- The best psychological thrillers on Amazon Prime are a mix of original content and licensed theatrical releases, offering twists and turns that keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
- Prime Video has a wide range of psychological thrillers from various decades, featuring A-list actors, exploring stories of deceit, delusion, and unfathomable situations.
- From the disturbing love story of two cannibals in “Bones and All” to the gripping cat-and-mouse game in “Secret Window,” these thrillers deliver smart scares and top-notch performances.
The best psychological thrillers on Amazon Prime include a strong mix of original content as well as both old and new theatrical releases licensed to the streaming service. The focus of a psychological thriller is to take viewers into the lives of people terrorized by an often unseen force, and in the best cases, the movie itself is never what it might seem. Twists and turns are a mainstay in this genre, and characters end up being taken on thrilling and frightening journeys where they end up out of their comfort zones, usually leaving the audience on the edge of their seats until the last ultimate reveal.
Because of their demand, streaming services have picked up and released many quality movies that explore psychological stories of deceit, delusion, and all-around unfathomable situations. Prime Video has a fantastic line-up of psychological thrillers to stream, and fans of this genre won’t want to miss what they have to offer to subscribers. The best psychological thrillers on Amazon Prime encompass a wide range of films from various decades, featuring some of the biggest movie stars in the world. From the more horrific to the criminal underworld side of the equation, these thriller movies are all but guaranteed to give the viewer goosebumps thanks to smart scares and top-notch performances.
25 All The Old Knives (2022)
Starring Chris Pine & Thandiwe Newton
All the Old Knives
- Release Date
- April 8, 2022
- Janus Metz
- Thandiwe Newton, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Pryce, Chris Pine
- 101 minutes
All the Old Knives is an original psychological thriller on Amazon Prime released to the service in 2022. It is the tale of an old CIA operation gone wrong and the search for the team member who betrayed his fellow Americans. Chris Pine is Harry, a CIA operative sent to find out if Thandiwe Newton’s Celia was the mole. However, the two were also former lovers, making the investigation take on a whole new aspect. This makes their meeting and the All the Old Knives ending sting all that much more. What makes this such a fun thriller movie is that it has multiple unreliable narrators, and either of the heroes could end up switching sides by the end.
24 The Little Things (2021)
Starring Denzel Washington, Jared Leto, & Rami Malek
The Little Things
- Release Date
- January 29, 2021
- John Lee Hancock
- Sofia Vassilieva, Isabel Arraiza, Stephanie Erb, Denzel Washington, Kerry O’Malley, Rami Malek, Jason James Richter, Terry Kinney, Adam J. Harrington, Jared Leto, Tom Hughes, Chris Bauer, Natalie Morales, Michael Hyatt
The Little Things is a psychological thriller that seemed to fly under the radar when it was released. The movie has a great cast, with Denzel Washington, Jared Leto, and Rami Malek, but it was released theatrically toward the end of the lockdown in the pandemic and also hit Max at the same time. As a result, it remains a movie few people still talk about, but it deserves a watch. Directed by John Lee Hancock, the movie features two detectives (Washington and Malek) investigating a string of murders, which leads them to one man (Leto). Despite mixed reviews, Leto received a Golden Globes nomination for his performance and the acting was top-notch.
23 Bones And All (2022)
Starring Taylor Russell & Timothée Chalamet
Bones and All
- Release Date
- November 18, 2022
- Luca Guadagnino
- Timothee Chalamet, Taylor Russell, Mark Rylance
- 130 minutes
Based on the book by Camille DeAngelis, Bones and All is a disturbing psychological thriller that stars Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet as two young cannibals who fall in love as they take a road trip across America. The movie seems to take place in a world where cannibalism is slightly normalized as a condition that people face. However, as a love story, it is a unique and disturbing look at a couple struggling, and failing, to fit in normally in a world where what they do is considered monstrous. The movie was a box office flop, but it received several awards nominations, including three from the Independent Spirit Awards.
22 Secret Window (2004)
Starring Johnny Depp & John Turturro
Based on a Stephen King short story, Secret Window is not so much a horror movie, as it is a psychological thriller. That is because most of the movie’s mystery comes in one character coming to grips with his own sanity, in a mostly losing battle. Johnny Depp is Mort Rainey, a writer who leaves his wife when he catches her having an affair with a friend. Staying at their remote cabin in upstate New York, a mysterious man named John Shooter appears who claims that Mort is plagiarizing his stories. A cat-and-mouse game commences, with Mort beginning to question what is real and what is in his head. It remains an underrated Johnny Depp movie.
