Psychological thrillers are one of those genres of movies which is loved by one and all. This kind of movies challenge our thought, disturb yet entice us with their intriguing storylines and give us an insight into the vast dimensions of the human mind. If we try to sum up, some of the legendary movies of all times fall into this genre. An article on it will no doubt be an interesting read.
Let us see which are the top 10 psychological thrillers of all time.
- Psycho (1960)
Alfred Hitchcock is claimed to have initiated the legacy of the psychological thriller in the world of cinema with his masterpiece Psycho. The movie shows a Phoenix secretary, Marion who misappropriates $40,000 from her employer’s client and takes shelter in a motel, run by a man named Norman Bates who is dominated by his mother. Soon it turns out she has a past of her own. What makes the movie all the more memorable is the famous shower scene where Marion is murdered by a masked killer.
- The Shining(1968)
Based on Stephen King’s famous novel, this movie is directed by the legendary Stanley Kubrick and stars Jack Nicholson in the lead. The movie shows Jack who takes up the charge of an isolated hotel and moves in it with his family. During their stay, Jack gets bored in isolation, loses his sanity and attacks his son and wife. What makes the movie a masterpiece is the way Kubrick captures Danny’s vision with superb cinematography.
- Insomnia (2002)
Christopher Nolan directed this psychological horror film which shows two LA detectives goes to an Alaskan town to investigate the murder of a teenage girl. The main culprit forces the two in a cat and mouse chase game which not only confuses up the two but endangers his own mental sanity.
- A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
A Tale of Two Sisters is a South Korean psychological thriller film where a family lies in the centre of the story. The movie begins with two sisters, returning from a mental rehab to find that they not only have to deal with their stepmother but also their mother’s ghost who begin to trouble them. The stories have numbers of challenging and mentally disturbing scenes only to leave the audiences dumbfounded at the end.
- Shutter Island (2010)
Martin Scorsese directed this neo-noir thriller movie with Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo in the lead. Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule are two US marshals who are sent to a secluded island to uncover the disappearance of a patient. However, things soon take a shocking turn as the demarcation between what is real and what is not starts to blur.
- Don’t Look Now (1973)
This Nicholas Roeg directorial masterpiece tells the story of a couple,John and Laura Baxter who are aggrieved over the death of their daughter. Laura meets two sisters who proclaim to be in touch with the daughter’s spirit. Though initially skeptical, soon John’s world turns upside down when he catches a glimpse of his daughter’s red coat. The climax scene is regarded as one of the most celebrated climaxes in the genre. An uncanny unease coupled with speculation makes this psychological thriller come horror a nail-biting watch!
- Oldboy (2003)
Dae-su Oh is released after fifteen years of imprisonment and given five days to find his abductor. The first installment in the vengeance trilogy, directed by Park-Chan-Wook, this Korean thriller sets an extremely disturbing premise that keeps you hooked to the screen. Cho Min-sik’s portrayal of Dae-su Oh who is gradually losing his mind but gradually teaching himself to live within the walls is simply marvelous. The heinous climax also adds to the more masterfulness of this movie and leaves you questioning the moral quandary of human existence.
- Black Swan (2010)
Nina Sayers, a passionate ballerina is a perfect fit for the role of the timid White Swan for a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. However, Nina finds herself in a grip of immense pressure and jealousy as Lily is considered for the part of the Black Swan. Soon Nina starts to lose touch with the reality in the course of attaining artistic perfection. Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan essentially stands on the themes of obsession and insanity and provides for a beautiful yet extremely unsettling cinematic ride.
- Seven (1995)
Seven is a story of two detectives David Mills and William Somerset played by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman respectively, who are assigned to track down a serial killer who uses the ‘seven deadly scenes’ as a euphemism for committing murders. Directed by David Fincher, Seven is regarded as one of the decade defining films not only for its dark or well-executed screenplay. Rather, Seven stands out for its inevitable symbolism and some of the questions the film throws upon us.
- The Machinist (2004)
The film revolves around Trevor Reznik, played by Christian Bale a factory lathe operator who is involved in an accident causing his co-worker to lose his arm. Soon, Trevor starts to slip into paranoia and insomnia and takes the form of an almost living skeleton. Trevor blames another co-worker Ivan for his delirium but no one else has heard or seen Ivan. Christian Bale gives an outstanding performance as the disturbed Trevor in this Brad Anderson film. Perfection all the way!