50 Best Psychological Horror Movies of All Time

psychological horror movies

We enjoy a wide range of horror films. Some people may hear the word “horror” and immediately think of famous creatures from the genre—zombies, Frankenstein’s monster, vampires, and so on—which is lovely. Others may join the slasher bandwagon, with enormous, frightening bad guys like Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers taking down innocent victims and scream queens one by one—those are also very fantastic.

But arguably the most underappreciated but much-loved type of horror is psychological horror. Films that don’t have a supernatural creature or event at their heart (though they do occasionally!) but instead focus on some sort of gradual, methodical unraveling of a psyche.

This genre has some of the finest films you’ll ever see. Can you picture life before Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining? A masterwork that essentially molded the environment resulted in the last 40 years of outstanding horror films (and included a quasi-sequel in Doctor Sleep from director Mike Flanagan).

But we digress—too much discussion about the future when there are so many fantastic psychological horror flicks to see right now. So, without further ado, here are the top fifty best psychological horror movies.

1. Us (2019)

50 Best Psychological Horror Movies (2021 Update)

Director: Jordan Peele

Us revolves around Adelaide, the now-mother-of-two, who unwillingly goes to their peaceful lake property with her husband, Gabe, to spend the summer vacation, not far from the sun-kissed Santa Cruz beach where she had a horrific childhood incident. 

Despite this, Adelaide can’t escape the uneasy sense that her horrific experience with her strange doppelgänger would come back to harm not just her but also her unsuspecting family.

Indeed, at the end of the day, the joyful tourists’ worst nightmare will come true, as a nasty foursome who shares an eerie likeness to them sits in their driveway. Then they take out their razor-sharp scissors. What exactly do “they” expect from them?

2. Candyman (1992)


Director: Bernard Rose

Candyman follows a doctoral student (Virginia Madsen) studying the mythology known as the Candyman (Tony Todd). Candyman is reportedly the reincarnation of a black man slain by a lynch mob now exacting retribution on inhabitants of Chicago’s projects when they repeat his name three times in the mirror. Madsen doesn’t believe it, but you, as an astute horror fan, know better. Check out our Candyman review!

3. Jaws (1975)

Jaws The Revenge 1987 1

Director: Steven Spielberg

In Jaws, Martin Brody, the new police chief of the small summer resort town of Amity Island, has reason to suspect that the mutilated body of a missing teenage swimmer found washed up on the beach is the work of a predatory shark. Only one week before the traditional Fourth of July celebrations. Fearing for the safety of unwary visitors, Brody insists on closing the beaches; however, money and Mayor Larry Vaughn get in the way of security, resulting in a series of more horrific attacks.

All eyes are now on the deep blue ocean, where Brody, together with marine researcher Matt Hooper and professional shark killer Quint, hunt for the uncontested monarch of the sea. A vast, slate-grey great white shark patrols the waters, ravenous for human flesh. But will they be able to outwit the ultimate underwater man-eater and escape its enormous jaws?

4. The House of the Devil (2009)

The House of the Devil e1558378394106

Director: Ti West

In The House of the Devil college student (Jocelin Donahue) unwillingly agrees to babysit for a complete weirdo (excellent character actor Tom Noonan). Only to discover that everything is wrong in his house. The horror is infused with early ’80s nostalgia (satanic terror, Dee Wallace Stone), and it comes at you so fast that you barely have time to comprehend it.


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5. Don’t Look Now (1973)

50 Best Psychological Horror Movies (2021 Update)

Director: Nicolas Roeg

In Don’t Look Now, unable to cope with their daughter’s sudden death and the silent undercurrent of intolerable guilt, John Baxter and his wife, Laura, travel to a chilly, winter in Venice, Italy. There, against the backdrop of a never-ending string of heinous murders in the city’s meandering canals, John uses his job, the restoration of an ancient church, to channel his buried anguish while Laura turns to drugs.

Then, a fortuitous encounter with the cryptic siblings, Heather, the blind clairvoyant, and Wendy, her eccentric sister, awakens terrifying images of the beloved departed. At the same time, a sinister person in a glossy red anorak terrorizes the now-off-season village. Is it possible that the strange sisters are speaking the truth? Is skeptic John’s life indeed in jeopardy?

