20 best psychological horror movies that give you goosebumps

It’s not easy to scare modern viewers, but the creators of psychological horror films do not lower their hands and cameras, trying to shoot something creepy. These are exciting stories about paranoia, phobias, crimes, where they try to drag the audience into souls cut off from reality and engulfed in chaos. If you’re not impressed by slasher movies or horror movies about vampires and zombies, then try watching a horror movie from this list to finally get one hundred percent afraid.

Censor (2021)

Based on a true story , this new movie takes viewers back to the 1980s, when the UK was troubled by a spate of horror-influenced murders. Enid works as a censor. She has to watch miles of films to mark the scenes of violence and bloody horror. In one episode, she stumbles upon an actress who looks like her missing sister and is reminiscent of terrible events from her childhood. A woman takes on an investigation and tries to unravel the mystery behind the terrible events.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title:
Censor

Actors:
Niv Algar, Michael Smiley, Nicholas Barnes …

Country:
United Kingdom

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.7, IMDb – 6.0

Age Limits :
18+


House on the Other Side (2020)

Beth, the heroine of a new psychological horror, built in a dramatic vein, is having a hard time with the death of her husband. The girl cannot find a place for herself in their huge house on the lake and every night she feels the presence of her beloved. In order to somehow distract herself, Beth begins to sort out old things and finds blueprints. And the deeper she digs into the past, the more clearly she realizes that her husband had secrets that she did not know about.

Original title:
The Night House

Actors:
Rebecca Hall, Sarah Goldberg, Vondie Curtis-Hall …

Country:
UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.9, IMDb – 6.5

Age restrictions:
18+


We (2019)

Once again, comedian Jordan Peel sat in the director’s chair and delighted the audience with an unusual thriller with deep philosophical overtones . An exemplary American family – parents, daughter and son come to a summer house on the lake. But the mother is tormented by a bad feeling. Adelaide is haunted by memories from her childhood, when she got lost in an amusement park and met her own replica. And intuition does not deceive a woman. Soon uninvited guests appear on their lawn. They are like twins like the owners of the house and are clearly unfriendly.

Original title:
Us

Actors:
Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, Tim Heidecker …

Country:
USA, Japan, China

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 6.8

Age restrictions:
18+


Gatehouse (2019)

The next film on the list of the best psychological horror films is a slow, viscous film with a viscous atmosphere. Six months after the death of his wife, Richard decides to introduce the children to a new passion. To say that the kids are not happy with this turn is to say nothing. In addition, their dad’s lover is a former sectarian, the daughter of the founder of the community, who organized the mass suicide. To make the acquaintance go smoothly, Richard takes the whole family to a house in the wilderness for Christmas and leaves them alone for a few days.

Original title:
The Lodge

Actors:
Riley Keough, Jayden Martell, Leah McHugh …

Country:
UK, Canada, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.9, IMDb – 6.1

Age restrictions:
18+


Suspiria (2018)

This psychological horror film is a remake of the 1977 film of the same name. The plot takes place in Berlin. Talented girl Susie Bennion comes to the famous dance school to learn from one of the most famous and outrageous teachers. Step by step, the main character plunges into the psychedelic atmosphere of the educational institution and comprehends the terrible side of this closed society.

Original title:
Suspiria

Actors:
Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth …

Country:
Italy, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 6.8

Age restrictions:
18+


Reincarnation (2018)

Our list will continue with one of the most terrible foreign psychological horror films, which really puts pressure on the psyche with an oppressive atmosphere and creepy scenes. When the head of the Graham family, grandmother Ellen, dies, her adult daughter Annie is left with a pile of unresolved problems, complexes and psychological trauma. In addition, she begins to learn the mysterious secrets of her kind, hidden for so long by the deceased. Now every member of the family, including Annie’s children, is threatened by something sinister.

