These days, who doesn’t love a good psychological thriller movie? These are the movies that, on the surface, don’t always appear what it claims to be. Here are our top picks of mind-bending movies you can watch the next time you go on a Netflix binge or decide to host a Netflix Party.
Gone Girl (2014)
A psychological thriller based on the eponymous 2012 film, Gone Girl is a critically acclaimed film that initially paints the main character as the bad guy only to reveal halfway into the movie that, as the trailer says, what seems the most probable isn’t always the answer.
Ben Affleck stars as Nick Dunne, a writing teacher who finds that his wife Amy has gone missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. Because of Amy’s popular parents, her disappearance eventually receives nationwide press coverage, and Nick’s behavior on camera leads people to suspect that he may be involved in his wife’s disappearance.
In the Tall Grass (2019)
A Canadian supernatural horror film based on Stephen King and Joe Hill’s novella, In the Tall Grass has a more supernatural tone rather than psychological mind-bending. It’s great when your idea of horror delves more into the unnerving rather than focusing on cheap jumpscares.
Siblings Cal and a pregnant Becky are traveling to San Diego when they come across a field of tall grass and hear a young boy calling for help. Once they enter, however, space and time start to warp as they find themselves unable to find the ending of the field.
A Cure for Wellness (2016)
The psychological horror is based on The Magic Mountain, a 1924 novel by Thomas Mann. Although it didn’t do well in the box office, A Cure for Wellness revolves around a mysterious rehabilitation center for the wealthy in the mountains of the Swiss Alps.
Financial executive Lockhart is sent to retrieve a CEO who has decided to stay in a wellness center in the Swiss Alps. After getting involved in a car accident, Lockhart finds himself becoming a patient in the center and is subjected to their mysterious and questionable practices.
Not to be confused with the 2017 tech film starring Emma Watson, Circle stars an ensemble cast of 50 relatively unknown actors (to help with the realism and feeling of randomness). The psychological horror-thriller film only takes place in one room and has one conflict: how can 50 people decide which one among them will survive?
The plot is simple: 50 people wake up in a dark room and eventually discover that they have to continuously vote out who among them will die. The obvious choice is between a pregnant woman and a child, but other participants demand they should have a chance to survive too.
The Invitation (2015)
A horror film that’s meant to unnerve rather than scare, the ending of the film may make you think twice the next time you receive an invitation to a dinner party.
Will and his girlfriend receive an invitation to a dinner party from his ex-wife Eden and her new husband David. Will and Eden’s marriage fell apart after the death of their young son, and Eden has found it difficult coping with the grief. He finds that Eden has found a support group to help move on from her grief, but he also begins to see signs that make him suspect the group’s plans.
The Platform (2019)
The Spanish science fiction-horror film gained popularity on social media after the concept of The Platform was compared to the Oscar-winning film Parasite. Although a science fiction film, the movie is an allegory for class disparity: those at the top that gorge themselves for resources leave very little for those at the bottom.
Goreng joins the “Vertical Self-Management Center,” a tower-style facility where food is delivered once a day via a platform that starts at the top and makes its way down to the people at the bottom. The people at the top enjoy a clean and bountiful banquet, while those at the bottom either eat the leftovers and scraps or are left with nothing by the time the platform reaches them. Goreng experiences what it’s like to live at the top and bottom of the tower.
The science fiction action film is a mind-bender – literally. While it has the traits found in your typical Christopher Nolan film, it’s easy enough for anyone to understand the complex story that makes people question what’s real and what’s just in your head.
Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Dominick Cobb, a man who performs corporate espionage by extracting information in people’s subconscious by entering their dreams. On the run from the government after his wife’s death, Cobb receives the opportunity to return home to his children if he can convince the heir to a conglomerate to dissolve his father’s company. But to successfully stage this, he has to form the right team.
Sucker Punch (2011)
Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch earned mixed reviews, but it’s still a good movie underneath what many look to be gratuitous sex and violence. It paints a dreary picture: a stepfather frames a girl for the death of her sister and has her declared mentally insane. In her last few days, she tries to escape and imagines a world much more exciting than her dreary reality.
The film stars Emily Browning as Babydoll, a girl who is scheduled to be lobotomized in her stepfather’s plan to get rid of her and steal her late mother’s fortune. She imagines herself in a much more exciting place and fantasizes adventures in her quest to escape the asylum.
Buster’s Mal Heart (2016)
Buster’s Mal Heart is a surreal mystery film. It’s one of those films that, at the end, you’re not really sure what you just watched. It’s perfect for those who work in the graveyard shift and want to see the psychological toll it takes for those who don’t have the mental capacity for it.
Buster is the nickname of a man once known as Jonah, a man who gets a job as a night-shift concierge in a hotel. This takes a toll on his psyche, and he ends up becoming a mountain man on the run from the law.
Gerald’s Game (2017)
Another mind-bending film based on a 1992 novel by Stephen King, Gerald’s Game is one woman’s descent into madness. She finds herself unfortunately alone and tied up in an isolated lake house and is forced to face the demons that plague her life.
Married couple Jessie and Gerald attempt to rekindle their sex life by spending a weekend in an isolated house in the forest. While Jessie is handcuffed to the bed, however, Gerald has a heart attack and dies. Alone, isolated, and trapped on the bed, Jessie faces hallucinations that forces her to confront her demons.