Best Serial Killer Movies and TV Shows

Hannibal as a young serial killer in black and red, staring ominously.

Image Credit: verauko on Deviant Art.

When you want to feel like someone is following your every step, serial killer movies and TV shows are just the ticket.

Ghosts and demons are fine for some, but everyone craves a good old-fashioned human with murder on the brain from time to time. These serial killer movies and shows are to die for.

 

 

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)


Rating: R
Language: English
Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
Available on: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

In this movie, Clarice is at the top of her class at the FBI, and assigned to a case of an active serial killer.

She then seeks insight from a bored serial killer—and cannibal—who’s already imprisoned, the infamous Hannibal Lector.

Both Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins are outstanding in this tense thriller of killers, trying to outwit one another.

 

Hannibal (2013)


Rating: R
Language: English
Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Available on: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Youtube TV, Google Play, iTunes

This show ran for three seasons. It’s since concluded, so Hannibal is here for you on a silver platter, ready to binge.

Hannibal chronicles the experiences of a younger Hannibal Lector, back when he was a practicing psychiatrist and teamed up with police profiler Will Graham.

Together, they solve murders committed by other serial killers. Meanwhile, Lector desperately tries to cover up his own crimes.

 

You (2018)


Rating: R
Language: English
Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Available on: Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Prime

This series is ongoing, and currently has two seasons out with 20 episodes available.

The story follows the protagonist and his extreme stalking tendencies. He utilizes the social media of young women to find out everything about them, and then trick them into falling in love with him.

That’s all fine and good…until he loses interest in the chase and kills them.

 

Killing Eve (2018)


Rating: R
Language: English
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Available on: Hulu, Youtube TV, Sling TV, fubo TV, Philo

This show follows Eve, a woman who is bored with her current desk job at MI5 and desires a more exciting life.

The opportunity presents itself in the form of Villanelle—an untouchable assassin who has been taking out important political targets, with style and flair not usually seen.

Eve decides to pursue Villanelle, thus blurring the lines between seeking justice…and obsession.

 

Mirai Nikki/Future Diary (2011)


Rating: R
Language: Japanese/English
IMDB: 7.6/10
Available on: Hulu

This horror anime has been dubbed in English, so those who hate subtitles need not avoid it.

A short series, it follows a boy named Yuki who ruminates on the nature of death, and takes intricate notes about other people on his phone rather than interacting with them.

Everything changes when Death chooses Yuki for a game where players must either kill, or be killed.

 

Identity (2003)


Rating: R
Language: English
Rotten Tomatoes: 62%
Available on: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

Although the plot twists may seem a little contrived, this movie manages to stay interesting.

John Cusack leads a group of people, stranded in a Nevada desert due to bad weather conditions.

The movie switches back and forth between the plight of the stranded people and a hardened criminal, awaiting his execution.

 

Se7en (1995)


Rating: R
Language: English
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
Available on: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

The all-star cast really shines in this psychological thriller.

Each victim of this puzzling case seems to display one aspect of the seven deadly sins. With every new body, the police find themselves mired in religious symbolism.

They race against the clock to find the killer, and stop him from completing the entire set.

David Fincher, once again, does not disappoint his audience with this gritty film.

 

Zodiac (2007)


Rating: R
Language: English
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
Available on: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

Based on the real-life Zodiac serial killer, this film proves—yet again—exactly why fans love David Fincher so much.

Although the Zodiac killer was never caught, this movie maintains suspense and tension expertly. It follows the strenuous investigation and numerous attempts to crack the killer’s taunting ciphers.

 

American Psycho (2000)


Rating: R
Language: English
Rotten Tomatoes: 69%
Available on: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Peacock

This movie is very tongue-in-cheek, which is unusual yet refreshing for a serial killer movie.

It follows the blood-hungry Patrick Bateman, a normal high-powered businessman by day—and a serial killer by night.

Capitalism just can’t satiate his lust for power and destruction, apparently. His internal narration is both funny and horrific, as he describes what drives him to kill and the people in his life that he has to deal with, including his fiancee, mistress, coworker, and secretary.

 

Happy Death Day (2017)


Rating: R
Language: English
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Available on: Fandango, Vudu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV

In this movie, the main character is murdered on her birthday. Just when it seems like the end, however, she wakes up again at the beginning of the day.

This film has an exciting take on the time-loop plotline. The heroine must discover the identity of her killer and prevent her own death if she wants to break the loop.

 

via GIPHY

Serial killer movies and TV shows, when done correctly, balance the horrific gore and suspense with a strange understanding of the anti-hero.

You’ll almost root for the villain in a well-written show or movie, and find yourself wondering if they’re really all that bad…while hoping they absolutely are.

For more movie and show recommendations, check out the best true crime docs now streaming, the best episodes of Law & Order, or the scariest horror anime series.