21 The Firm (1993)
Starring Tom Cruise & Gene Hackman
- Release Date
- June 30, 1993
- Sydney Pollack
- Jeanne Tripplehorn, Hal Holbrook, Holly Hunter, Ed Harris, Gary Busey, Gene Hackman, Tom Cruise, Wilford Brimley
- 154 minutes
The Firm had three big things going for it when it came out in 1993. It is based on John Grisham’s breakout novel, it stars Tom Cruise, and it is directed by Oscar-winning director Sydney Pollack. In the end, it was a mostly by-the-numbers legal thriller movie with Cruise as Mitch, a Harvard law graduate who gets a job for a boutique law firm. However, when he learns this firm is involved in underhanded and illegal tactics to help clients hide money, he finds his life in danger as they attempt to silence him at all costs. The Firm picked up two Oscar nominations, solidifying its status as a taut legal thriller.
20 The Machinist (2004)
Starring Christian Bale
The Machinist is a psychological thriller that is mostly known for the major body transformation of star Christian Bale. Bale dropped to a dangerously low weight for this role, eating one apple, one cup of coffee, and water as his daily diet. The movie itself is about a man (Bale) who works as a machinist and struggles with paranoia after he goes a full year without sleeping. He begins to see things that aren’t there and starts to believe that people are following and pose a danger to him. While it wasn’t a huge box office success, it was critically praised and has become a cult classic.
19 Bringing Out The Dead (1999)
Starring Nicolas Cage
Martin Scorsese took a small break from his gangster movies to make a psychological thriller starring Nicolas Cage in 1999 called Bringing Out the Dead. Written by Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver), the movie is about a depressed New York City paramedic haunted by the patients he failed to save. With nothing seeming left for him to have hope for, he spends three nights roaming the streets of NYC in his ambulance looking for redemption. The movie was a box office failure and while it received mixed reviews, it has been reevaluated as one of Scorsese’s most underappreciated movies.
18 Gaslight (1944)
Starring Ingrid Bergman
Gaslight is the movie that introduced the term gaslighting to the idea of using psychological manipulation by an abuser to make someone believe they are to blame for the way they treat them. The 1944 thriller is directed by George Cukor (My Fair Lady) and stars Ingrid Bergman as the niece of a world-famous opera singer who is sent to Italy to follow in her aunt’s footsteps following her death. When Paula meets and marries Gregory, her new husband begins to torment her and makes her believe she is losing her sanity, all for his own nefarious plans. Bergman won an Oscar for her performance.
17 Knock At The Cabin (2023)
Directed by M. Night Shyamalan
Knock at the Cabin
- Release Date
- February 3, 2023
- M. Night Shyamalan
- Dave Bautista, Jonathan Groff, Ben Aldridge, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Kristen Cui, Abby Quinn, Rupert Grint
- 139 minutes
Knock at the Cabin is an M. Night Shyamalan movie based on the horror novel by Paul Tremblay. While a horror movie, this is more of a psychological thriller, as four strangers show up at a cabin where two men and their adopted daughter are vacationing. These four people then explain the end of the world is underway, and unless one member of the family sacrifices themselves, it will all end. The movie received positive reviews and kept Shyamalan’s rebound intact, while also making a small profit at the box office.
16 Coherence (2013)
Starring Nicholas Brendon
One of the best psychological thrillers on Amazon Prime with a very small-scale sci-fi twist, Coherence revolves around a group of old friends meeting for dinner on the evening a comet visibly passes overhead. Over the course of the bizarre evening, they begin to realize that the comet’s passing has resulted in an inexplicable phenomenon, opening up the fabric of their reality and casting them into a night of confusion and doubt. The improvisational nature of most scenes makes the movie a real exploration of a fascinating sci-fi idea in which the characters quite literally become their own worst enemies.
15 The Wall (2017)
Starring John Cena & Aaron Taylor-Johnson
Aaron Taylor-Johnson and John Cena star in this minimalist Iraq war movie from director Doug Liman about a soldier pinned down by an enemy sniper with only a small wall for protection. Most of the movie revolves around the conversations between the soldier and the unseen sniper over the radio, with mind games abounding. The movie rests heavily on Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s shoulders as a result, but his performance successfully sells the intensity of the situation and the brutality of the conflict, making it one of the best psychological thrillers on Amazon Prime.
14 You Were Never Really Here (2018)
Starring Joaquin Phoenix
You Were Never Really Here
- Release Date
- April 6, 2018
- Lynne Ramsay
- Judith Roberts, Alessandro Nivola, Vinicius Damasceno, Ekaterina Samsonov, John Doman, Alex Manette, Frank Pando, Joaquin Phoenix
Joaquin Phoenix stars in this violent and unusually intimate psychological thriller that acted as an interesting precursor to Phoenix’s Oscar-winning lead performance in Joker. Filled with odd visual and sound design choices to place the audience into the mind of the film’s troubled main character as they delve into rescuing a young girl trapped within a dark political conspiracy involving human trafficking. Its dark sense of humor and unconventional emotionality make it an unpredictable and engaging ride.
