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Suspense Movies: The List of Movies to Watch

Table of Contents

The suspense movies are often related to the thriller movie genre, and the suspense is generated in a state of psychological unpredictability, tension and anxiety, indecision or uncertainty. Suspense is generated by anticipating the ending of a plot or mystery, and has an impact on the main character. The suspense movie keeps the audience interested and engaged. Viewers of a suspense movie feel excited and curious about what will happen next, or when they understand what is most likely to happen but don’t understand how it will happen.


The narrative suspense remains reliable even when the unpredictability of the story is reduced, as regular audiences know exactly how the story works out. The effectiveness of a suspense movie depends on the audience’s ability to prepare for what is to come. Suspense can be without unpredictability and emerge with the contradiction between what the reader learns about the future and what they want, particularly in tragedy when the main character is ultimately faced with a tragic fatality.


The Hands of Orlac (1924)

Orlac, a well-known pianist, is on a train that crashes and loses his precious hands. A severe cure is attempted: a transplant of 2 new hands. They belong to a murderer. Orlac enters a conflicted relationship with them and refuses to use them as soon as he learns who his new hands were. To make the circumstance complex is the murder of his father, to whom his partner had turned for a cash loan. Hands of the other a suspense movie among the latest works of art expressionist cinema of which Robert Wiene had effectively made the manifesto movie, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.


Spellbound (1945) 

It is a 1945 American suspense thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck and Michael Chekhov. It tells of a psychoanalyst who falls in love with the new head of the Vermont medical facility where she works, only to discover that he is a quack suffering from dissociative memory loss and possibly even a murderer. The film is based on the 1927 novel The House of Dr. Edwardes by Hilary Saint George Saunders and also by John Palmer.

Filming for Spellbound took place in the summer season of 1944 in Vermont, Utah and also in Los Angeles. The film garnered critical ratings and was a significant box office success, earning $6.4 million in the United States. The film was shortlisted for 6 Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, as well as winning in the Best Original Score category.

Gregory Peck plays an imposter trying to become the new director of an asylum. Dr. Constance Petersen is a psychoanalyst at Green Manors, a mental hospital in Vermont. She is seen by other doctors as emotionless. The director of the medical center, Dr. Murchison, retired after suffering a nervous breakdown. His replacement is Dr. Anthony Edwardes.

The Stranger (1946)

In the city of Harper lives Charles Rankin, who will marry the daughter of an important and powerful judge. Charles Rankin is actually Frank Kindle, a Nazi criminal from the Third Reich who has taken on a new identity to save himself. Inspector Wilson is on his trail. Another suspense movie unmissable thriller from the great director Orson Welles not to be missed. This time the director is faced with a bigger expense plan by operating out of a studio Hollywood. It’s a more traditional design than the other indie movies the director has gotten us used to. The storyline was also heavily influenced by the editorial policies of mainstream American cinema at the time. The result is equally exceptional thanks to the interpretation of Orson Welles himself and Edward G. Robinson.


The Third Man (1949)

The Third Man is a 1949 British noir suspense movie directed by Carol Reed, written by Graham Greene and starring Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles and Trevor Howard. Set in post-war Vienna, the movie centers on American Holly Martins (Cotten), who comes to the city to accept an assignment with her friend Harry Lime (Welles), only to find Lime dead. Considering her death suspicious, Martins chooses to stay in Vienna and investigate.

Robert Krasker’s use of expressionist black-and-white cinematography, with harsh lighting and a warped image with a “Dutch angle,” is a significant feature of The Third Man. Enriched with the renowned music of Anton Karas, seedy locations and well-known performances by the cast, the atmosphere is the ambiance of a gloomy post-war Vienna at the beginning of the Cold War.

Karas’ music “The Third Man Theme” topped international music charts in 1950, bringing the artist worldwide popularity. The style would also influence Nino Rota’s lead melody in La dolce vita (1960). The Third Man is considered among the best movies ever for its direction, musical arrangement and cinematography. In 1999, the British movie Institute voted The Third Man the best British movie in the history of cinema.

Rear Window (1954)

It is a 1954 American suspense thriller movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by John Michael Hayes based on the 1942 Cornell Woolrich short story “It Had to Be Murder “. The movie stars James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter and Raymond Burr. It was selected for the Venice movie Festival in 1954. The movie is considered by many viewers, critics and scholars to be one of Hitchcock’s best movies and one of best movies ever made and earned 4 Academy Award nominations.

