream” film, “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover”). Good movie though it is, I prefer some of his other films, like “Drowning by Numbers” or “A Zed and Two Noughts”.

  • Kreachure

    Great list, I love the genre!

    I personally recommend Se7en, great cinematography and great story. Modern dark noir at its best.

  • Kreachure

    And what, no love for M. Night Shyamalan?

    Okay, let me rephrase that:

    What, no love for Sixth Sense? :P

  • spacemanspiff

    The psychological thriller genre is one of my favorites too. The Usual Suspects, Se7en and Memento are among my favorite movies of all-time. I found American Psycho to be an interesting concept and Christian Bale had a compelling character, but I feel like the ending (which, if i understand correctly follows along with the book closely) left me a little unsatisfied. I’ll need to check out a lot of the rest. Great list!

  • ravthewave

    Memento is one of the best movies I have seen.

    Christian Bale is my favorite actor. I have never seen a poor film from him. Very talented.

    I love how he quotes music trivia before he makes his kills. Every time I hear Huey Lewis and The News I think of American Psycho.

    Great List.

  • islanderbst

    Fine list, nothing to complain about (although from past lists, I know I’m like the only one in LV that didn’t like American Pyscho)

    Thanks for including Talented Mr. Ripley. Matt Damon is just amazing, and its cool that still being young, he has so many cool movies on his resume: (Good will hunting, dogma, bourne, etc.)

  • Pingback: Top 15 Psychological Thrillers | micklanders()

  • simuun

    a great thriller is Blow Up by i believe Michelangelo Antonioni. The protagonist believes he may have captured a murder on camera but the more he dwelves into the mystery the more he (and the viewers) become unable to tell what is real and what is simply in our minds. An older movie, i think its from the 60’s, and some may find the long shots boring, but this is truly one of Antonioni’s greatest films and a must see for anyone interested in great cinema.

  • PSH Scotty J.

    Very good list. The only quibble I have is the Cape Fear over The Departed. De Niro’s accent in Cape Fear ruined the movie for me.

  • GuyIncognito

    Honestly I haven’t seen most of these, but they sound great. I will definintely be checking them out now. Thanks for the recommendations.

  • Marie

    I love the Usual Suspects! Kevin Spacey at his best. Recently saw him in “21” which sucked. Also glad you included “The Manchurian Candidate”, so much better than the remake!

  • Kreachure

    Hmm, I hope you catch my drift:

    What does The Departed have of ‘psychological’?

  • seeblind

    Silence of the Lambs is a good choice for # 1
    rear window would have been a good choice too

  • psychosurfer

    Although entertaining, many of these films are for amateur and soft-core audiences, for a real thrill you should search outside of Hollywood, how about these for starters:
    Peter Greenaway:
    -The Draughtsman’s Contract
    -The Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover
    -The Baby of Mâcon
    David Lynch:
    -Wild at heart
    -Blue Velvet
    -Twin Peaks (tv series first season and movie)
    Chan-wook Park:
    -Oldboy
    -Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
    Pier Paolo Pasolini:
    -Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (Salo and the 120 days of Sodoma)
    Takashi Miike:
    -Koroshiya 1 (Ichi the killer)

  • solensdrottning

    Sounds like we need a Hitchcock list.

    I saw “the game” and didn’t care for it. It just seemed like a bunch of silliness to me with no real thrills and one to many fake endings. I would have put “the sixth sense” in it’s place. And I absolutely agree with “silence of the lambs” being number one.

  • solensdrottning

    and yes, I’m soft-core. :)

  • Mr.Graves

    You could include ‘Primer’ an amazingly indepth mindscrew, and the original Canadian movie ‘Cube’ where they are all trapped in a box full of death traps and dont know how they got their or why. Both are great movies!

  • chershey

    With not adding Mullholland Drive to the list due to it being more surrealist, I wouldn’t add American Psycho as it’s more satirical. Maybe it’s just me but I didn’t see it as a thriller, it was a comedy!

  • DiscHuker

    psychosurfer: wow. i can’t believe anyone, with a straight face, would tell people to watch salo.

  • logar

    Great list! When I read it, I immediately thought of “The 6th Sense”- would that be considered horror, or perhaps a supernatural thriller? In any case, whatever is said of M. Night’s work since, it was a mind-F.

  • Lori

    Oooh. “The Cube” was freaky. Also, “Closet Land” was pretty good. It only starred two people, Alan Rickman and Madeleine Stowe. She played a children’s book author who is suspected of actually delivering secret anti-government messages through her books. The whole movie takes place in a room, where he interrogates and tortures her to get her to confess.

  • amanda

    Frailty is one of my favorites. I am not usually impressed my Matthew McHonohey, but when he puts the pipe down and a shirt on, he can turn out a great performance!

  • amanda

    *McConaughey

  • yondofan12

    fight club?

  • dxg01

    Great List!! I think Misery would have been a great addition as well.

  • houkama

    Nice list!
    Shame on me for still haven’t watched the first-ranked ones…
    Maybe my memory is wrong, but “The Usual Suspects” wasn’t that much of a psychological thriller. A great movie, yes, but I don’t know if I’d put it too far into that genre..hmm..

  • Speaking of Christopher Reeve there was a movie called Death Trap and also stared Michael Caine that I thought was pretty good. I think you could classify that as a Psychological Thriller.

  • MiSaNtHrOpE

    Youre missing one thats very, very important: Though it’s anime, Satoshi Kon’s first work, Perfect Blue, is an excellent example of psychological horror/thriller at its finest.

    Pop idol Nima lands an adult role after leaving her girl-band and some of her fans aren’t very happy about it.

  • MiSaNtHrOpE

    A few others I should mention:

    The Conversation
    Donnie Darko
    The Machinist
    The Devil’s Backbone (Guillermo Del Toro; don’t know what the totle is in Spanish (El Diablo…))

  • Cubone

    Could “Jacob’s Ladder” be on this list? That movie scared the piss outta me.

  • Ive never seen any of these, except Silence of the Lambs-which I LOVE! Good list, too.

  • Clouds

    Great list! Not really deserving to be on the list but a very underrated movie is ‘The Village’. It had me wondering, ‘what the hell is this crap?’ til the twist at the end. Excellent.

  • bishopwhitet

    I HATED The Usual Suspects. When they revealed the twist, it was like, “Ha ha! You just wasted two hours of your life!”

    My notable omissions…

    2LDK (japanese flick, kind of a horror movie, but very psychological nonetheless)

    12 Monkeys (awesome flick)

    Saw (which I expected to be a total slasher flick, but was pleasantly surprised to find it more of a psychological thriller)

  • Wally

    Great list Jamie. You have made the transition well. Hope the jet lag isnt hurting too much.

    Seven, Les Diabolique and Straw Digs are great choices.

  • Randall

    This is a fantastic list, and thanks for including the original versions of Les Diabolique, Rear Window, and The Manchurian Candidate.

    I would *not,* however, have included the remake of Cape Fear, but instead the original. But that’s just a personal preference. I also wouldn’t have included Fatal Attraction, which to me was always a cheap and hokey (if admittedly effective) thriller, and not all that psychological.

    Play Misty for Me used to be on TV all the time, years ago, and I caught it must be half a dozen times… good film.

    With Hitchcock, my personal favorite is Vertigo. But I’ve always viewed Vertigo and Rear Window as equals, really… one the lighter side of the psyche, the other the darker. Rear Window is all about the voyeurism, and Vertigo all about the ambiguity and weirdness of obsession and deception. Rear Window ties up so neatly and cleanly at the end, and has a fulfilling romance (but regardless, nothing on earth looks better than Grace Kelley in that film) whereas Vertigo is… anything but. It ends in tragedy and leaves no satisfied “well that wraps it up” feeling behind.

    Finally, while I didn’t particularly care for it as much as some people did… “Fight Club” might have been a good inclusion here, as well.

  • I believe that The Game is a comedy (a bad one).
    Where is Rosemary’s Baby and Misery?

  • Randall

    Oh yes… and Coppola’s “The Conversation” would have been an excellent one to include here, as well.

  • Tatom

    This list is fantastic. Rarely do I read a list of top movies and want to see every movie on the list. This list inspires me to watch more movies.

  • SaturnIon

    Awesome Awesome List!!
    I love psychological thrillers.

    I was surprised that Identity was not on the list, it’s a great movie.

    Also, good call adding American Psycho, and Wal-Mart has the special edition DVD for 5 dollars!

  • G_reg71

    What about Pan’s Labyrinth? Would that count?

  • trojan_man

    Great list…two other ideas: top ten worst psychological thrillers…and top ten worst remakes.

  • green

    I think Pan’s Labyrinth is more of a surrealistic film.

