20 Best Movies Like ‘Identity’ You Need to See

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If you’re a fan of mind-bending psychological thrillers with incredible twists, then you’ve probably seen Identity. The 2003 film, starring John Cusack, is one of my favorite mystery thrillers of all time, and it deservingly holds a high place on many lists regarding the aforementioned genre.

If you’ve seen the Identity, and you’re craving something similar, you’re in the right place. Here’s a list of the 20 best movies like Identity (2003) that you absolutely need to see, ranked solely by IMDb rating. Keep in mind that the list is designed with the presumption that you’ve seen Identity already and are familiar with the twists and the topic the movie is about.

On that note, let’s begin.

20. The Forgotten (2004)

identity the forgotten

IMDb rating: 5.8./10

What it’s about: Telly Paretta is in psychiatric care to deal with grief after losing her young son to a plane crash. However, as time passes, it seems that Telly slowly starts to lose track of what actually happened and what’s only in her mind, to the point where everyone – including the psychiatrist and her husband – tries to convince her that she never even had a son at all.

Why it’s like Identity: This movie isn’t executed as well as Identity, but I actually loved the constant tension between what’s real and what’s not. It’ll leave you guessing until the very end – is it all in Telly’s broken mind, or is there a bigger conspiracy at work? Mental illness takes center stage in this film, only it’s much clearer than it is in Identity.

19. 6 Souls/Shelter (2010)

identity 6 souls

IMDb rating: 6.0/10

What it’s about: Dr. Cara Harding (Julianne Moore) is a forensic psychiatrist whose faith is shaken after her husband dies abruptly. She gets acquainted with Adam, a new patient with multiple personalities – each being a murder victim, but one. As Cara learns about Adam’s past, she realizes her own life might be in danger.

Why it’s like Identity: Multiple personality disorder is once again the topic of the film, and like in Identity, there’s a sinister undertone intertwined throughout the film. I was simultaneously frightened and amazed, and although the movie has shortcomings, you’ll certainly enjoy what it brings to the table if you like Identity.

18. Vacancy (2007)

identity vacancy

IMDb rating: 6.2/10

What it’s about: David and Amy are a married couple whose car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. They are forced to stay at a sketchy motel, but at least it’s a place to crash until the morning, rest, and entertain themselves with some TV. The problem is that the available movies are all filmed in the same room where they are currently residing.

And the movies are far from what you want to see. It becomes evident that the couple is trapped in a room with hidden cameras, ready to become the next victims of the motel’s snuff films…

Why it’s like Identity: This particular movie isn’t as mysterious as Identity, nor does it have a big twist of any kind, but it does take place at a motel in the middle of nowhere, with murder happening left and right. It’s a highly suspenseful film that will keep you on your toes, wondering what will happen next. It’s a different take on the ‘isolated motel’ motif and one that I genuinely enjoyed more than I thought I would.

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17. Monsters Inside: The 24 Faces of Billy Milligan (2021)

identity monsters inside

IMDb rating: 6.2/10

What it’s about: A mini docuseries about Billy Milligan, an accused serial rapist that was the first-ever person acquitted of charges due to Dissociative Identity Disorder, having claimed to have 24 distinct personalities controlling his actions – two of which were responsible for his crimes.

Why you should watch it: This is the only series on the list – and the only documentary. However, I wanted to include it because it represents a real-life case of a person with multiple personalities, much like the lead character in Identity. 

Whether Billy Milligan actually had the disorder or not is still debated. However, the fact stays that he was eventually acquitted and that his trial still remains one of the most controversial legal battles in US history.

16. Mindhunters (2004)

identity mindhunters

IMDb rating: 6.3/10

What it’s about: A group of FBI psychological profiling trainees is finishing their training program on an island. However, when they start getting killed off one by one, they have to use their training and skills to figure out which one of them is the culprit behind the murders.

Why it’s like Identity: Mindhunters is a nice combination of thrill, slasher horror, mystery, and the classic ‘whodunnit’ trope, mixed with some psychological profiling and knowledge. While there’s no particular disorder in question here, the main characters must get inside the mind of a killer if they want to solve the mystery – similar to what happens in Identity.

