The very motive of a psychological horror flick is to get into the mind of the audience. Having said that, it is not everyone’s cup of tea to curate a horror film. You got to be mindful of the effects you intend on the viewer’s mind are actually achieved or not.
psychological horror movies will send you into a chaotic mental state, at the same time challenging your mind at every nook and corner. Psychological horror movies have a completely contrasting nature from scariest horror movies. They don’t wish to give sudden gnarly jerks to the plot.
An ideal psychological horror film is which sets up a vigilantly curated mind- trap for the viewer. And the perfect victory for such a film is when the viewer falls for that trap, and ends up messing up with his brain.
Suspense and thrill are always on top when we are talking about psychological horror movies. Moreover, you will find plenty of movies selecting paranoia, giving chills of delusion.
List of the Top Psychological Horror Movies of all time, you would surely want to have a piece of:
10. It Follows:” Pass on the curse “
Initial release: 27 March 2015 (USA)
Director: David Robert Mitchell
Mind being still, dominates the whole world to a great extent. When talking about psychological horror movies, It Follows is a film that provides you a completely new experience of thrill with monstrous entities and psychological elements. The movie strongly emphasizes on the disguise of normal people in the real world. In the storyline, the main character is cursed with a dark power that follows her all the time. In order to get rid of the dark power, she needs to pass her curse to someone else. However, the story transforms completely when all of this turns out to be her paranoia.
9. Rosemary’s Baby: ” Satan”
Initial release: 12 June 1968 (USA)
Director: Roman Polanski
In no doubt, Satan is the most popular role in almost all psychological horror movies. The movie delivers a threatening message of the existence of evil worshippers in camouflaged sight. In Rosemary’s Baby, a couple gets pregnant unexpectedly when they settle in a new home around an unusual neighborhood. At the moment you believe that paranoid havoc cannot get any worse, the movie continues to terrify you with various unsettling ways. On top of that, the idea of including motherhood in the horror genre makes it even more terrifying. Thereeefore, if you are a fan of mind-bending movies and horror at the same time, this movie certainly fits the bill for you.
8. Jacob’s Ladder:” Veteran from Vietnam”
Initial release: 2 November 1990 (USA)
Director: Adrian Lyne
We constantly live in a world of perception and not reality. Following the quote, it is quite common in psychological horror movies to follow the question of reality and imagination. Jacob’s Ladder took this unnerving question to the next level and became an extremely disturbing and effective film. In the movie, there’s a veteran from Vietnam who is constantly haunted by terrifying visions. With a determination to seek relief for his problem, the veteran begins uncovering the secrets of the war. Eventually, this leads him to find out the reason behind his horrifying vision. Till the end, the movie keeps you hooked up with thrill.
7. Ringu:” Reporter and the videocassette “
Initial release: 31 January 1998 (Japan)
Director: Hideo Nakata
Do you remember the time when Hollywood was constantly remaking Japanese horror movies? Well, this movie is the reason why it became a trend in Hollywood. Even though the remake was one of a kind, the original movie still provides you an unforgettable thrilling experience. The story follows a reporter who wants to find the reason behind the mysterious slaughter of several teenagers. During his investigation, the reporter comes across a video cassette. The one who watches the cassette is destined to die within seven days. This provokes the reporter to investigate the reality of these deaths.
6. Get Out: ” the black in danger “
Initial release: 24 February 2017 (Canada)
Director: Jordan Peele
Even though being a newcomer in the psychological horror genre, Get Out managed to reserve a top spot on the list. Due to the extremely high complexity of this film, it is really hard to place it in one genre. However, the involvement of disturbance and paranoia makes it a perfect match for psychological horror. The movie features the crisis of a black man who just wants to meet his girlfriend at the weekend. The movie is surely a masterpiece in depicting modern social concepts with a thought-provoking message.
5. I Saw the Devil: ” The killing game”
Initial release: 12 August 2010 (South Korea)
Director: Kim Jee-Woon
In some recent years, Korean horror movies have been breaking the charts. Following the trend, I Saw the Devil is one of those masterpieces. In the storyline, a special force agent’s wife becomes a victim of a serial killer who murders her viciously. However, with great intelligence, the agent manages to track down the killer. But he doesn’t punish him directly. Instead, he starts playing a game with him that costs the serial killer his life. In the game, both the agent and killer fight for control unless one of them dies. Korean horror movies are often seen as a competition for Japanese films. Why don’t you decide on your own whether The Top Japanese Horror movies have an edge over their Korean counterparts?
4. The Babadook: ” The widow “
Initial release: 2014 (Australia)
Director: Jennifer Kent
Resembling the movie, It Follows, The Babadook is yet another monster movie that falls under the category of psychological horror films. Based in Australia, the movie portrays a struggling widowed woman who is having trouble raising her young son. On one fine day, a boom arrives at their doorstep. As soon as they open the mysterious book, a monstrous creature known as Mister Babadook starts haunting them. The deteriorating mind of the widowed mother leads to the psychological horror aspect of this movie. She begins to question if the monster is real or just a perception of her sick mind.
3. The Vanishing:” Mystery in misery “
Initial release: 4 January 2019 (USA)
Director: Kristoffer Nyholm
Psychological horror movies are always stuffed with mystery. The Vanishing is a movie that lets you know the disturbing consequences of such mysteries. The story follows a man who restlessly searches for his girlfriend who mysteriously disappears during a road trip. The disappearance of a woman is followed by the pain of unanswered questions that make this movie highly disturbing. AS you watch the movie, you may want to know how far the man can go to find his loved one. In the end, you face a dark conclusion that places you in misery.
2. Don’t Look Now:” Paranoia at its best “
Initial release: 16 October 1973 (United Kingdom)
Director: Nicolas Roeg
Mental health might be underrated but when not given the required attention, it leads to the worst state of mind. Being a perfect genre for psychological horror movies, Don’t Look Now talks about several disturbing minds who cannot cope up with their dark past. In the movie, a couple moves to Venice after the death of their youngest daughter to start a new life. However, the mind has already planned something else for the unfortunate couple. The husband starts to see her daughter’s sighting. Even though he knows that it’s just a game of his mind, he gets trapped in the threads of reality and perception.
1. The Shining:” The caretaker”
Initial release: 23 May 1980 (USA)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
You know there’s something amazing when you see Stanley Kubrick, Stephen King, and Jack Nicholson. The Shining is a kind of movie that terrifies you for your whole life once you watch it. The movie follows the character of a man working as a caretaker at a deserted hotel in the winter season. The caretaker, along with his family, settles in the hotel. However, soon he realizes the dark history of the place and the reason for it being deserted. Due to the talented cast, the movie is considered to be one of the best horror movies till the date.