A psychological thriller movie is a genre of film that combines the elements of a thriller with a psychological story to create a coherent yet suspenseful movie. Most of the time, we find out while watching the movie, that the main character or the supporting characters have psychological issues and are often unstable in their minds.
Psychological thrillers can be just as scary, if not, much scarier than horror movies because it deals with the mind and its complexities. The streaming service, Netflix has made a couple of psychological thrillers of their own while also licensing other psychological thriller movies on their site. With that said, here are the 10 best psychological thrillers on Netflix that you can watch in Malaysia.
What makes a movie a psychological thriller?
In order for a movie to be dubbed as a psychological thriller, it should have elements of mystery and secrecy involved in it that the audience will not know until the middle or the end of the movie. A psychological thriller can also have themes of mental illness, crime, multiple realities or an unreliable narrator.
Why do people like psychological thriller movies?
One of the biggest reasons as to why most people enjoy watching psychological thriller movies is that the audience gets to explore the main character’s thoughts and decisions. The audience is allowed to follow their steps and motivations to see how they interact with other characters or how they escape their current situation.
10 Best Psychological Thrillers on Netflix in Malaysia
1. The Game
Directed by: David Fincher
Starring: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger, James Rebhorn, Peter Donat, Carroll Bakerm, Armin Mueller-Stahl
Release date: 12 September 1997
Running time: 128 minutes
Distribution: PolyGram Films
Synopsis: This psychological thriller follows Nicholas Van Orton, played by Micheal Douglas, who is a wealthy investment banker. He has a younger brother, Conrad, who decides to surprise him on his 30th birthday with an interesting present, a voucher for a game. When he uses the voucher to play this “game”, things start to take a turn for the worse.
2. The Roommate
Directed by: Christian E. Christiansen
Starring: Leighton Meester, Minka Kelly, Cam Gigandet, Danneel Harris, Matt Lanter, Aly Michalka
Release date: 21 April 2011
Running time: 94 minutes
Distribution: Screen Gems
Synopsis: Sara is beginning her freshman year at a college in Los Angeles and here she meets with her shy roommate, Rebecca. Things start to hit off great between the both of them, as they hang out together. However, it becomes much more deadly when Rebecca becomes obsessed with Sara and wants her all to herself.
Directed by: David Fincher
Starring: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. McGinley, Kevin Spacey, R. Lee Ermey, Richard Roundtree, Richard Schiff
Release date: 22 September 1995
Running time: 127 minutes
Distribution: New Line Cinema
Synopsis: Detective Lieutenant William Somerset and Detective David Mills are partnered together to investigate a series of murders that have been occuring. It is discovered that the killer is using the seven deadly sins to murder his victims. It is up to the detectives to stop the perpetrator before he reaches the last deadly sin.
4. The Devil All The Time
Directed by: Antonio Campos
Starring: Tom Holland, Bill Skarsgård, Robert Pattinson, Sebastian Stan, Riley Keough, Jason Clarke, Eliza Scanlen, Haley Bennett, Mia Wasikowska, Harry Melling
Release date: 11 September 2020
Running time: 139 minutes
Synopsis: The Devil All The Time is based on a novel of the same title, which follows a star studded cast of characters who have intricate and strange stories that occur during the World War 2 end period until the 1960s. These stories would then intertwine with each other as the movie goes along. Themes of corruption and conservatism are at the centre of this psychological thriller.
Directed by: Daniel Goldhaber
Starring: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Melora Walters, Devin Druid, Imani Hakim, Michael Dempsey, Flora Diaz, Samantha Robinson, Jessica Parker Kennedy
Release date: 18 July 2018
Running time: 95 minutes
Synopsis: The protagonist, Alice Ackerman works as a regular camgirl on a website called FreeGirlsLive. She is trying her best to increase her ranking on the website in order to take the number 1 spot that is currently held by another camgirl. When Alice is unable to log into her account, she sees that a look-alike is livestreaming and figures out that her account has been stolen. Alice sets out on a dangerous road to stop the look-alike so she can get her identity back.
6. Deadly Illusions
Directed by: Anna Elizabeth James
Starring: Kristin Davis, Dermot Mulroney, Greer Grammer, Shanola Hampton, Marie Wagenman, Shylo Molina
Release date: 18 March 2021
Running time: 114 minutes
Synopsis: Mary Morrison is a successful author that has a series of thriller novels. She is happily married to her loving husband, Tom and they have two young children together. Mary’s publisher urges her to write another book but is hesitant as she does not want to be overwhelmed with work and her children. Mary decides to hire a nanny to take care of her children as she agrees to write another novel. As Mary struggles with her writer’s block, she also begins to question her reality as bizarre occurrences happen that revolve around the new nanny.
7. Secret Obsession
Directed by: Peter Sullivan
Starring: Brenda Song, Mike Vogel, Dennis Haysbert, Ashley Scott, Paul Sloan, Daniel Booko, Scott Peat, Blair Hickey, Michael Patrick McGill
Release date: 18 July 2019
Running time: 97 minutes
Synopsis: Jennifer Allen Williams was struck by a car, leaving her unconscious and seriously injured. She wakes up in the hospital with amnesia, unable to remember what had happened to her or what her life was before the accident. As her loving husband takes her home to recuperate, Jennifer will soon realise that the real danger is closer than she thinks.
Directed by: Brad Anderson
Starring: Sam Worthington, Lily Rabe, Stephen Tobolowsky, Adjoa Andoh, Lucy Capri, Lauren Cochrane, Shane Dean
Release date: 22 September 2019
Running time: 100 minutes
Synopsis: Ray Monroe and his family are on the way home from a Thanksgiving trip at his wife’s parents’ home. On the way back, they decide to stop at a gas station and their child, Peri begins to wander off. Peri accidentally falls into a hole and is rushed to a nearby hospital. When Ray discovers that his wife, Joanne and Peri are missing from the emergency room, Ray is certain that the hospital is hiding a deep secret.
9. The Woman In The Window
Directed by: Joe Wright
Starring: Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, Fred Hechinger, and Julianne Moore, Anthony Mackie, Wyatt Russell, Brian Tyree Henry, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Release date: 14 May 2021
Running time: 100 minutes
Synopsis: Anna Fox is a child psychologist that lives alone after separating from her husband. Her daughter lives with her husband and they communicate on a daily basis. Anna Fox suffers from agoraphobia, which prevents her from leaving her home. She watches all the neighbours through her window and one day, witnesses a horrific incident that has happened to her neighbour across the street.
10. Taking Lives
Directed by: D. J. Caruso
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Ethan Hawke, Kiefer Sutherland, Olivier Martinez, Tchéky Karyo, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Gena Rowlands, Paul Dano, Justin Chatwin
Release date: 19 March 2004
Running time: 103 minutes
Distribution: Warner Bros. Pictures
Synopsis: FBI profiler Illeana Scott is called upon by an Inspector Leclair to help authorities with an investigation involving a serial killer that takes on the identity of his victims after having killed them. It is up to Illeana to apprehend the serial killer before he escapes with another identity and continues his murder sprees.
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