Due to its characteristics, the thriller is undoubtedly one of the most loved genres by audiences all over the world: the continuous tension, the succession of twists, the fast rhythms and the numerous action scenes are what attracts viewers to the cinema. for the release of films of this type. However, there is a sub-genre, the psychological thriller , which is perhaps even more appreciated: if a more in-depth analysis of the character’s psychology is added to the elements we have just listed, it will be much easier to involve the viewer, capturing him in the story. and in its protagonists.

At the heart of the plots of these very engaging movies we have characters who clash on the mental level more than on the physical one, leaving slightly (but obviously not entirely) aside the action to prefer challenges of another type, in which intelligence prevails on muscles and brute force. In this article we have decided to round up the 34 best psychological thrillers to see, films that every lover of the genre, but also every cinephile in general, should absolutely recover.

Psychological thrillers

The Guilty 


There is a certain sense of déjà vu in writing the review of The Guilty, the new feature film by Antoine Fuqua coming to Netflixafter making her big screen debut at the Toronto Film Festival. In fact, this is the remake of the Danish thriller released at the end of 2018, acclaimed all over the world and awarded at various festivals (the critics’ prize in Zurich, while in Turin the audience’s prize was taken home, in addition to the awards for the screenplay and for the leading actor), praised above all for a very precise narrative and directorial choice, which made practically all those who had seen him skeptical at the time of the announcement of the US makeover (practically obligatory step for many genre projects of invoice given the general aversion of the average American public for subtitles). In fact, in this specific case, a “carbon copy” remake became inevitable.

Mulholland Drive


A black thread like the night unites the works of the most visionary and disconcerting director of the last twenty years, the American David Lynch, from the shocking debut of “Eraserhead” in 1977 to the ” Inland Empire ” of 2007, in a path on roads non-rational, emotional, typical of dreams and the unconscious, lost roads, where the vertigo of getting lost coincides, fatefully, with the pleasure of cinema itself. Lynch’s cinema is made up of thresholds, liminal areas, borders far from the sunny and reassuring center of the traditional cinema scene, where his gaze (his camera) pushes itself, guiding the spectators’ eyes according to a single perverse, magnificent design: getting lost, together with him, in another world.

The Invisible Man

Quickly thrown into oblivion the insipid Fantasy Island , The Invisible Man is in all respects the new production masterpiece from Blumhouse Productions. Against a meager budget of just $ 7 million, it grossed 124 million globally. The surprising figure, however, is to be found in the release window, where the film remained for less than three weeks (from February 28) before be forced to be distributed on streaming platforms starting from March 20 due to the pandemic emergency of Covid19. Moreover, in many important markets it never even arrived (like ours), making the box office figures achieved even more astounding.

Ma

Tate Taylor’s MA starts with a pretty simple concept, to see Academy Award winner  Octavia Spencer ( The Shape of Water ) turn into a psychopath who makes a group of unsuspecting teenagers. And Blumhouse ‘s new low-budget horror ultimately doesn’t strive to offer audiences much more. In fact, most of the film’s charm lurks in this one note, and everyone seems more than happy to indulge it at most in the 99-minute run, for a result that is both familiar and inspired, at least until they decide. to goAll in  in the gore, except to timidly go back and fall a stone’s throw from the finish line.

Best psychological thrillers

The Lighthouse

With an almost pure 4: 3 in 35mm and a growing aphasia disturbed only by the single note of the lighthouse’s nautophone, Robert Eggers, from the very first minutes of The Lighthouse, explicitly declares his intentions: a pure psychological horror with a very strong expressionist matrix, a tribute to Fritz Lang, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and Robert Wiene. The chosen film format, black and white photography, particular lenses and filters used in the 1930s, contribute to a solitary theatrical picture: distorting close-ups, with faces cut by the light, often coming from below in order to enhance the expressions demonic and hysterical characters.

Shutter Island

It’s been more than forty years since the first feature film, “Who’s Knocking at My Door?”, And Martin Scorsese is taking a vacation, even though it is getting longer and longer. After ” The Aviator ” and ” The Departed “, “Shutter Island” is, after all, another work that seems to lie outside his most monumental or personal works. Based on the novel by Dennis Lehane, author not new to transpositions (his also the novel from which Clint Eastwood drew the splendid “Mystic River”), “Shutter Island” is a puzzle thriller that unravels its plot in the corridors of fear of a island-prison, which (us) defends from the human mind, the scariest place in the world.