Original title:
Hereditary

Actors:
Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
18+


Velvet Chainsaw (2019)

An ambitious young gallery keeper finds a lot of paintings in the apartment of her deceased neighbor. As it turned out, the man was an unknown self-taught artist . The heroine of the film decides to show the world the works of the late creator, and at the same time earn extra money. However, his paintings are fraught with something mystical and sinister. Everyone who somehow intersects with these works begins to die under strange circumstances.

Original title:
Velvet Buzzsaw

Actors:
Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Zavi Ashton …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.2, IMDb – 5.7

Age restrictions:
18+


Split (2017)

One of the best and highly rated psychological horror movies is about Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man with multiple personality disorder. It is worth watching this thriller, where James McAvoy plays 23 individuals of different ages, genders and worldviews at once, enclosed in one body. During the day in the parking lot, the hero kidnaps three schoolgirls. Teenagers, locked in an equipped basement, get to know a new incarnation of Kevin every day. But why are they here? The kidnapper promises that everything will be cleared up when the 24th personality appears.

Original title:
Split

Actors:
James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley …

Country:
USA, Japan

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Get Out (2017)

A black photographer from New York has a tough weekend ahead of him. Together with his girlfriend, he goes to meet her parents. Everything would be fine, but a simple guy is not used to either the elite “white” society, or to small talk, or to life in a luxurious country house. However, all this will turn out to be a trifle when the hero finds out why he is really here – the horror prepared by a strange family will make the guy run away without looking back.

Original title:
Get Out

Actors:
Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener …

Country:
USA, Japan

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 7.7

Age restrictions:
18+


The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

The next in the top psychological horror films is a unique movie with an unexpected denouement, double meanings, mysticism and riddles. Steven is a famous surgeon who made a terrible mistake. Once he lost a patient on the operating table because he was not quite sober. Tormented by remorse, the man approaches the son of the deceased, slipping him gifts and spending time with him. But sooner or later you have to pay the bills – one of his children’s legs fail and this is just the beginning. Stephen will soon have to make a terrible choice.

Original title:
The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Actors:
Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan …

Country:
Ireland, UK

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 7.0

Age restrictions:
18+


1922 (2017)

Another film adaptation of the king of horrors by Stephen King is a tough family drama in the horror genre. The plot tells about a family of farmers, where at some point there were disagreements over hundreds of hectares of land. The consequence of the feud was a crime – the head of the family, Wilfred, together with his son, kills his wife and throws the body into a well, where the remains will be destroyed by rats. The police find nothing and it seems the man will get away with it. However, soon fate will severely punish the killer and his accomplice – a real horror awaits them ahead. And retribution begins with the pursuit of carrion-eating rats.

Original title:
1922

Actors:
Thomas Jane, Molly Parker, Dylan Schmid …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 6.2

Age restrictions:
16+


Personal Shopper (2016)

Despite the fact that the film did not make it into the list of the most terrible psychological horror films, it catches on with others – a mystical atmosphere and a deep plot with meaning . . A little introverted, Maureen works as a personal shopper for celebrities. However, she came to Paris not only for this. Once upon a time in childhood, a girl and her twin brother discovered paranormal abilities in themselves and agreed that the one who dies first will give a sign to the second – a sign from the other world. Now exploring the mansion of her deceased brother, Maureen begins to sense the presence of the otherworldly.

Original title:
Personal Shopper

Actors:
Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Boisi …

Country:
France, Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.8, IMDb – 6.1

Age restrictions:
16+


Visit (2015)

The heroine of the horror film, filmed in the style of amateur shooting, has not been in touch with her parents for 15 years. However, she still decides to introduce her two children to her grandparents. Teenage grandchildren go to visit, but already on the first day they notice the strange behavior of relatives – the granny walks at night and makes incomprehensible sounds, and in the barn where children are forbidden to go, the old people are clearly hiding something.

