Benedict Cumberbatch may have missed out on an Oscar for his portrayal as Enigma-code cracker Alan Turing, but that doesn’t mean there’s no love out there for a good conundrum. With twists and turns and reveals coming from nowhere, everyone loves a compelling “What the hell is going on?” movie caper.
With that in mind, be prepared to be thoroughly intrigued and bamboozled. Here are some of the most mind-bending psychological thrillers available to stream on Netflix UK right now.
Note: You’re reading an older version of this article and some titles may have been removed – for the latest round-up please check out the ‘Most intense psychological thrillers on Netflix’
Shutter Island (2010)
This atmospheric detective saga from legendary director Martin Scorsese stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo as a pair of US Marshals investigating the mysterious disappearance of an escaped patient at the fabled Shutter Island institute for the mentally insane. Thoroughly chilling and deeply unsettling, this mystery is well worth a watch.
A true brain-tangler if there ever was one. Low-budget gem Primer has baffled audience members worldwide for over a decade. When a pair of engineers accidently develop a functioning time machine, the duo decide to return to the past and ensure their future selves will be rich and famous. However, when personal desire gets the better of them, things take a turn for the worse. Utterly confusing – and plenty of fun.
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
When young Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is sent to Italy to retrieve a spolit millionaire, he instead decides to adopt the lifestyle of the young heir. With a stellar cast and directed by the late, great Anthony Minghella, the 1950’s set thriller is a definite addition to the Netflix queue.
An early work from the vastly talented Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Interstellar), Insomnia stars the great Al Pacino as a city cop sent to the barren lands of Northern Alaska to uncover the truth behind the murder of a teenage girl. When the arrest of a suspect goes majorly wrong, obsession and madness beckon. Stark, thrilling and with intense performances from Pacino and Robin Williams as a creepy writer, Insomnia is well worth a watch to see how the last decade’s biggest director cut his major league chops.
The Sixth Sense (1999)
The legendary chiller is arguably the mother of all mind-bending psychological thrillers. From acclaimed director M. Night Shyamalan, this ghostly feature tells the tale of a disillusioned child psychologist (Bruce Willis) hired to aid a six year-old boy with the unsettling ability to see and communicate with the deceased. Spooky and smart.
Berberian Sound Studio (2012)
A psychological horror in which the lines between what is real and what isn’t become horrendously blurred. When shy sound engineer Gilderoy is hired to work on the post production of an Italian horror film, he soon finds the nature of the movie itself beginning to take control of his life outside of the sound room. Intense and ghoulish, Berberian Sound Studio is a stellar example of a messed-up reality.
A great ensemble thriller starring the likes of John Cusack and Ray Liotta, Identity throws ten strangers into a small-town motel and traps them there in the midst of a powerful rainstorm. Bunkering down for the night, things get increasingly paranoid when the guests start being murdered one by one. Is the killer among their rapidly depleting group?
Everybody Has a Plan (2012)
A dirty, gritty psychological thriller starring Viggo Mortensen as disillusioned doctor Agustin who, following the death of his twin brother, decides to adopt his life as a violent member of Argentina’s criminal underworld. A thought-provoking study into dealing with the aftermath of choices that may not be as grand as first thought.
Six people, each seemingly unrelated (a cop, a math professor, an architect, a doctor, a convict and an autistic man), are all placed into a hazardous, seemingly impossible maze and must band together to escape. With no idea as to why they have been imprisoned or by whom, the group must set out on a riveting mission to get out and uncover the truth. A superb low-budget flick that preceded Saw by almost a decade.