15. The Number 23 (2007)

identity the number 23

IMDb rating: 6.4/10

What it’s about: Walter Sparrow’s wife gives him a novel for his birthday – a murder mystery that revolves around the number 23, and everything loops back to that particular number. Walter finds it captivating and starts believing that not only is his life looping around the same number – he believes the novel was actually written about his life.

His loved ones try to explain that he’s being delusional and try to show sympathy and help him, but Walter doesn’t stop trying to get to the truth, even if it means putting himself in danger…

Why it’s like Identity: The Number 23 is a highly symbolic movie with numerous twists and a plot that blurs the lines between reality and imagination. It will leave you wondering if Walter is actually right or slowly losing his mind. Jim Carrey is mostly known for comedies, but this movie will prove to you that he’s also one of the best actors of his generation outside of comedy.

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14. Secret Window (2004)

identity secret window

IMDb rating: 6.5/10

What it’s about: Mort Rainey is a successful writer that is struggling with writer’s block after going through a nasty divorce from his wife. While alone at his desolate cabin in the woods, a guy named Shooter arrives at his door, claiming that Mort stole one of his stories.

As Mort struggles to find a magazine that published the story to prove it was his, things start to get uglier and uglier, with Mort’s life clearly in danger. Or are things actually the way they seem?

Why it’s like Identity: The thing about Secret Window is that there are at least three adaptations made of the same story. And each gives its unique take. While this particular movie might feel a bit complacent at times, Johnny Depp delivered a phenomenal performance, much like Cusack did in Identity. There’s a mystery surrounding the entire story, and you’ll scratch your head at the end once you realize that nothing is as it seems.

13. My, Myself & Irene (2000)

identity me myself irene

IMDb rating: 6.6/10

What it’s about: Charlie works in Rhode Island as a police officer. He’s usually sweet and mild-mannered, but when he’s pushed to the edge and agitated, his insane alter-ego, Hank, emerges and turns Charlie into an absolute savage. 

That little problem makes a very simple mission that much more complicated – take a fugitive back to New York. It becomes even more difficult when they start being chased by corrupt police officers.

Why it’s like Identity: I wanted to move away from the psychological thriller trope a bit, so this is the only non-thriller movie on this list. In fact, it’s a comedy, so the vibe is nowhere near being similar to Identity. However, the main character also suffers from dissociative identity disorder (or bipolar, at least), but it’s a different take on the same condition we see in Identity.

It’s a funny, witty movie, and although the humor might be crude at moments, Jim Carrey is at his best hilarious self as the film’s main character.

12. Stay (2005)

identity stay

IMDb rating: 6.7/10

What it’s about: A psychiatrist deals with a patient with suicidal tendencies and tries to prevent him from doing the unthinkable. However, the psychiatrist might also struggle to discern reality from fiction, as the line between real life and imagination becomes indistinguishable.

Why it’s like Identity: I tried to write the synopsis as vaguely as possible to not spoil the movie for you, but it’s quite remarkable. Everyone played an incredible role, and Stay certainly deserves a higher rating. It’s one of my favorite movies from the list, and like Identity, it will leave you struggling to realize what’s real and what’s only a figment of the character’s imagination.

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11. 1408 (2007)

identity 1408

IMDb rating: 6.8/10

What it’s about: Mike Ensline writes books that debunk alleged paranormal hauntings, be it in hotels, graveyards, or any other place that is said to be haunted. However, room 1408 in Dolphin Hotel is one of the most sinister places he has ever visited.

Skeptical at first, Mike decides to stay in the room, only to find out that this mystery might be much harder to debunk than his other endeavors. Is the room really haunted, or is Mike slowly losing his sanity?

Why it’s like Identity: As in Identity, John Cusack is in the lead role of 1408. While the movie’s topic is quite different, there’s a ton of mystery intertwined, along with a bit more horror than what you saw in Identity. 1408 will leave you frightened – as any Stephen King story would – while the phenomenal cast will have you hooked to your seat throughout.

