5 Underrated Psychological Thrillers That Follow Alfred Hitchcock’s Legacy

5 Underrated Psychological Thrillers That Follow Alfred Hitchcock’s Legacy
Image credit: Sony Pictures/Focus Features

Imagine having that much power in the cinematic universe.

While Hitchcock's classics like Psycho and Vertigo remain celebrated, there are several underrated psychological thrillers that continue his legacy of captivating the human psyche.

Here are the top five films that deserve more recognition for their homage to Hitchcock's brilliance.

5. Enemy (2013)

Directed by Denis Villeneuve and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, this film's enigmatic narrative and haunting imagery is a stunning exploration of duality and identity. Gyllenhaal plays both a history professor and a struggling actor who discover they are exact doppelgängers.

As the characters' lives become intertwined, the movie navigates themes of identity crisis, control, and the sinister undercurrents of the unconscious.

4. Take Shelter (2011)

Directed by Jeff Nichols, Take Shelter is a gripping portrait of mental illness and how it affects family dynamics. Michael Shannon stars as Curtis, a man plagued by apocalyptic visions who becomes uncertain whether his visions are prophetic or signs of mental instability.

Curtis grapples with his own sense of reality and the fear of inheriting his mother's schizophrenia. The film's ambiguity keeps viewers questioning Curtis' sanity, culminating in a haunting exploration of the human mind's fragility.

3. One Hour Photo (2002)

Led by Robin Williams in a departure from his more comedic roles, the film delves into the disturbing world of obsession and voyeurism. Williams plays Sy Parrish, a photo lab technician who becomes obsessed with a seemingly perfect family whose photos he works to develop.

The film explores themes of loneliness, the desire to connect with others, and the dark consequences of an uncontrolled emotional attachment.

2. Stoker (2013)

Park Chan-wook's psychological thriller is a dark and twisted tale exploring the complexities of a dysfunctional family. Following India Stoker, portrayed by Mia Wasikowska, in the aftermath of her father's death, the movie delves into her evolving relationship with her enigmatic uncle.

As secrets are revealed and tensions escalate, the film channels Hitchcock's passion for building suspense through interpersonal dynamics and hidden motives.

1. Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Multiple narratives are woven together to create a complex tapestry of emotion and suspense in Tom Ford's neo-noir. Amy Adams plays a wealthy art gallery owner who receives a manuscript from her ex-husband, portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal, that becomes a haunting reflection of their past relationship.

As the lines between fiction and reality begin to blur, the movie explores the lingering effects of choices made in the past and how drastically they affect the characters’ lives.