With an injured leg, seasoned photographer Jeff is confined to a wheelchair at his home in Greenwich Village, Manhattan. Its back window overlooks a courtyard and other houses. During an intense heatwave, she sees her neighbors, who keep their windows open to stay cool. They are a lonely woman whom Jeff labels “Miss Lonelyhearts”, a newlywed couple, a pianist, a dancer, a middle-aged couple whose little dog likes to dig in the flower garden, and Lars Thorwald, a trip with bedridden wife.


Diaboliques (1955)

Michel is in a relationship with Nicole Horner, an instructor at the school. The two women have a rather close relationship, based mostly on their obvious shared hatred for Michel. He’s terrible with students, hitting Nicole and teasing Christina about her heart disease. Threatening divorce to drag Michel to Nicole’s apartment in Niort, a town a hundred kilometers away, Christina sedates him. The two ladies then drown him in a tub and, on their way back to school, throw his body into the deserted pool.

Clouzot, after finishing The Wages of Fear, optioned the screenplay rights to this suspense movie, preventing Alfred Hitchcock from making this movie, which helped encourage the making of Psycho. Robert Bloch, author of Psycho, stressed in a meeting that his favorite thriller movie was Les Diaboliques.


Repulsion (1955)

A man, Colin, loves Carol and makes passionate efforts to charm her, but Carol seems indifferent. Carol is annoyed by Helen’s relationship with a boy named Michael, who Carol doesn’t seem to like. When Carol gets home from work, she is bothered by road construction under her house. Colin meets her, strolls through her house and attempts to kiss her numerous times, but she refuses, running upstairs and brushing her teeth before sobbing. That night Helen interrogates Carol for flushing Michael’s toothbrush and electric razor down the toilet.

Based on a short story written by Polanski and Gérard Brach, the plot follows Carol, a woman who undergoes a series of terrible experiences. It is a suspense movie that focuses on Carol’s perspective and her hallucinations as she comes into contact with men. Ian Hendry, John Fraser, Patrick Wymark and Yvonne Furneaux appear in supporting roles.

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

It is a 1959 American crime drama suspense movie produced and directed by Otto Preminger. Wendell Mayes’ screenplay for the movie was based on the 1958 book of the same name written by Michigan Supreme Court Justice John D. Voelker under the pseudonym Robert Traver. Voelker based the book on a 1952 murder case in which he was the defense attorney. The movie stars James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Eve Arden, George C. Scott, Arthur O’Connell, Kathryn Grant, Brooks West (Arden’s wife), Orson Bean and Murray Hamilton. The judge was played by Joseph N. Welch, a real-life attorney known for exposing Joseph McCarthy during Army hearings. It is considered among the best process movies ever made. In 2012, the movie was selected for preservation in the United States National movie Registry by the Library of Congress as “culturally, traditionally, or visually substantial”.

Psycho (1960)

On a Friday noon date at a Phoenix resort, real estate secretary Marion Crane and her partner Sam Loomis examine their marital relationship destroyed by the Sam’s debts. Marion accepts a $40,000 cash payment handed to her for a deposit, as well as driving to Sam’s house in Fairvale, California. During the trip, Marion switches cars arousing suspicions in both the car dealer and a policeman. Marion chooses to spend the night at the Bates Motel, which is off the main highway, and hides the taken money in a newspaper. Owner Norman Bates registers Marion under an assumed name and invites her to dinner with him. After Norman returns to her house, Marion overhears Norman arguing with her mother.

The screenplay of this suspenseful movie, written by Joseph Stefano, was based on the 1959 book of the same name by Robert Bloch. The movie stars Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin and Martin Balsam. The movie was initially considered questionable and amassed mixed reviews, but audience enthusiasm as well as outstanding box office earnings triggered a significant re-evaluation. Psycho was nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Supporting Actress for Janet Leigh and Best Director for Hitchcock. Psycho is now considered among Hitchcock’s works of art, and is also his most popular work.

Shock Corridor (1963)

A 1963 suspense movie worth watching. With the aim of winning a Pulitzer Prize, journalist Johnny Barrett wishes to discover the truth behind the unsolved murder of Sloan, an inmate in a mental hospital. He encourages a psychiatrist, Dr. Fong, to look insane when discussing incest with his “sister,” played by his significant other, Cathy. The woman is convinced to report him to the authorities and the man is jailed. Johnny is distressed by the practices of his fellow inmates and on one occasion is whipped by a group of nymphomaniacs who assault him in his ward.


