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The Ultimate List Of Best Mindfuck Movies Everyone should Watch

Updated on January 28, 2017
hclpd profile image

Rahul is a movie addict who can never get enough of good films. His all time favorites are Inception, 12 Angry Men, and Scarface.

Do you like movies that mess with your mind? Do you like how they play with you, giving you an illusion that you’re in driver’s seat all the time? Its ability to surprise you with twists and turns at every step is what makes it captivating. Some of those movies have enough mindfuckery to make you wonder “What just happened?”. And then you end up looking for answers for hours on end.

You’ve probably watched a few of them already. Are you looking for some more? I’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look.

Coherence – A low-budget indie film

The plot revolves around a group of friends gathering for a dinner party. Just as they're dining, strange events start occurring. At first, they ignore it, but things soon get out of hand when they see an alternate version of themselves wandering around in the open. And it's only the beginning of something that's only going to get worse.

Coherence might be a tad confusing, but it’s going to entertain you all the way through. This indie movie surprised everyone when it came out in 2013. No one was expecting it to be as good as it turned out to be, surprising everyone with its unique way of telling an open-ended story. With so many possibilities, there’s no way you can guess the ending. And for the most part, the confusion and intrigue work in its favor.

Yes, the intricacies might infuriate a few people, but it’s not something that should bother a fan of the mindfuck genre. We're too used to it.

Primer - One of the best mindfuck films ever made

The plot revolves around 4 entrepreneurs who're not quite sure about the device they've have built together. They keep experimenting with it, leading to an invention that's going to change their fate forever.

Primer might not be an easy movie to follow, but if you can keep up, it' s one hell of a ride. It's one of those movies where you're never sure about anything, because there are endless ways it could conclude.

Primer toys with you on different levels. It's going to throw pieces of puzzles at you, expecting you to put them together without any hand-holding. If you're one of those folks who like to discuss movies with friends for hours on end, Primer should be like a treat.

Again, It's challenging to follow this movie. The production values are far from perfect; the acting might feel a little woody at times. Given that the budget was a meager $7000, I'd say they did a really good job.

The Usual Suspects

Five conmen are arrested for questioning with regards to a truck hijack in New York. When they find out that no one amongst them is guilty, they plan a hijacking mission to take their revenge, which leads to a massacre, leaving only two survivors. It turns out that these men had wronged Keyser Söze, a ruthless, legendary criminal in the past. And now he is back in town to punish these boys.

Who is Keyser Söze? How did he get his hands on all of them? 6 weeks after the horrific event, one of the survivors tells the horrific story he witnessed first hand.

It might seem like a typical crime drama at first glance, but believe me; there is much more to it. The ending would leave you in a state of shock. Once you watch the whole thing again, though, you'd realize that there are a lot clues left behind, all pointing towards the mastermind of the massacre.

The Truman Show

The Truman Show is a reality show aimed at bringing the whole life of an ordinary man's life in front of the whole world to see. The catch is, he doesn't have even the slightest of idea of idea about what's going on. The whole world watches him sleep, eat, drink and do all sorts of other daily chores. The ones he calls his friends are paid actors working in the show. No one is real. When he learns the nature of his reality, he decides to get out of there. Will it be easy to finally break free from the shackles?

Despite all its intricacies, the story is served in a simple way. It starts off as a comedy, but soon transforms into one of the best mind-blowing films ever made, compelling viewers to think about what they've just witnessed on the screen.

Inland Empire - One of the best mindfuck movies

The story revolves around an actress who starts losing it when she adopts the personality of a fictional character. Her personal and professional life descends into chaos, spiraling her world out of control.

The movie itself is pretty hard to summarize in just a few words. It tells a multi-layered, open-ended story in its own fashion, refusing to go down a familiar, safer path. If you've been a fan of David Lynch's work in the past (Eraserhead, Twin Peaks, Mullholand Drive), you must have noticed how most of his movies are dark and terrifying. Expect more of the same from Inland Empire - a movie that plays with you from the beginning right till the moment credits roll.

