11 of the most intense psychological thrillers you can watch on Netflix
A new, updated version of this article can be found here

Netflix has a wide variety of terrifying and thought-provoking psychological thrillers in its catalogue

So if ingenious plot twists, intriguing characters, and lots of murder are your thing, look no further.

Here are the best psychological thrillers on Netflix UK right now.

Big Bad Wolves (2014)

Big Bad Wolves

When a hardened war veteran sees the investigation into the kidnapping of his daughter stall, he resorts to vigilante justice in a bid to find out what’s happened to her.

Darkly funny, consistently surprising and occasionally shocking; this shifts from a suspenseful opening act to a series of brilliantly tense scenes where the central trio of father, detective and suspect all shine.

Headhunters (2011)


This Scandinavian thriller follows Norway’s most successful corporate headhunter – who also happens to moonlight as a wily art thief, funding his decadent tastes with the vast wealth reaped by his illegal pastime.

Unfortunately he soon gets in way over his head, and as the severity of the plot reaches boiling point, he finds himself embroiled in a fantastic and occasionally farcical fight for survival. One of the most original movies of recent times.

Mr. Brooks (2007)

Screen grab

An excellent ‘against-type’ role for Kevin Costner here, as a lavish businessman with an uncontrollable urge to commit horrific crimes.

William Hurt is wonderfully sinister as the imaginary alter ego who whispers in his ear, and his scenes usually manifest in the shape of some seriously creepy dialogue. This film is an interesting and distinctive peek into the mind of a serial killer, and something of an overlooked gem.

Frailty (2001)

Screen grab

Bill Paxton’s directorial debut is another hidden gem. In modern-day Texas, Matthew McConaughey’s mysterious character approaches an FBI agent to give him the identity of a serial killer he’s searching for, before flashbacks fill in a fascinating, murky backstory.

There are clever plot twists to (hopefully) trick your assumptions, quality performances (what else would you expect from McConaughey?) and a surprisingly deep hotbed of emotions.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

The Talented Mr Ripley

This particular yuppie will do whatever it takes to live the high-life, a fact that Herbert Greenleaf (the wealthy father of Jude Law’s character) isn’t aware of when he recruits Matt Damon’s con artist to track down his gallivanting son.

Definitely a psychological thriller in the purest sense of the word, The Talented Mr. Ripley is about greed, and the frightening lengths one man will do to get what he wants, as his web of lies gets more and more tangled. Delicious stuff.

The Guest (2014)

The Guest

Most people would have a few questions to ask if a mysterious stranger turned up on their doorstep, claiming to be the closest friend of a dead family member. But the Peterson family seem less than inquisitive when it happens to them.

As the far-from-ordinary David spends more and more time with the everyday, suburban brood, it starts to become evident that there’s a dangerous edge to him. Its exhilarating blend of action and atmosphere makes The Guest an extremely entertaining, compelling watch. Great soundtrack too.

Pi (1998)

Screen grab

Max Cohen is a maths genius in search of the ultimate formula. Unfortunately, he also suffers from disturbing visions and terrible headaches – which only worsen as he shuts out the world and becomes mired in the claustrophobic surroundings of his filthy Chinatown apartment.

Darren Aronofsky’s cult low-budget debut is an ambitious blend of character study, conspiracy thriller, and descent into madness. A real trip.

Rear Window (1954)

Rear Window

After unwittingly witnessing what he believes to be a murder, photographer L. B. Jefferies (James Stewart) gets involved in the resulting investigation and case.

With his limited information, Jeff is determined to track down more, and for 152 minutes, our protagonist desperately tries to piece together the pieces in an attempt to clear up exactly what happened on that fateful day. Alfred Hitchcock directs – so expect masterful suspense.

Vertigo (1958)


And here’s another Hitchcock classic, starring James Stewart (again) as former detective and slightly unhinged anti-hero John Ferguson, whose trauma during a rooftop chase has left him terrified of heights.

Following his retirement from the force, he takes on a private case as a favour to a friend – which soon draws him into a bizarre, troubling and possibly even supernatural conspiracy.  The term “psychological thriller” should be taken literally in this case, as Vertigo pulls no punches in displaying mental torment throughout. A tragic and intriguing movie.

Primal Fear (1996)

Primal Fear

When Richard Gere’s shameless, money-driven lawyer finds himself unexpectedly drawn into the impassioned defence of a seemingly vulnerable young man accused of a horrifying murder, the scene is set for one of the more interesting courtroom thrillers out there.

The case becomes much more complicated as the plot progresses, in a film that questions morality, law and all of our assumptions.

Coherence (2013)


Sci-fi thrillers don’t have to be all about effects and explosions, as Coherence’s inclusion on this list will prove. A group of friends meet for a dinner party, before weird and unnatural happenings begin to occur. As the night progresses, the group begin to doubt each other.

With nearly no budget at all, director James Ward Byrkit has created an extremely compelling and original film, with numerous twists and a plethora of enjoyably unlikable characters – which always helps in a film like this.


The most binge-able shows on Netflix

The best new British additions to Netflix

The best new additions to Netflix in June