6. Freaks (1932)

Freaks 1932

Director: Tod Browning

Browning ventured to create a vengeance dream from the perspective of a bunch of circus “freaks,” and his career was ruined as a result, yet his masterwork remains as breathtaking and poignant as ever. (It still has fans yelling “gooble, gobble” during drunken midnight viewing.)

7. The Others (2001)

The Others 2001

Director: Alejandro Amenábar

In The Others (2001), Grace Stewart, a widow, lives in a lonely old house with her daughter Anne and son Nicholas in Jersey, Channel Islands, in 1945. Grace’s loving husband Charles was killed in World War II, and their children are photosensitive. Grace keeps the drapes and doors closed to shield Anne and Nicholas from the sun. Grace instills strong discipline in her children while adhering to Christian values.

Grace employs the odd housekeeper Mrs. Bertha Mills, the silent maid Lydia, and the gardener Mr. Edmund Tuttle who have all applied for work. Strange things happen at the mansion out of nowhere, and Anne reports that a youngster named Viktor pays them a visit. Grace searches for the invaders in vain until she receives an epiphany about the house and its intruders one day.

8. 28 Days Later (2002)

28 days later

Director: Danny Boyle

In 28 Days Later Cillian Murphy awakens nude on a hospital bed a month after a virus infects humanity and discovers that society has fallen. The streets are deserted, save for groups of zombies as ferocious as a mosh pit at a Megadeth performance. When the survivors seek refuge in a military facility, things get much darker than zombies frothing at the mouth.

9. Get Out (2017)

50 Best Psychological Horror Movies (2021 Update)

Director: Jordan Peele

In Get Out, Chris Washington, a young African-American photographer, is dragged out to his girlfriend’s parent’s house to spend the weekend and meet the family. Chris feels uncomfortable on the farm, which has just three other African-Americans, two of whom work there.

Chris begins to notice strange things about the property as the weekend develops, and when he takes a picture of one of the family members, the man flips out. The unease is palpable, and it grows as Chris learns the odd reality about what is going on in this location.

10. Alien (1979)

alien 3 ripley

Director: Ridley Scott

Scott’s space horror film Alien spawned its own subgenre, but it’s Sigourney Weaver’s fierce performance as Ripley facing off against a parasitic alien life form that makes it nearly perfect.


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11. Goodnight Mommy (2014)

Goodnight Mommy 2014

Directors: Veronika Franz, Severin Fiala

In Goodnight Mommy, twins Elias and Lukas are in a lovely isolated house by the lake when they discover their mother with her face covered in bandages after surgery and neglecting Lukas. She only speaks to Elias and demands new home rules, such as asking for stillness, curtains drawn throughout the day, and playing exclusively outside the house because she needs to relax.

She is rough on Elias, and the twins think that she is not their mother. After comparing old pictures with her face and discovering that their house is for sale on the Internet, they decide that she is not their mother. They then bind her wrists and legs to the bed and torment her until she tells them where their mother is. What exactly is this woman’s secret?

12. The Strangers (2008)

serial killers strangers

Director: Bryan Bertino

A couple on the run visits a quaint childhood house in the woods, only to be tormented by a gang of masked invaders. The indiscriminate, amoral brutality is what makes the whole affair so heinous.

13. Dumplings (2004)

Dumplings 2004

Director: Fruit Chan

In Dumplings, Aunt Mei is a Hong Kong chef famed for her homemade rejuvenation dumplings, which she prepares using a millenarian method and a mystery substance she gets directly from China. Mrs. Li, a former T.V. star, pays a visit to Mei in the hopes of regaining her youth and becoming appealing to her wolf husband, Mr. Li. Mei informs Mrs. Li that she was a gynecologist in China for ten years, performing over 30,000 abortions during the sessions.

When Mrs. Li demands that the procedure be accelerated, an opportunity arises when a fifteen-year-old adolescent with a five-month incestuous pregnancy arrives with her mother and wants Mei to perform an abortion.

