When a movie makes you feel deep emotions and leaves you with thoughts swirling around in your mind, it’s a success. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a cheery love story and comedy just as much as the next person. Yet, there is something about psychological movies that mess with your mind and spike your adrenaline that grab my attention.
And frankly, have me addicted.
I have probably watched every single scary, thriller, psychological movie out there and I have compiled a list of my five favorites that are not for the faint of heart. However, if you are looking for extreme gore then this list is not for you. I am not a fan of films that overuse fake blood to try and scare the viewer. A death scene or two is necessary for this genre but should not be the focus. I tend to turn towards the psychological thriller films, since those are typically the ones that leave the greatest impression on me. Supernatural beings tormenting a family is definitely frightening, but I find it hard to relate to their fear and my adrenaline fades quickly.
Okay, without further ado, here is the list of my top 5 thriller movies you HAVE to see…
I want to start with a classic. The movie that sparked my obsession with psychological thrillers in the first place.
I first watched Psycho in a film studies class in college and I left that day intrigued and amazed. Norman Bates is such a lovable character (and quite attractive I might add), you don’t know how to feel as the story progresses. His family dynamic is unimaginable and it is clear he has a lot of internal struggle. This is probably the only film on my list where you sympathize with the “bad guy” which is a term I use loosely in this context. The reason it is number five on my list is due to the fact that it is an amazing story but not necessarily leaves that pit in your stomach.
I cannot say the same for others later in this post…
- If you end up falling completely in love with Norman like I did, it is worth checking out the television spinoff show Bates Motel that stars Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga. Although some of the subplots are a bit unnecessary and confusing, Highmore does an amazing job at portraying the handsome, troubled young man.
Creep actually replaced another film (Panic Room) that I had originally planned for this post. I watched it a few months ago and it stuck in my mind the entire time. I found out about this movie from hours of internet searching and it’s on Netflix which is a HUGE plus. It is one of those point of view camcorder style films (similar to paranormal activity) but there are no ghosts involved which makes it more realistic. It is a simple story that starts out fairly slow and actually a little boring. The premise is a man hired a freelance camera man to film his last days of life. He wants to “interact” with his unborn son before he dies from a brain tumor.
I promise, stick with it and you will really appreciate the ending! It does not end like you expect it to and how most horror films do. After you watch it let me know what you thought of the ending because I saw it as a very creative way to add intensity and fear into the viewer.
I wanted to add another movie that is on Netflix to the list. I think at this point most people have probably stumbled across Hush on their Netflix suggestions. If you haven’t watched it then you know what you are doing tonight! I definitely have a soft spot for home invasion/ stalker movies because it is the one type of film that will leave me checking the locks on my doors and windows at night. They are a concept that can truly terrify me when the concept of ghosts or demons do not.
It can ACTUALLY happen.
There are plenty of these movies out there but what makes Hush so unique is that the protagonist is deaf. She does not have the option to hide out in her house and move around when she hears the bad guy coming. This leaves her with the complexity of finding creative solutions to her insane situation.
- Nothing to do with the movie itself, but her house is STUNNING. It is a little bungalow in the woods with gorgeous glass doors all along the front. Not great for home invasions, but that is besides the point.
2. We Need to Talk About Kevin
This movie. Left me. Shattered.
When the credits rolled I sat on the couch for a long time thinking about what I just witnessed. You watch a mother come to the realization that her son has deep psychological issues. Yet no one believes her. You see her mental state crash and burn as the film progresses. This one definitely comes with a warning. It will leave you with a pit in your stomach since Kevin is… not okay. At all.
You see his devilish progression from a young boy to his present teenage state. The relationship between him and his mother is vastly different from how he feels about the rest of the family and you truly sympathize with her. If anything, this movie causes you to loose your mind and experience real feelings of frustration since you know the whole story just like the mother. We Need to Talk About Kevin definitely makes you more aware of your surroundings in such a scary world.
1. Funny Games (US)
This will forever be my favorite film of all time. Originally from Austria, Funny Games graced America with its presence and I could not be more thankful. The first time I watched this was for the same film studies class that gave me Psycho. It is the ultimate “home invasion” movie that is completely unexpected and filled with some of the most polite psychopaths I have ever seen. Not only is the story unbelievable and leaves you stressed on the edge of your seat, it is beautifully done. There are some scenes of struggle that make you feel like you are there with the actor experiencing the situation first hand.
This is another one where the ending with leave you frustrated and excited. It is not quite as traumatizing as We Need to Talk About Kevin due to some aspects of humor, but it is VERY messed up. I could talk about this film for hours but I only know a few people who have ever seen it so please, do me a favor. Please watch this film or any I mentioned above and tell me what you think in the comments or email me so we can chat! I would love to know what you think or if you have any other suggestions for this type of film. I love psychological thrillers but I feel like I have seen them all.
Thanks so much!