10. Triangle (2009)

identity triangle

IMDb rating: 6.9/10

What it’s about: Jess sets sail on a boat with her friends on a bright, sunny day. However, she keeps feeling as if something is wrong. At sea, their boat is destroyed by a sudden storm, and they board a huge ship floating in the middle of the ocean, trying to find help. 

The thing is, there’s nobody on board except for a mysterious figure determined to kill them all. Strange things start happening, and Jess slowly realizes she’s been there dozens of times…

Why it’s like Identity: As in Identity, the line between reality and fiction is blurred, and you won’t know what’s going on until the very end of the film. The movie has tons of twists and turns, and it will probably make you think the main character is either losing her sanity or just imagining the whole thing. The truth is far more complicated, though…

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9. Split (2016)

identity split

IMDb rating: 7.3/10

What it’s about: A man diagnosed with 23 distinct personalities kidnaps three girls to serve as food for the 24th, sinister new personality he calls the Beast that is about to emerge. The girls try to escape while the man is ‘controlled’ by the more benevolent personalities, but it might just be an impossible mission…

Why it’s like Identity: The main character in Identity is actually plagued with a dissociative identity disorder, much like the main character in Split. James McAvoy delivers the performance of his life, as each personality is portrayed to absolute perfection. There’s kind of a twist in the end as well, especially for M. Night Shyamalan fans.

8. The Others (2001)

identity the others

IMDb rating: 7.6/10

What is it about: Grace (Nicole Kidman) lives in an old mansion in Jersey with her two children right near the end of World War II. As they wait for the father’s return from battle, we learn that the house has to be darkened due to a rare condition that both kids have, making them extremely photosensitive and incapable of being exposed to direct sunlight.

The family, as well as their servants, live under quite rigorous religious rules that have to be followed by the kids at all times. Things go from bad to worse when they realize the father is very late to return home – and it slowly becomes apparent that something is wrong with the mansion. It might be haunted, but with who?

Why it’s like Identity: Like Identity, The Others is a movie filled with mystery and twists that you won’t see coming. To me, it was much more horror-ish than Identity. Still, one thing the movies also have in common is an incredible performance from the lead actors (Kidman in The Others, and Cusack in Identity, respectively).

Also, both movies tackle hard issues, such as dealing with grief, disease, and loss of sanity, to a point where fiction and reality become blurred and intertwined. The topic might be different, but the vibe is very much similar.

7. The Machinist (2004)

identity the machinist

IMDb rating: 7.7/10

What it’s about: Trevor Reznik is a machine operator at a factory. His job is dangerous as is, but what makes it so much worse for Trevor is that he hasn’t slept in a year. A severe case of insomnia caused Reznik to deteriorate physically to a point where he’s skin and bones, and struggles to do even the most ordinary day-to-day activities.

As his mental state worsens, so does his alienation from his peers, especially after an accident at work caused by Trevor. He becomes paranoid that they are out to get him, only to slowly realize the real reason behind his horrible insomnia…

Why it’s like Identity: If you’re looking for a psychological thriller and haven’t watched The Machinist yet, you’re missing out on a lot. Most notably, you’re missing out on one of the best individual performances ever. Christian Bale is phenomenal in this film – from his physical transformation to a perfect depiction of a man riddled with mental and emotional trauma.

Like Identity, the movie tackles mental issues and a man’s gradual decline. It starts with severe insomnia and then spirals into paranoia, physical exhaustion, alienation, and more. However, the best part that makes these movies similar is the major unexpected twist in the end that will absolutely blow your mind.

6. Primal Fear (1996)

identity primal fear

IMDb rating: 7.7/10

What it’s about: Aaron (Edward Norton) is an altar boy accused of killing a priest, Archbishop Rushman. Martin Vail (Richard Gere) is a lawyer who takes the case as Aaron’s defense attorney, learning that there’s more to the kid than meets the eye. 

He seems to suffer from a dissociative identity disorder, with a second, violent personality emerging out of Aaron whenever he’s backed into a corner or threatened. Will Vail manage to have his charges dropped? Or, is there more to Aaron’s condition than meets the eye?

Why it’s like Identity: Primal Fear is absolutely stacked with acting talent and has one of the deepest, most amazing storylines you’ll ever find. There’s also a strong social commentary present, but the main thing that connects Identity with Primal Fear is the mental illness aspect – and the major twist at the end that will have your jaw drop to the floor.