14. Eyes Without a Face (1960)

50 Best Psychological Horror Movies (2021 Update)

Director: Georges Franju

In the eponymously titled French art-horror classic, Eyes Without a Face, a famous and insane surgeon kidnaps beautiful ladies and attempts to transplant their faces onto his daughter, who, yep, is without a face. This film brilliantly capitalized on the power of masks. It also served as an inspiration for everything from Face/Off to Billy Idol.

15. Black Christmas (1974)

Black Christmas1974

Director: Bob Clark

It’s Christmas break, and the sorority sisters are making plans for the vacation, but the mysterious anonymous phone calls make them nervous. When Clare goes missing, they notify the police, who seem unconcerned.

Meanwhile, Jess is considering having an abortion, but her boyfriend Peter is very opposed. When a 13-year-old girl is discovered dead in the park, the police become alarmed. They install a wiretap on the sorority home, but will they be able to stop a sorority female attrition problem in time?

16. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Cannibal Holocaust

Director: Ruggero Deodato

This renowned banned-from-so-many-countries exploitation film may not have popularized the found-footage genre, but it did get things started. In Cannibal Holocaust, a documentary team that went lost in the Amazon after encountering a cannibalistic tribe has found footage. The (still) realistic-looking human brutality prompted allegations that actors were slain, which are false, despite the sickening picture of an impaled lady leading you to believe otherwise.

17. Carnival of Souls (1962)

Carnival of Souls

Director: Herk Harvey

In Carnival of Souls, Mary Henry is having a good time while driving about in a vehicle with two buddies. When challenged to a drag, the women agree but are forced to jump off a bridge. All look to have drowned until Mary miraculously emerges from the river sometime later. 

After recuperating, Mary gets a position as a church organist in a new town, only to be pursued by a mystery phantom person who appears to dwell in an old run-down pavilion. Mary must confront the personal demons of her spiritual apathy here.

18. Audition (1999)

Audition 1999

Director: Takashi Miike

Audition revolves around Shigeharu Aoyama who is a widower in Tokyo and raises his son Shigehiko Aoyama alone after the death of his wife. Seven years later, Shigehiko, the adolescent, questions why his middle-aged father does not remarry, and Shigeharu contacts his buddy, film director Yasuhisa Yoshikawa, and expresses his goal. 

However, Shigeharu finds it challenging to approach attractive women to date, so Yasuhisa decides to stage a mock audition to find the starring actress for the fictitious film. They get many candidate portfolios, and Shigeharu becomes fascinated with the stunning Asami Yamazaki. Despite the warning of the wise Yasuhisa, Shigeharu asks Asami out on a date and falls in love with her. But who is he?

19. The Fly (1986)

50 Best Psychological Horror Movies (2021 Update)

Director: David Cronenberg

In The Fly, Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum), a bright but eccentric scientist, tries to entice investigative journalist Veronica Quaife (Geena Davis) by giving her a scoop on his newest study in the field of matter transportation, which has proven effective beyond all scientific expectations. Until a certain point. Brundle believes he has solved the last difficulty when he successfully transfers a living thing.

Still, when he tries to teleport himself, a fly enters one of the transmission booths, and Brundle discovers he has transformed. The quotable statement comes from this Science-Gone-Wrong flick “Be afraid. Be very afraid.”

20. Maniac (1980)


Director: William Lustig

Frank Zito misses his mother, who died in a vehicle accident many years ago. She was violent to him and sold her body for money, yet Frank still misses her. He kills young ladies and places their scalps on mannequins that he exhibits about his apartment in an attempt to deter her from leaving him and change her wicked ways. Anna D’Antoni, a photographer, snaps a photograph of him in the park, and he pursues and befriends her. Is she the one he’s been seeking, or simply another mother-like figure?


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21. Carrie (1976)

Carrie 1976

Director: Brian De Palma

Carrie is among the most famous movies on this list of best psychological horror movies. At senior prom, a quiet high school loner (Sissy Spaceck) does what every quiet high school loner dreams of: she unleashes complete fury on her abusive peers. The performances of Spacek and her on-screen mother Piper Laurie were so good that both received Oscar nominations, which is unusual for a horror film.