Fight Club

First rule of the Fight Club : never talk about the Fight Club. A rule that we will take into account in the course of the critique of this hermetic and brilliant work, which could be talked about indefinitely but would be wrong, meeting inevitable revelations of the plot that would spoil the show to those who have not yet had the good fortune to discover this cinematic pearl. Fight Club is a 1999 film directed by David Fincher, based on the novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. A work perfectly placed also temporally, as if to represent a sort of epitaph for the millennium that was coming to an end and the desire to start a new era, free from the burdens of the past (or perhaps only aware of the fact that they would become heavier).

Black Swan

Nina is a great White Swan, but to also play the Black Swan in Tchaikovsky’s ballet she has to bring out the dark side of herself. She descended into hell as a perfect dancer, too perfect. A film that brutalizes psychoanalysis and high themes such as those of the Double, which annoys and disturbs, but which unhinges our psychological defenses and conquers us with the strength of a mythical narrative. Forget the usual cuteness and affectation of classical ballet, the fetishism of tutus and pirouettes, the licking images, the sdilinquimenti, all the unbearable clichés of ballet addicts and ballet lovers. Black Swan takes us somewhere else, telling us about a classic Swan Lake staging.

American Psycho

Based on the novel of the same name, a masterpiece by Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho must necessarily make some caesuras with respect to the original text due to the extreme violence of certain passages, thus losing the immediacy of the stream of consciousness that can be enjoyed through reading. But this is the only negative data of the work of Mary Harron who, in a period of strong abuse of the figure of the serial killer, creates a product that is stylistically mature and very intriguing in terms of content.

Best psychological thrillers on Netflix

Intrusion

What to do when you can’t feel safe within the walls of your home? On Netflix, a new thriller that is part of the home invasion genre, directed by Adam Salky on a screenplay by Kevin Pierce : Intrusion, a film available on the streaming platform from 22 September starring a couple whose happy routine is broken by a break- in in the their new dream home. A good dose of tension characterizes Intrusion which, however, never stands the leap that could make it a successful thriller. We got to see it and we talk about it here, in our review.

The Unforgivable

After a family drama, all places can become hell. Freedom after prison too. Sandra Bullock takes on all the character’s demons. Low gaze, hunched shoulders, fear of speaking. After The Blind Side, one could think of yet another Oscar-winning exercise for the actress (also producer), like that of Charlize Theron in Monster where she was purposely ugly. The Unforgivable leaves all the weight of the film to Sandra Bullock who, however, does not support him, never makes him change gear and, after the initial marked (especially physical) characterization, he settles on a plot as confused as it is obvious.

Hypnotic

Jennifer sinks into the folds of the sofa, lulled by the persuasive voice of her therapist. The sound of the metronome strikes fast, the light fades and the mind seeks contact with the deepest part of her psyche. The woman is transported to a boundless forest where a light breeze brushes the needles of the pine trees around her, under her feet the dirt of her softens her footsteps giving her the calm that replaces her noisy fears. An hour of therapy that seems to pass in three minutes, that’s enough for Dr. Meade to enter Jennifer’s head and make her subconscious a puppet to be controlled at will.

Run

Every morning, 17-year-old Chloe Sherman knows she will have to get out of bed, get into her wheelchair and repeat a long series of preparations. She comes out of the bathroom, after taking the usual plethora of pills, she will go downstairs via the stairlift and there she will have a very controlled breakfast with her mother, Diane Sherman. The two live in an isolated house, happy and united. Then we learn that Chloe is waiting for a response from some universities that do not arrive, so much so that the girl lives with great frustration the idea of ​​not being able to continue her studies. Diane, for her part, does not seem worried about this eventuality and indeed during the meetings with the other parents of disabled adolescents she shows a proverbial aplomb about the situation: Chloe is the strongest person she knows, according to her, and she will be fine alone.