13 We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)
Starring Tilda Swinton
We Need To Talk About Kevin is based on the 2003 novel written by Lionel Shriver and focuses on the lives of Eva Khatchadourian and her children. Her son, Kevin, is difficult and distant. As he grows up, he starts to act out, and alarming incidents begin to happen, such as his sister Celia getting seriously injured. As a teenager, he commits a heinous crime, leaving his mother agonizing over her role in his development and her culpability for his crimes. Though there isn’t a resolution to his behavior, the story is always intriguing and often explores under-discussed feelings around parenthood in a bold way.
12 Delicatessen (1991)
Directed by Jean-Pierre Jeanet
Delicatessen is a science fiction psychological thriller that also doubles as a black comedy by Jean-Pierre Jeanet (Amelie). The movie takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where a butcher owns an apartment building in France. The building never has a handyman because the butcher is always killing them, butchering them, and selling them as food. However, things go wrong when his latest target falls in love with the butcher’s daughter. The movie received positive reviews and won several awards, including at the Cesar Awards and European Film Awards.
11 The Handmaiden (2016)
Directed by Park Chan-wook
Park Chan-wook became a fan-favorite director in the United States thanks to the crossover popularity of his intense thriller, Oldboy. However, he has many more great movies under his belt other than that one. The Handmaiden might rank as Park Chan-wook’s best movie, as it tells the story of a pickpocket who attempts to seduce an elite Japanese woman with the intent to steal her inheritance. There are several twists and turns in this film, but it is the tale of two women escaping the dominating patriarchy engulfing them that carries it to high levels.
10 I Saw The Devil (2010)
Starring Park Hoon-jung
I Saw the Devil is a South Korean psychological thriller about an NIS agent who sets out to find revenge on the serial killer who murdered his fiancé. At the same time, the victim’s father is a Squad Chief investigating the murders as well and the two men set out on their different paths of finding justice, while also threatening to destroy what is left of these two men’s lives. It premiered at Sundance and had a limited U.S. run, where it was a minor box office success. The movie was a critical success and won several awards.
9 Charade (1963)
Starring Audrey Hepburn & Cary Grant
Stanley Donen (Singin’ in the Rain) directed an odd film in 1963 that combined screwball comedy with the touch of a psychological thriller when he made Charade. It is often confused as an Alfred Hitchcock movie thanks to star Cary Grant and its suspense and mysterious storyline. Audrey Hepburn is Reggie, an expatriate who learns her estranged husband was partially responsible for the theft of $250,000 of gold treasure. While three men start to stalk Reggie, believing she knows where the money is, a new man in her life is there to help her, but he might not be who he claims to be. The Library of Congress added Charade to the National Film Registry in 2022.
8 The Manchurian Candidate (1962)
Directed by John Frankenheimer
One of the best psychological thrillers in cinema history is the original The Manchurian Candidate from 1962. Directed by John Frankenheimer, the movie is based on the book of the same name about a man who returns from the Korean War after being captured and brainwashed by the communists. What he doesn’t know is that he is part of a giant conspiracy by communists who infiltrated the political parties and planned to overthrow the United States government through an assassination. The movie picked up two Oscar nominations and Angela Lansbury won a Golden Globe for her performance. It entered the National Film Registry in 1994.
7 The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
Starring Matthew McConaughey
Based on the novels by Michael Connelly, The Lincoln Lawyer is about attorney Mickey Haller (Matthew McConaughey), a criminal defense attorney who works out of the back of his Lincoln Town Car. This psychological thriller is about a young man whose wealthy mother hires Mickey to represent her son when he is accused of beating a prostitute. However, as Mickey takes on the case, he realizes that his client might be guilty, and his family might be willing to do anything to protect him, including murdering Mickey and anyone he cares about. The movie ended up also being adapted as a Netflix series a decade later.
6 Joker (2019)
Starring Joaquin Phoenix
- Release Date
- October 4, 2019
- Todd Phillips
- Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy
- 122 minutes
Joker is not only one of the best psychological thrillers on Amazon Prime, but it is also the most successful R-rated comic book movie ever made. Joaquin Phoenix stars as Arthur Fleck, a troubled stand-up comedian who might end up becoming the Batman villain, The Joker. The movie is set up so no one knows what is real and what is all within the mind of Arthur – including a relationship with a woman named Sophie (Zazie Beetz) and a billionaire named Thomas Wayne (Brett Cullen). Joker received 11 Oscar nominations, with Phoenix winning for Best Actor. A sequel is also coming called Joker: Folle a Deux.