    Also I don’t the The Talented Mr Ripley deserves a spot.

  • green

    anyone else happily surprised that M Night Shamalan wasn’t given a nod? He is way too overated in the psychological thriller genre

  • stlouisrams81

    I am always reminded of how great “the silence of the lambs” is. I have only seen bits and pieces of the movie and have yet to watch it all of the way through. Great list.

    Tatom: i completely agree this list gives me the same feeling

  • carpe_noctem

    Is it at all strange that most of these are amongst my favourite movies of all time?

    I was surprised not to see Fight Club here, even as an honourable mention, because it certainly fulfils the psychological aspect. And excellent choice with Mulholland Drive, without question ranking in my favourite movies of all time, despite to this day having almost no clue what was going on in it…

  • lora_1117

    great list definetly my favorite type of movie too

  • Csimmons

    is it weird that I have seen almost all of these? great list, I was gonna be pissed if Silence of the Lambs wasn’t #1.

    Carpe: I agree, though I freaking love that film.

  • sikamikanica

    I have now thanks to the list and comments over 30 movies on my ever-expanding list of films I must see

  • Great list.
    I have only one bone to pick…I would have chosen the *original* Cape Fear, rather than the ho hum re-make.
    The Extra movie was a wonderful surprise, especially as I kept hoping to find Mulholland Drive. somewhere on the List.
    I could add a dozen favorites of my own, as I’m sure everyone here could, but it was nice to be reminded of some that hadn’t been thought about in a while.
    Thanks.

  • Najeeb

    Great List, and i do agree that SOTL is No.1

  • Ah, yes, the oft misunderstood psychological thriller … I’ve seen 9 of these films (and really want to watch the rest). A few of these I watched with friends who simply didn’t get it, e.g. The Talented Mr. Ripley … but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Nice list!

  • MPW

    This is an amazing list,my new favorite movie list. You did an outstanding job compiling these films.

    American Psycho is one of my favorite movies of all time

    No complaints from me about this list

  • Great list! I *love* psychological thrillers, too – and I have to be sure I watch all of these. The Usual Suspects is one of my favorites. And, of course, Hannibal the Cannibal.

  • Dawn Bearer

    Great list, I think Silence of the Lambs was the best and easiest choice for #1.

  • And to green: The Talented Mr Ripley should definitely be on this list – Matt Damon’s psycho was subtle and creeped me out.

  • Dawn Bearer

    Oh yeah I forgot, I highly recomend the movie “Hard Candy”
    imo, it desearves a spot on the list.

  • romerozombie

    Taxi Driver. Saw it once when I was about 11. Didn’t get it. Gonna ahve to watch it again.

  • presto1775

    Great list, I think a good addition might be The Sixth Sense, since it isn’t very scary and it defintiely has a psychological twist

  • romerozombie

    Agreed, Dawn Bearer. Ellen Page was fantastic. I think that was the first film I saw where I came away thinking about an actor’s performance and nothing else.

  • solensdrottning (#68): we have a Hitchcock list:

    https://listverse.com/entertainment/top-10-hitchcock-movies/

  • bucslim (#22): You should know that I will take every opportunity to fit a David Lynch film in to a list :) Oh – and I considered adding No Country For Old Men which I only recently had the opportunity to watch – I enjoyed it a lot but felt that it was perhaps too recent for this list – having not had more than a year or so to settle in to the repertoire so to speak :)

  • ciunas

    Very interesting list — thanks. Difficult genre to define rigidly, but I’m glad you’ve excluded films with sci fi or supernatural elements & gorefests.

    Good to see the excellent ‘Memento’ near the top. ‘Play Misty for Me’ is at once a valid & unexpected choice.

    No complaints but lots of quibbles, natch. Only one film on here that’s not American, although I suppose ‘Straw Dogs’ is a sort of UK/USA hydrid. Unfortunately it’s also pretty thin stuff. Personally I don’t think ‘Fatal Attraction’ qualifies because it’s so OTT. So too Scorcese’s ‘Cape Fear’. The original was better. (BTW, how come Scorcese gets 2 inclusions but Hitchcock is limited to one?) ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ & ‘The Game’ have silly, insubstantial plots. ‘Se7en’ is OK but loses marks for being so pre10ious.

    So, alternatives… I agree with Spart about ‘Lantana’ & ‘The Machinist’, although the latter is teetering on the cusp between the real & the surreal. How about ‘The Night of the Hunter’, with its spellbinding performance from Robert Mitchum? 3 Brit efforts from the 60s deserve consideration — Polanski’s ‘Repulsion’, Richardson’s ‘Laughter in the Dark’, Powell’s ‘Peeping Tom’?

    One film I reckon should be on any such list is the recent ‘Das Leben der Anderen Das’ — called ‘The Lives of Others’ in the UK & America. Beautifully filmed & played slow-burning story of a Stasi agent in Cold War East Germany becoming emotionally involved with the subjects — a playwright & an actress — of his surveillance. Compelling & heartbreaking.

  • Ranger

    Wow, the only one i’ve seen is American Psycho. i have to go to blockbuster soon :(

  • Nelia

    Good list! I love thrillers, and numbers 1 and 2 are two of my favorite films of all time.
    I would agree with Randall on Cape Fear though, Robert Mitchum is fantastic in the older version. Not that DeNiro wasn’t great, but something about Mitchum’s performance was so much creepier to me.
    Otherwise, what I have seen in this list (about 9) is perfect for the top 15. Good stuff.
    And well done picking Rear Window. It is a far superior film to Psycho. Psycho was brilliant for it’s time, but I can’t say I find it the least bit scary in this day and age. Rear Window and Vertigo have stood the test of time much more effectively. Vertigo would also have been an excellent choice for this list, perhaps over Rear Window, but my personal preference is for Rear Window.

  • Ranger: or Amazon – see links above :)

  • Ouchmaker

    Great list. A few classics are missing, but being such a large genre, you can’t expect to get every great psych thriller on it.

    Rear Window is my favourite Hitchcock movie, and Memento is just so unique.

  • Billy

    Jacob’s Ladder and 12 Monkeys are favorites of mine, but I don’t know what 2 movies I’d bump from the list to add them!

    And I don’t know which side of the Cape Fear argument I’m on. There’s just enough off a difference between the two to make both great. But the “auditorium” scene between DeNiro and Juliette Lewis makes their movie feel dirtier.

  • btw, virtually all films listed in the comments were considered for inclusion :) The suggestions are all excellent – thanks.

  • Dawn Bearer: Hard Candy was definitely a thriller – but I have to confess that I found it too much of a b-grade to include it here.

  • mver

    excellent list. i’m impressed that you were able to mix in new and classic films, which most list-makers fail to do. in any case, i just wanted to add that if i’d made the list i would’ve put ‘rear window’ on first place- simply based on plot, not on performances. not that james stewart’s or grace kelly’s performances in ‘rear window’ were not great.

  • TheKID

    I just added all of these to my “must watch” list of films, other than Rear Window, which I’ve already seen…and cape fear and American Psycho…which I refuse to see.

  • Sedulous

    The Game is one of my all time favorites. I hadn’t heard of it when I first watched it a few years back. My little sister put it on so I figured I would check it out until I got bored. I was glued and when the ending happened I was freakin’ blown away. Haven’t had that experience with a movie since. Awesome

  • SC

    How about Primal Fear? Great acting by Edward Norton.

    American Psycho is one of my favorites. So twisted….

  • warlord

    what about fight club that movie rules

  • cassie

    im def going to download most of these later tonight..a friend was talking about the game today and said they werent crazy about it but after your description i think they maybe they werent paying enough attention

  • angryhobo

    great list, ill see em all.

  • Dawn Bearer

    In Hard Candy, due to the controversial nature of the work, the budget was kept under a million dollars so that the production company would not ask to change anything.

    Also this is David Slade’s (the director) first feature film, he worked with music videos before.

    But imo, we can’t deny Ellen Page in the movie as romerozombie saw.

  • infallibleangel

    Even though it’s brand new and on the crest of the pop-culture wave at the moment… I think that “No Country for Old Men” belongs on this list as well.

    Javier Bardem’s performance in that movie was………..!

    I was very impressed with the originality and sleekness of that one.

  • K.Inez

    If you liked The Talanted Mr. Ripley you will also likely enjoy the first film version of that story…

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054189/

  • BooRadley

    Great list! Thanks for all the new ideas for my Netflix list. I agree with Doghouse Riley that “Wait Until Dark” deserves a place on the list. Audrey Hepburn was superb in that one. Another movie that I love and consider to be a psychological thriller is “Deliverance.” Sure, it has some graphic violence, but to me, the movie was more about Jon Voight’s character’s struggle against the last killer and against his own limitations as he tried to save his wounded friends. It took everything he had, physically and psychologically.

