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Top 10 Must-Watch Psycho-Thriller Movies Like the Silence of the Lambs

Updated on September 17, 2016
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The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American psychological thriller film directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Scott Glenn. Adapted by Ted Tally from the 1988 novel of the same name by Thomas Harris, his second to feature the character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter; a brilliant psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer, the film was the second adaptation of a Harris novel featuring Lecter, preceded by the Michael Mann-directed Manhunter in 1986. In the film, Clarice Starling, a young U.S. FBI trainee, seeks the advice of the imprisoned Dr. Lecter to apprehend another serial killer, known only as "Buffalo Bill."

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

The Silence of the Lambs was released on February 14, 1991, and grossed $272.7 million worldwide against its $19 million budget. It was only the third film, the other two being It Happened One Night and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, to win Academy Awards in all the top five categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Adapted Screenplay. It is also the first (and so far only) Best Picture winner widely considered to be a horror film, and only the third such film to be nominated in the category, after The Exorcist in 1973 and Jaws in 1975. The film is considered "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant by the U.S. Library of Congress and was selected to be preserved in the National Film Registry in 2011. A sequel titled Hannibal was released in 2001 with Hopkins reprising his role, followed by two prequels: Red Dragon (2002) and Hannibal Rising (2007).

Here is a list of top 10 must-watch psycho-thriller movies just like The Silence of the Lambs:

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

DIRECTOR:

Darren Aronofsky

WRITER:

Hubert Selby Jr., Darren Aronofsky

STARS:

Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly

PLOT SUMMARY:

Drugs. They consume mind, body and soul. Once you're hooked, you're hooked. Four lives. Four addicts. Four failures. Despite their aspirations of greatness, they succumb to their addictions. Watching the addicts spiral out of control, we bear witness to the dirtiest, ugliest portions of the underworld addicts reside in. It is shocking and eye-opening but demands to be seen by both addicts and non-addicts alike.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

DIRECTOR:

Stanley Kubrick

WRITER:

Stanley Kubrick, Anthony Burgess

STARS:

Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates

PLOT SUMMARY:

In a near-futuristic society, late teen Alex DeLarge is the leader of a gang of thugs - his "droogs" - who commit acts of ultra-violence, often with sexual components, without any regard for their victims, and purely because it strikes their collective fancies. These acts are largely fuelled by drug use. In addition, Alex is a lover of music, especially that of Ludwig van Beethoven, which, when he listens to it during these acts, intensifies his pleasure, and in turn inspires him to commit further such acts. He does not tolerate any challenge to his leadership by his droogs. Although the authorities in general know of Alex's delinquency, they have so far been unable to catch him in the act of his crimes, until one night after a sexual assault of an older woman. Alex and Alex alone is charged, convicted and incarcerated. But Alex sees what he believes is an easy way out when the government looks for subjects to participate in a new rehabilitation therapy, the end result being release from prison after the two week therapy. The therapy ends up having consequences that Alex did not envision. The questions become how Alex will function, and how others will act toward him in his changed state.

Donnie Darko (2001)

DIRECTOR:

Richard Kelly

WRITER:

Richard Kelly

STARS:

Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Mary McDonnell

PLOT SUMMARY:

During the presidential election of 1988, a teenager named Donnie Darko sleepwalks out of his house one night, and sees a giant, demonic-looking rabbit named Frank, who tells him the world will end in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. He returns home the next morning to find that a jet engine has crashed through his bedroom. As he tries to figure out why he survived and tries to deal with people in his town, like the school bully, his conservative health teacher, and a self-help guru, Frank continues to turn up in Donnie's mind, causing him to commit acts of vandalism and worse.

Edward Scissorhands (1990)

DIRECTOR:

Tim Burton

WRITER:

Tim Burton, Caroline Thompson

STARS:

Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest

PLOT SUMMARY:

A modern day fairy tale which tells the story of Edward, a man created by an inventor who died before finishing him and left him with scissors where he should have hands. One day when the local Avon representative calls at the historic mansion where he has been living alone, she takes him home to stay with her family. He has to adapt to the new life and environment that he isn't used to. Soon he shows a talent in cutting hair and hedges and wins every body's heart. But life isn't always so sweet.