The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window. Film released on Netflix starting May 14th. The woman in the window, indeed, should have been out on the big screens in the past year. Subsequently, however, his production company, or 2000 Fox Pictures, due to the inconvenience caused by the prolongation of the wearying pandemic situation caused by Covid, agreed with the aforementioned  streaming platform, opting for this type of distribution and therefore making a operation identical to what happened with respect to another film recently released on Netflix and not registered by its own  major, named above, but by Universal Pictures. 

Good psychological thrillers

Gone Girl

After three years from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the master of the thriller David Fincher in 2014 returns to theaters around the world with Gone Girl. The film is based on the bestseller “Liar Love” by Gillian Flynn, who also took care of the screenplay of the film. Well done thriller (to put it mildly), Gone Girl does not disappoint anyone’s expectations, even though it does a lot of discussion. The story, albeit mysterious, initially gives the impression of being at least linear. However, shortly after the investigation began, the story gradually takes on unthinkable implications. The range of possible leads to follow expands to such an extent that you have no idea what may have happened to poor Amy.

Gerald’s Game


Gerald’s game is hardly ever cited as one of the best novels by the Maine writer, but it remains one of the author’s best-known books, among the most popular of his minor production, if we want to call it that. It was published in 1992, after Misery, a story with which it perhaps has a great debt in structural terms, having in common a certain immobility which is however compensated by brilliant narrative escomatoge that still form school today. 

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The story of the film is concise to say the least, albeit left to decant in two hours of footage in which the viewer’s attention is kidnapped by force: Steven (an extraordinary  Colin Farrell) is a cardiologist with a splendid wife (Nicole Kidman) and two children to be proud of. However, we often see him in the company of a very young boy (the notable  Barry Keoghan, already seen in  Dunkirk) without understanding the nature of this association. The protagonists’ paths will begin to intersect in unpredictable ways when one of the characters manifests a mysterious disease.

Tenet

The success of Tenet is unstoppable: Christopher Nolan’s new masterpiece has reached the top of Box Office Italia with a record collection of more than 5 million euros, and registering more than 700,000 admissions in the hall. Here are the comments of those who have seen the film at the cinema. Tenet is an exciting action and espionage sci-fi starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Kenneth Branagh and Elizabeth Debicki.

All the Old Knives

Spy games are often good entertainment, and the latest addition to the legendary genre, Amazon Studios’ All the Old Knives, is solid, but not incredibly memorable. Directed by Janus Metz, the film is based on the novel of the same name by Olen Steinhauer (who also wrote the screenplay) and contains many of the familiar tropes from decades of spy tales. All the Old Knives is a brilliant undertaking largely hampered by the performances of Chris Pine and Thandiwe Newton. It tells an intriguing story, although there’s a good chance many audience members will be able to predict the final twist before it arrives. Ultimately, All the Old Knives lacks innovation, but still offers a fun ride thanks to the twisting dynamics of Pine and Newton.

Top psychological thrillers

Ava

A second chance is not denied to anyone, that of Ava came from Netflix who stole it from the quicksand that was slowly swallowing it to offer it to its subscribers starting from January 15th. After a very brief appearance in American theaters in August 2020, during which it garnered rather negative criticism, the film had to raise the white flag due to the known pandemic restrictions that have definitively closed the doors of cinema distribution. A further blow for a project that among other things was already born under a bad star when at the time of conception, two years ago, it had encountered problems of a productive nature. Originally, in fact, it should have been calledEve and Matthew Newton had been called to direct it, but he was forced to back down due to personal concerns related to accusations of domestic violence that had overwhelmed him. The baton then passed into the hands of Tate Taylor, but not even his intervention could change the doom that fate had already written for the film.

The Nest


Entrepreneur Rory moves with his wife Allison and two children from New York to Great Britain to an isolated manor house in Surrey because he has found new job opportunities that will later turn out to be illusory. The family struggles to adapt to the new lifestyle and, when the situation worsens, the already fragile balance of the couple begins to disintegrate.

Oxygen

Leading star Melanie Laurent ( Inglourious Basterds ) delivers an emotionally intense performance in Oxygène ( Oxygen ), a not necessarily intelligent and claustrophobic thriller that runs out of gas once it begins to reveal its secrets. The first French-language film directed by director Alexandre Aja since 2003 ‘s High Voltage ( the review ) spends its entire duration framing a young woman who wakes up in a windowless cryogenic chamber, unsure who she is or what she is like. arrived there. Filmed last summer in the midst of the COVID pandemic, the feature film nowDistributed exclusively by Netflix it ultimately appears as an honest ‘very close’ cinema exercise, but fails to reap the well-deserved cathartic reward promised by the accumulation of mysteries and twists gathered along the way.

