Entertainment

The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time  

Ranker Film
Originally by
48k votes 6.8k voters 678.9k views 145 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.

list ordered by
1
The Silence of the Lambs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak
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
2
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers
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
3
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
oldrocker added Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins
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
4
Seven is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman
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
5
Misery is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
gigantricks added Lauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan
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
6
The Sixth Sense is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment
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
7
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair
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
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
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
9
Sinister is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
MarialVadskaer added Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Fred Thompson
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
10
The Thing is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added Kurt Russell, Keith David, 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
11
The Others is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
MarialVadskaer added Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Michelle Fairley
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
12
The Ring is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Naomi Watts, Pauley Perrette, Brian Cox
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
13
Carrie is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
gigantricks added John Travolta, Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie
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
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
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
Zodiac is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo
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
16
Jacob's Ladder is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Macaulay Culkin, Tim Robbins, Jason Alexander
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
17
1408 is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
KaseyStieber added Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack, Kate Walsh
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
18
Donnie Darko is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale, Jake Gyllenhaal
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
19
The Strangers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Liv Tyler, Gemma Ward, Scott Speedman
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
20
No Country for Old Men is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson
No Country for Old Men is a 2007 American neo-western neo-noir thriller film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. Mayhem ensue after a hunter (Josh Brolin) ...more
21
The Machinist is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside
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
22
Cape Fear is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange
Cape Fear is a 1991 American psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and a remake of the 1962 film of the same name. It stars Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange and ...more
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
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
24
Requiem for a Dream is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn
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
25
What Lies Beneath is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time
MarialVadskaer added Michelle Pfeiffer, Harrison Ford, Amber Valletta
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