• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

Psychological thriller recommendations for spooky season

ByMissy Hingley

Nov 3, 2023
A woman with a moth covering her mouth on the poster for the film The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

It’s that time of year again, where it is seasonally acceptable to finally watch all those gloomy, thought-
provoking films that are waiting patiently in your Netflix watch list. As we find ourselves in spooky season, accompanied kindly by Edinburgh’s cold, dark nights, there is no better time than now to reveal
some unforgettable psychological thrillers. It is an extremely popular film genre, as we just
can’t help but be drawn to that feeling of hovering on the edge of your seat, ready to have your mind
blown at a director’s fantastic plot twist. While the line between horror and psychological thriller can get a bit blurry, please enjoy this list of some of my personal favorites.

1. Joker (Todd Philips): We are starting off strong with Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the mistreated and overlooked Arthur, who wasn’t born a villain, but made one. This is the story of a man who grew up neglected and abused by those around him and this film explores the reasoning behind his developed mania and eventual corruption.  

2. Black Swan (Darren Aronofsky): Natalie Portman plays the role of Nina, a talented ballet dancer  hoping to prove herself as the new Odette in the New York City Ballet’s Swan Lake. This film depicts the dark side of the ballet world, tackling issues of perfectionism, eating disorders and the deterioration of dancer’s physical and mental health. Stick around for a harrowing plot twist! 

3. The Sixth Sense (M. Night Shyamalan): This film is the definition of inverting the audience’s  expectations. Bruce Willis plays Malcolm, a psychologist working with a young boy, who he suspects is schizophrenic. I cannot give anymore away. Just watch it.

4. Fight Club (David Fincher): Fincher directed a classic here, with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton in title roles. Centered in a world of toxic masculinity, we are plunged into the psyche of the Narrator, and how he attempts to cope with his mental struggles (a clue is in the name). Another fantastic plot twist! 

5. Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese): Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo portray Marshals  investigating a missing patient on an island that institutionalizes the mentally insane. This film has a plot twist that I just didn’t see coming, and if you’ve already watched it, no fear! I have watched this film multiple times and each time noticed a new, intricate detail that I would have previously missed. A slow burner but so, so worth it! 

6. American Psycho (Mary Harron): I watched this for the first time only last Halloween, and at first, I didn’t get it. But I soon realized that is the point. The entire film satirizes the superiority of the lifestyle of a successful man working on Wall Street. This film is packed with comic depictions of murder, with enhanced watchability due to its blend of thrill and comedy.  

7. Seven (David Fincher): So good I had to mention Fincher twice, and of course this movie has been placed seventh on the list… pun intended. This is an amazing murder mystery that encompasses the element of suspense. I highly recommend watching to find out “What’s in the box?”  

8. Silence of the Lambs (Johnathan Demme): I saved my personal favourite for last. The character of  Hannibal Lecter is arguably one of the most eerie serial killers to watch onscreen – thank you, Anthony Hopkins – mainly due to his ironic former profession as a psychiatrist. What more could you want on a spooky night in than to watch a serial killer assist a detective in catching another serial killer?

Silence of the Lambs Film Poster” by theglobalpanorama is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.