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The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time 

Ranker Film
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Updated March 6, 2020 51.4k votes 7.1k voters 693.6k views 147 items

List Rules Psychological thriller movies and psychological horror films only--no slasher flicks

What are the best and scariest psychological thrillers and psychological horror  movies of all time? If you consider yourself a fan of psychological thrillers, browse through this list of the scariest psychological thrillers of all time to find a movie that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat the entire time. Listed in order of the most popular scariest psychological thrillers to the least popular , you can easily see which scary psychological horror movie was good enough to earn top ranking. If a particular favorite is on the bottom of the list, go ahead and vote for it so that it can be raised higher on the list.

If you know of a great psychological thriller that isn’t listed, add it to the list so that others can begin watching it too. Horror movies with plenty of blood and gore are fairly easy to find, but it can sometimes be difficult to find just the right scary movie that has more of a psychological plot. With this handy list, you will be able to pick some great psychological thrillers and psychological horror movies for a scary movie marathon.

Movies like Sixth Sense and the Secret Window keep the viewer guessing until the end, with plenty of thrills along the way. And, there are many other great psychological thrillers to choose from as well. Go ahead and look through the list. You may just find a new favorite for the best psychological horror or thriller movie that you’ll never tire of watching! And if you're in the mood to watch these ASAP, many of these psychological thrillers are on Netflix.

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1
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

Released: 1980

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, ...more

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2
The Silence of the Lambs... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
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

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

3
Seven is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
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

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#107 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #78 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies

4
Misery is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
gigantricks added Lauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan

Released: 1990

Directed by: Rob Reiner

Misery is a 1990 American psychological thriller film based on Stephen King's 1987 novel of the same name and starring James Caan, Kathy Bates, Lauren Bacall, Richard Farnsworth, and Frances ...more

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Behind The Scenes Of Annie Wilkes Hobbling Paul Sheldon In 'Misery' #11 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
oldrocker added 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

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#4 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #203 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

6
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

Released: 1973

Directed by: William Friedkin

The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name. The book, inspired by the 1949 ...more

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Did A Malevolent Spirit Actually Curse 'The Exorcist' From The Get-Go? #1 of 22 Horror Movies You Can't Even Finish Watchinglisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
The Sixth Sense is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment

Released: 1999

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

The Sixth Sense is a 1999 American supernatural thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film tells the story of Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), a troubled, isolated boy who ...more

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#5 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #73 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked

8
Rosemary's Baby is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added Mia Farrow, Tony Curtis, John Cassavetes

Released: 1968

Directed by: Roman Polanski

Rosemary's Baby is a 1968 American psychological horror film written and directed by Roman Polanski, based on the bestselling 1967 novel of the same name by Ira Levin. The cast includes Mia ...more

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All The Spooky Evidence That Rosemary’s Baby Is, In Fact, A Cursed Movie #119 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
The Others is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
MarialVadskaer added Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Michelle Fairley

Released: 2001

Directed by: Alejandro Amenábar

The Others is a 2001 horror-thriller film written, directed and scored by Alejandro Amenábar. It stars Nicole Kidman and Fionnula Flanagan. It won eight Goya Awards, including awards for ...more

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#213 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies #347 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #59 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

10
The Ring is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Naomi Watts, Pauley Perrette, Brian Cox

Released: 2002

Directed by: Gore Verbinski

The Ring is a 2002 American psychological horror film directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Naomi Watts. It is a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ring, which was based on the novel Ring ...more

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11
Sinister is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
MarialVadskaer added Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Fred Thompson

Released: 2012

Directed by: Scott Derrickson

Sinister is a 2012 supernatural horror film directed by Scott Derrickson and written by Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill. It stars Ethan Hawke as fictional true writer Ellison Oswalt who ...more

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#19 of 114 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies #4 of 75 The Best Blumhouse Productions Movies

12
The Thing is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added Kurt Russell, Keith David, John Carpenter

Released: 1982

Directed by: John Carpenter

The Thing is a 1982 American science fiction horror film directed by John Carpenter, written by Bill Lancaster, and starring Kurt Russell. The film's title refers to its primary antagonist: a ...more

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#116 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #928 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

13
Jacob's Ladder is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Macaulay Culkin, Tim Robbins, Jason Alexander

Released: 1990

Directed by: Adrian Lyne

Jacob's Ladder is a 1990 American psychological horror film directed by Adrian Lyne, written and produced by Bruce Joel Rubin and starring Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña and Danny Aiello. ...more

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#16 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endings #13 of 156 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

14
Red Dragon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
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
15
1408 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
KaseyStieber added Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack, Kate Walsh

Released: 2007

Directed by: Mikael Håfström

1408 is a 2007 American psychological horror film based on the Stephen King 1999 short story of the same name directed by Swedish director Mikael Håfström. The movie stars John ...more

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#43 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #15 of 20 Horror Movies That Originally Had Much Darker Endings #14 of 52 The Best Movies Based on Stephen King Books

16
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
gigantricks added John Travolta, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie

Released: 1976

Directed by: Brian De Palma

Carrie is a 1976 American supernatural horror film based on Stephen King's first major 1974 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Brian De Palma and written by Lawrence D. Cohen. The ...more

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The Scariest Quotes From 'Carrie' Will Have You Seeing Red #69 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #20 of 816 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

17
The Babadook is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Sploich added Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman

Released: 2014

Directed by: Jennifer Kent

The Babadook is a 2014 Australian psychological horror film, written and directed by Jennifer Kent, in which a woman and her son are tormented by a "boogie-man" type monster. The film ...more

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#86 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #118 of 816 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #46 of 114 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies

18
Black Swan is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder

Released: 2010

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller-horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, and Mila Kunis. The plot revolves around a production ...more

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#22 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #309 of 373 The Best Musical Movies of All Time

19
The Machinist is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside

Released: 2004

Directed by: Brad Anderson

The Machinist is a 2004 English-language Spanish psychological thriller film directed by Brad Anderson and written by Scott Kosar. The film stars Christian Bale with Jennifer Jason Leigh, John ...more

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#27 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #24 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #410 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

20
Donnie Darko is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added 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

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21
Requiem for a Dream is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn

Released: 2000

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Requiem for a Dream is a 2000 American psychological drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans. The film is based on ...more

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#32 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #351 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Movies Set in Brooklyn

22
The Strangers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Liv Tyler, Gemma Ward, Scott Speedman

Released: 2008

Directed by: Bryan Bertino

The Strangers is a 2008 American horror film written and directed by Bryan Bertino and starring Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman as a young couple who are terrorized by three masked assailants, who ...more

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23
Frailty is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
MarialVadskaer added 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

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

24
What Lies Beneath is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
MarialVadskaer added Michelle Pfeiffer, Harrison Ford, Amber Valletta

Released: 2000

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

What Lies Beneath is a 2000 American psychological thriller film directed by Robert Zemeckis. It is the first film by ImageMovers. It stars Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer as a well-to-do ...more

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#380 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #438 of 816 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

25
The Butterfly Effect is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Logan Lerman

Released: 2004

Directed by: J. Mackye Gruber, Eric Bress

The Butterfly Effect is a 2004 American psychological thriller film that was written and directed by Eric Bress and J. Mackye Gruber. The title refers to the butterfly effect, a popular ...more

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#366 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #39 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again