Martin Scorsese’s psychological thriller Shutter Island is already a classic. These are 10 movies you’ll love if you like that one.
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Martin Scorsese isn’t the kind of director to make a psychological thriller – he usually helms tales of Catholic guilt told through the eyes of the Mafia – but when he did, he knocked it out of the park. Shutter Island stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a U.S. Marshal who arrives at a mental asylum on a remote island to investigate the disappearance of a patient.
After a series of disturbing flashbacks and plot twists, it becomes pretty clear that this case is a lot more sinister than the Marshal initially thought. So, here are 10 Twisted Thrillers To Watch If You Like Shutter Island.
Updated on April 6th, 2020: Surprising plot twists and psychological thrills are timeless, so Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island remains a favorite among film fans. Movies like it also remain in high demand, as “psychological thriller” is a popular demand on movie night. If you’re a Shutter Island fan who got through all thefilms on this list, fear not, because we’ve updated it with a few more entries (or, rather, fear a lot, because these movies have suspense and terror in spades) (or, rather, fear a lot, because these movies have suspense and terror in spades).
15. Fight Club
Adapted from Chuck Palahniuk’s debut novel of the same name, David Fincher’s Fight Club digs its hooks into its lead character’s psychology, just like Shutter Island, and also delivers a shocking gut-punch plot twist at the end of its second act.
Edward Norton and Brad Pitt are riveting in the lead roles as the Narrator, a workaday office drone who wants to escape the mundanity of his life, and Tyler Durden, the anarchist soap maker who gets him out of his shell, respectively.
14. American Psycho
A large part of the pleasures delivered by Shutter Island is that it’s uncertain what’s real and what isn’t, both to the audience and to the character at the center of it all. American Psycho, based on the divisive Bret Easton Ellis novel, does precisely that.
It begins as a nasty, horror-tinged parody of corporate life, but by the middle, it has transformed into an engrossing psychological thrill coaster. Patrick Bateman, Christian Bale’s starring role, is enthralling.
13. Mulholland Drive
Throughout Shutter Island, there is an air of discomfort, as though everything isn’t quite what it appears and the storylines don’t quite fit together.
Mulholland Drive, David Lynch’s dark Hollywood satire, makes this mood even more vivid since it combines the director’s trademark surrealism with a cruel reality derived from his cynical view of the film industry.
12. Gone Girl
The director of Gone Girl, David Fincher, hired Gillian Flynn to adapt her novel into a screenplay when he accepted the job. After Rosamund Pike’s character, Nick, mysteriously vanishes, Ben Affleck takes on the role of the man who becomes the prime suspect.
Affleck and Pike both shine in their roles, which are bolstered by a slew of twists and turns that are both menacing and disturbing.
11. Taxi Driver
Taxi Driver, directed by Shutter Island’s Martin Scorsese, may be the most horrific psychological thriller ever made. New York City’s streets are overflowing with criminality in the film, which follows the narrative of Vietnam veteran Travis Bickle, who returns home from the war with post-traumatic stress disorder and takes a job as a New York City cab driver to fill his sleepless nights.
While Robert De Niro offers one of his best performances ever, Scorsese introduces the noir lighting tactics and camera angles to 1970s New York to really bring the drama alive.
10. Jacob’s Ladder
Jacob’s Ladder is one of the most underappreciated thrillers of all time. With the character’s mental state depicted in great detail, it’s similar to Shutter Island. As a Vietnam veteran haunted by his memories of the conflict, Tim Robbins stars as Jacob, a man who must navigate his hallucinations to understand what’s going on in his mind.
It was written by Bruce Joel Rubin, who has made four films about the afterlife: Ghost, Brainstorm, Deadly Friend, and this one. Jacob’s Ladder is a well-made, mind-bending psychological thriller.
9. Cape Fear (1991)
In spite of the fact that Shutter Island is Martin Scorsese’s most horror-themed work to date, he has experimented with the subject matter before. Robert De Niro stars as escaped convict Max Cady, who targets the family of Sam Bowden (Robert Mitchum), the lawyer who imprisoned him, in Scorsese’s remake of the ’60s classic Cape Fear (Nick Nolte).