Umma

Raimi’s uncertain background as a horror producer is not the responsibility of Iris K. Shim, the screenwriter and director behind Umma . But watching this resolutely creepy Raimi-produced horror film at a shoddy pace, it’s hard to avoid a pang of desire for the energy and aggression of films like Raimi Drag Me to Hell, which he described in promotional interviews as a ” ghost”. The simplest definition of that term is an amplified funhouse horror movie, which Umma isn’t, other than one Drag me to Hell – a style where the heroine is, yes, swept away by a ghostly force. Unfortunately, that wilderness turns out to be short-lived. During his lean but slow 83 minutes, Umma accumulates scenes of missed opportunities that call for a macabre sense of humor or a leap that makes the audience tremble.

Malignant

We find Madison as an adult, to play her is Annabelle Wallis (Grace in the TV series Peaky Blinders, who returns to work with Wan after Annabelle ). Her health problems have passed, but she has very different thoughts: married to a violent man, she tries to have children, but regularly loses them because her husband beats her, putting her mental and physical health to the test. her. Madison’s ordeal turns into a nightmare: a strange presence enters her house. Could it be Gabriel, the imaginary friend she had when she was little and whom she called “The Devil”? Or does she simply no longer see things clearly?

Psychological thrillers movies

The Weekend Away


Beth, played by Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester, has a very young daughter and a not exactly idyllic marriage, while Kate (Christina Wolfe) has recently divorced. The two find themselves in a sunny and colorful Croatia which, thanks also to the powers of Dolby Vision, immediately inspires spectators a great desire for a “weekend away”. But the holiday soon turns into a nightmare: Kate, the morning after a long night of madness, disappears and Beth does not remember anything, if not a few images and sporadic phrases, due to a ferocious hangover. In an accurate and believable pace, Beth discovers that her friend’s disappearance could be connected to something else and the more she tries to solve this mystery, the more the plot thickens and becomes dangerously murky. 

The Wrath of God


The story follows Luciana (Macarena Achaga), a beautiful student working as an assistant for Kloster (Diego Peretti). Kloster has a wife and a young daughter. Luciana also takes care of her. His wife suffers from depression and feels threatened by Luciana. And she has good reason to be worried. When Kolster’s beautiful assistant shows him a scar on her arm, she kisses Luciana. She retires, resigns and sues him for sexual harassment. Over the years, Luciana’s family members begin to have terrible accidents or die horribly. She thinks Kloster is behind it all, but she can’t prove it. Luciana contacts her former head and critic of Kloster, a writer named Esteban (The two popes Juan Minujin). It turns out that Luciana also quit this job due to her attractive appearance. She wants me to research and write a story about Kloster. How will this help? She thinks she can expose him as a killer and leave her family alone. Who better than Kloster’s rival?

Bird Box

Malorie ( Sandra Bullock ) is a single painter expecting a child, with unwilling parents behind her, far from convinced of the motherhood that awaits her, whose only emotional reference seems to be her sister Jessica ( Sarah Paulson). After having an ultrasound scan in the hospital along with it – meanwhile the news is talking about a strange “epidemic” of unusual deaths and mass suicides in various parts of the world – their car swerves and goes off the road, due to some sort of of general delirium of madness that is affecting the people next to them. Jessica, after seeing “something” in the air, throws herself at a speeding garbage truck, committing suicide under the shocked eyes of her sister. Pregnant, tossed and half-trampled, Malorie will initially find shelter and help in a house inhabited by other people, including the cynical and unpredictable owner, John Malkovich.

Spiral

Bousman’s film is therefore an angry pamphlet on police brutalitywhich, however, seems unable to land a real anti-system paw. It is a bit as if Chris Rock himself did not know how to find the right balance between his militant gaze and his role as a creative superpartes, evidently caught in the counter-time between an anti-establishment invective and the obligatory loyalty to certain trademarks of the saga. In this regard it is not difficult to identify, among the folds of the film, the constantly ongoing clash between subversion and tradition, between a militancy that sometimes falls into didacticism in order not to lose the hold of the arguments and an increasingly hasty writing, that in the last act, almost panicked, wastes a promising thrust for an easy twist in line with the tradition of the saga.

