Eight chilling, thrilling and popcorn-spilling psycho-horror movies


Although the spooky season has come to an end, people can still enjoy it through horror movies in particular. As psychological horror increasingly gains popularity, they have seemingly taken over streaming platforms and theaters. This list of eight spine-chilling psycho-thrillers can help keep horror fans in the spooky spirit.

Ren Lloyd, Opinions editor

From psychological to slasher, the horror genre ranges widely and caters to every type of scary movie lover. However, psychological horror may stand as one of the best horror genres because of the way it takes advantage of someone’s mental and emotional feelings and pairs them with horror themes. Watching psychological horror movies can help uniquely tap into the landscape of the spooky season. 

  “Psychological horrors terrify us. Not with jump scares and gore, but by seeping deep into our dark and twisted insides. As the audience, we are left not exactly spooked. More like utterly unnerved. It’s a form of storytelling that inspires so much creative layering and nuance, that even those who are normally horror averse can find something to sink their teeth into,” Heather Wake of Upworthy said

“The Shining”

Standing as one of the best-known classic psychological horror movies, “The Shining,” combines themes of paranormality, precognition and the supernatural to create an overall top-rated film. Even after viewing this film, its themes and scenes resonate with the viewer long after. Rotten Tomatoes rated “The Shining” at 82% after the film’s release in 1980.

“Things Heard and Seen”

Movie fans could place “Things Heard and Seen” in a category among highly underrated psychological horror movies on Netflix. “Things Heard and Seen” tells the story of a young couple who moves to a small town. After months of living in the home, the woman begins to see ghosts and hear voices. She later discovers deep and dark secrets regarding her husband and his work. “Things Heard and Seen” contains several spiritual, psychological and eerie themes that make the movie one-of-a-kind. 


After its release in 2018, “Birdbox” topped the charts with 45 million views within its first week on Netflix. Featuring the notorious Sandra Bullock, “Birdbox” tells the story of a murderous, invisible entity that causes one to immediately commit suicide after seeing it. As soon as a person opens their eyes, they succumb to the desire to harm themself. As gory and disgusting as this movie may seem, it taps into the human mental state, as well as the human struggle to face fears. The horror factor in “Bird Box” differs drastically from other scary movies. Instead of jumpscares or scary monsters, the horror factor in “Bird Box” comes from the fear of uncertainty: nobody knows what will happen next. 

“The Woman in the Window”

Starring A-list actress Amy Adams, “The Woman in the Window” brings another unique style of psychology to the horror table. In this film, an agoraphobic doctor named Anna Fox allegedly witnesses murders and eerie sightings in the apartment across the street. Fox begins receiving pictures of herself sleeping through emails and her therapist starts acting weirder than usual. To emphasize the psychological horror aspect of the movie, “The Woman in the Window” directly references mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and separation anxiety


Fractured” tells the story of a delusional man who cannot accept the truth about the passing of his wife and daughter. After his daughter suffers a deadly fall from a ledge and his wife dies trying to comfort him, Ray Monroe does his best to convince himself that neither of them died. Sadly, he succeeds. Throughout the movie, Monroe chases false intuitions and puts himself through a plethora of disastrous situations to find out what happened to his dead daughter and wife. He harasses the hospital, bombards the police and causes everyone around him to slowly become aware of his insanity. “Fractured” focuses on schizophrenia and the way it toys with one’s mind and distorts reality. For anyone who truly wants to make themselves think, “Fractured” perfectly encapsulates the psychological theme with a simple touch of horror to tie the film together. 


Adding to the plethora of Netflix psychological horror movies, 1BR definitely deserves a spot on the list. Earning a promising 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, “1BR” encapsulates every possible aspect of psychological terror. David Marmor perfectly executed elements such as jumpscares, psychosis, suspense and of course, fear. The film begins with a young woman named Sarah who finds the supposedly perfect apartment for herself. From friendly neighbors to group barbecues, the apartment complex seems everything but expected. Sarah then discovers that every neighbor in the apartment participates in a cult and they want her as their newest member. Sarah must endure torture, trauma and grief if she ever plans on escaping the hell that she calls home.

“Get Out”

Get Out” quite possibly stands on top of other films in the psychological horror genre. “Get Out” also covers deeper psychological themes about mental health, race and the media. The film starts out as a cute couple’s trip. However, upon almost immediate arrival at his girlfriend’s family home, Chris Washington notices a multitude of peculiarities around the house. During their stay, Washington witnesses the abnormal relationship between her family and the people they associate with. He becomes so consumed with everything around him that he does not even think he may soon become the victim of a sickening family cult. These scenes barely cover the surface of the sick and twisted message behind this thrilling and chilling film.

“Shutter Island”

Although various people may not consider the film a psychological horror, “Shutter Island” easily belongs in this genre. Although it mainly covers aspects of mental health and psychology, this classic Leonardo Dicaprio film also incorporates horror elements and themes. U.S marshal Teddy Daniels and his partner Chuck Aule took on the task of investigating the disappearance of someone who allegedly murdered their family and escaped from a mental hospital on Shutter Island. Teddy pushes himself to the limit, following a plethora of clues and events that will help them solve the mystery. Little does he know, he must look within himself to uncover the truth.

“I don’t really find jumpscare horror movies scary, I think they’re more funny than scary honestly. Movies with a lot of blood and gore gross me out but I can usually tolerate them. Psychological horror movies sound pretty interesting though so I might go watch some of them,” senior Anna Gaitan said. 

“The Platform”

The Platform” stands as one of the unique psychological horror films next to “The Woman in the Window.” A middle-aged man from Spain named Goreng decides to quit his smoking addiction. As the superior solution, he travels to a building called The Hole. Every month, the establishment randomly pairs each person in The Hole with another and assigns them a random floor from one to 333. A person’s floor number determines the amount of food that they will receive for the month. Lucky residents earn spots on the top floors, while others likely starve. Goreng hears through the grapevine that a child lives somewhere in The Hole, yet children should not reside there. He makes it his mission to find the child and bring justice to the starving people leading to floor 333. “The Platform” subtly mentions psychological and moral themes such as desire and liberation, while also adding an eerie aspect with violence and gore.