Rosemary’s Baby (1968)

The movie tells of a pregnant Manhattan girl with suspicions that her older neighbors next door are taking part in a hellish cult and controlling her so that they can use her child for their satanic rituals. It is based on the 1967 book of the same name by Ira Levin.

Guy Woodhouse, an actor, and his partner, Rosemary, move into Bramford, a large Renaissance-style apartment in New York City. They overlook their friend Hutch’s tales of Bramford’s dark past with witchcraft and murder. Rosemary meets Terry Gionoffrio, a recovering young drug addict whom Minnie and Roman Castevet, Woodhouse’s older neighbors, have invited into their home. One night, Terry commits suicide by jumping from the window of the Castevets’ house on the seventh floor.

Set in New York City, movieing for this stunning suspense movie took place in Los Angeles throughout late 1967. The movie was directed by Roman Polanski and has collected numerous awards, including several Golden Globe elections and 2 Oscar elections. Ruth Gordon won both the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and the Golden Globe. Rosemary’s Baby deals with themes related to fear, women’s freedom, Christianity and the occult. It is thought to be one of best horror movies ever made.

Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972)

A series of murders wreaks havoc in a small New England town on Christmas Eve after a man acquires real estate that belonged to a hospitalized man in an asylum. Most of the cast and team members had been Warhol actors: Mary Woronov, Ondine, Candy Darling, Kristen Steen, Tally Brown, Lewis Love, director Jack Smith and Susan Rothenberg.

A 1972 suspense slasher movie unreleased in Italy, it is a cult horror forerunner of the category a few years before Halloween, with an intricate script and first-person shooting of the killer, which influenced many subsequent movies. His creativity and storytelling is what makes a little one out of it cult movie of the category.


The Conversation (1974)

Harry Caul (Gene Hackman), who runs his own business in San Francisco, is obsessed with his individual privacy. His house is practically bare, it has a triple lock door and also a burglar alarm. Harry uses payphones to make calls, doesn’t have a home phone, and his office is confined to a cage backstage at a storage facility. He has no friends, his partner Amy understands little about him, and his only activity is to play a saxophone alone at home.

Francis Ford Coppola has cited Michelangelo Antonioni’s thriller Blowup (1966) as an essential inspiration for this suspense movie. Considering that the movie was released in theaters only a few months before Richard Nixon’s resignation as president, audiences interpreted the movie as a response to Watergate. The movie premiered at the 1974 Cannes movie Festival where it won the Palme d’Or. The movie won 3 awards at the 47th Academy Awards; Best movie, Best Original Screenplay and Best Sound.

Don’t Look in The Basement (1973)

It is a suspense movie set in a mental asylum that tells of a nurse who works in a psychiatric hospital and gradually discovers that the really dangerous people are the ones who run the psychiatric center. The movie is set in Stephens Sanitarium, a remote rural asylum whose doctor believes that the best method of dealing with insanity is to allow clients to carry out their insanities in the hope that they will come out of it. The movie begins with a nurse from Stephens Sanitarium making her rounds. After a situation where a patient threatens his life, he reaches the chief physician, Dr. Stephens, to inform him of what has happened.


Halloween (1978)

It is a classic of suspense movies that redefines the horror category of John Carpenter‘s slasher. On Halloween night in 1963, in the fictional rural town of Haddonfield, Illinois, six-year-old Michael Myers stabs his sister Judith to death with a chef’s knife. For the next fifteen years, he was sent to prison at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium. On October 30, 1978, Michael’s psychiatrist Dr. Samuel Loomis and his associate, Marion Chambers, travel to the mental hospital to escort Michael to court for a hearing. Loomis hopes the result of the hearing will be that Michael will be jailed for life. Michael takes their car and escapes, killing a mechanic from whom he takes overalls.


Shining (1980)

The main character of this director’s suspense movie Stanley Kubrick as Jack Torrance (Nicholson), an alcoholic writer who accepts a job as off-season janitor at the historic Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies, with his wife, Wendy Torrance (Duvall), with his son, Danny Torrance (Lloyd) . Danny is talented with psychic abilities that allow him to see into the resort’s terrible past. After a winter season tornado leaves the Torrances isolated in the snow, Jack’s harmony disappears under the influence of the evil forces occupying the resort.

Production took place at EMI Elstree Studios, with sets rebuilt exactly like the original areas. The new Steadicam mount was used to shoot various scenes, giving the movie an ingenious and captivating look. There have actually been numerous theories about the movie’s meanings: variations, secrets, and differences from the book.