22. Repulsion (1965)

Repulsion 1965

Director: Roman Polanski

Repulsion revolves around Carol Ledoux, a delicate, introverted, and glacially gorgeous Belgian manicurist living in London with her worldly elder sister Helen, who gradually loses her mind. In other words, Carol’s growing dislike for men and the revolting notion of their sexual yearning for her has gnawed at her day and night. She increasingly perceives all men as a threat, even when Colin’s honest would-be paramour might be a consolation to her.

To make matters worse, Helen chooses to embark on a two-week trip to Italy with her unpleasant boyfriend, Michael. Carol finds herself imprisoned in their already small and dingy Kensington apartment, which is gradually deteriorating. 

Carol’s mental and emotional breakdown is accelerated by a nightmare world of strange hallucinations and terrible sexual desires. Can anyone assist Carol?

23. Salò (1975)

50 Best Psychological Horror Movies (2021 Update)

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Powerful men gather young boys and girls and subject them to degrading sexual practices and torture in this brutal Italian study of depravity and fascism. It’s full of unpleasant sights (you could select any number of particularly frightening scenes), but nothing is more distressing than guys laughing at their victims’ cries of anguish.

25. Wolf Creek (2005)

serial killers wolf creek

Director: Greg McLean

In Wolf Creek, Ben Mitchell and his two British girlfriends, Liz Hunter and Kristy Earl acquired an outdated vehicle in 1999 to drive through Australia’s outback on a shoestring budget. Their first destination is Wolf Creek National Park, where they will see a meteor crater. When they go to their automobile, they discover that it will not start, so they decide to spend the night in the car.

Later, a friendly local, hillbilly Mick Taylor, stops his truck, offers to help the trio, discovers that the coil has to be replaced, and contributes to bringing them to his camp, where he can fix the automobile. When they accept the proposal, their idyllic holiday transforms into a terrifying nightmare.

26. The Night of the Hunter (1955)

The Night of the Hunter

Director: Charles Laughton

In The Night of the Hunter, Reverend Harry Powell, a sexist serial-killer preacher with a keen switchblade, find the secret of the convicted bank robber, Ben Harper, while on a devilish quest to destroy sin. With $10,000 buried somewhere near Harper’s dilapidated farmhouse, silver-tongued Powell sets out on a wicked mission to court Ben’s impoverished widow, Willa, and, most importantly, persuade the deceased’s minor children, John and Pearl, to reveal the precise location of the bounty.

However, when John resolutely refuses to divulge his father’s secret, the psychotic gospeller’s insatiable need for wealth takes control, and no one is safe around him. And, according to Powell, all women must suffer in the name of the Lord. Who will live and who will perish in the hunter’s night?

27. The Blair Witch Project (1999)


Directors: Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez

We continue our list of best psychological horror movies with The Blair Witch Project . Three sarcastic college students venture into the woods to pursue a local legend that turns out to be far too true, and only their footage survives. Yes, you can blame this film for every lazy, cheap, and massively successful found-footage horror film that followed. Some people are irritated by the lack of a “witch,” but the scariest thing is always what we can’t see.

28. Psycho (1960)

50 Best Psychological Horror Movies (2021 Update)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

In Psycho, Marion Crane, a Phoenix office worker, is fed up with how life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam during lunch breaks, and they can’t marry since Sam has to give up the majority of his money in alimony. Marion is entrusted by her boss to bank $40,000 on Friday.

Marion leaves town and travels to Sam’s California store, seeing the chance to take the money and start a new life. She exits the main highway, exhausted from the long journey and trapped in a storm, and drives into the Bates Motel. The hotel is run by Norman, a timid young guy who appears to be ruled by his mother.

29. The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (2009)

TheHumanCentipede 1

Director: Tom Six

The Human Centipede was quite a controversial movie. American visitors seeking assistance are met by a German physician who, indeed, emits Nazi vibes and has intentions for them far worse than death. Good luck figuring out the intestinal mechanics of the “human centipede” if you haven’t already passed out from the surgical exposition.

30. The Shining (1980)

The Shining 1980

Director: Stanley Kubrick

In The Shining, Jack Torrance, played by Jack Nicholson, is a writer with a drinking problem. He arrives with his family to become the caretaker of a snowed-in hotel that’s riddled with creepy signs, including his own son muttering “redrum” over and over, a pair of mysterious girls hanging out in the halls, and an elevator gushing with blood. Not to note the film’s memorable line: “Here’s Johnny!” Who says comedic actors brandishing axes can’t be terrifying?


