When Shutter Island came out in 2010, it blew peoples’ minds away. Based on Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name, the Martin Scorsese directed film features an A-list cast, from Leonardo DiCaprio to Michelle Williams, and is known as one of the twistiest movies of the late aughts. While movies like Pulp Fiction and Knives Out are thrillers with a lighter, often humorous, feel, Shutter Island is a heavy watch. It’s a haunting sort of film, one that sticks with you, but trust that if it’s hard for you to watch, it was even harder for the actors to film.
DiCaprio said at the time, via Access Hollywood, “I have to say Shutter Island was one of the most intense, hardcore filming experiences I’ve ever had as we explored what the mentally ill had to face in the days when mental hospitals were called insane asylums.” He added, “It was really very traumatic, and I don’t say that about a film very often. I went to places and unearthed some things that I didn’t think I was capable of. It was like an emotional layer cake that just kept getting deeper and deeper.”
It was worth it, though, as Shutter Island is known as one of the best brain-twisting psychological thriller movies. Luckily, there are a ton of other great psychological thrillers out there to watch if you’ve already seen Shutter Island one too many times. Here’s what else to watch.
1. Primal Fear (1996)
Primal Fear is one of those movies that always makes it onto lists about movies with great twists at the end, and for a good reason. Edward Norton stars in this movie, also based on a book about a boy who murders a priest. It’s part legal drama and part murder mystery, with Richard Gere, Laura Linney, and Francis McDormand as supporting cast. You sort of can’t go wrong with a movie like this one, especially if you love Shutter Island.
2. Fight Club (1999)
This is another twisty film based on a book by Chuck Palahniuk. Edward Norton stars alongside Brad Pitt as a man at his wits’ end who joins a fight club to unleash his rage and anxiety at modern society. But pay close attention because things are not what they seem, and by the end of the movie, you’ll be rewinding through the whole thing to catch the small details leading up to the major, finale reveal.
3. Mulholland Drive (2001)
If you can figure out what Mulholland Drive is about after just the first viewing, you are a genius. Much like Shutter Island, this movie is an intense deep dive into the psyche of its characters, played by Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring. Harring plays a dark-haired woman who loses her memory after a car crash, and Watts’ character attempts to help her figure out where she came from and who she is. Drama obviously ensues. But the real twisty thing? This version of Los Angeles has no traffic or smog. Now, how can you explain that?
4. Memento (2000)
Much like Mulholland Drive, Memento is a psychological thriller about a man piecing his identity together. The catch? He has no short-term memory, so he only goes deeper into a hole of his own making every time he learns a new thing about his life and his whereabouts. At the time, Roger Ebert called the Christopher Nolan directed film a “diabolical and absorbing experience,” which is about as rave review as one can get.
5. Inception (2010)
This is another Christopher Nolan movie that will make your head spin. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Cobb, a man who enters peoples’ heads to steal their secret thoughts. But this time, he’s asked to plant a new one instead of taking one away, which is all but impossible in this dream-like world. If you love a big twist like in Shutter Island, one that you’ll think about for days after, it’s worth giving Inception a try.
6. Jacobs Ladder (1990)
This is a movie about a man stuck between reality and his own hallucinations that will shake you to the core. There are some famous plot holes and loose ends in the movie, but overall, the ending delivers in a satisfying way. So much so that you barely notice that the timeline and things don’t quite add up sometimes. With movies like Shutter Island, who needs things to add up if you’re just along for the ride?
7. The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
Jodie Foster plays Clarice Starling, an FBI agent in training who is tasked with interviewing Dr. Hannibal Lecter (played by Anthony Hopkins). Lecter is a psychiatrist and a psychopath who is in prison for committing murderous and cannibalistic acts. However, he might be the key to catching another deranged killer. Who better to know the mind of a serial killer than Dr. Lecter? Unfortunately, it’s up to Clarice to delve into the mind of Lecter. Silence of the Lambs is creepy, mysterious, and keeps you guessing to the end.
8. Changeling (2008)
Angelina Jolie plays a mother raising her son in Los Angeles, 1928. When her son is kidnapped, the Los Angeles police department sets out to find him. Eventually, her character is united with her son, but there is one problem. The boy isn’t really her child. When she reveals this, the LAPD detectives do everything in their power to keep her quiet, including confining her to a psychiatric ward. Jolie must battle with a corrupt police department and a serial killer to uncover the truth about her missing child.
More Movies Like Shutter Island
- Nocturnal Animals (2016)
- Mystic River (2003)
- Identity (2003)
- The Machinist (2004)
- The Game (1997)
- The Snowman (2017)
- Unsane (2018)
- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
- Clinical (2017)
- Red Dragon (2002)
- The Others (2001)
- Seven (1995)
- The Usual Suspects (1995)
- Psycho (1960)
- Cape Fear (1991)
- Gone Baby Gone (2007)
This article was originally published on