The psychological thrill when watching horror movies has been in the genre since its conception. Hereditary is one of the movies that immensely rely on the viewer’s mind’s dread and horror. Here are the thirteen best movies like Hereditary.
The 2018 film Hereditary is the debut of the renowned horror director Ari Aster. The story deals with the effects of grief and the slow decisions that may break the family bond.
With the background of the supernatural and human evil, the movie is an excellent examination of what makes people evil.
The movie follows Annie and her family as they grieve the death of her mentally ill and estranged mother, Elle.
As the film moves forward, it becomes more apparent that the family struggles with various mental illnesses and dissociation. With the death of Charlie, Annie and her family began to slip up.
The movie hinges on the middle of subtle and impactful storytelling. The slow onset of dread is enough to keep the viewers on the edge of their scene. With shocking plot twists, Hereditary is a master at keeping the audience’s attention.
1. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
German 1h 16m IMDb
Director: Robert Wiene
Stars: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari belongs among the most influential horror films. The 1920s film is a classic example of psychological horror. It also serves as an influence in the genre as a pioneer.
The story follows Francis as he discovers the weird and mysterious hypnotist, Dr. Caligari. A somnambulist Caesar is also under suspicion. As Francis continues to investigate the death of his friend Alan, he discovers something sinister underneath.
Since The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari was made during cinema’s early development, its cinematography is very experimental. It’s also a silent film, so it must be creative when creating tension.
The film garnered high praise due to its expressionist feel during its time. If you are a fan of horror and art films, check out this classic.
2. Psycho (1960)
English 1h 49m IMDb
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
Of course, a psychological horror list is not complete without the 1960 film Psycho.
The movie by Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most notable horror movies of the mid-20th century. It’s an excellent example of how time constructs tension and mystery. Psycho is also the film where the ‘shower scene’ originated from.
The film follows Marion Crane as she runs from the world after stealing money.
On her way to her boyfriend’s location, the tiredness and a storm led to a stay in the Bate’s hotel. However, everything turns sinister as the hotel’s manager Norman starts to act offbeat.
Psycho must be on your watch list if you are a horror fan. It’s an excellent film that genuinely pioneers the genre.
3. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
English 1h 58m IMDb
Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney
Chilling yet intriguing, that’s how one could describe The Silence of the Lambs.
The film is not just well-known in the horror genre; its clasp also goes to the whole film industry as a whole. Jonathan Demme directed the film garnering several Oscars, including the prestigious ‘Best Picture.’
The story follows Jodie Foster’s Clarice Starling, a young and upcoming FBI trainee, as she investigates the string of brutal murders by ‘Buffalo Bill.’
In her search, she must talk with a serial killer by the name of Hannibal Lecter. As the crime continues to spread, the FBI and police force must stop the suspect before taking another life.
The film is very poignant in its use of camera angles and perspective. The tension between Clarice and Hannibal is exceptionally well-executed, particularly in the prison cell scene.
You will undoubtedly enjoy the thriller-mystery classic if you love Hereditary.
4. Perfect Blue (1997)
Japanese 1h 21m IMDb
Director: Satoshi Kon
Stars: Junko Iwao(voice), Rica Matsumoto(voice), Shinpachi Tsuji(voice)
Japanese cinema has always been excellent when it comes to psychological horror, and anime films are not exempted. Perfect Blue is a Japanese animated movie that deals with the grievances of being a pop idol.
Like any classic Satoshi Kon movie, Perfect Blue serves as an inspiration to countless modern films such as Black Swan (2010).
Perfect Blue follows the transition of Mima Kirogoe from a pop idol to an actress. As she delves into the vulnerable changes in her life, a stalker starts to threaten her safety. Slowly, Mima starts to release her grasp on reality.
Perfect Blue is a pioneer in using the scary anonymity of the internet as a theme.
It also delves into the objectification of the Japanese audience to the entertainment workers. It’s a fantastic film in writing, visuals, and societal commentary through the medium.
5. A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
Korean 1h 54m IMDb
Director: Jee-woon Kim
Stars: Lim Soo-jung, Jung-ah Yum, Kim Kap-su
A Tale of Two Sisters is a mystery horror mystery film directed by Kim Jee Won. The movie was the highest-grossing Korean film in the United States upon its release. It delves into the cracked psyche of the main character Su-Mi.
True to the horror style of East Asia, the movie deals with familial connections and ghosts.
The story follows how Su-mi is treated as someone suffering from grief and mental illness. As evident in the title, it also details the connection between two sisters: Su-mi and Su-Yeon.
Much like Hereditary, there is an undertone of absurdist horror underneath. The film also features a twist and turns in the characters’ minds.
6. Hide and Seek (2005)
English 1h 41m IMDb
Director: John Polson
Stars: Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen
Like Hereditary, Hide and Seek also deals with grieving and familial bond. It follows a psychologist David Callaway and his daughter Emily. The two move houses in an effort to move on from the death of David’s wife.
As they moved into their new home, killings started around the area. As the story progresses, it’s evident that everything is not what it seems. The movie leads to a twist ending which we will leave to your imagination.
The movie also incorporated dissociative identity disorder as one of its themes. Ultimately, Hide and Seek examines how grief and emotions are destructive when not dealt with correctly.
