HomeMoviesFeaturesBest Intellectually Stimulating Psychological Thriller Movies Of All Time

Best Intellectually Stimulating Psychological Thriller Movies Of All Time

The doppelgängers in Us are referred to as Tethered.

Psychological thriller movies are designed to play with the mind. They often incorporate elements of mystery, morality, mental illness, and a disintegrating sense of reality, which can lead to feelings of unease, confusion, and excitement.

Watching psychological thriller movies encourages viewers to examine their own thoughts and motivations and the darkness in themselves.

In the universe of psychological thriller movies, Split is indeed a noteworthy example that follows a man with dissociative identity disorder (DID) who kidnaps and imprisons people.

Likewise, Joker is one of the best examples of this genre delving deeper into the psyche of Arthur Fleck, a failed stand-up comedian.

If you can handle the suspense and dark themes without negative effects, this genre is perfect.

Here are some of the best movies that fall under the Psychological thriller genre.

MovieRelease Date
SplitSeptember 26, 2016
GlassJanuary 18, 2019
FracturedSeptember 22, 2019
Black Swan September 5, 2010
The PerfectionSeptember 20, 2018
JokerSeptember 28, 2019
MaMay 30, 2019
Us March 8, 2019
OldJuly 23, 2021
Don’t Worry Darling September 19, 2022

Note: Please note that the availability of movies on Netflix and other streaming platforms can differ depending on your geographical location.

1. Split (2016)

DirectorM. Night Shyamalan
WriterM. Night Shyamalan
CastsJames McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley
Release DateSeptember 26, 2016
IMDb RatingIMDb

Split is known for its intense plot and exploring complex themes such as identity, fear, and mental illness.

The main plot revolves around Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man with dissociative identity disorder (DID) who kidnaps three teenage girls.

He has 23 distinct personalities, and the girls must find a way to escape before a sinister 24th personality, known as The Beast, emerges.

Moreover, the film delves into complex themes such as identity and mental illness, and James McAvoy’s performance as a man with dissociative identity disorder is remarkable.

This movie is worth watching if you enjoy psychological thrillers with suspenseful plots and unexpected twists.

However, it’s essential to be aware that some mental health advocates criticized the film’s portrayal of mental illness.

If you appreciate intense storytelling and unique character exploration, give it a watch.

2. Glass (2019)

DirectorM. Night Shyamalan
WriterM. Night Shyamalan
CastsJames McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson
Release DateJanuary 18, 2019
IMDb RatingIMDb

Glass movie serves as a crossover and sequel to Unbreakable (2000) and Split (2016), making it the third and final installment in the Unbreakable trilogy.

The movie converges the stories of David Dunn, a man with superhuman strength; Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man with multiple personalities; and Elijah Price, also known as Mr. Glass, a genius-level intellect with a fragile body.

The trio find themselves in a psychiatric facility, where their belief in their superhuman abilities is challenged and ultimately leads to a climactic showdown that reveals their true nature.

Moreover, the exploration of the characters’ minds and their struggle with their powers adds depth to the story.

If you enjoyed the previous films in the trilogy, you’ll appreciate the continuation of the story and character arcs.

3. Fractured (2019)

DirectorBrad Anderson
WriterAlan B. McElroy
CastsSam Worthington, Lily Rabe, Lucy Capri
Release DateSeptember 22, 2019
IMDb RatingIMDb

Fractured is a 2019 American psychological movie that follows the story of Ray Monroe, played by Worthington.

After his daughter suffers a fall and is taken to the hospital, Ray’s wife and daughter disappear, and he becomes convinced that the hospital is hiding something.

Likewise, the main plot revolves around Ray’s despairing search for his missing family and his struggle with the possibility of a distorted perception of reality due to a head injury.

Additionally, the film explores themes of disappearance, confusion, and the reliability of one’s memory.

This movie could be a good choice if you like movies that keep you guessing and create a sense of suspense and intrigue.

4. Black Swan (2010)

DirectorDarren Aronofsky
WriterMark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John J. McLaughlin
CastsNatalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel
Release DateSeptember 5, 2010
IMDb RatingIMDb

Black Swan is a movie about Nina Sayers, a ballerina in a New York City ballet company.

The plot revolves around the company’s production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.

Nina is perfect for the role of the innocent and fragile White Swan, but she also must embody the dark and sensual Black Swan.

As Nina competes for the part, she begins to lose her grip on reality and descends into madness.

Moreover, this movie is a compelling watch for those who appreciate thrillers, dramas, and films exploring artistic pursuit’s darker side.

Overall, this movie is worth watching if you enjoy movies that delve into the psyches of complex characters.

5. The Perfection (2018)

DirectorRichard Shepard
WriterRichard Shepard, Nicole Snyder, Eric C. Charmelo
CastsMarie Maskell, Allison Williams, Christina Jastrzembska
Release DateSeptember 20, 2018
IMDb RatingIMDb

The Perfection is a psychological horror thriller that delves into a musical prodigy’s dark and twisted paths.

The story begins with a promising reunion between two cellists and evolves into a sinister narrative filled with unexpected turns.

Correspondingly, the plot centers around Charlotte, a talented cellist who left a prestigious music school to care for her ill mother.

After her mother’s death, Charlotte reconnects with her former school and its new star pupil, Elizabeth.

Eventually, this leads to shocking events revealing a disturbing secret beneath the school’s polished surface.

