Horror films of today can be so predictable, lot of bark but no bite. Psychological thrillers, on the other hand, challenge us to look at the flaws of society and those who comprise it. They force us to pull back the curtain and question our original perceptions.
And sometimes what we find can be quite terrifying.
After looking through Netflix’s ever-growing library, it’s very possible you missed these six chilling psychological thrillers during your previous browse. Well, it’s never too late to double back. Oh, and don’t forget the popcorn!
A perfect representation of the unsettling guilt and consequence that fills our “protagonist,” 1922 is a film that trades scares for unshakable suffering.
The country life never grew on Wilfred’s wife Arlette and, after she inherits a large spread of land, she finds a profitable way out. Sell the property and move to Omaha to start a new life. Wilfred, on the other hand, sees the new land as an opportunity to expand their farm for their 14-year-old son Henry and future generations.
Not to mention that the idea of city life disgusts him to no end. When Wilf’s protests have no effect on Arlette’s decision, he conspires with his son to murder her. The moment they commit the deed and toss the body down the well, there’s a sense of menace bubbling to the surface, as if pieces are place for this whole scheme to go south.
The story is very reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe’s A Tell Tale Heart, only this film utilizes visuals instead of sound. The thump-thump narrative is replaced with disgusting rats representing Wilf’s guilt and torment, following and cluttering every corner of his deteriorating life.
By the end of the film, you’re left with a sense of emptiness and dread that only someone like Stephen King can deliver.
A proper title for this Hitchcockian thriller because after each scene, you will feel like you have run a mile trying to understand just how severe maternal codependence can be.
Despite her many ailments ranging from her heart and lungs to the wheelchair she requires for mobility, Chloe is still more than ready to move onto college, starting the next chapter of her life. However, after the discovery of a simple pill bottle, she begins to suspect that her mother doesn’t share her eagerness.
Each scene oozes with tension. No matter how hard Chloe tries to find answers, her mother’s one step ahead, forcing her to think outside the box. Some ideas you may not have considered, and others you’ll admit not being able to do better under similar circumstances.
While Sarah Paulson delivers a powerful performance, mixing vulnerability and menacing, Kiera Allen’s courageous first ever role really steals the show. The range and physicality this wheelchair-bound actress must give isn’t something we’ve witnessed since James Caan in Misery.
Throughout the entire film, you be yelling only one word throughout the entire film: “RUN!”
The Killing Of A Sacred Deer
An offbeat mixture of surreal and complex that hypnotically pulls you into a chilling tale of guilt and darkness that will enchant and stagger audiences.
After a losing someone on the operating table, a cardiovascular surgeon and his family form an abnormal relationship with the deceased’s son. Initially, everyone believes the boy’s off-putting demeanor is due to his recent tragedy, but they soon find out there’s more to the boy.
Throughout the film, you feel that there’s a suspicious lack of emotion emanating from the characters as Colin Ferrell delivers his lines in a low monotone. This a classic directing choice of Yorgos Lanthimos who loves to create a chilling and uncomfortable atmosphere that lingers throughout the picture. All to give you this looming sense that something is off.
Do you dare challenge the madness that is The Killing of a Sacred Deer?
Are you claustrophobic? Then this is going to be the perfect nightmare-fuelled thriller for you.
A woman wakes up in what looks like a cryogenic chamber with no memory of who she is or how she got there. As she thrashes around to free herself, an AI informs her that oxygen is depleting rapidly. Now working against the clock, she must try regaining her memory in order to escape her new fresh slice of hell.
Much like previous films like Gerald’s Game and Buried, the upfront premise might be perceived as boring, something that will lose traction very quickly. However, Alexandre Aja, who previously directed Crawl and The Hills Have Eyes, perfectly utilizes the limited space available to tell this linear, heart-pounding story.
To find out the whole story, you’ll just have to see the film yourself.
Nightcrawler slithers through your conscience, forcing a confrontation with the exploitative nature of modern media.
Louis Bloom is the prime definition of sociopath, low morals with high charm. When he’s not skulking the dark corners of Los Angeles for his next “job,” he’s swindling pawn brokers with a bright and alluring smile.
During his descension through the city’s underbelly, he discovers the business potential with crime journalism. Every night, he roams the streets with his camera, trying to find “extra juicy” footage to sell to the local news station, eventually becoming their MVP.
From the beginning, you might understand who Louis Bloom is, but it’s this line of work that unearths all the greed and scum he’s been hiding behind that fake smile. He will do anything to get those perfect angles for the story.
The man has no regard for boundaries. He’ll shove a camera in a traumatized face or tamper with a crime scene just to get that money shot and, much like the modern media audience, you’re fascinated with how dark this story can go.
Nightcrawler not only serves as a brilliant thriller, but a cautionary tale about how far today’s media will go to grab your attention and never let go.
A chilling throwback to 90’s thrillers about one man’s unhealthy attachment with his old classmate’s life, reminiscent of classics like Single White Female, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, and Pacific Heights.
Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall played married couple Simon and Robyn who’ve recently moved to the L.A suburbs for a new start after Robyn recently suffered a miscarriage and the following depression. With Simon’s new job going well, they seem to be settling in until they run into Simon’s old classmate, Gordo played by first time director Joel Edgerton.
Despite the first encounter being “awkward,” the couple precariously accept a dinner invitation involving wine and pleasantries that eventually leads to Gordo forcing unwanted gifts on them. However, the more off-putting Gordo comes off, the more Simon’s true nature come to the surface.
This starts the trio on a path of repressed memories that teaches the audience that two wrongs can make a right, if no one’s the wiser. When the final shot fades into the credits, you’re battling with your own emotions on whether justice was served… or a man’s moral compass has been consumed with hatred.
And both are equally chilling.