Lost Highway (1997)

Lost Highway is a 1997 noir surrealist suspense movie directed by David Lynch and co-written by Lynch and Barry Gifford. In the cast Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Balthazar Getty and Robert Blake. The movie follows an artist (Pullman) who begins receiving strange VHS tapes of him and his wife (Arquette) movieed in their home. He is suddenly found guilty of murder, after which he inexplicably disappears transformed into a young mechanic (Getty) leading a different life.

Lost Highway was movieed primarily in Los Angeles, where Lynch worked with regular producer Mary Sweeney and cinematographer Peter Deming. The movie’s surreal narrative structure has been compared to a Möbius strip, while Lynch explained it as a “psychogenic fugue” instead of a sensible story. Many critics initially dismissed the movie as incoherent, but in reality it has had a cult following and significant acclaim. Lost Highway is the first of three Lynch movies set in Los Angeles, followed by Mulholland Drive in 2001 and Inland Empire in 2006.

The Departed (2006)

It is an American suspense thriller movie of the 2006 directed by Martin Scorsese and written by William Monahan. It is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong movie Infernal Affairs and also loosely based on the real Boston Winter Hill gang; the character Colin Sullivan is based on the corrupt FBI representative John Connolly, while the character Frank Costello is based on the gangster Whitey Bulger. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson and Mark Wahlberg, with Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga and Alec Baldwin in supporting roles.

The movie takes place in Boston. Irish mob manager Frank Costello (Nicholson) sets up Colin Sullivan (Damon) as a spy within the Massachusetts State Police; simultaneously, the authorities designate undercover state trooper Billy Costigan (DiCaprio) to infiltrate Costello’s team. When both sides figure out the scenario, Sullivan and Costigan try to find each other’s identities before they are discovered.

The Departed was a commercial and major success and won several accolades, including 4 Oscars at the 79th Academy Awards: for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best movie Editing. DiCaprio was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama, the BAFTA for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and the Screen Actors Guild Award.


No Country for Old Men (2007)

It is a 2007 American suspense thriller movie composed and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the book of the same name by 2005 by Cormac McCarthy. Starring Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin, the movie is set in the desert landscape of 1980s West Texas. The movie explores the themes of fate, conscience and evil that the Coen brothers had explored in the movies Blood Simple (1984) , Raising Arizona (1987) and Fargo (1996).

The movie follows 3 main characters: Llewelyn Moss (Brolin), a Vietnam War veteran and welder who stumbles upon a large amount of cash in the desert; Anton Chigurh (Bardem), a hitman tasked with recovering the money; and Ed Tom Bell (Jones), a local sheriff looking into the crime. The movie also stars Kelly Macdonald as Moss’ partner Carla Jean and Woody Harrelson as a fugitive hunter looking for Moss and the return of the $2 million.

The movie premiered at the 2007 Cannes movie Festival on May 19. Critics applauded the Coens’ direction and screenplay and Bardem’s efficiency, and the movie won 76 awards from 109 nominations from various festivals. Many consider it the Coen brothers’ best movie and one of the best movies of the 21st century. The technical skills of the Coens, and their sensitivity for the western cinema based on the landscape similar to Anthony Mann and Sam Peckinpah, give us a real masterpiece.

A Better Life (2007)

Rome: Andrea Casadei is a young detective addicted to wiretapping who carries out reports commissioned by partners betrayed by their spouses, or by parents worried about what their children are doing outside the home. What interests him the most is understanding the human soul, listening to random discussions on the street, understanding what people believe. At an audition he meets the actress Marina to whom he secretly puts a bug in the pendant he wears around his neck. He will begin to slowly enter the secrets of the woman’s life until he becomes involved in the events.

Small independent suspense movie from Italian director Fabio Del Greco which has become a cult movie, is a noir film shot in black and white that takes us to a desolate and dark Rome, a society emptied of those ethical values, where individualism and the corruption of soul control reign. Del Greco also plays the private investigator protagonist of the movie, Andrea Casadei.


The Ward (2010)

John Carpenter tells the story of a woman in a 1960s psychiatric organization in this suspenseful movie. Scary genius John Carpenter directed this thriller about a troubled woman (Amber Heard) admitted to a psychiatric organization who slowly realizes that she and other patients are being physically brutalized by secret forces. To her horror, she recognizes that the evil force is the ghost of a lady formerly committed to the asylum called Alice.