    Also, I think “Memento” is brilliant, and SOTL deserves first place.

  • dapamico

    I would submit the following:

    The Conversation
    Arlington Road
    Collateral
    Frantic

    And technically, didn’t “Manhunter” introduce us to Hannibal Lecter?

  • Ty

    “Bibliophile” means “lover of books,” not “lover of the Bible.”

  • Jen

    IS there a top 10 Hitchcock list on here? That would be something I’d like to see…

  • Jen

    Nevermind, just found it. I’m glad Rope at least got a mention. I love Jimmy Stewart so hard.

  • Kreachure

    “Technically”, the film Manhunter introduced us to ‘Hannibal Lecktor’! :D :D :D

  • Javier Bardem

    What about “No Country for Old Men” ?????

  • handymandy

    Well, on a funny side note:
    Ever since my husband and I saw Usual Suspects years ago, we’ve always answered any “who” question with “Keyser Soze!” always said quickly, in a hushed whisper with an accent. Even the kids do it when we ask them who made the mess.

    Also, being twisted, and in good company, we’ve quoted American Psycho countless times. But our favourite is always, when giving something to someone-“Don’t just stare at it, eat it!” My husband can also do the whole 80’s music retrospective from memory-moves and all. Good times.

  • milky

    I watched Memento in my Gr. 12 Philosophy class, and I had to go buy it. It was just soo good

  • MPW

    I normally do not complain but this is a bit bothersome

    One story line “movies” forward in time

    It is from the Memento description

    it should be moves

  • Alright…o.k. This is messed up:

    Within the past few weeks I started, once again, trying to read the copy of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis that I purchased some years ago after watching the movie that I also purchased some years ago.

    This book is fucking annoying and meticulous! The first time I started to read I made it through maybe 50 pages and could not continue due to the fact that it was so descriptive and narcisstic. Then I picked it up again recently and I cannot put it down.

    Once the reader sees through the black and white of the pages in the book the truth really comes forth. If you enjoyed the movie like I did then read the book and emerse yourself in the world of glitz, glamour and gore…respectfully speaking.

  • Vear Lynn

    Fabulous list. I have seen all but Fatal Attraction. I have also seen most of the alternate suggestions. I am gonna have to watch a few of these again. It’s been a while. I don’t own any of these, but I have gift certificates for Best Buy!

  • Mona

    I was very young the first time I ever saw “Les Diaboliques” on the telly, I was probably 4 or 5 years old. Till then I had no idea movies could generate so much anguish, fear and be so entertaining at the same time. Sure, I had already experienced some “emotions” at the movies, I cried plenty watching “Bambi”, “The Fox and the Hound”, “E.T.” and many other movies that were aimed at me, but nothing like the panic inducing, the edge-sitting or nail-biting of the great psychothriller genre. I have been a huge fan ever since.
    Great list, although it could have easily been a top20 or even 30 to include more foreign films such as Ingmar Bergman’s “Persona” and/or “Through a Glass Darkly” both haunting, enigmatic and disturbing. But great list nonetheless!

  • cass

    Two Scorceses and two Finchers and only one Hitchcock?
    I´d probably have gone for Vertigo.
    I´d also suggest Night of the Hunter, (and more Bob Mitchum as Max Cady in the original Cape Fear – he cameos in the remake by the way) Blood Simple and maybe stretching the topic, L.A. Confidential. (Well if Usual Suspects can be on the list – amazing flick by the way – never a waste of two hours!
    And lastly I thought American Psycho was a comedy – the Huey Lewis scene and the bit with the business cards- GOLD!

  • vvribeiro

    I’m surprised that only one person (amanda) mentioned “Frailty”. It is a rather thrilling movie with a explosive conclusion. Although I don’t know which movie I’d exclude, I’ll would surely add this one to my list.

  • ciunas

    Brotherman: ‘American Psycho’ is a hell of a book in every sense. Worth persevering with. The prose is hypnotic & draws you into Bateman’s disintegrating personality. The torture scenes in the middle section are almost unbearable to read.

  • stlouisrams81

    what about fightclub?

  • PirateXxEsque

    I think that you should have extended the list, and added in the most recent Hannibal Lector one (the one where it shows why he is the way he is), and AMerican Beauty.

  • BigTNguy

    Three movies I could think of:

    Primal Fear (thanks SC)

    Breakdown – I thought Kurt Russell did a great job expressing the fear of having a loved one kidnapped and the cinematography (sp?) was great.

    Fargo – not sure if it would fit the category, but Bill Macy was at his best in that one.

  • stlouisrams81

    BigTNguy: I have never seen any of those but will check them out

  • deliciousdanger

    All very good, but one of my favourites was always Fight Club, which can vaguely fall into this genre. ^^

  • Duke of Omnium

    If you could only choose one Hitchcock, I would have picked Rear Window fifth behind Vertigo, Strangers on a Train and North by Northwest and even Shadow of a Doubt. Especially the last one: Teresa Wright is the innocent girl who slowly learns the horrible, creepy truth; and Joseph Cotten was so effective as the adored uncle.

    Also, what about Out of the Past, where Robert Mitchum knows he’s being betrayed, and springs the trap anyhow? It was remade as Against All Odds, but Jeff Bridges wasn’t Mitchum.

  • keng

    Donnie Darko!

  • Kreachure

    Fight Club is a dark comedy (as its director described it). It may be ‘psychological’, but it’s not a thriller.

  • MPW

    What about “A History of Violence” although I’m probably wrong:)

  • ohrmets

    You forgot “The Conversation” by Francis Ford Coppola!

    “The Game” was okay, but if you wanted to give some love to Fincher, you should have picked his most recent–and best–work, “Zodiac.”

  • stlouisrams81

    i loved donnie darko but am not sure if it is a thriller

  • ohrmets

    Oh, and also Charles Laughton’s singular masterpiece, “The Night of the Hunter.” Damn, that film will give you nightmares. Mitchum at his best.

  • ohrmets

    jfrater, what about Roman Polanski’s “The Tenant”!?! I forgot about this movie for a moment, but it is surely the EPITOME of a psychological thriller.

  • YeOldeCanonFodder

    I was surprised that ‘A Beautiful Mind’ wasn’t on the list. The shed scene is pretty creepy…

  • felinefevah

    I’m suprised not to see “The Shining.” That was the first psychological thriller I saw, and what a classic.

    “Heeeeeeeeere’s Johnny!”

  • frozen_midwest

    Some older ones:

    Legend of Hell House, The Wages of Fear (the original French version, not the American remake), Picnic at Hanging Rock

  • felinefevah

    Donnie Darko is most definatly a psychological thriller. He’s being tormented by a giant (creepy as HELL) bunny who doesnt really exist (psychological), and you have no idea what’s going to happen next (thriller). The movie is pure psycho creepiness.

  • Mikkle

    Always a thanks to Listverse for providing me with ideas on what to do on what was appearing to be a pretty bland night ahead of me.

    Now it’s Psychological Thriller Movie Monday!

  • Cedestra

    This list made me realize how much I like psychological thrillers. I *really* liked The Game; I also love movies with plot twists.
    I admit to not reading all the comments, but I would suggest “Fracture”. And “Frailty”.
    I don’t agree with Donnie Darko being a thriller- psychological, yet, but it lacked the suspense you usually find in the listed movies.

  • stlouisrams81

    and that is why Donnie Darko is not a psychological thriller

  • ringtailroxy

    i just knew that Silence of the Lambs would be 1!

    what about:

    Fallen

    Signs (
    i know, i know, Shyamalan and all… it still was a great movie and i liked how all the ‘hints’ throughout the movie tie together)

    What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

    The Life of David Gale
    (Kevin Spacey is such a great actor!!!)

    i saw The Sixth Sense with the BF at the theater when it came out… and about 30 minutes into the movie i had guessed the ending and whispered it to my BF. he said… nah… it’s too easy to be that!

    but it was… sometimes Shyamalan is too predictable to those of us familiar with the horror/phycho/thriller genre… or people who where overexposed to Stephen King books as a child and teenager…(such as myself)

    ringtailroxy

  • Dilbert

    Gotta go with the *original* Cape Fear over the remake. Although De Niro was great, the rest of the cast dropped the ball on the remake.

    Also have to add Primal Fear. That was one of the best I’ve seen.

    I need to see The Game again. It has been years since I have seen it.

    One that probably nobody else will even remember that I liked was “Shattered”. I doubt it was a great film by any means, but the ending surprised me when I first saw it.

  • Brian B

    Great list but i would’v elike to have seen Marathon Man added.

