Psychological thriller
Overview
Psychological thriller is a specific sub-genre of the broad ranged thriller with heavy focus on characters. However, it often incorporates elements from the mystery
Mystery fiction
Mystery fiction is a loosely-defined term.1.It is often used as a synonym for detective fiction or crime fiction— in other words a novel or short story in which a detective investigates and solves a crime mystery. Sometimes mystery books are nonfiction...

 and drama
Drama film
A drama film is a film genre that depends mostly on in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes. Dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, moral dilemmas, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, poverty, class divisions, violence against women...

 genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

, along with the typical traits of the thriller genre. In addition to drama and mystery, many psychological thrillers contain elements of, and often overlap with, the horror
Horror film
Horror films seek to elicit a negative emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience's most primal fears. They often feature scenes that startle the viewer through the means of macabre and the supernatural, thus frequently overlapping with the fantasy and science fiction genres...

 genre, particularly psychological horror
Psychological horror
Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror fiction that relies on character fears, guilt, beliefs, eerie sound effects, relevant music and emotional instability to build tension and further the plot...

.
  • Psychological
    Psychology
    Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

    – Elements that are related to the mind or processes of the mind
    Mind
    The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different traditions, ranging from panpsychism and animism to traditional and organized religious views, as well as secular and materialist philosophies. Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent...

    ; they are mental rather than physical in nature.
Encyclopedia
Psychological thriller is a specific sub-genre of the broad ranged thriller with heavy focus on characters. However, it often incorporates elements from the mystery
Mystery fiction
Mystery fiction is a loosely-defined term.1.It is often used as a synonym for detective fiction or crime fiction— in other words a novel or short story in which a detective investigates and solves a crime mystery. Sometimes mystery books are nonfiction...

 and drama
Drama film
A drama film is a film genre that depends mostly on in-depth development of realistic characters dealing with emotional themes. Dramatic themes such as alcoholism, drug addiction, infidelity, moral dilemmas, racial prejudice, religious intolerance, poverty, class divisions, violence against women...

 genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

, along with the typical traits of the thriller genre. In addition to drama and mystery, many psychological thrillers contain elements of, and often overlap with, the horror
Horror film
Horror films seek to elicit a negative emotional reaction from viewers by playing on the audience's most primal fears. They often feature scenes that startle the viewer through the means of macabre and the supernatural, thus frequently overlapping with the fantasy and science fiction genres...

 genre, particularly psychological horror
Psychological horror
Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror fiction that relies on character fears, guilt, beliefs, eerie sound effects, relevant music and emotional instability to build tension and further the plot...

.

Definition

  • Psychological
    Psychology
    Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

    – Elements that are related to the mind or processes of the mind
    Mind
    The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different traditions, ranging from panpsychism and animism to traditional and organized religious views, as well as secular and materialist philosophies. Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent...

    ; they are mental rather than physical in nature. Sometimes the suspense comes from within one solitary character where characters must resolve conflicts
    Emotional conflict
    "Emotional conflicts and the intervention of the unconscious are the classical features of...medical psychology" for C. G. Jung. Equally, 'Freud's concept of emotional conflict as amplified by Anna Freud...Erikson and others is central in contemporary theories of mental disorder in children,...

     with their own minds. Usually, this conflict is an effort to understand something that has happened to them. These conflicts are made more vivid with physical expressions of the conflict in the means of either physical manifestations, or physical torsions of the characters at play.
  • Thriller – Generally, thrillers focus on plot over character
    Fictional character
    A character is the representation of a person in a narrative work of art . Derived from the ancient Greek word kharaktêr , the earliest use in English, in this sense, dates from the Restoration, although it became widely used after its appearance in Tom Jones in 1749. From this, the sense of...

    , and thus emphasize intense, physical action over the character's psyche. Psychological thrillers tend to reverse this formula to a certain degree, emphasizing the characters just as much, if not more so, than the plot.
  • Psychological thriller – Characters are no longer reliant on physical strength to overcome their brutish enemies (which is often the case in typical action-thrillers), but rather are reliant on their mental resources, whether it be by battling wits with a formidable opponent or by battling for equilibrium in the character's own mind. The suspense created by psychological thrillers often comes from two or more characters preying upon one another's minds, either by playing deceptive games with the other or by merely trying to demolish the other's mental state

Literary devices and techniques

  • Stream of consciousness – a literary technique which seeks to describe an individual's point of view by giving the written equivalent of the character's thought processes. In psychological thrillers, the narrative tries to manifest the character's psyche through word usage, descriptions, or visuals.
  • First-person narrative
    First-person narrative
    First-person point of view is a narrative mode where a story is narrated by one character at a time, speaking for and about themselves. First-person narrative may be singular, plural or multiple as well as being an authoritative, reliable or deceptive "voice" and represents point of view in the...