A Quiet Place

First, however, there is a Day 1. A flashback that opens the film by unexpectedly making us reunite with Lee Abbot / Krasinski “that day”, in medias res, on his way to a baseball game with his son Marcus. The happening: aliens land on Earth sowing terror and catastrophe, death and silence, in an extraordinary sequence for managing narrative times and staging marked by sequence shots at character height (with various echoes of the war of the worldsspielberghiana). A sort of aesthetic stance: here we are talking about people, so every shot remains well sutured to the eyes of the protagonists. And what happens next? We are at day 474, we said, with the courageous Evelyn (magnificent Emily Blunt who manages to communicate every mood in single meaningful looks, becoming from Looper to Edge of Tomorrow a face by now central to the new fanta-horror frontiers) and her three teenage children walking through the rubble of the civilized world. The film takes all the time it takes to immerse ourselves again in these perturbing environments, still enhancing the power of sound on and off .as a suspense device and confining the use of computer graphics as a mere extension of a scenographic effort made material and tangible.

New psychological thrillers

6 Underground

6 Underground is one of the flagship titles of the entire 2019 Netflix season, directed by Michael Bay and starring Ryan Reynolds. The film is an undefined set of genres, which leaves the viewer with doubts and questions along the entire course of the story. 6 Underground therefore possessed on paper all the characteristics of a title of great impact and capable of launching a new – yet another – saga of impossible missions, reckless pursuits, undercover spies and agents with extraordinary skills who, tired of life military, they are dedicated to the salvation of the world.

The Gray Man


Since its announcement, the film has been hailed as one of the cast with the highest attractiveness rate. Inspired by Mark Greaney’s series of novels, The Gray Man is the story of Court Gentry, codenamed Sierra Six. To interpret it is the new ” strong and silent type ” of Hollywood, Ryan Gosling. Mercenary recruited by the CIA, he has a stormy past. Taking him out of jail is Agent Donald Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton), who turns him into a war machine. When his mentor loses power, overtaken by the newly drafted Denny Carmichael (Regé-Jean Page, the Duke in Bridgerton), Sierra Six falls out of favor. They send him to eliminate his predecessor, Sierra Four, who, before dying, gives him a USB stick with compromising information on Carmichael. He is a manhunt. To track him down, a former mercenary expelled from the CIA for his madness, Lloyd Hansen ( Chris Evans ), is called. To help Sierra Six is ​​only Dani Miranda ( Ana de Armas ), an agent who does not believe in his betrayal.

Infinite

The film is the transposition of the book The Reincarnationist Papers (which we will discuss even more below, about the curiosity we mentioned earlier) written in 2009 by D. Eric Maikranz. In this story, there are a few hundred people in the world called Infinites (not to be confused with the Eternals …), whose souls never die but reincarnate in new bodies with each new life. The Infinites are divided into two factions: the Believers, who consider themselves a kind of guardians of humanity and their survival, and the Nihilists, who instead want to put an end to what for them is the curse of observing the perennial decline of the world. 

Eli

Eli, produced by Paramount but then distributed by Netflix – because the former did not know exactly which market to target – is a film that is difficult to frame: it begins as a classic ghost story (with all the clichés that the genre carries with it) for then take a completely new direction in the last half hour. The final turning point, which marks a decisive change in tone and atmosphere, is rather unsettling, and leads the viewer to wonder if the film he is watching is the same as a few minutes before. If in other cases we would have considered such a radical change to be something negative, in Eli’s we think that this choice has raised the fortunes of the film, making it much more intriguing.

Fantasy Island

Fantasy Island is, in fact, the horror remake of the homonymous TV series (known in Italy as Fantasy Island) which aired from 1977 to 1984. The story revolved around the title island, run by the mysterious Mr. Roarke (Ricardo Montalban) with the help of assistant Tattoo (Hervé Villechaize). For a fee, visitors could express any wish, on one condition: once it came true, the fantasy had to reach its natural conclusion. This meant, more often than not, that the choices of the guests had not entirely positive consequences, from which those directly involved learned something important on a moral level.

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