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10 Greatest 2000’s Psychological Thrillers, Ranked

The decade of the 2000s was unarguably one of the finest periods for cinema as many current reigning directors had released their major projects during the time. From Christopher Nolan to Bong Joon-ho, the era witnessed a resurgence of psychological thrillers. Here are the 10 greatest psychological thrillers from the 2000s, ranked in order:

10. Mulholland Drive

Mulholland Drive Psychological Thrillers

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Unarguably one of the best works of David Lynch, Mulholland Drive effortlessly stitches together psychological drama and neo-noir mystery with Lynch’s penchant for surrealism. The movie’s apparent complexity throughout is seemingly revealed at the very end which interestingly even raises more questions than it answered. With enthralling performances by Naomi Watts and Laura Harring, Mulholland Drive is not an easy watch and that’s what makes it one of the greatest thrillers of the decade.

9. Requiem for a Dream

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There are a few movies that can never be re-visited and Requiem for a Dream surely finds a spot on that list. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, the movie is a full-blown horror show depicting the dark side of drug abuse where delusions take over reality. A harrowing tale of addiction, delusions, and psychosis, Requiem for a Dream is not for the faint-hearted.

8. Memento

Psychological Thrillers Memento

The movie that introduced Christopher Nolan to the world, Memento is a thrilling tale of a man suffering from amnesia who is trying to find the murderer of his wife. The movie’s seemingly simple plotline is twisted beyond imagination with a non-linear sequence and unreliable characters that make Memento such a compelling watch.

7. Donnie Darko

Psychological Thrillers Donnie Darko

Despite having a lukewarm box-office collection, Donnie Darko later became a cult movie as one of the finest psychological thrillers of the 2000s. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Donnie Darko revolves around a teenager who encounters a mysterious individual and learns that the world will end in 28 days. As the story unravels, things turn out to be much darker than they seem.

6. Unbreakable

M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable is unarguably one of the finest psychological thriller/superhero movies to exist. When a former football player turned security guard comes out without a scratch from a horrific train crash, he slowly realizes his superhuman powers. However, he is soon contacted by a mysterious comic book owner suffering from a rare disease. The success of Unbreakable has led to two more sequels: Split and Glass.

5. Shutter Island

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Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island might not be his greatest work, but the movie is undoubtedly one of the most popular movies in the genre. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Shutter Island is a masterclass in serving last-minute twists. A fascinating yet saddening tale of mental illness, Shutter Island remains a classic for ages to come.

4. Zodiac

Psychological Thrillers Zodiac

Based on the infamous Zodiac killer who had terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area back in the ’60s and ’70s, Zodiac is a deeply disturbing movie filled with angst as the police desperately try to find the serial killer who is constantly daunting them with letters, bloodstained clothing, and ciphers.

3. Memories of Murder

Before Bong Joon-ho became a household name for Parasite, the ace director had directed Memories of Murder, a film loosely based on a real-life serial killer in South Korea. Considered to be one of the greatest Korean movies of all time, Memories of Murder is studded with captivating performances, vivid cinematography, and a thrilling background score to match the tone.

2. The Prestige

It wouldn’t be a overestimate to say that the 2000s truly belonged to Christopher Nolan. The Prestige starring Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale is an interweaved tale of intense competition between two magicians who will stop at nothing to be the best, often causing fatal results. The Prestige is widely considered as Nolan’s best work so far, triumphing over the likes of Inception and The Dark Knight.

1. Mystic River

Psychological Thrillers Mystic River

Directed by Clint Eastwood, Mystic River is a visceral tale of violence, tragedy, and stripping away of innocence. Metaphysical at its finest, haunting at its darkest, Mystic River is packed with powerful performances by Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon which is further exemplified by the masterful direction by Eastwood.

Written by Akash Senapati

Akash is an India-based writer who has previously worked with Quirkybyte and Xtrascoop. He loves DC Comics, Anime, Pink Floyd, and sleeping in no particular order. His favourite graphic-medium writers are Grant Morrison, Chris Claremont, Christopher Priest, Garth Ennis, and Eiichiro Oda. Prep time > Aliens.