  • Big_red_nut

    Great list, like always. Rear Window is on sometime this week so I may watch it

  • Maheahlaurus

    Awesome list. I would also add Peeping Tom

  • YogiBarrister

    Alfred Hitchcock alone could take up the entire list.
    If it hasn’t been mentioned already, David Mamet’s HOUSE OF GAMES is a top notch psychological thriller.

  • Zachary

    Of course, you know that Rear Window spun off Disturbia, which was far inferior as well.

    I have to agree with the number one spot. Hannibal Lecter freaks me out in every way possible — not his looks, but his voice is creepiest to me.

    “…Hello, Clarice.”

  • Mike

    No The Shining?!?! What is this racism?!?! No, but I seriously feel that that one deserves a certain spot on this list.

  • Avi

    loved them all. all totally worth seeing!

  • The best psychological thrillers have amazing scores to them. The film score for The Talented Mr Ripley is fantastic, and uses a beautiful theme that turns ugly real fast… just like the film. Suspense is really created by the music that supports it. Most of these films have music that were inspired by classics– Bernard Hermann, Nino Rota… Fantastic. Great list! I would have included The Reaping though, which added a new perspective to Psychological Thrillers (another amazing score…)

  • Mike: The Shining is a horror – not a thriller :)

  • Mike

    Jfrater: Well, I’ve always seen the suspense of it as more of a thriller than a horror. While I will admit there are some parts that just scared me in a horror sense, the plotline, events, and whole backstory just seemed more of a thriller to me… Hell, what woulda made this list really good was put that Michael Jackson music video on it :P

  • Vera Lynn

    I wonder the distance between “thriller” “suspense” “psycho-thriller” etc. They overlap a lot. IMHO there are no clear cut divisions. I love movies. And I know I am in the minority here, but comedy is my least favorite genre. I don’t have the patience.

  • Mike: I know what you are saying – but to give further weight to my argument, the film you refer to is already on our top 10 horror movies :)

  • astraya

    Surely there’s an overlap of genres. There are many films that you can’t categorical place in one genre or another.
    I’m wondering how many of these characters are shown as irredeemably bad (eg Silence of the Lambs), and how many are pushed over the edge by the circumstances (eg Straw Dogs, which I haven’t seen).
    In the latter category is Michael Biehn’s character in one of my favourite movies, “The Abyss”. That character is far more subtle that many of these, being basically a good man under pressure (literally!), and not intrinsically evil or psychotic. Would that movie classify as a thriller, despite its science fiction setting?
    Taking a step sideways into books, one of my favourite psychological thrillers is “The Summer of Katya”, by Trevanian. Please someone tell me you’ve read that book. That, again, is basically a good person driven mad by the circumstances. The progress of the character’s disintegration is chilling.

  • CRSN

    Cool list, cant think of any that might be missing.

  • Arkz_Archduke_of_Geeks

    well great list all good films. i recommend the orginal cape fear as well, and a few films by hitchcock and some by stanly kubrick. but this is still excellent

  • bonkers

    “So here are my pick of the ten best psychological thrillers ever.”

    This list has 15 (or 16 counting the extra)
    dont wanna be picky just thought it was funny

  • I’ve only seen one movie on this list from start to finish, but it’s one of my favorites. I LOVED American Psycho! Christian Bale is fantastic in it. My roommate and I quote it all the time.
    I’ve seen parts of The Usual Suspects and I keep meaning to watch it in full because it seemed really good.

  • Jfrater: I think this is your best movie list so far.

  • MPW

    Warning, I thought so too:)

  • MPW: Great minds think alike…

    xD

  • Good call on limiting Hitchcock, although I would probably have chosen “Frenzy” in lieu of “Rear Window”

    My personal overall choice would be “Delores Clairborne” – if ever there was a reason to fear Kathy Bates, this would be it. To me, it’s one of those movies that makes me cringe every time I try and watch it.

    I’d also have found a way to put “Night of the Hunter” on the list. I first saw it when I was about the same age as the kids portrayed in the movie, and it was a long time before I got a good night’s sleep after watching that.

  • astraya

    I though jfrater was never go to write another movie list.

  • askkevin65

    One of my favorite psychological thrillers is “Duel” with Dennis Weaver being chased along the backroads by a psychotic trucker. It was directed (or possibly produced) by Steven Spielberg. It might have been a made-for-TV movie and not a motion picture. Another good one is “The Spanish Prisoner”, which had a lot of twists and turns and interesting dialogue.

  • astraya

    *going*!

  • MPW

    Warning, I like the way you think

  • MPW; I know you do ;)

  • When it comes thrillers, we always inevitably have our 2 cents to add. And Psychological Thrillers are like the icing on the cake. Nothing beats a good rainy day and a bone chilling movie on the screen (and ahem..perhaps a drink or 2). Great list this, and here are my few cents:

    Ninth Gate(1999)
    The Wickerman(1973)
    Shallow Grave(1994)
    Body Heat(1981)
    Don’t Look Now(1973)

  • CRSN

    warningdontreadthis and MPW need to get a room

  • CRSN: Jealous much? :)

  • MPW

    why must I be so Charming:)

  • astraya

    MPW: Vera Lynn is going to read this!

  • MPW

    oh shit!:)

  • astraya: with time she’ll learn to share ;)

  • MPW

    maybe in 2 years;)

  • CRSN

    warniingdontreadthis and MPW – that why i said you’s guy’s need a room, astraya’s right, vera lynn will see it and get jealous.BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Remember peoples: sharing is caring

    i gotta go, a tenant just called me an hour after he was supposed to meet me, fucking usless i tells ya.

  • MWP: For all you know I could be a 40 year old guy named Chuck, who lives at home :P

  • Csimmons

    Warningdontreadthis: we already know you are, we know everything!

  • michelle

    Maybe someone of you have heard of Roman Polansky movie, I think his first one made in Poland, called Knife in the water.
    It is a masterpeace and it is really disturbing, you should try to find it.

  • MPW

    Warning, I know who you are, but…. do you know who I am??

  • MPW

    apparently you dont know who I am “MWP”

    and doesnt everybody live at home, wherever you live that is your home. right? :)

  • MPW: I havent slept all night and I typed fast, its easy to make that mistake.. :)

    And no, I’m a nomad…

  • mavis

    great stuff! do extend the list to 50!

  • When is 1pm GMT? It’s 8.36p.m. here. I wanna see who won the book! :-D

  • TrilithonOfKutulu

    Hmmm…I would have thought that the original Cape Fear would have been better…oh well. Good to see Les Diaboliques and Manchurian Candidate up there! Frank Sinatra is so cool! Also good to see David Lynch mentioned. He’s my favourite director. Must see many of these films…

  • NN

    Where’s Fight Club? Is it too surrealist for you?

    Anyways, great list! I’m interested in all these movies actually.

  • NHNWOMBAT

    Signs should not be mentioned in any list except for the worst remake/rip-off film ever made. All M Night Shamalan did for this film was watch War of the Worlds and Day of the Triffids. And then copy both into an extremely mediocre piece of crap that should have made the Top 10 Worst Science Fiction Movies list for the total lack of originality in a film involving aliens. He wasn’t even able to think of a new way to conquer the marauding forces of evil that threatened to destroy the Human race

  • And the winner is: felinefevah – for comment 165! Congratulations! Please email me with your name and address for delivery of your prize. My address is jamie at frater.com.

  • romerozombie

    I love Fight Club. Not for the fighting, but for the AWESOME underlying theme.

    NHNWOMABT: I enjoyed Signs, but making water, THE SOURCE OF ALL LIFE, the only thing able to kill the aliens? Are they witches or something? And those aliens can fly spaceships but can’t even open a basement door? HAHA!

  • ep_gun

    what about fightclub???? the butterfly effect? saw? etc etc

  • chris

    Come on. When are you going to start spellchecking and proofreading before you post lists?

  • psychosurfer

    @DiscHuker- Sorry, when I read “Psychological Thriller” I MEAN psychological thriller. Salo is the kind of movie that will surely mess up your mind, after you watch it, you´ll never see humankind the same way. Someone told me that Dr. Hannibal Lecter tried to watch it and wasn´t able to eat that liver with Chianti for a couple of days ;)
    I think it´s still banned in the US.

  • R

    It’s a shame that the SAW series ruined their potential by putting massive amounts of gore in their films.
    Jigsaw was like the second Jon Doe in Seven.
    It had potential, man…

  • At first I was disappointed at the absence of “The Hunger”, then realized it was more horror than thriller.
    The first “Haunting of Hill House” was one dynamite psychological thriller, the remake was a rank pile of doo-doo.
    Hitchcock’s “Strangers On a Train” was a psychological thriller to beat all psychological thrillers, and surely deserved a spot on the List.