    – a literary technique in which the story is narrated by one or more of the characters, who explicitly refers to him or herself in the first person, that is, "I". This direct involvement that the characters have with the story in turn makes the reader more involved with the characters themselves, and thus able to understand the mechanics of the characters' minds. This technique is often paired with the concept of the unreliable narrator
    Unreliable narrator
    An unreliable narrator is a narrator, whether in literature, film, or theatre, whose credibility has been seriously compromised. The term was coined in 1961 by Wayne C. Booth in The Rhetoric of Fiction. This narrative mode is one that can be developed by an author for a number of reasons, usually...

    .
  • Back-story
    Back-story
    A back-story, background story, or backstory is the literary device of a narrative chronologically earlier than, and related to, a narrative of primary interest. Generally, it is the history of characters or other elements that underlie the situation existing at the main narrative's start...

    – the history behind the situation extant at the start of the main story. This deepens the psychological aspect of the story since the reader is able to more fully understand the character; more specifically, what the character's motivations are and how his past has shaped his current cognitive perceptions.

Themes

Many psychological thrillers have emerged over the past years, all in various media (film, literature, radio, etc.). Despite these very different forms of representation, general trends have appeared throughout the narratives. Some of these consistent themes include:
  • Reality
    Reality
    In philosophy, reality is the state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or might be imagined. In a wider definition, reality includes everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible...

    – The quality of being real. Characters often try to determine what is true and what is not within the narrative.
  • Perception
    Perception
    Perception is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of the environment by organizing and interpreting sensory information. All perception involves signals in the nervous system, which in turn result from physical stimulation of the sense organs...

    – A person's own interpretation of the world around him through his senses. Often characters misperceive the world around them, or their perceptions are altered by outside factors within the narrative (see Unreliable narrator
    Unreliable narrator
    An unreliable narrator is a narrator, whether in literature, film, or theatre, whose credibility has been seriously compromised. The term was coined in 1961 by Wayne C. Booth in The Rhetoric of Fiction. This narrative mode is one that can be developed by an author for a number of reasons, usually...

    ).
  • Mind
    Mind
    The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different traditions, ranging from panpsychism and animism to traditional and organized religious views, as well as secular and materialist philosophies. Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent...

    – The human consciousness; the location for personality, thought, reason, memory, intelligence and emotion. The mind is often used as a location for narrative conflict, where characters battle their own minds to reach a new level of understanding or perception.
  • Existence
    Existence
    In common usage, existence is the world we are aware of through our senses, and that persists independently without them. In academic philosophy the word has a more specialized meaning, being contrasted with essence, which specifies different forms of existence as well as different identity...

    /Purpose
    – The object for which something exists; an aim or a goal humans strive towards to understand their reason for existence. Characters often try to discover what their purpose is in their lives and the narrative's conflict often is a way for the characters to discover this purpose.
  • Identity
    Identity (philosophy)
    In philosophy, identity, from , is the relation each thing bears just to itself. According to Leibniz's law two things sharing every attribute are not only similar, but are the same thing. The concept of sameness has given rise to the general concept of identity, as in personal identity and...

    – The definition of one's self. Characters often are confused about or doubt who they are and try to discover their true identity.
  • Death
    Death
    Death is the permanent termination of the biological functions that sustain a living organism. Phenomena which commonly bring about death include old age, predation, malnutrition, disease, and accidents or trauma resulting in terminal injury....

    – The cessation of life. Characters either fear or have a fascination with death
    Fascination with death
    The fascination with death extends far back into human history. Throughout time, people have had obsessions with death and all things related to death and the afterlife....

    .

Screenwriters and directors of the genre

  • Sriram Raghavan
    Sriram Raghavan
    Sriram Raghavan is an Indian film director and screen writer. He is notable for producing a 45-minute documentary on Indian serial killer Raman Raghav and 2004 Hindi feature film Ek Hasina Thi produced by Ram Gopal Varma, starring Urmila Matondkar and Saif Ali Khan. His second feature film was...

    – Indian film director presents the noir-thrillers focusing on the main characters mind for their crime in the film such as Ek Hasina Thi
    Ek Hasina Thi
    Ek Hasina Thi is a 2004 Indian psychological thriller film noir by Sriram Raghavan, produced by Ram Gopal Varma, and starring Urmila Matondkar and Saif Ali Khan in the lead roles. The screenplay was by Sriram Raghavan and Pooja Ladha Surti...

    and Johnny Gaddaar
    Johnny Gaddaar
    Johnny Gaddaar , is a 2007 Indian crime thriller noir film written and directed by Sriram Raghavan; produced under the banner Adlabs...