The Prestige

Directed by none other than Christopher Nolan, The Prestige takes place at the end of 19th century, revolving around the rivalry of two street magicians. In their effort to topple each other and become the best, both become quite famous with time. When one of them finds a way to perform the ultimate illusion, the other tries to find the loophole in a seemingly perfect performance, leading to unforeseen consequences.

As is the case with most of his movies, this is not an easy movie to follow. If you can't quite wrap your head around it, this explanation should be more than sufficient.

Saw

The plot revolves around two strangers, who wake up in an unknown room only to find themselves chained to a pipe. The only way out is to play the deadly game the serial killer has laid out for them.

Directed by James Wan, Saw is exciting, thrilling and most importantly, entertaining throughout, keeping you on the edge of your seat all the time. There are no cheap jump scares or other cliches that would normally ruin a horror movie. Make no mistake; it's going to scare you, and you wouldn't like it much. A clever, sadistic masterpiece indeed!

Memento

Memento is a twisted story of a man suffering from short term memory loss whose only goal of life is to avenge the murder of his wife. To remember all the important little details, he tattoos them on his body, ensuring that he never forgets a single thing.

Guy Pearce shines in his role in portraying a amnesic man with nothing to lose. Given that there is not much emotional arc to the story, he has done an amazing job with it. A riveting, moving performance indeed.

It was never meant to be a movie with a clear verdict. Don't worry even if you can't quite figure out everything by the end. The story is told in a puzzling way, challenging the audience to put the pieces together by themselves.

A Scanner Darkly

Based upon the award-winning sci-fi novel by P. K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly takes place in a near future, revolving around an undercover cop, who is working with drug dealers to get the masterminds behind a dangerous drug in the market. Pretty soon, he starts losing grip on reality, becoming one of the many victims of the drug.

A Scanner Darkly successfully captures the dark, despairing tone of the novel. It's one of those movies where you know that things are not going to get better by the end as its characters descend further into chaos and madness. If you're looking for some good mind-blowing movies, it should be right up your alley.


Mulholland Drive

What if you can's separate dreams from reality?

When two women from totally different background find out that their dream-like life is connected to each other in some manner, they set out on the quest to find out more about it, spiraling things out of control. In a city where nothing is as it seems, would they be able to unravel the mystery?

It shouldn't be surprising that another David Lynch movie has made this list. He knows very well how to play mind games with his audience, creating well-woven, intricate experience that suck you in right from the beginning.

Mullholland Drive is his one of many masterpieces where you won't find concrete answers in one go. The movie is laden with all sorts of clues, pointing towards the much-needed answers. If you're confused, try to give it another shot. And if you still can't figure it out, you could always cheat and look for answers on the internet.

Waking Life

Directed by Richard Linklater, Waking Life is the story about a boy who meets people from various backgrounds in his dreams, discussing about the meaning of life. Eventually, he starts realizing that his whole life has been nothing but a collection of weird, vivid dreams. Unless he finds out a way to wake up soon, he would never get out of it.

The production values are far from perfect, but this is to be expected from a low budget indie movie. The main draw, however, is its intriguing plotline, delving deep into the unanswered questions about life's mysteries. Like it or hate it, It's going to make you think about your purpose and existence.

Predestination

A temporal agent in his final assignment must apprehend a criminal who has eluded his throughout his career. He travels back and forth in time in pursuit of this terrorist, which concludes with him learning his true identity.

If I were to summarize the whole story, it would sound so weird that you wouldn't want to give it a shot anymore. The plotline is intriguing, successful steering clear of all the Hollywood cliches that would normally ruin a movie. One of its strongest suit is its unpredictability. Just when you think you're in driver's seat, it throws you off balance with its new direction.

If you're looking for some good mind-blowing movies to watch, you mustn't miss out on Predestination.