7. Gone Girl (2014)
English 2h 29m IMDb
Director: David Fincher
Stars: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris
Gone Girl is a psychological thriller by the well-known director David Fincher, Gone Girl is an excellent film for drama and mystery.
Even though there is no supernatural involvement, you will still feel the dread with the superb writing and a stunning performance from the actors.
Gone Girl follows a media circus as Nick Dunne’s wife, Amy, is reported missing. As he was under the blaring lights and noise from the reporters, Nick pictures a blissful marriage.
However, his lies and deceit caught up to him leading everyone to question: Is Nick Dunne the person behind Amy’s disappearance?
The film garnered critical acclaim due to its excellent use of social norms and female victimhood.
It also examines the crumbling marriage between the two characters and how Amy uses her manipulation tactics. As many say, the world is a stage, and everyone is merely a player.
8. Orphan (2009)
English 2h 3m IMDb
Director: Jaume Collet-Serra
Stars: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman
Orphan focuses on the manifestation of grief and mental illness in the Coleman family. After the death of their infant, John and Kate Coleman decide to adopt a kid.
The couple decided to make the nine-year-old Esther the new addition to their family.
Even though Coleman’s son Daniel is hostile to Esther, their other daughter is highly fond of her new sister. However, cracks and incidents happen that make Kate think that Esther is not what she seems.
Even without the help of her husband, Kate decided to get the truth once and for all.
Orphan is remarkable with tension and suspense building. As the film goes by, many audiences will start to question things, providing a tremendous mysterious movie experience.
9. Black Swan (2010)
English 1h 48m IMDb
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Stars: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel
Black Swan deals with what it means to be perfect as an artist. The film showcases the severe pressure and suffocation Nina experiences. It shows the art of being a ballerina consumes her being.
Like Hereditary, there is an undertone of the effects on how mothers treat their daughters. As Nina’s mother is the one that primarily pressures her to the point of obsession, many pointed out how the past passes their sickness to the new generation.
The performance of the actresses, along with the writing, is highly well-executed, garnering the film many awards. Though the film does not include any supernatural being at its center, it has the most potent tool in thrillers—the mind.
10. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)
English 2h 1m IMDb
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Stars: Barry G. Bernson, Herb Caillouet, Bill Camp
The Killing of a Sacred Dear is a film that hinges on the tension between the choice of killing a child to save the other.
It follows the charismatic surgeon Steve as he befriends the 16-year-old Martin. As the orphaned teenager comes to their seemingly perfect home, the family starts to treat him as a part of the family.
However, everything changed when Steve’s children, Kim and Bob, became sick. His past mistakes as a surgeon still haunt Steve leading up to the endangerment of his children. Can he save his children from the clasp of the mysterious disease?
The film is well-praised by its audiences, garnering awards such as the Best Screenplay at the prestigious Cannes Festival in 2017. It’s an excellent film that will surely keep you at the edge of your seat.
11. Get Out (2017)
English 1h 44m IMDb
Director: Jordan Peele
Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford
A movie by Jordan Peele, Get Out, comes with a commentary on society using the horror genre.
Along with Hereditary, the film is one of the most well-known movies under the psychological horror in the late 2010s. It deals with the harrowing message underneath its almost absurdist premise.
The film follows Chris, a black man, as he visits his girlfriend, Rose, house for the first time. Although everything seems to be alright at first, everything starts to crack as the film progress. The story leads to the sinister motives hidden underneath the surface.
The movie garnered many praises both from critics and general audiences. The comedy background from the director Jordan Peele indeed sets itself in the story. If you love the symbolism and deep meaning in horror movies, you should check this one out.
12. Shutter Island (2010)
English 2h 18m IMDb
Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo
Shutter Island is one of the movies that will be an excellent film for multiple viewing. Well-acclaimed director Martin Scorsese feature show to make an intriguing mystery. Along with the superb writing and incredible actors, you are in for a great viewing experience.
The movie follows a U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels as he investigates the disappearance of a patient from the island asylum, Shutter Island Ashecliffe Hospital. As his investigation continued, he started to suspect everything around him as he doubted his memory.
The film thrives on subtlety. It’s an excellent film when it comes to deep symbolism and examination of one’s psyche. Even though the thriller did not come from the supernatural, the movie is chilling.
13. Midsommar (2019)
English 2h 28m IMDb
Director: Ari Aster
Stars: Florence Pugh, Jack Reynor, Vilhelm Blomgren
Of course, to close off the list, we must circle back to another Ari Aster film—Midsommar.
Unlike the dark and solitary scenery in Hereditary, Aster goes in the opposite direction with this film. It features wide shots of greenery and flowers as the bright colors of the Swedish countryside dance on the screen.
Midsommar features the story of Dani as she travels to Northern Europe with her boyfriend for their midsummer festival.
What begins as a time to relax and enjoy becomes a sinister journey as increasingly violent killings occur. Can Dani overcome her trauma and problems? Or will she succumb to the horror around her?
In true fashion from the works of the director, the film also deals with grief, cults, and how bonds are broken through mental illness.
Many critics love the natural and realistic progression of the movie. It garnered many awards and praises from the audience.
Hereditary is a unique movie experience. However, as this list of thirteen best movies like Hereditary, you can see that there are many psychological thrillers out there with the same core messages.
What are you waiting for? Pop in some popcorn and ready your cokes as you unwind and get terrified with these fantastic horror movies.