    .
  • Brad Anderson
    Brad Anderson (film director)
    Brad Anderson is a film director. A director of thriller and horror films and television projects, he is best known for having directed The Machinist , starring Christian Bale, as well as producing and directing several installments of the FOX science-fiction series Fringe.-Early life:Anderson was...

    – Works effectively in the psychological horror
    Psychological horror
    Psychological horror is a subgenre of horror fiction that relies on character fears, guilt, beliefs, eerie sound effects, relevant music and emotional instability to build tension and further the plot...

     genre. He is the director of The Machinist
    The Machinist
    The Machinist is a 2004 English-language Spanish psychological thriller film directed by Brad Anderson and written by Scott Kosar....

    and Session 9
    Session 9
    Session 9 is a 2001 American psychological horror film directed by Brad Anderson. It stars David Caruso, Peter Mullan, Stephen Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle, Josh Lucas, and Brendan Sexton III...

    .
  • Dario Argento
    Dario Argento
    Dario Argento is an Italian film director, producer and screenwriter. He is best known for his work in the horror film genre, particularly in the subgenre known as giallo, and for his influence on modern horror and slasher movies....

    – Italian director considered the master of giallo
    Giallo
    Giallo is an Italian 20th century genre of literature and film, which in Italian indicates crime fiction and mystery. In the English language it refers to a genre similar to the French fantastique genre and includes elements of horror fiction and eroticism...

    . He often creates mysteries that are very psychological in nature, with the past of characters influencing their present actions, as in 4 mosche di velluto grigio
    Four Flies on Grey Velvet
    Four Flies on Grey Velvet is a 1971 Italian mystery thriller film, directed by Dario Argento. The screenplay is also by Argento, from a story by him, Luigi Cozzi, Mario Foglietti and Bryan Edgar Wallace .-Plot:...

    , Tenebrae
    Tenebrae (film)
    Tenebrae is a 1982 Italian horror thriller film written and directed by Dario Argento. The film stars Anthony Franciosa, John Saxon, and Daria Nicolodi...

    , Trauma
    Trauma (1993 film)
    Trauma is a 1993 film directed by Dario Argento who also co-wrote the screenplay. The film can be described as a giallo, that is a film with influences from the horror, mystery, and thriller genres.-Plot synopsis:...

    and La sindrome di Stendhal
    The Stendhal Syndrome
    The Stendhal Syndrome is 1996 Italian Horror film, written and directed by Dario Argento and starring his daughter Asia Argento. It was the first Italian film to use computer-generated imagery .. Stendhal Syndrome is a real syndrome, first diagnosed in Florence, Italy in 1982...

    .
  • Darren Aronofsky
    Darren Aronofsky
    Darren Aronofsky is an American film director, screenwriter and film producer. He attended Harvard University to study film theory and the American Film Institute to study both live-action and animation filmmaking...

    – Director of harsh paranoid thrillers such as Pi
    Pi (film)
    Pi, also titled ,WorldCat gives the title as [Pi] and provides a note which states, "Title is the mathematical symbol for Pi." . Amazon gives the title as Pi with no notation concerning the math symbol . is a 1998 American psychological thriller film written and directed by Darren Aronofsky...

    , Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan
    Black Swan (film)
    Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis. Its plot revolves around a production of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake ballet by a prestigious New York City company. The production requires a ballerina to...

    .
  • Park Chanwook – Korean director who significantly explored the genre in his "vengeance trilogy" (Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
    Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
    Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is a 2002 South Korean film directed by Park Chan-wook which follows the character Ryu trying to earn enough money for his sister's kidney transplant and the path of vengeance that follows. It is the first part of The Vengeance Trilogy and is followed by Oldboy and...

    , Oldboy
    Oldboy
    Oldboy is a 2003 South Korean film directed by Park Chan-wook. It is based on the Japanese manga of the same name written by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya. Oldboy is the second installment of The Vengeance Trilogy, preceded by Sympathy for Mr...

    and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
    Sympathy for Lady Vengeance
    Sympathy for Lady Vengeance is a 2008 South Korean film by director Park Chan-wook. In North America and parts of Europe, the film has been screened under the title Lady Vengeance. The film is the third installment in Park's The Vengeance Trilogy, following Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy...

    ).
  • David Cronenberg
    David Cronenberg
    David Paul Cronenberg, OC, FRSC is a Canadian filmmaker, screenwriter and actor. He is one of the principal originators of what is commonly known as the body horror or venereal horror genre. This style of filmmaking explores people's fears of bodily transformation and infection. In his films, the...