Se7en

Starring Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt as detectives, the story revolves around a serial killer with a definite motive behind his brutal murders. When these two finally get the hang off his modus operandi, they make a plan to stop him before he's successful in motives, staking their own lives and the ones around them, at risk. Will they get to him before it's too late?

Only a few movies come close to being as dark and disturbing as Se7en manages to be. Along with The Machinist and Memento, it's the bleakest movie ever made in the history of mainstream films.

If you somehow haven't watched it yet, you definitely should.

Twelve Monkeys

The movie takes place in 2035 - almost 40 years after a lethal virus struck the whole world, wiping out five billion people instantly. Only 1% of 1996's population has made it to 2035. The only way they can prevent the virus from mutating further is to go back in tome and find out its origins. When a prisoner is sent back to 1996 for accomplishing that very mission, he ends up landing in 1990 instead. Things take turn for the worse when he gets locked up in a mental institution. Would he make things right before all the hope is lost?

It might sound like a high-budget, action-rich blockbuster, but trust me; there is more to is than meets the eye. All in all, 12 Monkeys is a thrilling ride from the beginning till the moment credits start rolling. One of the best mindfuck movies that would stay with you for a while.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The story revolves around Joel and Clementine - two people from different backgrounds who find out they they are made for each other. Everything goes well up until they decide to break up after a silly argument. When Clementine angrily erases Joel from her memories by going through a selective memory eraser procedure, he decides to do the same. While undergoing the procedure, he starts recalling the perfect memories from their past. Is it too late to save their relationship?

The Game

The plot revolves around a banker who has everything he could ever ask from his life. His life changes for the worse when his brother gifts him a game that starts consuming his life bit by bit. The more he tries to steer away from the trouble, the more it follows him.

It might seem a tad slow in the beginning, but once it gets going, it never looks back. It's one of those movies you'd either love or hate with passion. Whatever your opinion might be, there's no doubt that it's a thrilling ride tillthe end.

The Machinist

The plot revolves around Trenvor Reznik, an industrial worker, who is suffering from an extreme case of insomnia. It's been almost an year since he slept, causing him to lose grip on reality. As the days pass by, the lack of sleep starts affecting his work and relationship. He starts seeing 'things', leading him to believe that someone is conspiring against him. What's real and what's not? Can he pull it back together in time?

The Machinist is going to stay with you for a long time, and not only with its dark, harrowing storyline, but also with the haunting visuals of its near-starving lead character. It's hard to believe that he is none other than Christian Bale. Having seen him in other movies before, it's hard to be prepared for what's to come. Apparently, he went to extreme lengths and manged to reduce his body mass to almost nothing, becoming a walking skeleton of sorts.

Moon

The story revolves around an astronaut working on the Moon to solve the power crisis back at home. Unaware of his true identity, he continues to work as a sole employee, hoping that his stint here wold soon come to an end and he'd finally return back to Earth. He doubts that there is something fundamentally wrong with this whole mission, but can't quite put his finger on it. Everything becomes crystal clear when he inadvertently comes across something that was supposed to be a secret.

It's not every day you come across a movie as riveting and though-provoking as Moon. The first half an hour or so are rightly spent in introduction with it's only character and his errands. Once the film goes ahead with the second phase of the story, though, it never lets up.

Seeing that it's essentially a one man show, Sam Rockwall does a tremendous job of carrying the whole movie on his shoulders. The story needed someone like him to portray a troubled, disturbed character, and he delivered with his heart-warming performance.

If you're looking for some amazing mind-blowing movies, don't miss out on Moon.

Inception

A lot of movies have been made revolving around the concept of dreams and alternate realities, but Inception takes things to the next level by giving a whole new definition to dreams.

Directed by Christopher Nolan, the plot revolves around a an alleged murderer of his wife, who uses a device to enter people's dreams and steal their billion dollar ideas right from the source. Things go awry when he takes on a seemingly impossible job of performing an inception. He would need to go deeper into the depths of dreams. The longer he stays there, the more there are chances that he'd be stuck in limbo. Would he be successful in his last attempt at redeeming himself and finally be free?