    Re: “A Beautiful Mind”. The book, which I read when it was first released, was magnificent. The movie version, while good, did not do justice to the real story, so was a disappointment for me. Aside from that (having already read the book, thus having high expectations), the movie would have been good.

    Too new to be included, but incredible psychological thriller anyway, and ought to be included to a later list: “Munich”.

  • goatmissile

    Not a bad list. Although Fatal Attraction was just awful. Verhoeven can’t direct. Not at all. I would recommend Red Road. Really Very Good.

  • SlickWilly

    Great list! I would have included “Fuel” before “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” Such a fanatastic movie…classic Spielberg, before the summer blockbuster explosion he helped create. Real bare-bones film making…you can see the suspense techniques of Jaws in the making, particularly the fact that you never see the trucker’s face. The enemy is simply the truck, which makes the trucker that much more dehumanized and dettachedly evil. Plus, the main character is such a schmoozy bastard, and yet you still identify with his panic and shocked horror throughout the film. I enjoyed Mr. Ripley, but for sheer psychological thills, Fuel is a much better film.

  • ****
    Author: SlickWilly
    Comment:
    Great list! I would have included “Fuel” before
    ****
    Don’t you mean Duel?

  • SlickWilly

    Yes, indeedy. “Duel,” not “Fuel.” My apologies.

  • VeeBabe

    I was thinking of the movie Gothica (made in 2003 starring Halle Berry).

    I find it funny now, but that movie disturbed me and 2 of my friends so bad we all went and talked to our therapist about it (we have the same therapist…). Maybe it had to do with it being about psychiatrists & psych hospitals and people who are supposed to be the ‘good guys’ being the bad. Dunno.

  • unrealsnow

    I’m confused about the entry on “Cape Fear.” If the reasoning for not including “the Departed” was because it was a remake of an Asian film, why does the “Cape Fear” remake appear and not the original one? I agree with those in the comments that say the original is more suspenseful. Robert DeNiro just seems mean in the remake, not as scary as Robert Mitchum.

  • cocololo

    ugh i hate to say it and yes, bring on the open mocking, i was captivated by “the ring”. i mean a few parts scared the hell out of me and were pretty gory, but i was desperate to find out what happened and piece together all the clues. yeah, i’m a dork, lol

  • Gman62

    Thanks for this list. I’m going to watch Memento tonight. It is a fantastic movie.

    My favorite movie of all time, however, is The Usual Suspects. I can usually figure a movie out before it’s over. I never saw its twist coming.

  • tuffstuff

    Another good thriller featuring Robert DeNiro is Hide and Seek. I sure did not see it coming!

  • RoadWarrior

    This is a very good list…though I agree with Dawn Bearer and others that Hard Candy should be on here.

    Forget its low-budget and rudimentary special effects….Hard Candy is one of the few thrillers that actually kept me interested all throughout….and Ellen Page absolutely rocked (or is that de-rocked) as Hayley Stark

  • LooLoo

    TWO MAJOR OMISSIONS:

    The Vanishing (original Dutch version)
    Clockwork Orange

    Both movies disturb me so much I cannot see them a 2nd time. Way more disturbing than Rear Window.

    In fact, you should have put Hitchcock’s “Frenzy” in your list instead of Rear Window. That rape scene is difficult to see, even tho there’s no nudity. There’s also a tense but almost comical scene in there where you’re actually rooting for the rapist/killer to get away with it – an incriminating tie pin in stuck in the rigor mortis-ed hands of his dead victim. He’s almost caught trying to find the body & then pulling out the pin. Hitchcock has screwed up your mind with this movie that you don’t want the killer to get caught!

  • CRSN

    Candy man, Candy man, Candy man, OOOOOPS!

  • Aodhl

    I just want to say that I love Memento and Se7en. They deserve to be on this list. Also Silence of the Lambs is my favorite movie of all time and definitely deserved the number one spot.

  • mklong

    I could not have agreed more with lambs being number 11.

    the remake of red dragon was good, but ill forgive it not being on the list….this time.

  • Vera Lynn

    You’ll are so funny. I like to share. Never mad. MPW can be with whom ever he wishes. Me? Great. If not, too bad. I only want him to be happy. No hard feelings ever.

  • MPW

    I choose you

  • Vera Lynn

    MPW I choose you, too. Always have; always will. I think you’re fabulous

  • Vera Lynn

    MPW :)

  • Vera Lynn

    I mean ;)

  • MPW

    woohoo;)

  • Vera Lynn

    MPW You know how I feel. Wish you were in my arms. Sleeping against my neck. That’s all I want. Good night Love. Be well.

  • Awww… so sweet :-)

  • MPW

    me too, me too. Good night

  • It never ends xD

  • MPW

    and it never shall:)

  • NHNWOMBAT

    romerozombie, the whole water seen at the end is what makes the movie so bad, it is a complete ripoff of Day of the Triffids. The difference is that in day of the triffids it was salt water that killed the triffids making for a scientifically plausible way for them to be destroyed. I just found this movie had no redeeming features as there wasn’t a single original idea in the whole film. The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable were good movies but it seems M Night Shamalan would rather make rubbish than wait until he thinks of a decent storyline when he’s short of ideas.
    I know it’s ranting but I just hate this movie so much for its total copycat script

  • astraya

    They’re at again! (or still!!)

  • You know, a movie which would never be put into the Psychological Thriller slot, but belongs there big-time, is “Gangs of New York”.
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, you say, revenge movie.
    Well, there’s some of that, but you don’t know that bit until the end, and maybe the graphic violence leads you to put it into yet another catagogy, but again I say no. Watch very closely, watch again if you have to, and the “Psychological Thriller” aspect appears with astonishing clarity. Every clue leads to the next. Every lie leads to a truth. Every action leads to destruction.
    This is a psychological thriller in the truest sense, because you are being manipulated and you don’t even know it.

  • Marco

    Great List. Prefer Se7en to Lambs, love Finchers work.

    Two great recommendations from Korea:
    Oldboy
    Memories of murder

  • psychosurfer

    @cocololo- The ring is a great movie although is a remake from the original “Ringu” which is Japanese (and better).
    Does anyone remember a movie based on Taxi Driver which wasn´t that bad that I remember “God´s forgotten man” or something???

  • macabresoren

    I was looking down the list and I was going, “how can they not have Silence of the Lambs on here? Something stupid’s probably gonna be #1.” Haha… Whoops.

  • Angel

    I love you both. Forever.

  • Navik

    i was pleased with The Game until the end, he shouldn’t have made it such a happy ending, it would have been great if it actually was a hoax to rob his accounts and everyone he knew was actually a part of it

  • Gecko

    Those wound pretty cool! I’ll definately be looking into watching those.

  • Pingback: Favorieten en bookmarks voor 27 June tot 28 June | Cafe del Marketing()

  • andy

    funny games, the original

  • knight_forked

    This is a great list, and agreeably its a matter of personal taste as well. I am sure this list could be expanded to include many more. Two come to my mind right away:

    Spoorloos (The Vanishing is a Hollywood version)
    Memories of a Murder

  • Cedestra

    Could anyone who often posts to listverse please contact me at [email protected]? I am coming up with a little birthday present for Jamie/the site. Sorry for the repetition; I’m posting this on all active lists.

  • Ozhan

    Taxi Driver bored me so much!

  • Matt P

    good list, i would have put in

    Antibodies (a darker german version of the silence of the lambs)
    Audition (Weird from start to finish)
    Dead Mans Shoes (Doubt many people have heard of it)

  • GuesssWho

    SotL and American Psycho-my favorite thrillers EVER-even if AP was also dark comedy.

  • I think the definition of “Psychological Thriller” has been dampened, dulled, over the last 20 years. A lot of the movies under discussion in the posts are not even *close* to a psychological thriller, but for those raised on slasher movies, I guess any scary flick without a chainsaw is psychological.
    This isn’t meant to belittle any of the posters. You can’t be faulted for what Hollywood has been force-feeding you in that genre.
    I might suggest asking your grand-parents what their favorite psychological thriller was, then head down to the nearest video store and rent it.
    It might take viewing several films by the same director, or featuring the same leading man, or written by the same writer, but when you become used to the suspense, the lack of overt violence, you’ll find yourself opening your mind to a whole new way of looking at true psychological thrillers, and just maybe even loving the subtleness of the horror.

  • READ

    I agree with the above comment… I guess the definition of ‘psychological thriller’ has been pryed open a tad, because this list does not include a single good psychological thriller.
    Try instead:

    -Pi
    -Stay
    -Requiem for a Dream
    -Donny Darko

    Really, watch them. They are great!