Fans of thrillers and psychological dramas with a taste for suspense and twisted narratives might find this movie particularly appealing.

Likewise, the movie explores jealousy, revenge, and the dark side of artistic pursuit.

Moreover, it may resonate with viewers who appreciate films that challenge perceptions and delve into the complexities of human behavior.

6. Joker (2019)

DirectorTodd Phillips
WriterTodd Phillips, Scott Silver
CastsJoaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz
Release DateSeptember 28, 2019
IMDb RatingIMDb

Joker is a movie known for deep psychological exploration, leading a struggling clown to a psychopathic crime figure.

Set in 1981, the film follows Arthur Fleck, a failed clown and aspiring stand-up comedian living in a decaying Gotham City.

Arthur struggles with severe depression and mental illness, and his life takes a dark turn as he faces constant bullying and marginalization from society.

Likewise, his descent leads him to inspire a violent countercultural revolution against the wealthy.

Moreover, the movie explores themes of mental illness, societal rejection, and the blurred line between sanity and madness.

It’s worth watching for viewers who appreciate psychological thrillers and character-driven stories.

However, due to its intense and sometimes disturbing content, it may not be suitable for all audiences and the content may require viewer discretion.

7. Ma (2019)

DirectorTate Taylor
WriterScotty Landes
CastsOctavia Spencer, Diana Silvers, Juliette Lewis
Release DateMay 30, 2019
IMDb RatingIMDb

Ma is a 2019 American psychological horror movie about a lonely middle-aged woman, Sue Ann, who befriends a group of teenagers.

The main plot revolves around teenager Maggie Thompson, who moves with her mother to her mother’s hometown in Ohio.

Maggie befriends a group of high school students looking to buy alcohol. Additionally, they persuade Sue Ann to purchase it, and she invites them to drink in her basement.

Over time, Sue Ann’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic and disturbing, leading to a series of terrifying events.

Moreover, this movie is worth watching for viewers who enjoy thrillers and horror movies focusing on character development and psychological suspense. 

8. Us (2019)

DirectorJordan Peele
WriterJordan Peele
CastsLupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss
Release DateMarch 8, 2019
IMDb RatingIMDb

Us is a psychological horror-thriller that delves into themes of identity, self-reflection, and the duality of human nature with the doppelgängers.

In the movie, doppelgängers represent the characters’ darker, hidden aspects, serving as physical manifestations of their suppressed fears.

The film opens with a scene from 1986, where a young girl encounters her doppelgänger in a hall of mirrors on the Santa Cruz boardwalk.

Moreover, fast-forward to the present day, and the girl, now grown up as Adelaide Wilson, returns to the same beach with her family.

Despite her unease, they meet with friends, only to have their night disrupted by the appearance of a group of sinister doppelgängers.

Overall, this movie is worth watching for those who appreciate horror with a twist of intellectual stimulation.

If you’re interested in movies that challenge you to think and re-think the plot long after the credits roll, then “Us” will likely be a rewarding experience.

9. Old (2021)

DirectorM. Night Shyamalan
WriterM. Night Shyamalan, Pierre-Oscar Lévy, Frederik Peeters
CastsGael García Bernal, Vicky Krieps, Rufus Sewell
Release DateJuly 23, 2021
IMDb RatingIMDb

Old is a supernatural body-based thriller movie based on the French-language Swiss graphic novel Sandcastle.

The movie’s main plot revolves around the Cappa family, with Guy and Prisca Cappa choosing to take their young children on vacation.

They are invited to a secret beach and a few other guests at the resort. Once at the beach, they discover that they age rapidly, with every hour equivalent to about two years of their lives.

Moreover, the main twist reveals that the characters were part of an experiment observed by the person who brought them to the beach.

It’s likely to appeal the viewers who enjoy psychological thrillers with a touch of science fiction and horror.

Moreover, people who like movies that provoke thought and discussion, even if they are polarizing, might find Old to be an exciting watch.

10. Don’t Worry Darling (2022)

DirectorOlivia Wilde
WriterKatie Silberman, Carey Van Dyke
CastsFlorence Pugh, Harry Styles, Chris Pine
Release DateSeptember 19, 2022
IMDb RatingIMDb

Don’t Worry Darling is a psychological thriller movie set in an idyllic 1950s desert company town called Victory, California.

The main protagonist, Alice Chambers, lives with her husband, Jack, in the Victory after the Town’s founder, Frank chooses him.

The town’s men work at the secretive Victory Headquarters, and their wives are discouraged from asking about their work or entering the premises.

Alice’s life unravels as she begins to suspect that the town’s perfection hides a sinister secret, especially after witnessing the strange behavior of the other’s wife.

Gradually, she discovers about her existence and the town’s nature, leading to dramatic revelations.

If you enjoy psychological mysteries and suspense, this movie is worth watching.

Sangita Budhathoki
Sangita Budhathoki
Sangita Budhathoki, a cinematic storyteller, weaves her love for film and television into the fabric of her life. Her narratives are a tribute to the boundless realms of science fiction and the rich tapestry of the screen. When the lights dim and the curtains fall, Sangita finds solace in the embrace of nature, her wanderlust leading her to serene landscapes and untamed beauty. Amidst this tranquility, her heart resonates with the rhythm of music, a melody that harmonizes with her adventurous spirit.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular