Living

20 Movies to Show Your Kids to Get Them into Psychological Thrillers 

Ranker Film
Updated April 2, 2018 431 votes 99 voters 3.6k views 20 items

List Rules Vote up the classic films appropriate for kids and teens that will teach them to love and respect psychological thrillers.

As kids get older, they'll get tired of the latest Disney flicks and crave something more substantial. Unfortunately, teens and tweens often assume an R-rating guarantees mature content. Sure, there are some R-rated masterpieces, but gore is not inherently sophisticated and - not to mention - certain thrillers or horror films are not necessarily appropriate for a prepubescent audience. Fear not! We have the psychological thriller, psychological being the operative word. These movies don't just make you scream - they make you think! There are plenty of psychological thriller movies for beginners that are perfectly appropriate - and even enriching - for a younger audience! Below, you'll find some suggestions of excellent films to get kids into psychological thrillers. 

There are plenty of classic psychological thriller movies kids can watch without picking up any colorful language or seeing anything too, too graphic. The Sixth Sense features some spooky specters, but there's also some intellectually intelligent themes about cultural erasure and communication. The Ring may be terrifying, but it's definitely a film that keeps audiences thinking to solve the mystery and the gore is pretty minimal. With a little fishing, you should be able to find a great psychological thriller to show your kids. 

Which movies do you think are the best films to introduce kids to the psychological thriller genre? Vote up your favorites below! 

list ordered by
1
Ranker Video
Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Hugh Jackman

Released: 2006

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

The Prestige is a 2006 mystery drama film directed by Christopher Nolan, from a screenplay adapted by him and his brother Jonathan Nolan from Christopher Priest's 1995 World Fantasy ...more

More The Prestige 

#125 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books #417 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

2
Rear Window is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 20 Movies to Show Your Kids to Get Them into Psychological Thrillers
Grace Kelly, James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock

Released: 1954

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Rear Window is a 1954 American mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by John Michael Hayes based on Cornell Woolrich's 1942 short story. Originally released by Paramount ...more

More Rear Window 

#279 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #367 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

3
Ranker Video
Johnny Depp, Maria Bello, John Turturro

Released: 2004

Directed by: David Koepp

Secret Window is a 2004 American psychological thriller film starring Johnny Depp and John Turturro. It was written and directed by David Koepp, based on the novella Secret Window, Secret Garden ...more

More Secret Window 

#31 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #443 of 799 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

4
Ranker Video
Jim Caviezel, Elizabeth Mitchell, Dennis Quaid

Released: 2000

Directed by: Gregory Hoblit

Frequency is a 2000 American science fiction thriller film. It was co-produced and directed by Gregory Hoblit and written and co-produced by Toby Emmerich. The film stars Dennis Quaid and Jim ...more

More Frequency 

#152 of 292 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #279 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

5
Ranker Video
Richard Gere, Debra Messing, Laura Linney

Released: 2002

Directed by: Mark Pellington

The Mothman Prophecies is a 2002 supernatural thriller film directed by Mark Pellington, based on the 1975 book of the same name by parapsychologist and Fortean author John Keel. The screenplay ...more

More The Mothman Prophecies 

#249 of 799 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #181 of 504 The Scariest Movies Ever Made

6
Ranker Video
Meryl Streep, Kevin Bacon, John C. Reilly

Released: 1994

Directed by: Curtis Hanson

The River Wild is a 1994 adventure thriller film directed by Curtis Hanson and starring Meryl Streep, Kevin Bacon, David Strathairn, John C. Reilly, Benjamin Bratt and Joseph Mazzello as Roarke. ...more
7
Ranker Video
Rachel McAdams, Cillian Murphy, Brian Cox

Released: 2005

Directed by: Wes Craven

Red Eye is a 2005 American thriller film directed by Wes Craven and starring Rachel McAdams as a hotel manager ensnared in a plot by a terrorist while aboard a red-eye flight to Miami. The film ...more
8
Ranker Video
Sandra Bullock, Jeremy Northam, Tony Perez

Released: 1995

Directed by: Irwin Winkler

The Net is a 1995 American cyber mystery thriller film directed by Irwin Winkler. A computer programmer (Sandra Bullock) stumbles upon a conspiracy, putting her life and the lives of those ...more

More The Net 

#130 of 157 The Best Science Fiction Action Movies 'The Net' Is A Mess Of A Movie That Gets Almost Everything Wrong About How The Internet Workslisted on The Very Best Movies About Hackers

9
Donnie Darko is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 20 Movies to Show Your Kids to Get Them into Psychological Thrillers
Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale, Jake Gyllenhaal

Released: 2001

Directed by: Richard Kelly

Donnie Darko is a 2001 American supernatural drama film written and directed by Richard Kelly and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Noah Wyle, Jena ...more

More Donnie Darko 

#290 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #72 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again Travel Through Time With The Best 'Donnie Darko' Quotes

10
The Talented Mr. Ripley ... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 20 Movies to Show Your Kids to Get Them into Psychological Thrillers
Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon

Released: 1999

Directed by: Anthony Minghella

The Talented Mr. Ripley is a 1999 American psychological thriller written for the screen and directed by Anthony Minghella. An adaptation of the 1955 Patricia Highsmith novel of the same name, ...more

More The Talented Mr. Ripley 

#434 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #155 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #67 of 90 List of Movies Like Inception

11
Ranker Video
Jodie Foster, Matt Bomer, Sean Bean

Released: 2005

Directed by: Robert Schwentke

Flightplan is a 2005 mystery-thriller film directed by German film director Robert Schwentke and starring Jodie Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Erika Christensen, Kate Beahan, Greta Scacchi, and Sean ...more

More Flightplan 

#300 of 568 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time #228 of 377 The Greatest Suspense Movies

12
Ranker Video
January Jones, Diane Lane, Leelee Sobieski

Released: 2001

Directed by: Daniel Sackheim

The Glass House is a 2001 American psychological thriller film directed by Daniel Sackheim and written by Wesley Strick. The film stars Leelee Sobieski, Diane Lane, Stellan Skarsgård, ...more

More The Glass House 

#172 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #14 of 55 The Best Diane Lane Movies

13
Ranker Video
Naomi Watts, Rachel Weisz, Daniel Craig

Released: 2011

Directed by: Jim Sheridan

Dream House is a 2011 American psychological thriller written by David Loucka directed by Jim Sheridan and starring Daniel Craig, Rachel Weisz, Naomi Watts and Marton Csokas. It was released on ...more

More Dream House 

#39 of 43 The Best Memory Loss Movies #11 of 17 17 Movies That Totally Shattered Celebrity Marriages #66 of 68 Movies That Sparked Off-Screen Celebrity Romances

14
Ranker Video
Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Bruce Lee

Released: 2011

Directed by: Neil Burger

Limitless is a 2011 American thriller film directed by Neil Burger and starring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, and Robert De Niro. It is based on the novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn.

More Limitless 

#77 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #220 of 351 The Best Movies Based On Books

15
Gattaca is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 20 Movies to Show Your Kids to Get Them into Psychological Thrillers
Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Ethan Hawke

Released: 1997

Directed by: Andrew Niccol

Gattaca is a 1997 American science fiction film written and directed by Andrew Niccol. It stars Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman, with Jude Law, Loren Dean, Ernest Borgnine, Gore Vidal, and Alan ...more

More Gattaca 

#136 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #20 of 160 The Best Dystopian And Near Future Movies #428 of 582 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

16
Ranker Video
Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

Released: 1962

Directed by: John Frankenheimer

The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 American Cold War suspense thriller directed by John Frankenheimer that stars Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Janet Leigh and co-stars Angela Lansbury, ...more

More The Manchurian Candidate 

#37 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #301 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #294 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time

17
Murder on the Orient Exp... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 20 Movies to Show Your Kids to Get Them into Psychological Thrillers
Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall

Released: 1974

Directed by: Sidney Lumet

This film is a 1974 British Technicolor mystery film directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot, and based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie.

More Murder on the Orient Express 

#1,204 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #69 of 591 The Best '70s Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

18
Ranker Video
Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor, Kim Cattrall

Released: 2010

Directed by: Roman Polanski

The Ghost Writer is 2010 thriller film written by Robert Harris and Roman Polanski and directed by Roman Polanski.

More The Ghost Writer 

#172 of 254 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #30 of 70 The Best Movies About Writers

19
Ranker Video
Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen

Released: 2016

Directed by: Morten Tyldum

Passengers is a 2016 romantic science fiction thriller film directed by Morten Tyldum and written by Jon Spaihts. It stars Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt as two people who awake, 90 years too ...more

More Passengers 

#548 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #50 of 177 The Very Best Movies of 2016, Ranked #12 of 34 The Best Movies About Astronauts & Realistic Space Travel

20
Ranker Video
Jennifer Lopez, Juliette Lewis, Noah Wyle

Released: 2002

Directed by: Michael Apted

Enough is a 2002 American drama-thriller film directed by Michael Apted. The movie is based on the 1998 novel Black and Blue, by Anna Quindlen, which was a New York Times bestseller. It stars ...more

More Enough 

#10 of 36 The 25+ Best Jennifer Lopez Movies of All Time, Ranked #10 of 50 The Best Juliette Lewis Movies