watchworthy presents

Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic 

Ranker Film
Updated November 5, 2019 693 votes 122 voters 6.4k views 25 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite movies about the hunt for a serial murderer that are less OMG horror, more dramatic thriller.

Murder plus expertly calibrated tension is the perfect recipe for serial killer thrillers. The top dramatic serial killer movies feature cat-and-mouse games between disturbed characters and the people out to put them behind bars. This is a list of the greatest serial killer dramas including everything from Kiss the Girls to The Killer Inside Me to I Saw the Devil.

What films will you find on this list of the best dramatic serial killer movies? The Silence of the Lambs features not one, but two serial killers. The incarcerated Hannibal Lecter is recruited by the FBI to help catch Buffalo Bill before he kills again. Seven is another compelling serial killer movie with a lot of drama. American Psycho finds a New York businessman trading in stocks for slaughters. Other good movies featured on this list include Psycho, Zodiac, and Strangers on a Train.

Do you have a favorite movie about serial killers? Give the best films a thumbs up and please add any great movies that are missing.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
The Silence of the Lambs... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak

Released: 1991

Directed by: Jonathan Demme

The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American thriller film that blends elements of the crime and horror genres. Directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Scott ...more

More The Silence of the Lambs 

#1 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time You've Been Watching Silence Of The Lambs Wrong For Years: It's A Comedylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
Seven is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman

Released: 1995

Directed by: David Fincher

Seven is a 1995 American psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher. The film stars Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, with Gwyneth Paltrow, R. Lee Ermey, John C. McGinley, and Kevin ...more

More Seven 

#107 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #17 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

3
Zodiac is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo

Released: 2007

Directed by: David Fincher

Zodiac is a 2007 American mystery-thriller film directed by David Fincher and based on Robert Graysmith's non-fiction book of the same name. Zodiac tells the story of the manhunt for a person ...more

More Zodiac 

#23 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #125 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

4
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins

Released: 1960

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Psycho is a 1960 American horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film centers on an encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane, who ends up at a secluded motel after taking money from ...more

More Psycho 

#8 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #203 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #7 of 812 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

5
Red Dragon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton

Released: 2002

Directed by: Brett Ratner

Red Dragon is a 2002 American psychological thriller film based on Thomas Harris' novel of the same name. It is a prequel to The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal. The novel was originally ...more

More Red Dragon 

#36 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #14 of 147 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time

6
Hannibal is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins

Released: 2001

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Hannibal is a 2001 American thriller film directed by Ridley Scott, adapted from the novel of the same name by Thomas Harris. It is the sequel to the 1991 Academy Award-winning film The Silence ...more

More Hannibal 

#45 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #402 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

7
American Psycho is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto

Released: 2000

Directed by: Mary Harron

American Psycho is a 2000 American neo-noir satirical psychological horror film directed by Mary Harron, based on the 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Wealthy New York City investment banking ...more

More American Psycho 

#13 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #126 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books

8
Copycat is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Sigourney Weaver, Holly Hunter, Harry Connick

Released: 1995

Directed by: Jon Amiel

Copycat is a 1995 American psychological thriller, starring Sigourney Weaver, Holly Hunter and Dermot Mulroney. The film was directed by Jon Amiel, with a score composed by Christopher Young.

More Copycat 

#228 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #1,469 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

9
Kiss the Girls is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Mena Suvari

Released: 1997

Directed by: Gary Fleder

Kiss the Girls is a 1997 American psychological thriller film directed by Gary Fleder and starring Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, and Cary Elwes. The screenplay by David Klass is based on the ...more
10
Manhunter is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Brian Cox, Garcelle Beauvais, Joan Allen

Released: 1986

Directed by: Michael Mann

Manhunter is a 1986 American thriller film based on Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon. Written and directed by Michael Mann, it stars William Petersen as Will Graham and features Brian Cox as ...more

More Manhunter 

#113 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #74 of 147 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time

11
Mr. Brooks is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Demi Moore, Kevin Costner, Danielle Panabaker

Released: 2007

Directed by: Bruce A. Evans

Mr. Brooks is a 2007 American psychological thriller film directed by Bruce A. Evans starring Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, and William Hurt. It was released on June 1, 2007. The film ...more

More Mr. Brooks 

#61 of 147 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time #19 of 54 The Best Movies About Split Personalities

12
I Saw the Devil is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Lee Byung-hun, Choi Min-sik, Cheon Ho-Jin

Released: 2010

Directed by: Kim Jee-woon

I Saw the Devil is a 2010 South Korean psychological thriller horror film directed by Kim Jee-woon. A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases.