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31. The Last House on the Left (1972)

The Last House on the Left

Director: Wes Craven

Last House on the Left was one of the most frightening films of its time. The movie poster read, “Just keep telling yourself, “It’s only a movie, it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie, it’s only a movie.” Most of the viewers who saw this film were of high school age, usually under the influence of some type of drug, weed, hashish, L.S.D., etc. Numerous people left or walked out in disgust.

32. Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Night of the Living Dead

Director: George A. Romero

In Night of the Living Dead, Barbra and Johnny visit their father’s grave at a lonely cemetery, they are attacked by zombies. Barbra escapes and seeks safety in what appears to be an abandoned farm home. Ben, who had stopped at the house for petrol, soon joined her. Ben does his best to barricade the doors and windows, even though the wandering dead are all around them. On the other hand, the news reports are bleak, with animals springing back to life all over the place.

Barbra and Ben are taken aback when they discover five individuals hiding out in the basement: Harry, Helen, and Karen Cooper, as well as a young couple, Tom and Judy. Disagreements arise very immediately, with Harry Cooper desiring to be in control. Their prospects of surviving the night dwindle minute by minute as their position worsens.

33. The Wicker Man (1973)

50 Best Psychological Horror Movies (2021 Update)

Director: Robin Hardy

The Wicker Man can be considered a folk horror movie, but it’s still a psychological horror movie as well. Sergeant Neil Howie comes to a Scottish island in search of Rowan Morrison, a missing adolescent girl. Lord Summerisle owns the land, which is well-known for its apple and other fruit plantations and harvest. Sgt. Howie understands the villagers are pagans performing ancient rites, and that Rowan is very likely alive and being readied to be sacrificed. The story’s ending is a terrible surprise.

34. Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

Rosemarys Baby

Director: Roman Polanski

Mia Farrow’s Rosemary grows more concerned about her difficult pregnancy and the enigmatic neighbors in a building with a history of Satanism in the most horrific allegory for parenting gone awry. You undoubtedly know how it ends, but it doesn’t matter: the actual horror here is Rosemary’s gradual fall into madness.

35. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Silence of the lambs

Director: Jonathan Demme

Next up on our list of best psychological horror movies we have The Silence of the Lambs. Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), a young F.B.I. trainee, is sent to assist in discovering a missing woman and save her from a psychotic serial murderer (Ted Levine) who skins his victims. Clarice seeks to acquire a better understanding of the killer’s warped mentality by speaking with another psychopath:

Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Sir Anthony Hopkins), is a renowned psychiatrist. Special Agent Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn) of the F.B.I. believes that Lecter, a highly powerful and skilled mind manipulator, has the answers to their problems and can help them find the killer. On the other hand, Clarice must first win Lecter’s trust before the convict would provide any information.

36. Halloween (1978)

halloween ends mask header.original

Director: John Carpenter

Halloween is among the most popular horror movie franchises in the world! Six-year-old Michael Myers, possessed by an inexplicable need to kill, kills his fifteen-year-old sister, Judith, on Halloween night, October 31, 1963. Michael escapes from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, a mental health hospital and detention center for the criminally insane, on the fifteenth anniversary of the horrible murder and returns to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois.


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Soon, heartless Michael becomes obsessed with Laurie Strode, a blissfully unaware high school girl, and her friends, Annie and Lynda. Myers’ psychiatrist, Dr. Samuel Loomis, and skeptic Sheriff Leigh Brackett comb the area searching for the psychologically ill convict. On the other hand, the shadows are dense, and he is constantly one step ahead of them. Has Michael Myers returned to finish what he started?

37. Martyrs (2008)


Director: Pascal Laugier

In Martyrs, Young Lucie, who has been brutally tortured, imprisoned, and traumatized since infancy, escapes from her captors and befriends Anna, another damaged soul at the orphanage. Nearly fifteen years later, Lucie decimates a whole family, thinking that she has finally located her heinous tormentors, while horrifying visions of an emaciated and malformed monster haunt her. Is this hideous female creature genuine or just a figment of one’s imagination?