  • KoolhandFresco

    What about THE Jacket with adrian brody that is badass movie its one of my favorite films it has a good cast and the story is really good to good of a movie to pass up check it out

  • lovepsychothrillers

    Not American but a great movie, “A Tale of two sisters”

    Silence of the lambs – My ALL TIME favorite!

  • Jay J

    What about Primal Fear as one of these thrillers?

  • Person666

    I still remember watching les diaboliques in french class. The ending was awesome! overall, good list.

  • wotsacrochet

    a very good list except no ‘Vertigo’ Hitchcocks masterpiece, regularly voted by critics as one of the greatest films of all time.
    an immensely disturbing and haunting film, and one of the greatest essays on sublime love ever put on film, with of course a quite magnificent Bernard Hermann score.
    Cheers Wac
    ps could i concur with Matt p re ‘Dead mans shoes’, if you have not seen this film hire it out or look for it on whatever channel, quite superb, with the sort of acting performance by Paddy Considine worthy of an oscar.

  • Candy Colored Clown

    she wore… BLUE VELVET!!!!

  • momo

    How come no Saw? Vacancy was also amazing.

    And I agree with lovepsychothrilles, A Tale of Two Sisters is an incredible movie!
    And again with READ, Donny Darko rules.

  • CRSN

    momo – Saw is a little too much of a Horror Porn, i’ve seen all of them and the further the series go, the more blood and guts that gets spilled, but i do have to say that the new ways they think up to rip a body apart are quite interesting.

    if the Saw series got on to the list, i reckon “Wolf Creek” and “Hills with Eyes” should have been up there.

  • VB

    Some more that I liked;

    “Sphere” w/ Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson
    “Danika” w/ Marissa Tomei
    “Something Wicked This Way Comes” Jason Robard
    “The Devil’s Advocate” Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves
    “The Life Before Her Eyes” EVA AMURRI

  • poweredbydomino

    Here is another list…

    The Usual Suspects 1995
    Signs
    Jaws
    The Sixth Sense
    Strangers on the Train
    Cape Fear 1991
    The Professional
    The Great Escape
    The Magnificent Seven
    Layer Cake
    Air Force One
    The Perfect Storm
    The Dark Knight
    The Silence of the LAmbs
    Se7en 1995
    The Secret Window
    The Hand That Rocks The Cradle
    The Departed
    Reservoir Dogs
    Fargo
    Hotel Rwanda
    No Country For Old Men
    The Fugitive
    Cape Fear
    Dead Again
    The Crying Game
    Zodiac
    Collateral
    The Crow
    Hamlet
    21 Grams
    Crash
    Frailty
    The Shining
    Salvage
    Repulsion
    Wind Chill
    Candyman
    Fright Night
    Ghost Story
    The Innocents
    Pumpkinhead
    The Lost Boys
    The Ring 1 & 2
    Population 436
    The Changeling
    Rosemary’s Baby
    The Leopard Man
    The Grudge 1 & 2
    Halloween (original)
    The Haunting (1963)
    Yogen aka Premonition
    I Walked With a Zombie
    Rinne aka Reincarnation
    Carnival of Souls (original)
    Night of the Demon aka Curse of the Demon
    The Game 1997
    Les Diaboliques 1955
    Straw Dogs
    Memento 2000
    Taxi Driver 1976

  • SeanyGay

    i think that requiem for a dream should have been on the list & same with a clockwork orange. (i dont know if those were mentioned i didnt read all the comments)

  • SeanyGay

    oh & on that last list

    i honestly could not finish washing no country for old men

    & the grudge 2 was good but the ending just pissed me off a lot cause it was so abrupt

    & the girl in it was a terrible actress. she wasnt very convincing at all

  • SeanyGay

    oh and another good movie is tideland. the girl from silent hill is in it & shes an incredible actress especially for how old she is.

  • SeanyGay

    oh & CRSN youre thinking of hostle. saw had no nudity in it that i remember, but hostile was like porn the first half & then just disgusting the 2nd half. it wasnt a very good movie at all

  • SeanyGay

    oh & matt p, audition was like… really boring until the last like 20 mins, but then when it all came together it was kinda weird i guess… i dont know it was ok i guess but the endingwas really messed up

  • rafyb63

    additions..
    Donnie darko
    hannibal rising
    the nines…. more like psychological drama, but still good
    the happening

  • Emma 06

    …Everyone seems tp be going mad for Hitchcock’s thrillers, ive seen them im not doubting that they are bot good…but they are a little dated and sreen auality is poor…
    list was great but…some personal favourites
    -stir of echoes
    -life of david gale
    -red dragon (after silene of the lambs a follow up)
    -skeleton key..thats freaky
    Memento was excellent though..quite like Idenity¬

  • cin

    There are 2 Spanish language features that came out in the few last years if you can handle subtitles. One is “the orphanage” and the other “the devil’s backbone”. “the orphanage” is quite possibly the epitome of the psychological thriller genre with a little ghost story thrown in. Both films are serious chills and hair standing up on the back of you head stuff with great stories.
    As for domestic, I thought “frailty” was good at playing with your mind.

  • leo

    some of them are not even physcological thrillers, and u got to put “the tennant” on there, its the best phcycological thriller iv ever seen. if you dont put it up there ur stupid.

  • Kevin

    Hard Candy. Psychologically thrilling, disturbing, suspenseful and morally challenging.

    Also Mean Creek. Maybe not a top 15, but still great.

  • rushfan

    Hard Candy sucked. All build-up and lame ending. Are you sure it’s not a food baby????

  • SeanyGay

    Hard Candy was an excellent movie. so was an american crime & the tracey fragments (can you tell im a ellen page fan? haha) & blue velvet was a disturbing movie… my teacher mentioned it & i didnt expect it to be like it was at all. i thought premonition was a great movie too. it was confusing throughout the whole movie & then everything tied together in the end. i loved that. the mechanist wasnt as good as i thought it was gonna be. i very disturbing & disgusting movie i have to say was august undergrounds mordum. there wasnt really a plot but what they did took a long time to sink in. a few of my friends actually threw up while watching it

  • Shane L

    Where is PI??? This list is lame and reaks of mainstream brainwash.

  • Mike E

    Some films that were never on the list that should be…

    Arlington Road
    A Clockwork Orange
    Pathology
    Requiem for a Dream

    I could think of tons more to list here but I still don’t understand why “A Clockwork Orange” never made the list…? It’s easily one of the top five and a classic to boot.

  • sammy

    So I was going to add hard candy but I see some one already posted that. I found hard candy to be great!! Except the ending. I’ve neve felt so bad for a guy as a female I shouldve beeen like haahaha but I felt sooo bad & all the guys I watched it with were just cursing out the girl lol. I think all guys should watch this. But I warn the ending is like crappy.

  • The Fourth Man

    What a crumby list. Have you no sense of history? Missing in Action: Shadow of a Doubt, Notorious, Strangers on a Train, Psycho, The Third Man, Frenzy, Vertigo, Hamlet, Julius Caesar to name a few. The problem with today is that we have forgotten the past, and yet can’t see the future. But the beauty of it all is that the past, present, and future are the same…only the names of the characters change. But the characters and the plots are the same.

  • Mike E

    Unfortunately for you Fourth Man. Some of us ain’t old farts like you. And history sucks. That’s why we should leave it in the past.

  • SeanyGay

    just replying to sammy, the ending of hard candy had mixed responses, either you loved it or hated it. i personally loved it. i guess i love movies that dont have the happy endings you want because thats the way life is.

  • SeanyGay

    oh & just because you dont enjoy history Mike E (im assuming you dont) doesnt mean it sucks. i dont really enjoy it either but i’d like to see some of those movies the fourth man has mentioned. i’ll always try watching a movie once & if i didnt like it then i just wont watch it again :]

  • Mike E

    oh.. I do enjoy history GaySeany. I was being a little sarcastic.

  • Firrox

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned IDENTITY. Man that movie is CRAZY if you can’t figure it out before the end. One of my favsies!

  • Mike E

    IDENTITY was a good movie too.

  • Mike E

    300 posts on this topic. Most of which dis the list. I say it’s about time yall make a new one.

  • 300. Mike E: There’s a new list every day. Subscribe and you’ll get them all.

  • yako2310

    how can you forget ‘The Butterfly Effect’ and ‘Vanilla Sky’?! i know their modern but they’re wicked movies!

  • Mike E

    Vanilla Sky was gay. Just like Tom cruse. Butterfly effect was cool but not really a thriller.

