“Inside” (2023) is a psychological thriller featuring Willem Dafoe in the role of Nemo, an art thief who gets trapped inside a New York penthouse while trying to pull off a heist. Directed by Vasilis Katsoupis, the film is a psychological roller coaster that depicts Nemo’s struggle for freedom from the high-rise prison that he is confined to. Nemo is tasked with stealing a number of high-end paintings by Egon Schiele from the private collection of a well-known art collector. Things go horribly wrong when the security system of the penthouse gets triggered by mistake, locking him inside the apartment and making escape impossible. All the odds are stacked against him as he struggles to survive amid the severe lack of food and water. In his isolation, he is forced to contemplate that the probability of his survival may be slim to none, yet, channeling his inner artistic nature, he keeps trying new creative measures to keep himself whole and perhaps to escape. If intense psychological thrillers are your thing, then this film is definitely for you, and here is a list of a few other thrillers that may tickle your fancy.
The Shining (1980)
This Stanley Kubrick psychological horror/thriller is one film that needs no introduction. Based on Stephen King’s 1977 novel, this classic adaptation tells the story of a family that is trapped in the famous Overlook Hotel, deep in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, for an entire season. It vividly explores the psychological deterioration and mental turbulence of a person who is left isolated from society for too long. Jack Torrance, a writer, takes the job of a caretaker at the Overlook Hotel during the off-season and brings his family to live with him. Once the family starts living in the historic hotel, strange occurrences begin to manifest, with Jack revealing a dark and sadistic side as he terrorizes his wife and son after a mental breakdown, thus fulfilling the foreboding prophecies related to the hotel. Packed with premonitions, supernatural machinery, and eerie phenomena, this film is sure to take any audience for a thrilling ride.
“Buried” (2010) is a survival thriller that documents the traumatic experience of an American truck driver in Iraq, Paul Conroy (played by Ryan Reynolds), who has found himself buried alive in a coffin. Directed by Rodrigo Cortes, this film deals with an unusual concept that grips the audience from the get-go. Armed with only a cell phone, a flashlight, a pen, and a few other minor paraphernalia, Paul is forced to try and reach for help, all while being trapped inside a coffin. Battling with severe odds stacked against him, he must figure out a way to call for help before his time runs out.
Gone Girl (2014)
David Fincher’s “Gone Girl” (2014) is a psychological thriller that deals with the marital problems of a Missouri couple and the subsequent complexities that emerge from them. The narrative surrounds the disappearance of Amy Dunne on the day of her fifth marriage anniversary. Nick, her husband, is left to piece together the broken pieces of their marriage to find her. The film features a chilling mystery with numerous unexpected turns that can leave you questioning whether anyone can be trusted. In the beginning, Amy is portrayed as the epitome of innocence and integrity, especially in her marriage and her professional life, but gradually, as the mystery unfolds, we find a darker side to her character. The narrative is tinged with archetypal speculations and illusions of what a marriage or life as a whole is expected to be, but in reality, it is a world in gray.
“Trapped” is a 2016 survival drama thriller by Vikramaditya Motwane that tells the story of Shaurya, a call-center operator who gets trapped inside an apartment with no electricity, food, or water. Shaurya, in his quest to find a new and affordable place to live after he eloped and married Noorie (his girlfriend), moves into a newly constructed multi-storey housing complex called Swarg that is primarily deserted due to legal conflicts. He locks himself in the apartment the next day and fails to break the lock to escape. Power goes out in the apartment owing to faulty wiring, and his cell phone battery runs out, leaving him completely isolated from the world. With no food or water, his chances of survival keep diminishing each day.
Get Out (2017)
This psychological horror/thriller, directed by Jordan Peele, deals with the horrifying experiences of a young African-American man who comes to stay at his white girlfriend’s family home on a casual visit. Unsuspecting at first, Chris Washington, a photographer living in Brooklyn, is invited by his girlfriend, Rose Armitage, to visit her family home in Upstate New York. Chris is hesitant in the beginning, asking Rose whether her family was aware of their interracial relationship, but she provides assurance that her family was not racist. Once they arrive, Rose’s parents and brother make uncomfortable remarks about black people, and Chris notices odd conduct in the behavior of Georgina, the housekeeper, and Walter, the estate’s groundskeeper. Gradually, the plot begins to unravel, revealing the hidden intentions of the Armitages, who are a traditional wealthy white family harboring insidious intentions towards him.
The Guilty (2021)
“The Guilty” (2021) is a crime thriller by Antoine Fuqua featuring Jake Gyllenhaal in the role of Joe Baylor, a flawed LAPD officer working at the 911 response center, and is a remake of “Den Skyldige” (2018), a Danish film. While working the night shift, Joe receives a 911 call from a woman named Emily Lighton, who claims that she has been abducted. But before she could provide details about her kidnapping, she hangs up, leaving Joe with no other option but to contact the Highway Patrol to investigate the matter and to locate the van that she mentioned was being used in her abduction, leading to a whirlwind of astonishing discoveries. The film features a to-and-fro narrative, with numerous plot- twists that keep the audience guessing what lies ahead.
Orphan: First Kill (2022)
“Orphan: First Kill” (2022) is a psychological horror/thriller directed by William Brent Bell and is a prequel to the 2009 movie “Orphan.” The plot narrates the story of Leena Klammer, a woman in her early thirties with ‘hypopituitarism,’ a hormonal disorder that makes her appear as a pre-pubescent child who escapes from a mental institute after killing a guard and decides to impersonate a young girl from a wealthy family named Esther Albright, who went missing. She makes her way to America, where she claims her family lives, and orchestrates a ‘reunion’ with her lost parents, but her true intentions are yet to be discovered. The film is charged with elements of horror and mystery, offering a thrill-filled ride for any avid fan of the genre.