Best Psychological Thrillers to Stream on Netflix, Prime, Hulu, and HBO Go

There’s nothing quite like a movie that throws you for a loop after keeping you on the edge of your seat, and quality psychological thrillers check both boxes and then some.

Directors like M. Night Shyamalan have a knack for making movies that stun, shock, and mess with your head in a great way. Oftentimes, this is achieved through clever storylines and twists so perfect they’ll give you whiplash.

If you’re in search of a good movie that’s going to drive you crazy wondering what’s next, look no further. Here are some of the best psychological thrillers to ever grace the theaters.

 

Best Psychological Thrillers: Movies

The Sixth Sense

Year: 1999

Main Actors/Actresses: Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, Olivia Williams

 

Perhaps the psychological thriller of all psychological thrillers, The Sixth Sense is the embodiment of everything that you could ever need from this particular genre.

The Sixth Sense follows the life of a disturbed little boy named Cole Sear (Osment). Many eerie and creepy events unfold around Cole, oftentimes landing him in trouble at school and with his mom.

Desperate to help her son, single mother Lynn (Collette) enlists the help of Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Willis), a child psychologist.  Following a series of meetings, Cole discloses his deep secret.

Director M. Night Shyamalan lays down the blueprint of what makes for an exciting and spell-binding psychological thriller, guaranteed to blow your mind.

By now, you probably know a twist or two, since the film has been spoofed a million times since its release. It’s absolutely still worth watching, however.

 

Shutter Island

Year: 2010

Main Actors/Actresses: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer

 

With a stunning performance by DiCaprio and mind-blowing twist, Shutter Island is one of Martin Scorsese’s best films in the psychological thrillers genre.

The story begins on Shutter Island in the Boston Harbor, 1954. Two U.S. Marshals, Edward “Teddy” Daniels and Chuck Aule, are at a hospital for the criminally insane to investigate a patient’s disappearance.

Due to a severe thunderstorm, the men can’t return to the mainland for days. As opposition against their investigation grows, Teddy and Chuck begin to suspect there’s far more at play here than a standard missing persons case.

 

Ex Machina

Year: 2014

Main Actors/Actresses: Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson

Directed by Alex Garland, Ex Machina is a psychological thriller for the ages. In unique yet organic fashion, the film explores the world of artificial intelligence and what it means to truly be human.

Caleb Smith wins an office contest to visit the home of his CEO, Nathan Bateman.  While there, Caleb learns of Nathan’s top project: a female humanoid robot named Ava, which boasts unrivaled A.I. capabilities.

Intending to score Ava using the Turing Test (scoring a machine’s ability to imitate human intelligence and behavior convincingly), Nathan encourage Caleb to interact with Ava daily. He soon becomes attracted to her, and is convinced she reciprocates.

Riveting from start to finish, Ex Machina sticks with you long after the film is over.

 

Split

Year: 2016

Main Actors/Actresses: James McAvoy, Betty Buckley, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula, Bruce Willis

Split is a masterpiece that proves Shyamalan has not lost his touch in the least. This ingenious take on the world of mental health is an unsuspecting sequel to Unbreakable, but you don’t need to watch the first installment of the trilogy to enjoy this one.

Barry has 23 personalities—and another one on the way. “The Beast,” his most terrifying personality, wants to rid the world of anyone who hasn’t known suffering. Though Barry and other dominant personalities have kept the Beast at bay, it grows more difficult as time progresses…especially once Barry and his “horde” kidnap three teenage girls.

A classic psychological horror in many ways, the film also makes intriguing commentary on how mental health is viewed and treated in society.  A compelling narrative keeps you glued to the edge of your seat, and McAvoy’s stellar performance proves truly spellbinding.

 

Us

Year: 2019

Main Actors/Actresses: Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Shahadi Wright Joseph, Evan Alex

As a young girl, Adelaide Wilson encountered a girl who looked just like her in a funhouse hall of mirrors. In present day, Adelaide, now an adult, has a family of her own and leads a comfortable life, despite memories of the encounter still disturbing her.

During a vacation in Santa Cruz, the family is attacked by four strangers…who look just like them and, in some ways, mimic their behavior with eerie accuracy. What transpires next is a story with all the best elements of psychological thrillers: suspense, twists, and an ending that will both shock and satisfy.

Directed by Jordan Peele, Us explores the ideas of privilege and the American dream. Moreover, the film beautifully insinuates that the consumerism benefiting our lives here may, in fact, be incredibly harmful to those on the other side of the globe.

 

The Perfection

Year: 2019
Streaming Service: Netflix
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Horror

Wow, what a crazy ride this film takes you on. Just when you think you have a grasp on the direction of this, a new turn.

Rating: 10/10

 

Rattlesnake

Year: 2019
Streaming Service: Netflix
Genre: Suspense, Horror
Director: Zak Hilditch
Actors: Carmen Ejogo, Theo Rossi, Emma Greenwell

A woman is making a cross-country road-trip with her daughter, when, during a pitstop on the side of the road, the daughter gets bit by a rattlesnake. She’s got to save her, but how?

Rating: 9/10

 

 

Velvet Buzzsaw

Year: 2018
Streaming Service: Netflix
Genre: Suspense, Drama
Actors: Jake Gyllenhaal

 

This movie is a trip and an edge-of-your-seat masterpiece. Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance is fantastic, and the rest of the cast performs beautifully, too.

Rating: 10/10

 

 

Best Psychological Thrillers: TV Shows

Black Mirror

Year: 2011 – 2019
Streaming Service: Netflix
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Action, Drama

Every episode is a different trip with this show. It’s a high-quality Twilight Zone-esque mindf@#k originating from the UK. Netflix eventually took over the show, but they’ve kept it going just as strongly as ever.

Rating: 10/10

 

Love, Death & Robots

Year: 2019
Streaming Service: Netflix
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Action, Drama, Comedy, Miscellaneous

 

This show is a series of shorts completely unrelated to each other, and randomly features stars like Topher Grace and Gary Cole. Each short is a dose of a different reality, without necessarily providing the audience with resolve or explanation of what they’ve just seen. Some viewers will find this maddening, but others will adore Love, Death & Robots for its artistry and disregard for standard plotlines.

Rating: 10/10

 

If you enjoy this list of psychological thrillers, check out this list of post-apocalyptic thrillers and action movies, or these awesome David Fincher movies.

 

Reference:
Internet Movie Database

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