The genre of psychological thrillers isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. A separate taste bud has to be developed in order to enjoy these films because the more they mess up with your brain, the better they are. And the better they are, the more time you’ll need to recuperate from it. These stories leave a mark on the viewer and it is not so easy to shake off the impact. If you are in the mood to entertain yourself with such stories, then you have come to the right place. Here’s the list of really good psychological thriller movies on Hulu that are available to stream right now:
17. Sliver (1993)
Before purchasing or renting a property, everyone makes a note of finding out about the history of the place. Why did the previous tenants leave? Did anything bad ever happen in the place? Superstitious or not, you have to accept that a place retains the vibe of whatever good or bad has happened there before, which is why some places seem warm and welcoming while others feel spooky. Carly Norris finds a new home in apartment number 113 of the silver building in New York City. She is told that the tenant before her had jumped to death from the balcony and that Carly has a strong resemblance to her. At first, she just shrugs off the information, but then, she begins to realise that something is wrong with the apartment.
16. Distorted (2018)
Architecture has evolved with technology and both things often go hand in hand. Lauren Curran and her husband move into a luxury building where their apartment is replete with chic design and latest technology. Basically, it is a smart home, so you can guess how technological it gets. In the beginning, the couple is awed by it and happily start to settle down in the new place. But soon, Lauren discovers that the motive for making the building “smart” goes beyond just serving the residents. It is about using them. How and for what? She intends to find out.
15. Grand Piano (2013)
Stage fright is something that a lot of people suffer from. Whether it is your first time on the stage or the twentieth, some people can’t seem to shake off the feeling that makes their feet turn into jelly every time they approach a platform with a great crowd waiting for them to perform. But somehow, you muster the courage and pray to get over with it. You can make mistakes, take a different approach from what you had practised, and if a small thing goes wrong, it won’t really be a big deal. Tom, however, does not have that luxury. He is a concert pianist who has to deliver a performance at a pivotal point in his career. As if that pressure, along with stage fright, wasn’t enough, he receives a note which says that if even one note in his performance goes wrong, he’ll be killed on the spot.
14. V/H/S/2 (2013)
Horror and psychology often go hand in hand. The things that terrify us use things like peripheral vision, a loud sound or a soft whisper to manipulate our brain into believing that something horrible is about to go down. Films like ‘V/H/S/2’ jump in and out of these circles to tell a story that is sure to leave you unsettled. A sequel to 2012’s ‘V/H/S’, this film is a collection of five short stories, each of which is more convoluted and horrifying than the one that precedes it. Connecting the stories is the overall narrative of the film which moves forward with each step. If you like watching found-footage type of films, then this one is right up your alley.
13. Honeymoon (2014)
The word “honeymoon” has romance written all over it. Initial days of the married bliss — it is perhaps the best time in the life of any couple. As time goes by, things can become a bit dicey sometimes and ups and downs in the relationship are pretty natural. But all that comes after the honeymoon phase. For Bea and Paul, things don’t turn out so normally. They decide to get away to a secluded cabin in the woods (blaring red signs) to spend a few days following their recent wedding. One night, Bea disappears into the woods. Paul succeeds in finding her and brings her back to the cabin, but she is not the same anymore.
12. The Forgotten (2004)
Losing one’s child is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone. It is understandable how traumatic it can be to someone, what damage it can do to them emotionally and psychologically. In ‘The Forgotten’, Julianne Moore plays the role of one such woman. Telly had lost her son in a plane crash. It has been well over a year now, but she is still in grieving. Her husband, on the other hand, doesn’t understand what’s wrong with her. He tells her that they never had a son! Telly’s neighbour and her psychiatrist also tell her the same. The worst part is that she had nothing to prove them wrong. She sets out to find what the hell is happening around her.
10. I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016)
I don’t mean to sympathize with people who kill others for the sake of satisfying their own twisted needs, but the truth is that these people are sick. They need serious help, and who knows, if they get it in time, they might not become the topic for the next true crime documentary! Accepting your problem is the first step, followed by the influence of your immediate environment on your physical and emotional state. John Wayne Cleaver knows that. He has sociopathic tendencies but he doesn’t want to materialize them, so he has come up with ways to keep his urge to kill at bay. However, a series of murder in town introduces him to the possibility of a serial killer. He decides to track this person down.
9. 78/52 (2017)
Alfred Hitchcock’s movies work on a different level. No matter how old they get, the brilliance of them will continue to dazzle generations to come. One of his most popular films is ‘Psycho’, which became an event in itself, giving impetus to films focused on serial killers, sociopaths and psychopaths. The human mind became an active accomplice in the plot of the films, and if there is one person we should thank for the legion of psychological thrillers out there today, it should be Hitchcock. ‘Psycho’ isn’t available on Hulu, but if you have already seen it and are a fan, then ‘78/52’ can help you have a deeper understanding of how the film, especially the infamous shower scene, was brought to life on screen.
