The 25 Best Psychological Thrillers To Stream

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Psychological thrillers are about more than jump-scares and gore. 

Classics of the genre, like “Psycho” and “Fatal Attraction,” explore the darkest depths of the human psyche and how fear, desire or loneliness can drive us to behave. 

Other psychological thrillers, such as “The Sixth Sense” and “The Babadook,” have a chilling, supernatural twist, but at their core explore humans’ primal reactions to loss and grief.

And others, such as the relatively recent “Get Out” and “Parasite,” brilliantly layer tense storytelling with sharp social commentary.

Here are 25 of the best psychological thrillers you can rent, buy or stream now.

‘Psycho’ (1960)

Young secretary Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is on the run after stealing $40,000 from her employer. She checks into the remote Bates Motel, which is run by the shy Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), who has a sinister interest in taxidermy and a complicated relationship with his mother.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Google Play and Vudu.

‘The Birds’ (1963)

A town in California is terrorized by mysterious, violent bird attacks in this Alfred Hitchcock classic. Tippi Hedren, who made her cinematic debut in the film, opened up years later about the traumatic experience of working with Hitchcock and filming scenes with live birds, calling the ordeal “brutal and ugly and relentless” in an excerpt from her 2016 memoir shared by Vogue.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘Vertigo’ (1958)

Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) is a retired police detective with a debilitating fear of heights. When he comes out of retirement to help a friend follow his troubled wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak), his involvement in the case spirals into obsession. This film saw the first use of an innovative cinematic technique known as the “Vertigo effect,” in which the background zooms in or out while the foreground remains steady, creating a sense of unease.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘The Shining’ (1980)

Jack Torrance and Wendy Torrance (Jack Nicholson, Shelly Duvall) apply to be caretakers of the remote Overlook Hotel in Colorado. They take the job despite numerous warnings about the hotel, from their son Danny’s (Danny Lloyd) ominous visions to stories about the previous caretaker who killed his whole family, and himself.

Before long, Jack, Wendy and Danny are locked in a terrifying game of cat and mouse in the maze-like hotel. This Stanley Kubrick thriller received mixed reviews upon its release, but is now considered a classic.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play, Vudu and Paramount+.

‘The Silence of the Lambs’ (1991)

FBI trainee Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster), is assigned to interview a cannibalistic serial killer (Anthony Hopkins) in prison, with the hopes of gaining insight into the mindset of another serial killer on the loose, Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). This chilling thriller is one of the few films to have won Academy Awards for best picture, best director, best actor, best actress, and best adapted screenplay.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Max, Google Play and Vudu.

‘Get Out’ (2017)

A young Black man, Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), uncovers terrifying secrets when he visits the family of his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams) in upstate New York. Jordan Peele’s directorial debut, which The Guardian described in 2017 as a “scathing takedown of liberal white suburbia,” earned four Oscar nominations, winning for Best Original Screenplay.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘Fatal Attraction’ (1987)

Glenn Close earned an Oscar nomination for her chilling portrayal of Alex Forrest, a woman who is obsessed with a married man, Dan (Michael Douglas), with whom she had a brief fling. The more Dan pulls away, the more Alex pursues him, even lying to Dan that she is pregnant to keep him close. Eventually, she terrorizes his entire family, including in one infamous scene involving a pet rabbit.

Available to rent, buy or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime (via a Paramount+ subscription), Google Play and Vudu.

‘Parasite’ (2019)

When one member of the struggling Kim family begins working as a tutor for the wealthy Park family, the rest of the Kim family sees an opportunity for advancement. As the Kim and Park families become more and more entwined, this scathing social satire takes increasingly dark turns, and the question emerges: Who are the real parasites?

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘Taxi Driver’ (1976)

Lonely Vietnam veteran Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) takes a job as a cab driver in New York City as a way of coping with his insomnia. As he travels through the crime-ridden city night after night, Bickle’s desire to see “all this scum” washed off the streets — and to rescue a 12-year-old prostitute, Iris (Jodie Foster) — drives him to increasingly violent acts.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘The Babadook’ (2014)

Grieving widow Amelia (Essie Davis) is raising her 6-year-old son, Samuel, alone, following her husband’s death in a car accident. As Samuel becomes obsessed with an imaginary monster called the Babadook, the little boy’s behavior grows increasingly troubling and violent. Amelia tries to deny the existence of the Babadook, but the more she tries to suppress it, the more it pursues her. Many critics have praised the psychological depth of “The Babadook,” with the Daily Beast’s Tim Teeman calling the film a ”moving” portrayal of “loss and grief.”

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Tubi, Amazon Prime (with an AMC+ subscription), Google Play and Vudu.