  • SeanyGay

    oh & btw i got an email alert with one of your comments mike e. no im not a pedo. im deffinitally 17 & i deffinitally dont like younger. at all. way to go. :D just thought i’d add that in there :]

  • SeanyGay

    oh & yea i wanna see both vanilla sky & identity. theyre on my movies to see list. :D

  • I4gotmyMANTRA

    I’ve only seen one of these. :(

  • kara dog lover

    these are also great movies: Fight Club, Donnie Darko, The Invisible, and other semi-honorable mentions; Hard Candy and The Uninvited

  • ag

    i like the shining, fight club, the buterfly effect which could all be on this list

  • tpicco

    The original Cape Fear was 1,000 times better than the remake, because it really WAS psychological torture. The remake added a lot of unnecessary violence. Lazy film-making, to my taste. Robert Mitchum is far more terrifying than DeNiro, because he underplays it so well.

    The broken egg scene with Polly Bergen is one of the creepiest, most threatening scenes ever filmed.

    The terror in the eyes of the woman he sleeps with, who feels she has to leave town the next day?

    All so much subtler and less ham-handed than the original.

  • Kneller

    I like putting Lynch on the list. Though he is a surrealist, he is hands down one of the best creating suspense in his work.

    Case in point: The Winky’s Diner scene from Mulholland Dr., or the entirety of Eraserhead.

  • lolcat101

    Great list. anybody here heard of the low budget New Zealand indie film “Scarfies”. I watched that on a plane (when using NZ airlines) and found it.

    It was surprisingly one of the best psychological thrillers that I have ever watched, and raises some interesting points. I wont spoil it, but you could look it up if you wanted to…

  • charaySPS

    Fuck…(Sorry i´m latin)
    Puta,es que nadio vio Mr. Brooks…?
    De lo que se pierden,indiscutiblemente uno de los mejores Films del genero Psycho-Trhiller que he visto.
    Las peliculas anteriormente mencionadas son buenas,pero tienen que incluir esta en el paquete.
    Hasta que la vean se daran cuenta de que les hablo con la verdad, o sea la TRUTH.
    See you folks!
    Traslate to English if you can not understand!

  • Bailey

    I’m glad sevens on the list but without a doubt Fight Club should be somewhere on this list

  • Margaux

    Have you seen “A Tale of Two Sisters”?
    I mean, the original, Korean version of it?
    I really recommend it.
    It was the movie that started my fascination with psychological thrillers…

  • lanie

    please watch korean movie OLDBOY..

  • sophie

    definitely need to get started on seeing the movies on this list. =3

  • nel

    OLDBOY is craazy! Anyone who likes psychological thrillers should watch oldboy

  • Myke

    few other VERY good ones:

    Seven Pounds
    Fight Club
    Lucky Number Slevin
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    The Butterfly Effect
    Vanilla Sky
    The Green Mile
    The Prestige

  • seamy4life

    i cant believe that hayley joel osment turned out to be keyser soze!!!

  • manish

    how about “misery”???? i would have put that on top 10 list.

  • trinity

    How come The sixth sense and Saw are not mentioned…definitely good psychological thrillers!!!!

  • Benny Goodman

    What? No Fight Club nor The Machinist?

  • O’Boogie

    Great List,but i think that donnie darko deservs at least no 11 XD

  • grainwetski

    It might have been said before, but I’m not about to read all of the comments to find out…

    Dr. Hannibal Lecter was introduced to the world in the Michael Mann directed Manhunter, not The Silence of the Lambs. IMO Manhunter was much, much better than the remake Red Dragon. I find Hopkins’ a bit over-the-top as Lecter, due to seeing Brian Cox’s interpretation in Manhunter first.

  • tseu

    I was glad to see Memento on your list and I’ll have to check out Straw Dogs. I have to say that while American Psycho is one of may favorite thrillers, I hardly think it is a “psycholgoical thriller”. There were no mind games involved. How did you decide on this one?

  • lady in red

    I was glad to see Se7en on your list!Good job! :)

  • Aric

    I have a problem with your decision to put the remake of Cape Fear on here. the original Cape Fear was so much better. I love Scorsese and all the eye-candy that he creates, but for you to be torn between the Scorsese Cape Fear and The Departed (when BOTH were remakes) and not even mentioning the ORIGINAL Cape Fear, well that’s just plain ignorant. Other than that, it was a great list. Good work.

  • e page

    @kara dog lover (307): absolutely Hard Candy! This is my very favorite movie, mostly only because of the acting. It is absolutely amazing, and very psychological.

  • lisa page

    @SeanyGay (289): totally agree with the ellen page movies. she’s the best. ever. i wouldn’t consider the tracey fragments to be as psychological or thriller-type as the rest on the list, but an american crime is definitely list-worthy. and looking at her upcoming movies, you can tell that she’s got a few more headed our way.

  • mahiraj

    i dont like silence of the lambs

  • Brian

    you are missing Vanilla Sky which is in my opinion a very underrated movie with a very strong positive message

  • cascading spirit

    How about Primal Fear? It’s a great movie, and also “23”.

  • cascading spirit

    Fight Club is one of the best for me. I love the twist and loved Norton…

  • moviefiend

    Mulholland Drive actually follows a logical plot that qualifies it to your list (but perhaps is better left as surreal and unexplained). It is a true psychological thriller!

    Most of the movie is the Watts character’s blame-fulfillment dream… in reality she is a failed actress.

    The only ‘actual’ scenes begin with the party at the end, which actually would precede the dream, but are shown out of order. Many of those attending the party show up in her dream.

    “Identity” (I highly recommend), “Marnie”, “Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte”, “Eyes Wide Shut” and others, worthy of your list.

  • Teepee

    You can’t go past Primal Fear

  • guy

    where’s fight club

  • jane.doe

    one that should certainly be on this list is “Secret Window” throughout the entire movie you would never guess that mort has actually created a split personality that he is blaming everything on. and the fact that its johnny depp makes it sooooo much better.

  • kelly

    Well,that’s a really great list indeed!
    But another very good film too,that i believe this list sould inclued,is “The Others” (staring Nicole Kidman),which will leave you speechless! Thank you!

  • kelly

    +
    I forgot!
    There is also another great film called “Misery”! Certainly one of the scariest fims that i’ve ever seen!

  • angela

    you forgot The Skeleton Key, bizarre and very cool

  • Mikael

    The Skeleton Key, thats in the list of 10 worst movies ever

  • Gina

    All I have to say is…the next list like this should have “The Strangers” on it….OMG soooo scary!

  • Alexandra

    I really loved the movie IN DREAMS. I think that should be on the list.

  • slideguitar

    my favorite is DEAD CALM with Nicole Kidman

  • Gaylenne

    I really enjoyed MEAN GIRLS which I saw two weeks ago..I am 52 years old so I don’t watch much television but I know movies and Mean Girls is one of them.
    The movie is a new, hip teen comedy about the high-school life and it is very entertaining so you should really see it!

  • venkat

    Wow!!! Excellent list .. A near perfect selection of the best ‘psycho thrillers’ .. Could have also included the movie ‘Psycho’, ‘Scream’ and ‘I know what you did last summer’

  • Jake

    @bucslim – Sorry to hear you couldn’t make sense of Mulholland Drive. For some folks, it takes a few viewings. Don’t give up!

  • BWat

    What about The Mist? That movie left me speechless

  • Shov

    Here’s my list :

    1. American Psycho
    2. Silence Of The Lambs
    3. Cape Fear
    4. Primal Fear
    5. The Usual Suspects
    6. Se7ven
    7. Pulp Fiction
    8. Memento
    9. The Machinist
    10. Secret Window

  • cannibal

    you did not mention.. bad boy bobby, sixth sense, henry-potrait of a serial killer,the bone collector,alferd hitchock’s master creation.. psycho.

  • jill

    shutter island is awesome!!!
    so is mr. brooks and basic instinct

  • regdwight

    arlington road or street, something like that, with bridges.

  • viciomikalie

    This list got me thinking this movie I had on DVD called “Stay”. It’s kind of boring and not anything special but the plot twist at the end annoys me because I’ve watched it a few times and I still don’t get it! Maybe I’m just retarded or it really doesn’t make much sense. From this list I’ve seen only Se7en and Memento, which really blew me away!

  • georgica

    i think the mr bean disaster is the psycho of the hotchkins

  • G. Santosh Kumar

    Hey, all, how can you forget “SUSPECT ZERO” with superb direction and acting performances by Ben Kingsley, Aaron Hart and Carie Ann Moss. Pls watch it.

  • Donnie Darko

    Where the HECK is "Donnie Darko" on here? It's one of the most intense psychological thrillers I've ever seen in my life. I still agree with a lot of your selections here but that movie deserves a little spot on this list too. Anyway, next time give it a thought…

    • CrazyJake

      Donnie Darko. haha! I love that movie! It is a pretty amazing thriller but it wasn't nearly a widely known as these movies were. I was really freaked out after the movie by that rabbit suit sh*t so I guess I would probably put it at number 16 but it's a nice add to the selection. Everyone has a pretty good point on here.