Videodrome

Written and directed by David Cronenberg, Videodrome is one of those movies that manages to be intriguing and repulsive at the same time. It plays with your mind from the beginning, uncovering its surreal plotline bit by bit as you realize that there's a bigger story in play.

We are left to struggle with the seamless blend of reality and hallucinations just like its characters. After a while, it becomes impossible to differentiate one from another, and that's where the fun lies.

By the time credits roll, you'd be left with a lot of questions swirling around in mind. It's impossible to answer them all since it wasn't supposed to be a movie with a concrete conclusion.

If you're looking for some good mindfuck movies with no hand-holding, Videodrome should be right up your alley.

Triangle

When the passengers of a yachting trip get stuck in the middle of the ocean after a mysterious storm destroys their boat, they come across an ship with no one aboard. With strange, hellish events happening around them, one of the passengers realize that there's is more to it than meets the eye. As the weather clears up, a new set off dangers await around the corner. Would they come out unscathed?

It's easy to get lost in its puzzling storyline if you're not paying close attention to little details, hints and pieces of dialogues. Although there are various theories lying around the web putting two and two together, the feeling of getting the crux of the story on your own is gratifying. I urge you not look for an easy way out. If you didn't get much in the first shot, give it another go.

Oldboy

An ordinary man is kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years without any explanation. Knowing that there is no way out of this, he comes to term with his new style of life, accepting his fate. And then when he is finally released, he learns that his tormentor has bigger plans for him. What has he done to deserve this? Is he really as innocent as he seems?

Oldboy is going to gross you out. Nudity (And no, it's not a pretty sight), extreme gore, violence and incest - it uses every possible tool in its disposal, making for a controversial, nightmarish story that would haunt you for days to come.It's one the best mindfuck movies ever made - a Korean gem you should not miss out on.

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    • Craig Easom profile image

      Dreammore 2 months ago from British Empire

      *Oooohhhh. I wrote uhhh. Had to give that one some thought.

    • Craig Easom profile image

      Dreammore 2 months ago from British Empire

      Uhhh, the two Christopher Nolan movies that he made between the time when he was hard on making The Dark Knight trilogy - The Prestige (2006) and Inception (2010). Well, 2010, I think. The Machinist (2004) - can I assume you're a Christopher Nolan fan. Mulholland Dr. (2001). Well, 2001, I think. Basically, Mulholland Dr. is a must-watch if you are a Naomi Watts fan, since it was the movie that gave her critical success. The Truman Show (1998) was one of the first movies that I ever saw that had a good twist. Plus, Saw, an interesting one to add to your list. I confess, I cannot watch the Saw movies, they play with my mind. Good list though, but really, Moon was a sickly movie to watch. Take what Gravity, Interstellar, The Martian, and Apollo 13 did well - Moon is otherwise missable (and probably slipped under the radar by most people), and for good reason. Peace, I think I'm going to go and watch Gravity now. Sandra Bullock is gravitating all of your attention to her and away from George Clooney. "What, George Clooney?" Don't worry, he eventually drifts far enough from the space ship that we cannot hear him, so get excited.

    • Isabella King profile image

      Isabella King 10 months ago from Cincinnati, Ohio

      I think the only movie I have seen on this list is Inception, but I was floored by that movie when I saw it and would love to see other movies with a similarly suspenseful plot/story line. The ending was both amazing and incredibly frustrating. Great List! Thanks!

    • hclpd profile image
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      Rahul Parashar 11 months ago from Delhi, India

      @CYong74 I haven't watched any other movies from that series. The first one, however, was pretty amazing.

    • CYong74 profile image

      Cedric Yong 11 months ago from Singapore

      Oh you got quite a lot of delicious entries in there. And kudos to you for including Saw. So many bloggers slam it when the first entry was actually quite brilliant, if logically flawed.