Nightcrawler (2014)

DIRECTOR:

Dan Gilroy

WRITER:

Dan Gilroy

STARS:

Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton

PLOT SUMMARY:

The smalltime thief Louis Bloom lives stealing steel, bronze and copper material from the streets of Los Angeles and is seeking a job. When he sees a freelance cameraman filming an accident, he decides to invest money in a camcorder and a police scanner radio from a pawn shop. He overhears the name of Nina Romina, who is responsible for the TV news of a television station and he sells his first footage. Louis learns how to improve his films and hires the homeless Rick to help him. When his competitor Joe Loder discloses his new van and equipment to Louis, he sabotages his van, causing a serious accident. The ambitious Louis is a sociopath and for him gore means a better payment for his footages. So he leaves the position of crime photographer to interfere in crime scenes, climbing in his new career.

Blue Velvet (1986)

DIRECTOR:

David Lynch

WRITER:

David Lynch

STARS:

Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper

PLOT SUMMARY:

Returning home to visit his father who is in intensive care at the hospital, Jeffrey Beaumont stumbles upon a human ear he finds in a field. With local police detective Williams and the local police department unable to investigate, Jeffrey and Sandy, Detective Williams's daughter decide to do their own investigation. But what Jeffrey and Sandy's investigation leads them to discover that a dark underworld exists in their hometown. Jeffrey becomes suspicious of nightclub singer Dorothy Vallens, who is involved with Frank Booth, a violent and evil man.

American Psycho (2000)

DIRECTOR:

Mary Harron

WRITER:

Mary Harron, Bret Easton Ellis

STARS:

Christian Bale, Justin Theroux, Josh Lucas

PLOT SUMMARY:

Patrick Bateman is handsome, well educated and intelligent. He is twenty-seven and living his own American dream. He works by day on Wall Street, earning a fortune to complement the one he was born with. At night he descends into madness, as he experiments with fear and violence.

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)

DIRECTOR:

Tom Tykwer

WRITER:

Andrew Birkin, Bernd Eichinger, Tom Tykwer, Patrick Süskind

STARS:

Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman

PLOT SUMMARY:

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille came into the world unwanted, expected to die, yet born with an unnerving sense of smell that created alienation as well as talent. Of all the smells around him, Grenouille is beckoned to the scent of a woman's soul, and spends the rest of his life attempting to smell her essence again by becoming a perfumer, and creating the essence of an innocence lost.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)

DIRECTOR:

Tim Burton

WRITER:

John Logan, Hugh Wheeler

STARS:

Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman

PLOT SUMMARY:

Benjamin Barker, arguably the most accomplished barber in all Victorian London, is married to the pretty Lucy, the two who have an infant daughter, Johanna. Lusting after Lucy, a sadistic judge named Turpin wrongfully has Barker sent to prison in Australia so that he can have Lucy to himself. Fifteen years later, Barker, who has rechristened himself Sweeney Todd, returns to London to seek revenge by killing Turpin and his accomplice Beadle Bamford, using the instruments of his trade to slit their throats. Below Todd's old barber shop is now a meat pie shop run by Mrs. Lovett, who admits to making the worst meat pies in London. She tells Todd that Lucy poisoned herself after being raped by Turpin, and that Johanna, now a young woman, is Turpin's ward. Johanna and a young honourable sailor named Anthony Hope, who Todd met sailing into London, have fallen in love with each other from afar. Much like his feelings for Lucy, Turpin lusts after Johanna and wants to marry her, and thus he will do whatever he needs to to get Anthony out of the way. Back at the barber shop, Todd changes his plans for revenge solely on Turpin and Beadle out of circumstance, which includes an encounter with a rival barber named Adolfo Pirelli and a close encounter with Turpin himself. Including Turpin and Beadle, Todd's revenge is now directed at all mankind that has wronged him. Todd is helped in his new endeavors by Mrs. Lovett, who has an interesting role in their collective scheme. Todd may reconsider his new collaboration with Mrs. Lovett if he were to learn her true motivations.

The Dreamers (2003)

DIRECTOR:

Bernardo Bertolucci

WRITER:

Gilbert Adair

STARS:

Michael Pitt, Louis Garrel, Eva Green

PLOT SUMMARY:

The tumultuous political landscape of Paris in 1968 serves as the backdrop for a tale about three young cineastes who are drawn together through their passion for film. Matthew, an American exchange student, pursuing his education abroad in Paris, becomes friends with a French brother and sister duo, named Theo and Isabelle, who share a common love of the cinema. While the May 1968 Paris student riots--which eventually shut down most of the French government--are happening around them, the three friends develop a relationship unlike anything Matthew has ever experienced, or will ever encounter again.

Which of these awesome movies are you gonna watch next?

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