Shutter Island (2010)

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in this suspense thriller movie set in a 2000s asylum of Martin Scorsese. It is a movie of suspense and fear. In 1954, widowed United States Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, board a ferry to Shutter Island, where Ashecliffe Hospital is located, to look into the disappearance of a patient, Rachel Solando , who was imprisoned for drowning her 3 children. Despite being kept in a locked cell under constant surveillance, she escaped.

If you are looking for a suspenseful thriller that tackles interesting philosophical questions about psychiatry while delivering mind-blowing visuals, this is a must-see movie. Despite all of its previous successes from the 1970s onward, Shutter Island ended up being Martin Scorsese’s highest-grossing movie until it was surpassed by The Wolf of Wall Street. The effect of the movie on the senses is devastating.

Babycall (2011)

Anna and her 8-year-old son Anders leave behind a terrible family past: the child’s father is a dangerous and violent man. They move into a secret house and Anna buys a babycall to keep tabs on Anders while he sleeps. One night Anna wakes up with a start: sounds come from Anders’ room, it seems that a murder is taking place. In this suspenseful movie, Noomi Rapace plays an extraordinary character restless and consumed by control and fear. A woman who never smiles, doubting, trying to keep her vulnerable sanity. Story of motherhood, love and violence, between gray city exteriors and claustrophobic interiors.

Nightcrawler (2014)

Nightcrawler is a suspense movie and psychological thriller written and directed by Dan Gilroy in his directorial pitch. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Louis “Lou” Bloom, a video maker who movies violent events late at night in Los Angeles and offers the video to a television news station. Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed and Bill Paxton also star. One theme of the movie is the cooperative relationship between dishonest journalism and the public’s demand for violent content.

Gilroy originally wanted to make a movie about the life of American professional photographer Weegee, but changed his mind after discovering the narrative possibilities surrounding Stringer’s work. Gyllenhaal played an essential role in the movie’s production, from selecting team members to viewing audition tapes.

Nightcrawler premiered at the 2014 Toronto International movie Festival and earned $50.3 million out of an $8.5 million production budget. The movie was praised, with critics lauding Gilroy’s movie script and Gyllenhaal and Russo’s performance. Numerous critics cited Nightcrawler as one of the best movies of 2014.

A Cure For Wellness (2017)

This horror suspense movie was movieed in a real WW1 medical facility, where the same Hitler may have been hospitalized. A psychological thriller set primarily in a remote “health” health resort in the Alps that has all the visual attributes of a tuberculosis-era asylum.

Lockhart, an executive at a New York financial firm, is sent by the board of directors to consult with CEO Roland Pembroke, who has actually unexpectedly chosen to stay in a “health spa” in the Swiss Alps. At the medical spa, Lockhart faces resistance from staff and Dr. Heinreich Volmer in an attempt to talk Pembroke. Lockhart leaves, however is involved in an automobile accident and wakes up at the center 3 days later with his leg in a cast. Despite the horrific crash, both he and the driver sustained only minor injuries. Lockhart meets a strange woman named Hannah who cures himself with an unusual fluid from small cobalt-colored bottles.

My son (2017)

Julien is constantly traveling for work. His constant absences from home and the inability to take care of his son Mathys damaged his marital relationship with Marie. While in France, he receives a disturbing phone call from his ex-wife: their son, now 7, has disappeared while camping outdoors in the Alps.

Starting this suspense movie from the French director with a respectable narrative cue Christian Carion is a movie not to be missed especially for the style in which it was shot. Shot in real time, over 6 shooting days, the director uses an extreme improvisational approach with his protagonist Guillaume Canet: he does not let him read any script and asks him to experience the tension, suspense and unexpected opportunities of fiction as if they were events authentic, minute by minute.

Slow Life (2021)

Lino Stella takes a break from his office job to dedicate himself to relaxation and his passion: drawing comics. However, he did not foresee some worrying characters: the manager of the house in which he lives, the postman who delivers traffic tickets, a presumptuous policeman, a very enterprising real estate agent, the old woman downstairs who breeds cats in the apartment building. These characters will make your vacation hell.

A crazy and anarchic suspense movie from the director Fabio del Greco on crucial concerns of every person’s life: the state and the administration that end up being callous oppressors, the system of social interaction that becomes a trap, one’s own enthusiasms and imagination that are stifled. A thriller movie with tones of black comedy not to be missed.


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