Top 10 Psychological Thrillers on Film

When reviewing our candidates for best psychological thrillers, we looked for movies that (a) made a lasting impression on us personally, (b) were critical and/or box offices hits and (c) sustained a sense of gripping unease and dread throughout the entire film without resorting to cheesy conventions. And of course, these films had to have a big payoff.



It’s truly amazing how many great psychological thrillers were released in the 1990s, which, looking bad, is also a golden age for horror films. Some of the films on our list cross over between both genres. We can’t think of any film in the past five years that would qualify, since the genre has gone into full-tilt into slasher and gore.  And by the way, we fully realize how controversial it is to rank the 1991 Robert DeNiro version of Cape Fear ahead of the original, but that’s the way it looks from our couch today.

Memento – 2000
Silence of the Lambs – 1991
The Manchurian Candidate – 1962
Dead Calm – 1989
Zodiac – 2007
The 6th Sense – 1999
Cape Fear – 1991
Falling Down – 1993
Delores Claiborne – 1994
Dead Ringers – 1998

    Bella Wright

    Bella Wright blogs about books, film and media.

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