Unlike most remakes, Scorsese wouldn’t make a film like that for the sake of a quick payday. Since De Niro’s portrayal of Cady was so different from Mitchum’s, he decided to make Cape Fear because of this.
8. The Sixth Sense
The Sixth Sense, M. Night Shyamalan’s breakout film, is also the one that established his love of plot twists. As a troubled youngster who has the power to see the dead, Haley Joel Osment takes on the role of the title character. Bruce Willis portrays a psychiatrist hired by the boy’s mother (Toni Collette) to treat him with his mental health issues.
The plot twist doesn’t quite fit with the story, but the audience is so enthralled by the revelation that it doesn’t detract from their enjoyment of the film. Since Shyamalan’s breakthrough with The Sixth Sense, no other film has come close to matching it.
Prior to the success of Blade Runner 2049, Arrival, and Sicario, Denis Villeneuve demonstrated his filmmaking prowess with Prisoners. Actor Hugh Jackman plays a father who is kidnapped while out with his daughter and her friend.
With no leads and even Jackman himself as a possible suspect, Jackman resolves to take matters into his own hands. It becomes a battle of wits when Jake Gyllenhaal, a quiet investigator who is working the case, starts following Jackman around. Real-world fears are used to pounce on the audience in Prisoners.
6. Black Swan
After reading Dostoyevsky’s work The Double, Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky was inspired to write the film. Ballet, which Aronofsky thinks to be the most highbrow art form, came to mind after he made The Wrestler, which the director deems the most lowbrow art form.
While Natalie Portman portrays a ballerina preparing for a performance in Swan Lake, Mila Kunis takes on the role of the ballerina’s fiercest competitor. Cinematic poetry is how the film is described, with the story of Portman staging Swan Lake and the actual story of the Swan Lake dance intertwined in perfect harmony.
5. Primal Fear
Primarily Fear is frequently mentioned on lists of the best movies with the most unexpected story twists, and it was the beginning of Edward Norton’s career. When Norton (Norton) is accused of murdering a high-ranking Catholic archbishop, Gere (Gere) is confident that his client is innocent.
There are aspects of the neo-noir and even the courtroom drama in this film, which is usually a good thing because it means it has its own flavor. The film is a psychological thriller through and through.
It’s a mid-’90s film noir and slasher hybrid directed by David Fincher. Morgan Freeman plays a senior detective who is on the verge of retirement, while Brad Pitt portrays a hotshot rookie who is just joining the force. When a serial killer known as John Doe begins to target victims based on the Seven Deadly Sins, the two are put together.
In Andrew Kevin Walker’s screenplay, you’ll never know what’s going to happen. There is a narrative gut punch just as you think you know where the story is going.
Jonathan Nolan’s short tale “Memento Mori” inspired Christopher Nolan to write this dark psychological thriller. An amnesiac man’s quest to find out what happened to his wife is complicated and layered in this film. In the film’s concluding moments, there are two parallel plots, one of which is told in chronological order and the other in reverse.
There are scenes in black-and-and-and-white and scenes in color to distinguish between those set in the past and those set in the present. It’s a bit of a jumble, but it all comes together towards the end.
2. The Silence of the Lambs
All five major categories were won by this cinematic version of Thomas Harris’s crime novel of the same name. Best Actor went to Anthony Hopkins after less than half an hour of film. Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) is an FBI rookie who is trying to be heard in a male-dominated profession since she is a woman.
She’s been given the task of finding Buffalo Bill, a serial killer who abducts and skins female victims. Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a cannibalistic murderer and psychiatrist, helps her with her inquiry (Hopkins).
1. Get Out
Jordan Peele’s Get Out, a cultural touchstone and one of the greatest movies of all time, has a similar structure to Shutter Island (and basically half of all horror movies, for that matter). In both films, the protagonists find themselves in a strange setting that isn’t quite what they appear to be.
Get Out, unlike Shutter Island, is based on the protagonist’s race and how it affects society. Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya) is a black photographer who travels to an isolated suburban area to document the lives of its residents.