No, I’m not okay, thanks for asking!
As delightful as it is to watch a gory horror movie with the lights out while you're hunkered under the covers praying a clown doesn't eat you alive, sometimes you want less blood and more...brains. Enter: the psychological thriller, a genre that’s all about effing you up mentally and emotionally while terrifying you in the process. What's not to love? 👀
Psychological thrillers are ideal for people who aren’t down for jump-scares and the paranormal, but still want to get their heart rate up and possibly have everlasting nightmares. And let’s be real, sometimes the fragility of the human psyche is even more terrifying than killer sharks. To quote Master of the Psychological Thriller Alfred Hitchcock, "There is a distinct difference between 'suspense' and 'surprise,' and yet many pictures continually confuse the two." Then again, apparently this dude also said “Always make the audience suffer as much as possible,” so...yeah.
Hitchcock's movies pretty much dominate this genre with classics like Vertigo and Rebecca, but there are also a ton of contemporary psychological thrillers films ready and willing to freak you out—from Black Swan and American Psycho, to Eyes Wide Shut and Gone Girl.
Check out 20 of our favorite psychological thrillers below if you're in the mood to be ~intellectually creeped out~.