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What is the secret of the deceased family in these circumstances? As these eerily persistent questions demand answers, Anna will soon discover that inevitable tragedies necessitate transcendence before redemption. Is Anna doomed to become a magnificent martyr?

38. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)

50 Best Psychological Horror Movies (2021 Update)

Director: Tobe Hooper

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a gory movie as it is a psychological horror. When Sally learns that vandals have desecrated a graveyard where her grandpa is buried, she enlists the help of her boyfriend Jerry, her brother Franklyn, and her friends Pam and Kirk to investigate. On a detour to Franklyn’s grandfather’s derelict property, the travelers pick up a slimy hitchhiker who wounds himself and slashes himself. After arriving at the farm, Pam and Kirk hunt for an old swimming hole; Kirk hears a generator and believes he may get some gasoline.


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He walks into the home, expecting to locate the owner. Unfortunately, this is the home of the hitchhiker and Leatherface, who has a few surprises in store for travelers, including sledgehammers, chainsaws, and other cutlery.

39. A Quiet Place Part II (2021)

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Director: John Krasinski

In the 2018 thriller A Quiet Place, mankind has been devastated by ugly extraterrestrial predators with extraordinary hearing abilities. The narrative follows the Abbotts, a family of survivors who must remain silent at all times, unable to speak, sneeze, or tread on a creaking floorboard for fear of being killed.

40. Spiral: Saw (2021)

spiral saw trailer

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman

Spiral: Saw takes set in a universe haunted by Jigsaw’s legacy (aka John Kramer, the cruel antagonist whose fixation with testing people’s desire to live drives the series). It opens on July 4 in an unidentified metropolis that seems strangely similar to New York. Off-duty Detective Marv Bozwick (Daniel Petronijevic) pursues a burglar into a sewage pipe during a parade. A strange person in a pig mask attacks Bozwick there.


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When Bozwick wakes up, he’s in a subway tunnel, dangling in midair with his tongue in what can only be described as a weird, horrible torture apparatus. A voice from a recorded message gives him the old ultimatum: tear his tongue out and live, or get struck by an oncoming train and die.

41. The Witch (2016)

The Witch 2016

Director: Robert Eggers

The Witch is set in mid-seventeenth-century New England. The unhappy patriarch, William, and his Puritan family were expelled from the bosom of their virtuous pilgrim community and settled in a modest farmhouse on the edges of a dense and gloomy forest. As the poor family struggles to settle into their new secluded property, catastrophe strikes when their baby kid vanishes into thin air, and more unexpected and painful tragedies hit the God-fearing farmers shortly after. 

However, is this dire predicament the consequence of a dysfunctional family, or is William’s first-born daughter, Thomasin, the source of all evil?

42. The Descent (2005)

the descent crawler.jpg

Director: Neil Marshall

In The Descent, Sarah, a sportswoman, loses her husband and children in a car accident, but she survives. One year later, Juno invites her and her friends Beth, Rebecca, Sam, and Holly to explore a deep cave in the mountains. A rock crashes and covers the access tunnel, locking the expedition within the cave nearly three kilometers down. They try to find a way out with minimal resources, but they are quickly met with starvation and a ferocious race of predators.

43. Suspiria (1977)

50 Best Psychological Horror Movies (2021 Update)

Director: Dario Argento

While Luca Guadagnino’s 2018 remake of fellow Italian filmmaker Dario Argento’s horror masterpiece is definitely worth seeing, the original is unrivaled. Argento’s story of a ballet school turned coven is a masterpiece in horror film tension, eerie music, and mystery.

44. Deliverance (1972)

Deliverance 1972

Director: John Boorman

Sometimes the scariest movies don’t need to go into the otherworldly or the grandiose to frighten you. Put a deep-woods kid on a bridge and give him a banjo, and you’ll send shivers up a lot of people’s spines. This 1972 film Deliverance, starring Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, and Ronny Cox is about four friends who decide to go down a remote Georgia river and call themselves an “adventure drama,” yet the line “squeal like a pig!” begs to disagree.

45. Hereditary (2018)

Hereditary 2018

Director: Ari Aster

Annie (Toni Collette) begins to detect weird activities around her house after her estranged mother dies. Annie continues to spin out of control after another horrific incident. Is her family being manipulated by a mysterious power, or is it all in her head?


