Psychological thriller films appeal to wide audiences in part because of the fascination - and sometimes unnerving relatability - with the characters’ unstable, often delusional frames of mind.
Psychological thrillers don’t rely on splashy special effects or particularly intricate set design, though those are movie bonuses. The emphasis is instead on character development and escalating tension as viewers attempt to lean into a character’s complicated mind and how it relates to the suspense of their story.
As a genre, these thought-provoking suspense films aren’t usually as morbid as horror films, but often the two bleed into each other. After all, it’s horribly fascinating what the human mind is capable of, and the very best psychological thrillers leave you perched on the edge of your seat with your expectations challenged and your head spinning.
It’s unsurprising this genre is such a draw with audiences, but what are the top five psychological thrillers of all time? It’s a subjective list, so some of the results are surprising, but they're based on votes from viewers just like you. Watch this video and see if your sense of suspense is on par with what others are saying.