8. Venus in Fur (2013)
Directed by Roman Polanski, ‘Venus in Fur’ is a French drama that is spun around just two characters. The story begins with a director who is having a frustrating day. He has written a new play and wants a perfect actress for the lead character. However, the whole day has gone by and not one person has been able to impress him. Just as he is about to leave the theatre, a woman stumbles in. She seems a bit dishevelled and is clearly late for the audition. However, she convinces the director to let her read the part. She succeeds in making a mark on him and he decides to continue reading the whole script with her. He doesn’t know it yet, but she is there for something more than just the role.
7. Experimenter (2015)
The human brain is an enigma and many scientists have tried to crack its codes, one step at a time. Stanley Milgram was one such person. ‘Experimenter’ follows the string of experiments that he conducted in 1961. The purpose of the study was to determine how humans react and succumb to authority. The procedure was to have two people in the same room. One person had to administer electric shocks to the other person. Being the test subject, you can either choose to accept it or keep defying the direct orders of someone who holds higher authority than you. What would you do in such a case? Also, how are you currently responding to the things that the authority figures in real life are making you do?
6. The Cable Guy (1996)
We have to deal with a lot of strangers on a day to day basis — a plumber, a delivery boy, a postman, and whatnot. Some of these people are friendly, while others just stick to their job and leave as soon as they are done. Either way, as long as they can help you, it works just fine. But then, sometimes, you get someone who is over friendly, so much that they begin to bother you, irritate you. In ‘The Cable Guy’, Matthew Broderick’s character, Steven just wanted to have the cable installed and entertained the cable guy’s chatty behaviour. But soon, he started to frustrate him and when Steven told him that they can’t be friends, Chip’s friendliness was replaced by a monstrous nature.
5. Mother! (2017)
Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem star in this psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky, the meaning of which can be interpreted in a number of ways. ‘Mother!’ tells the story of a couple whose lives are thrown into a frenzy when they have some uninvited guests. These people start to become a nuisance, and the situation gets tenser and more dangerous by the minute. They just won’t leave and with every passing moment, the damage inflicted by them becomes more pronounced.
4. The Double (2013)
Everyone wants to be noticed for their work. They want to make friends and get the promotions that they so obviously deserve. But if they are not being noticed by anyone at all, how do they get that? Based on the story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, ‘The Double’ stars Jesse Eisenberg in the lead role as a man who is going through the same problem. Simon has spent seven years of his life working in the same office, and yet, he has no friends and no one pays any heed to him. His problem worsens when James comes to work at the office. He is identical to Simon, though no one seems to notice that, and suddenly, he becomes the star of the place, much to Simon’s chagrin.
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3. Compliance (2012)
What would you do if you received a call from a cop who tells you that one of your employees has done something wrong and you need to detain them until the cops arrive? Of course, it’s quite simple. You’ll do as you are asked. But what if the cops tell you that you have to strip-search the employee? Things seem a bit shadier and uncomfortable now, don’t they? ‘Compliance’ is inspired by true events and uses the set-up of a fast food restaurant to tell its story. Sandra receives a call from someone who identifies himself as Officer Daniels and tells her that Becky, her employee, stole someone’s purse. The initial requests of the officer seem logical, but then they start to get out of hand.
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2. Shutter Island (2010)
One of the best psychological thrillers you’ll ever watch, ‘Shutter Island’ is an exhausting experience in itself. Once you are done with it, your head will surely feel heavy and you’ll want to watch something light, mostly some comedy, in the days that follow your viewing. Directed by Martin Scorsese, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo as two marshals who visit a psychiatric facility to investigate the disappearance of one of the patients. DiCaprio’s character, Edward Daniels, has gone through some recent personal losses and the weight of it can be perceived through his handling of the case, and how he begins to take it very personally. He begins to suspect that a conspiracy is underway at the facility and doesn’t know whom he can trust.
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1. The Shining (1980)
If you are a Stephen King fan and ‘The Shining’ happens to be one of your favourite books, then I understand if you have mixed feelings about the film. Directed by Stanley Kubrick, the Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall starrer has received a cult status over the year, but the charm and the impact of it continue to remain the same. It follows the story of a writer who takes up the job of the caretaker of an isolated hotel that becomes inaccessible during the winters. His wife and son join him, but the remoteness of the place begins to play its trick on his mind.
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