‘Black Swan’ (2010)

Nina Sayers (Natalie Portman), a young professional ballet dancer in New York City, lives an insular life with her controlling mother. Nina dreams of dancing the lead part in an upcoming production of “Swan Lake,” a dual role that requires her to play both the innocent White Swan and the more sensual Black Swan. When Nina struggles to portray the Black Swan, she must compete with newcomer Lily (Mila Kunis) for the role, a rivalry that drives Nina to dark places within herself.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘The Sixth Sense’ (1999)

Child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) begins working with a young boy, Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment). Cole claims he can see and talk to dead people, who are unaware they are dead. Malcolm feels compelled to help Cole, and while at first he does not believe the boy can actually communicate with ghosts, some unexplainable events convince Malcolm of Cole’s abilities. Malcolm learns more and more about the supernatural realm, culminating in one unforgettable twist.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘Hereditary’ (2018)

As Annie Graham (Toni Collette) grieves the death of her elderly mother, a sinister supernatural force begins to torment her entire family, including her husband, Steve (Gabriel Byrne) and their two teenagers. This terrifying film explores grief, mental illness and the legacy of generational trauma.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Max, Amazon Prime and Google Play

‘Rebecca’ (1940)

A young woman (Joan Fontaine) marries a widowed aristocrat, Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier). When the newlyweds return to de Winter’s isolated seaside mansion, Manderley, their happiness is overshadowed by constant memories of de Winter’s late wife, Rebecca. As the new Mrs. de Winter learns more about Rebecca, the mystery builds around the circumstances of Rebecca’s death, and the housekeeper’s unusual obsession with her late mistress.

Available to stream on YouTube.

‘Gaslight’ (1944)

Young newlywed Paula (Ingrid Bergman) begins noticing strange things happening around the house — the gas lights dimming for no reason, odd noises from the attic, items going missing. However, her husband, Gregory (Charles Boyer) convinces her it’s all just her imagination, and she begins to wonder if she is going mad. This classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller is the origin of the modern term “gaslighting,” a form of psychological abuse that can isolate victims and make them question their own reality.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘The Others’ (2001)

In 1945, young widow Grace Stewart (Nicole Kidman), lives an isolated life with her children, Anna and Nicholas, on the island of Jersey. When three new servants come to live with them, a series of supernatural beings begin haunting the family. However, these otherworldly figures may not be what they seem.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘Misery’ (1990)

Novelist Paul Sheldon (James Caan) is rescued by a nurse, Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates), after he crashes his car during a blizzard. As Annie nurses him back to health in her secluded home, she reveals she is Paul’s number one fan and he allows her to read his latest manuscript. Unfortunately for Paul, Annie is angry about the novel’s ending and demands he write a new one — or else. This grisly thriller is based on Stephen King’s 1987 novel.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime (with a Max subscription), Google Play and Vudu.

‘Shadow of a Doubt’ (1943)

In this Alfred Hitchcock classic, teenage girl Charlie Newton (Teresa Wright) is thrilled when her Uncle Charlie comes to visit. But as she spends more time with Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten), the more she begins to suspect that he is the “Merry Widow Murderer,” a serial killer who’s wanted for the murder of multiple rich women.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘American Psycho’ (2000)

Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a wealthy investment banker at the height of greed and excess in 1980s New York City. He also happens to be living a double life as a serial killer. This graphic psychological thriller also features Jared Leto, Justin Theroux, Willem Dafoe, Chloë Sevingny, and Reese Witherspoon as Patrick’s fiancee, Evelyn.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘Midsommar’ (2019)

With their relationship on the rocks, young American couple Dani (Florence Pugh) and Christian (Jack Reynor) travel to Sweden for a midsummer festival. However, the festival is not what it seems, and what begins as a harmless trip with friends descends into unimaginable terror.

Available to rent, buy, or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘Sound of My Voice’ (2011)

Peter (Christopher Denham) and his girlfriend Lorna (Nicole Vicius) are both filmmakers. When they discover a cult leader named Maggie (Brit Marling) who claims to be a time-traveler, they do everything they can to expose her. While they are initially aware of Maggie’s tricks, it is hard for both of them to not believe her lies over time, and Lorna notices Peter falling for Maggie.

Available to rent, buy or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘Panic Room’ (2002)

Meg (Jodie Foster) just divorced her husband and moves to New York City with her daughter Sarah (Kristen Stewart). They find a “panic room” in the apartment, which the previous owner installed to protect those living there from intruders. Low and behold, the night Meg and Sarah move in, three men break into their apartment: Junior (Jared Leto), Burnham (Forest Whitaker) and Raoul (Dwight Yoakam). The two in the high-security panic room, and twists and turns unfold.

Available to rent, buy or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘The Butterfly Effect’ (2004)

Evan (Ashton Kutcher) has frequent blackouts. He and his friends grew up with psychological trauma that stems from various events, including him accidentally causing the death of someone. Evan jots down things that occur in his life, with multiple occurrences he does not remember. However, in his adult years, he’s able to travel back to his childhood during times when he blacked out to try and change what happened — but soon realizes that comes with unintended consequences.

Available to rent, buy or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘You’re Next’ (2013)

An estranged family has a reunion together in an effort to make amends, but things take a dark turn when they are attacked by masked killers. As more people at the reunion are murdered after getting a “you’re next” message, protagonist Erin (Sharni Vinson) strives to catch the murderer.

Available to rent, buy or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

‘Don’t Say a Word’ (2001)

Ten years after a precious gem was stollen, psychiatrist Dr. Nathan Conrad’s (Michael Douglas) daughter is kidnapped by a member of a group of thieves. The kidnapper asks Nathan for a favor in return for his daughter — to convince a woman named Elisabeth Burrows (Brittany Murphy) to uncover a six-digit number that will lead the thief to the gem. However, Burrows is known to be violent and troubled, making this a near-impossible task.

Available to rent, buy or stream on platforms including Amazon Prime, Google Play and Vudu.

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