Whoever calls the TV an idiot box has clearly never seen one of the greatest psychological thrillers ever made. Although thrillers have been a popular genre of film, especially in Hollywood, the psychological thriller is comparatively new. Its newness, however, is no hindrance in way of its success, and some of the best movies with cult status happen to be psychological thrillers.

We therefore dedicate this blog to some of the best known psychological thrillers ever made. These are films that will make you question everything: from the nature of your reality to the existence of this world. Remember: there will be many Christopher Nolan films in here!

The Matrix

Directed by the Wachowskis, The Matrix is one of the best known movies to ever have been made. Combining elements of anime, themes of philosophy, some amazing fight sequences, and a virtual reality setting, The Matrix brings together many varying elements in a perfect amalgam. This is a movie that will leave you questioning whether or not you’re a brain in a vat, will leave you drooling over Keanu Reeves, and will prove to you that there is a movie that’s enjoyed by philosophy students and jocks alike.


David Fincher’s finest and possibly best known film, Se7en has a stellar ensemble cast: Brad Pitt, Mrogan Freeman, and Kevin Spacey. The theme of the movie is gritty and dark: there’s a serial killer on the loose, and he’s killing people according to the deadly sins they commit. It’s not until the close of the movie that viewers are really left in shock—this is the movie that made an innocent question sound like the most sinister thing ever asked: what’s in the box?


A classic and lesser known Christopher Nolan flick, Insomnia follows the journey of two detectives on a murder case as they come to terms with their own sanity and grounding in life. Gloom is an ever present theme and motif in the movie, and will leave you feeling a little insomniac by the time you’re done.


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Another Christopher Nolan movie; another Leonardo DiCaprio performance that never won an Oscar; another mind-bending tale that makes you feel lost in the rabbit hole. This time, the rabbit hole involves dreams, the planting of ideas, and the conundrum of what’s real—and what isn’t.

Shutter Island

Shutter Island is yet another Leonardo DiCaprio performance that never won an Oscar. Martin Scorsese shocks and awes in this psychological thriller that starts innocently enough, but has you biting on your nails by the time you realize what’s what. Not until the very end is the twist revealed—and boy, what a twist it is!

The Machinist

A highly underrated Brad Anderson flick, The Machinist sees Christian Bale playing a masterful character—for which he lost weight to the point where he looked like a skeleton. One of Bale’s finest; the plot of the movie hits you with great shock once the unsolved mysteries begin to unravel.

12 Monkeys

Terry Gilliam’s confusing science fiction flick stars Bruce Willis as the titular character: who is absolutely clueless, and on a great mission to save the Earth. The fun part about this movie is that neither you nor Bruce Willis can ever know if the world really ended, or it didn’t. At the very least, he isn’t seeing dead people, right?


Probably one of the most underrated psychological thrillers and science fiction flicks of all time, this movie involves time travel and a super confusing plotline that comes together in the latter half of the movie. Possibly more shocking than Oldboy, this is one for the thriller enthusiasts!

Fight Club

It would’ve been criminal not to include David Fincher’s most devotedly loved movie. Brad Pitt and Edward Norton join forces in this Chuck Palahniuk adaptation to give some brilliant performances and some indisputable arguments against capitalism. We have to warn you though: there’s a lot of fighting involved. We would tell you more about the movie but sadly, the first rule of Fight Club is that you don’t talk about Fight Club.

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