    • TillyWilly12

      I agree! Jake Gyllenhaal's a beast in that movie. It gave him a great start to the film industry. Plus there's a huge cult created but the originality portrayed in this film. One of my fav's . Great movie my friend!

  • jb217996

    hmm kinda surprised that the shining isnt in there..or a clockwork orange great list though

  • Ethan Danielson

    Have you seen Shutter Island? That one's good (I know it's new, but it's still pretty good). And also the movie Surveillance.

  • what about David Lynch's film Blue Velvet? That kept me thinking for a long time

  • it'sme

    im surprised that Donnie Darko wasn't on your list. That is an amazing psychological thriller, one of my favorites.

  • kill666

    thank you info that u chosen some must watch movie list. i hardly, don't have any idea to watch but certainly i love to watch heart pounding movies come from ur list .

  • vic

    silence of the lambs
    fraility
    the shining
    fargo
    momento
    se7en
    man hunter
    cape fear
    taxi driver
    usual suspects

  • chris

    Mothman Prophecies… best psy. thriller I've seen yet!!!!!!

  • Vinnie Hobbs

    nice list

  • Shobzz

    Great List…"DONNY DARKO"…where is it?? :(

  • coolfunnytshirts.net

    This is a nicely compiled list.

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  • Top Kill

    I understand there is someone who is developing a Psychological profile of Top Kill just as a hobby to see if they can finally reveal who Top Kill is. To help them, I have decided to leave some clues in the comments. I love Psychological Thrillers and Horror Movies. For example, i love the SAW movies and any movie involving gore and blood. But i hate zombies and chick flicks. I hate talking donkeys. I am also suicidal.

  • Dorothy

    I LOVE your lists – very addictive. However, that said, your grammar and sentence structure are pretty grim on many of these lists. On several of the lists lately the word CANNOT comes up as two words. It's ALWAYS one word. Hate to be a ninny, but get a proofreader!

  • adidasdrum

    i feel like shutter island deserves to be on this list

  • Jasmine

    REQUIEM FOR A DREAM should def be #1
    If you like meaningful movies with false hopes , drugs , great rising actors , clever filming and a sweet dash of a memorable soundtrack , I recommend Requiem For A Dream .

  • dan

    Just have to say that Silence of the Lambs isnt a psychological thriller – its a thriller but it doesnt involve the mind – its doesnt make you think – its just a dramatic movie that thrills and entertains

    Donnie Darko – Jacobs Ladder – the Matrix

    Now those are psychological thrillers

  • crys

    Why isn’t “The Shining” on here?

  • Heidi

    The Talented Mr. Ripley wasn’t the first film based on the book by Patricia Highsmith. Watch Purple Noon. A great French version of the story with Alain Delon (think a French James Dean) filmed in 1960. Both versions are great and stand on their own.

  • Tiffibey

    Great article!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Tiffiney

    Great list thank for sharing!!

  • great work by the great author

  • REQUIEM FOR A DREAM should def be #1

    If you like meaningful movies with false hopes , drugs , great rising actors , clever filming and a sweet dash of a memorable soundtrack , I recommend Requiem For A Dream .

  • N

    AMAZING! WHAT A BEAUTIFUL N USEFUL LIST…HMMM IMPRESSED…WITH UR CHOICE AND UR EXPLANATIONS AS WELL

    ! KEEP IT UP…PLZ KIP POSTING MORE OF THIS GENRE AND OF DRAMA, FAMILY , INSPIRING ETC TOO…U HV A GOOD CHOICE!!

    N VY T WAY…THANKS!!!

  • N

    AMAZING! WHAT A BEAUTIFUL N USEFUL LIST…HMMM IMPRESSED…WITH UR CHOICE AND UR EXPLANATIONS AS WELL
    ! KEEP IT UP…PLZ KIP POSTING MORE OF THIS GENRE AND OF DRAMA, FAMILY , INSPIRING ETC TOO…U HV A GOOD CHOICE!!
    N VY T WAY…THANKS!!!

  • G.Vignesh

    I like those films mentioned.but i expected about saw. I like very much the film MOMENTO………..

  • Sarah

    *Spoiler* not really, it’s no the list so you kinda expect it, but anyway, Matt Damon broke one of Jude Law’s ribs in the death scene on the boat. Real actors break ribs. :)

  • Brian

    I didn’t see Session 9 here. It is THE BEST psychological thriller I have ever seen and I’ve seen all the top ten plus many more. Check it out.

  • Kim

    The three films I’ve seen here are great movies! American Psycho, I admit, I haven’t finished but what I’ve seen is great! Se7en, when I first saw that, scarred me! Lol, that fat man was horrible but as I’ve gotten older, I watch it almost every time it’s on tv. As for Silence of the Lambs, I love it. I even like the sequel, Hannibal. I love Psychological Thrillers, that’s also a favourite genre. The anticipation and fear, people can be scary.

  • Amanda

    Why isn’t Hard Candy on this list????

  • ArlingtonRoad

    Going to post the mandatory “item X is missing from your list IM(NS)HO” response. Here it comes: Arlington Road.

  • The Movie Fanatic

    I agree with you on a lot of these movies, here is my list of 15 http://themoviefanatic.com/2011/08/09/best-psychological-thrillers/

  • Elsie Underwood

    How about “Gaslights”? Even better the play that it was adopted from, “Angel Street” 1938.

  • Jake

    I’m curious…how did Jacob’s Ladder not make this list?

  • brajesh

    dfsf

  • Sam

    Started DLing the ones I haven’t seen. You should check out Insomnia. Another good one.

  • pali

    yeah pscho the best movie in this genre.. shud have bin added!!

    • pali

      another movie “High Tension” (original title) – Haute tension.. a must watch!!

  • carlos

    “Look back in anger”, 1959.”The loneliness of the long distance runner”, 1962 both directed by Tony Richardson

  • Max

    Psycho, Fight Club, Triangle, Shutter Island, 1408, can b added

  • BigDave

    Requiem for a dream, machinist, inception etc etc

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  • Jay

    Primal Fear is another for the list.

  • toufik

    good choices but very predictable list

  • toufik

    -Boys Don’t Cry

    -The Wall

    -Cannibal Holocaust

    – Freeway

    – Hard Candy

    -train 2008

    -the jacket

    -the three burials

    -the constant gardener

    -revolver

    -match point

    -munich

    -kiss kiss bang bang

    -limbo

    -felicia’s journey

    -two hands

    -ghost dog the way of the samurai

    -the insider

    -american beauty

    -13 assassins

    -winter’s bone

    -the guard post

    -the ghost writer

    -coriolanus

    -the horsemen

    -the bourne ultimatum

    – get low

    -inception

    -conviction

    …………… i hope this list helps………………

    • Mr Peaz

      most of these are action movies, this is a thriller list

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  • G Money

    I dont understand the comment made on Number 12 relating to Departed being a remake, isnt Cape Fear also a remake? The orignal Cape Fear is also a better film..

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  • ryan

    Hey, I loved this list, I’ve seen so many films of every genre I was starting to think there was nothing left for me to watch so Les Diaboliques, Taxi Driver and Play Misty for Me were all films I’d never heard of and thought were great, so thankyou! Plus I think you wrote great summaries for all the films.

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  • sharita

    did everone forget about identity ?

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  • PVinc

    I was surprised that you picked rear window over psycho. Both good movies but I thought that Psycho was better, especially for this list.

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  • Melissa

    What about black swan? :)

  • Ceara

    A Clockwork Orange and Black Swan are two I would have added to this list.

  • Jeriel

    how is Psycho not number 1?

  • The miss list

    The missing ORPHAN and PERFUME:THE STORY OF A MURDERER
    The best psycho movie i ever seen

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  • Ang

    Great list! I absolutely loooooooove Silence of the Lambs, Taxi Driver, and American Psycho. Although, I didn’t enjoy Se7en very much, except Kevin Spacey <3 But I'd have to agree that this is one of the best genres!!

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  • Mr Peaz

    I think you should add ‘Shutter Island’ to the list.
    the movie ‘1408’ as well was very good.

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  • Craig

    American Psycho is one of the worst book to movie translations ever. The movie should never be considered on any best list while the book can be near the top of many different lists.

  • Craig

    A great lesser known psycho-thriller with a bit of horror is High Tension, amazing flick.

  • Extra is the best mate.. Out of 15, se7en is the best one..

  • Kilz

    You should watch No Night Is Too Long. You will not be disappointed. However, if you’re basically uncomfortable with LGBT themed, you might find it difficult to watch it. But the movie is really worth watching.

  • skotris

    I think for me The Number 23 and Identity would have made the list, and of course The Shining.

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