P.S. This was Edward Norton’s first motion picture role, and in my opinion, it might be his best. He was nominated for an Oscar and should’ve won.

5. The Game (1997)

identity the game

IMDb rating: 7.7/10

What it’s about: A San Francisco banker, Nicholas Van Orton, seemingly has everything you could wish for in life. Except, he’s lonely, to the point where he’s alone even on his 48th birthday. At that age, Nicholas’ father committed suicide, which he is reminded of by his brother Conrad on a phone call.

That prompts Nicholas to try out a new kind of ‘entertainment’ provided by a mysterious company called Consumer Recreation Services (CRS). As he joins the game, it soon becomes way more than he had bargained for, and all kinds of terrible things start happening to him – but nobody seems to believe him.

Why it’s like Identity: I feel like I’ve said this for several movies on this list, but The Game might just be my personal number one on this list. You won’t have a clue what’s going on half of the time. Is the main character going insane? Is it all a conspiracy? Is it even reality or just a figment of his imagination? 

The twist after twist will have you twisting and appreciating Michael Douglas as an actor much more. David Fincher is a psychological mystery thriller master, which is why there are multiple movies under his direction on this particular list.

4. The Sixth Sense (1999)

identity sixth sense

IMDb rating: 8.2/10

What it’s about: A boy claims to have the ability to communicate with spirits and seeks help from a renowned child psychologist, while the kid’s mother believes he is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Will the psychologist help, or will the mystery only go deeper?

Why it’s like Identity: This movie has one of the most well-known twists in cinema history, so I doubt you don’t already know what happens. If not, however, I assure you you’ll be blown away. There’s a reason why the movie has such a high IMDb rating, with over a million submitted ratings.

It’s not similar to Identity in the sense of the subject matter. Still, it is similar in the sense of mystery and suspense, blurring the line between reality and fiction and delivering major twists throughout the story.

3. Shutter Island (2010)

identity shutter island

IMDb rating: 8.2/10

What it’s about: Teddy Daniels is a US marshal that was hired in 1954 to investigate a patient’s disappearance from the Shitter Island Aschecliffe Hospital. As he gets deeper into the investigation, Teddy realizes that the staff might hide some downright sinister secrets, ranging from unethical treatment of patients to much darker things.

Soon, Daniels will start doubting everything he knows about the case. Moreover, he’ll start doubting his own mind…

Why it’s like Identity: Much like Identity, you’ll never see what’s coming, Shutter Island is one of the best Leonardo DiCaprio movies – one for which I believe he deserved an Oscar. It embodies everything a psychological mystery thriller should be, and I could not recommend it more.

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2. Psycho (1960)

identity psycho

IMDb rating: 8.5/10

What it’s about: Norman Bates runs a quiet motel off of the main highway and seems to be dominated by his mother. When a female office worker – who embezzled $40K from her employer – comes to stay at the motel, someone kills her while she is in the shower.

The mystery unfolds as the quiet Norman proves to be much more resourceful and smarter than it initially seemed.

Why it’s like Identity: There’s a reason why Psycho is still regarded as one of the best horror thrillers in history. There’s also a reason why Alfred Hitchcock is regarded as one of the best directors ever. 

If you still don’t know the twist that happens at the end of Psycho, I won’t spoil it for you. What are the similarities with Identity? There’s murder, desolate motels, mental illness, and plenty of mystery. 

1. Se7en (1995)

identity se7en

IMDb rating: 8.6/10

What it’s about: Two homicide detectives (a rookie and a veteran) struggle to find an elusive serial killer that claims to kill to rid the world of the Seven Deadly Sins. As the investigation goes deeper, the crimes become more violent and sinister, and the detectives try to get inside of the killer’s mind to catch him. That being said, they might be closer than they think.

Why it’s like Identity: Se7en is one of the best psychological mystery thrillers ever, with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman delivering spectacular performances. Every time I watch the film, I pick up on something new that makes the ending that much more phenomenal—a must-watch, not just for mystery lovers but for every movie lover in general.

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