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46. The Vanishing (1988)

The Vanishing 1988

Director: George Sluizer

If Hollywood films like Taken and The Call have made you want to solve every abduction mystery, Dutch filmmaker George Sluizer’s The Vanishing (also known by its original Dutch title, Sporloos) will make you wish Liam Neeson had simply hung up the phone and gone to bed. This psychological thriller follows one man’s hellbent mission to recover his fiancée after she goes missing during a rest stop and features a conclusion that has often been hailed as one of the scariest endings of all time.

47. The Thing (1982)


Director: John Carpenter

The Thing is set in the Early winter of 1982, at a U.S. research outpost in Antarctica. A helicopter from the adjacent Norwegian research station suddenly buzzes the base. They are attempting to exterminate a dog that has escaped from their headquarters. Following the destruction of the Norwegian chopper, members of the U.S. team travel to the Norwegian base, only to learn that they are all dead or gone. They do come upon the bones of a weird monster that the Norwegians had burnt.

The Americans transport it to their base and determine that it is an extraterrestrial life form. After a period, it becomes clear that the extraterrestrial can take over and assimilate into various life forms, including humans, and may spread like a virus. This implies that anyone in the base may be possessed by The Thing, raising tensions.

48. Lake Mungo (2008)

50 Best Psychological Horror Movies (2021 Update)

Director: Joel Anderson

Alice Palmer, 16, drowns while swimming in a nearby dam. When her corpse is found, and an accidental death judgment is issued, her bereaved family buries her. The family is subsequently subjected to a series of odd and unexplainable incidents in and around their house. RAY KEMENY, a psychic and parapsychologist, is consulted by the Palmers, who are deeply upset. Ray learns about Alice’s hidden, double existence. A trail of evidence leads the family to Lake Mungo, where Alice’s secret history is revealed.

Lake Mungo is a mystery, a thriller, and a ghost story all rolled into one. Alice Palmer, 16, drowns while swimming in a nearby dam. When her corpse is found, and an accidental death judgment is issued, her bereaved family buries her. The family is subsequently subjected to a series of odd and unexplainable incidents in and around their house. Ray Kemeny, a psychic and parapsychologist, is consulted by the Palmers, who are deeply upset. Ray learns about Alice’s hidden, double existence. A trail of evidence leads the family to Lake Mungo, where Alice’s secret history is revealed. Lake Mungo is a mystery, a thriller, and a ghost story all rolled into one.

49. The Exorcist (1973)

The Exorcist Movies In Order Demonic Chronological Watch Order 01

Director: William Friedkin

in the Exorcist, Chris McNeil, accompanied by her 12-year-old daughter Regan, relocates to Washington, D.C. to make a film. The mother and daughter have an incredible connection, but after a while, Regan starts acting oddly. She is subjected to a battery of neurological testing, but no explanation for her behavior can be found.

As Regan’s situation worsens – she needs to be chained to her bed, curses like a sailor, and talks in tongues – Chris consults Father Karras, a Roman Catholic priest, and psychotherapist, to see if an exorcism could be the answer. Karras is skeptical, but the church finally agrees, summoning Father Merrin, who has already done an exorcism and met with the demon.


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50. The Babadook (2014)

The Babadook 2014

Director: Jennifer Kent

We finish our list of best psychological horror movies with The Babadook (2014). Amelia’s husband was killed in a vehicle accident while bringing her to the hospital to give birth to their baby Samuel. She has given up creating children’s books and is now working at a nursing home to raise Samuel independently. 

However, the child is regarded as troublesome and ostracized by his peers and his aunt Claire and cousin Ruby. Amelia always reads stories to Samuel before he goes to bed, and one night he offers him the intriguing book Mister Babadook, which he discovered in his room.

Amelia and Samuel are frightened by the book, which relates to the narrative of a mysterious monster that torments humans, and Samuel claims that the Babadook haunts him at night. 

Amelia tears up the book and tosses it away, but they are soon plagued by Babadook. Amelia takes medication, and she and Samuel can sleep through the night. Strange things happen in the home when the book Mister Babadook arrives to repair her front door. Is Mr. Babadook a genuine person?

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