More I Saw the Devil 

#211 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #1,568 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #37 of 119 The Best Korean Movies Of All Time

13
Artik is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Chase Williamson, Jerry G. Angelo, Lauren Ashley Carter

Released: 2019

Directed by: Tom Botchii Skowronski

Artik is a 2019 American horror action film directed by Tom Botchii Skowronski. A boy befriends a mysterious stranger who threatens to reveal his family's horrible secret.
14
Frailty is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe

Released: 2001

Directed by: Bill Paxton

Frailty is a 2002 psychological thriller film, directed by and starring Bill Paxton, and co-starring Matthew McConaughey. It marks Paxton's directorial debut. The plot focuses on the strange ...more

More Frailty 

#873 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #400 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

15
Dahmer is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Jeremy Renner, Bruce Davison, Dion Basco

Released: 2002

Directed by: David Jacobson

Dahmer is a 2002 American biopic horror film about the American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Jeremy Renner stars in the title role. There are two timelines in the film: The "present" ...more

More Dahmer 

#26 of 34 The Best Scary Movies Based on True Stories #15 of 35 The 20+ Best Jeremy Renner Movies Of All-Time, Ranked

16
Hannibal Rising is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Gong Li, Kevin McKidd, Rhys Ifans

Released: 2007

Directed by: Peter Webber

Hannibal Rising is a 2007 horror film and the fifth film of the Hannibal Lecter franchise. It is a prequel to the previous three films: Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, and Hannibal. The ...more

More Hannibal Rising 

#154 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #735 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

17
Strangers on a Train is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Alfred Hitchcock, Farley Granger, Leo G. Carroll

Released: 1951

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Strangers on a Train is a 1951 American psychological thriller film noir produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and based on the 1950 novel Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith. It was ...more

More Strangers on a Train 

#165 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #29 of 232 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Made

18
Confessions is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Takako Matsu, Masaki Okada, Ai Hashimoto

Released: 2010

Directed by: Tetsuya Nakashima

Confessions is a 2010 Japanese drama film directed by Tetsuya Nakashima, based on Kanae Minato's 2008 novel of the same name. The story follows a grieving mother turned cold-blooded avenger with ...more
19
Lady Vengeance is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
vasdim added Lee Young-ae, Song Kang-Ho, Choi Min-sik

Released: 2005

Directed by: Park Chan-wook

Lady Vengeance is a 2005 South Korean psychological thriller film directed by Park Chan-wook, and the third installment in the Vengeance Trilogy. After being wrongfully imprisoned for thirteen ...more

More Lady Vengeance 

#1,039 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #47 of 100 The Best Movies On Shudder #115 of 119 The Best Korean Movies Of All Time

20
Funny Games is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt

Released: 2007

Directed by: Michael Haneke

Funny Games is a 2007 psychological thriller film written and directed by Michael Haneke, a remake of Haneke's 1997 Austrian film Funny Games. Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, and Brady ...more

More Funny Games 

#94 of 114 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies #72 of 117 The Most Nausea-Inducing Great Films

21
Memories of Murder is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
vasdim added Song Kang-Ho, Park Hae-il, Kim Roi-ha

Released: 2003

Directed by: Bong Joon-ho

Memories of Murder is a 2003 South Korean crime-drama film directed by Bong Joon-ho. In a small Korean province in 1986, two detectives struggle with the case of multiple young women being found ...more
22
Bundy: An American Icon ... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Kane Hodder, Corin Nemec, Kristen De Luca

Released: 2008

Directed by: Michael Feifer

Bundy: An American Icon is a 2008 horror film depicting the criminal career of American serial killer, Ted Bundy. It was directed by Michael Fein serial killer biopics, and starred Corin Nemec ...more
23
The Chaser is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
vasdim added Kim Yoon-seok, Ha Jung-woo, Seo Young-hee

Released: 2008

Directed by: Na Hong-jin

The Chaser is a 2008 South Korean action thriller film directed by Na Hong-jin. A disgraced ex-policeman who runs a small ring of escorts finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game with a serial
24
The Killer Inside Me is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson, Casey Affleck

Released: 2010

Directed by: Michael Winterbottom

This film is a 2010 American film adaptation of the 1952 novel of the same name by Jim Thompson. The film is directed by Michael Winterbottom and stars Casey Affleck, Jessica Alba, and Kate
25
Sympathy for Mr. Vengean... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Great Movies About Serial Killers That Are Totally Dramatic
vasdim added Bae Doona, Song Kang-Ho, Shin Ha-kyun

Released: 2002

Directed by: Park Chan-wook

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a 2002 South Korean drama thriller film directed by Park Chan-wook. A recently laid off factory worker kidnaps his former boss' friend's daughter, hoping to use the ...more

More Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance 

#48 of 100 The Best Movies On Shudder #10 of 28 The Best Thriller Movies with a Kidnapping #25 of 25 The Scariest Asian Horror Films of All Time