Original title:
The Visit

Actors:
Olivia DeJong, Ed Oxenbould, Dianna Dunagan …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.2, IMDb – 6.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Witch (2015)

A very scary psychological film, where folklore and religious themes are mixed, received positive reviews from critics at the independent film festival. The horror movie takes place in the 17th century. A family of believing colonists moves to a secluded farm in New England. Suddenly, terrible events begin to happen for everyone – their youngest son disappears, and their eldest daughter behaves strangely, showing witchcraft abilities .

Original title:
The VVitch: A New-England Folktale

Actors:
Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie…

Country:
Canada, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 6.9

Age restrictions:
16+


Good Night Mommy (2014)

Before us is a beautiful large mansion, located somewhere in the wilderness, where a young woman arrives after plastic surgery. At home, her twin sons Elias and Lukas are waiting for her. The boys are glad to see their mother after the absence, but note oddities in her behavior. Indeed, her entire face is bandaged, and only her eyes are visible. What if it’s not their mother at all, but someone else? The children decide to test their theory.

Original title:
Ich seh, Ich seh

Actors:
Lukas Schwartz, Elias Schwartz, Suzanne Wuest…

Country:
Austria

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.0, IMDb – 6.7

Age restrictions:
18+


Woman (2011)

A successful lawyer and family man, Chris, who is fond of hunting , accidentally discovers a woman in the forest. The stranger is not like ordinary people – she is hardly dressed, does not speak, has the habits of a wild beast and, it seems, has been living in the forest for a long time. The man brings her home, closes her in the cellar and shackles her, warning the family members that he intends to make a civilized person out of the captive. However, the situation soon spirals out of control and takes a dangerous turn.

Original title:
The Woman

Actors:
Sean Bridgers, Angela Bettis, Pollyanna McIntosh …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.8, IMDb – 6.0

Age Limits :
18+


Asylum (2010)

American detective horror film introduces the viewer to the practicing psychiatrist Kara. She single-handedly raises a child and is engaged in the fact that she is trying to refute the existence of a split personality syndrome. The doctor is convinced that everyone who claims to have several personalities is just scammers pursuing their own goals or maniacs who want to get away from punishment. But when she is invited to work with patient David, her convictions are shaken, and a chilling horror awaits Kara.

Original title:
6 Souls

Actors:
Julianne Moore, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jeffrey DeMann …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 6.1

Age restrictions:
16+


Fear (2009)

A shy boy, a film student, Stephen meets the enigmatic Quaid after a philosophy class. After exchanging a few phrases, they decide on a joint project – a student film on the nature of fear. The research includes on-camera interviews with volunteers who talk about what scares them. However, the further the experiment goes, the weirder Quaid behaves. It looks like the guy has old mental wounds and they have not yet healed.

Original title:
Dread

Actors:
Jackson Rathbone, Sean Evans, Hanne Steen …

Country:
UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.9, IMDb – 5.6

Age Limits :
18+


Gothic (2003)

Psychiatrist Miranda works in a closed clinic for criminals declared insane by law. But a beloved job and an ideal marriage disappear at once when the heroine, who almost knocked down a girl on the highway, comes to her senses and realizes with horror that she is a prisoner in her own hospital. The woman does not remember the last days of her life and how she committed the crime of which she is accused – she hacked her husband to death with an ax. Soon Miranda begins to be haunted by the ghost of this girl and it seems that he wants to tell her something important. The only chance to find out the truth is to run.

Original title:
Gothika

Actors:
Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr., Charles S. Dutton …

Country:
USA, France, Canada, Spain

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 5.8

Age restrictions:
16+


The Story of Two Sisters (2003)

The horror film is based on a Korean folk tale. The story is about two sisters Su-mi and Su-yeon. One of them comes home after treatment in a psychiatric clinic and finds out that her father has a new wife. Relations with the stepmother in teenagers, of course, do not go well. In addition, so strange events begin to occur in the house that it becomes difficult to understand where the illusion is and where the reality is.

Original title:
Janghwa, Hongryeon

Actors:
Lim Su-jeong, Moon Geun-young, Yeom Jong-ah …

Country:
South Korea

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 7.2

Age limit:
16+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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