    – Canadian director who focuses on the psychological horrors of our minds. His storylines often make issues of the mind explicit, as in The Brood
    The Brood
    The Brood is a 1979 Canadian horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg, starring Oliver Reed, Samantha Eggar and Art Hindle.The film depicts a series of murders committed by what seems at first to be a group of children...

    , Scanners
    Scanners
    Scanners is a 1981 science-fiction horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg and starring Jennifer O'Neill, Stephen Lack, Michael Ironside, and Patrick McGoohan...

    , Videodrome
    Videodrome
    Videodrome is a 1983 Canadian science fiction body horror film written and directed by David Cronenberg, starring James Woods, Sonja Smits, and singer Deborah Harry. Set in Toronto during the early 1980s, it follows the CEO of a small cable station who stumbles upon a broadcast signal featuring...

    , Dead Ringers
    Dead Ringers (film)
    Dead Ringers is a 1988 psychological horror film starring Jeremy Irons in a dual role as identical twin gynecologists. Director David Cronenberg co-wrote the screenplay with Norman Snider; their script was based on the novel Twins by Bari Wood and Jack Geasland...

    and Spider
    Spider (film)
    Spider is a 2002 Canadian/British drama film produced and directed by David Cronenberg and based on the novel of the same name by Patrick McGrath, who also wrote the screenplay....

    .
  • Brian De Palma
    Brian De Palma
    Brian Russell De Palma is an American film director and writer. In a career spanning over 40 years, he is probably best known for his suspense and crime thriller films, including such box office successes as the horror film Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Scarface, The Untouchables, and Mission:...

    – Infuses eroticism with the thriller genre. Often uses the motifs of doubling and splitting in the characters minds, as in Sisters, Obsession, Dressed to Kill, Body Double
    Body Double
    Body Double is a 1984 American thriller film directed by Brian De Palma starring Craig Wasson, Melanie Griffith, and Gregg Henry. The film is an homage to Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo, Rear Window, and Dial M for Murder. The original musical score was composed by Pino Donaggio...

    and Raising Cain
    Raising Cain
    Raising Cain is a 1992 psychological thriller film written and directed by Brian De Palma, and starring John Lithgow, Lolita Davidovich and Steven Bauer.-Plot:Dr. Carter Nix is a respected child psychologist, the son of a giant in the field...

    .
  • David Fincher
    David Fincher
    David Andrew Leo Fincher is an American film and music video director. Known for his dark and stylish thrillers, such as Seven , The Game , Fight Club , Panic Room , and Zodiac , Fincher received Academy Award nominations for Best Director for his 2008 film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and...

    – Dark and ominous thrillers that focus on the psychology of men, as in Se7en
    Se7en
    Seven is a 1995 American thriller film, which also contains horror and neo-noir elements, directed by David Fincher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker. It was distributed by New Line Cinema and stars Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, R...

    , The Game
    The Game (film)
    The Game is a 1997 neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher, starring Michael Douglas and Sean Penn, and produced by Polygram. It tells the story of an investment banker who is given a mysterious gift: participation in a game that integrates in strange ways with his life...

    , Fight Club
    Fight Club (film)
    Fight Club is a 1999 American film based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. The film was directed by David Fincher and stars Edward Norton, Brad Pitt and Helena Bonham Carter. Norton plays the unnamed protagonist, an "everyman" who is discontented with his white-collar job...

    and Zodiac
    Zodiac (film)
    Zodiac is a 2007 American mystery-thriller film directed by David Fincher and based on Robert Graysmith's non-fiction book of the same name. The Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros...

    .
  • Mary Harron
    Mary Harron
    Mary Harron is a Canadian filmmaker and screenwriter best known for her films I Shot Andy Warhol, American Psycho and The Notorious Bettie Page.-Overview:...

    Canadian director who directed American Psycho
    American Psycho (film)
    American Psycho is a 2000 cult thriller film directed by Mary Harron based on Bret Easton Ellis's novel of the same name. Though predominantly a psycho thriller, the film also blends elements of horror, satire, and black comedy...

  • Alfred Hitchcock
    Alfred Hitchcock
    Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, KBE was a British film director and producer. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood...

    – The master of suspense, Hitchcock often applied Freudian
    Sigmund Freud
    Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

     concepts to his thrillers, as in Rebecca, Spellbound
    Spellbound (1945 film)
    Spellbound is a psychological mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1945. It tells the story of the new head of a mental asylum who turns out not to be what he claims. The film stars Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Michael Chekhov and Leo G. Carroll. It is an adaptation by Angus...

    , Vertigo
    Vertigo (film)
    Vertigo is a 1958 psychological thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring James Stewart, Kim Novak, and Barbara Bel Geddes. The screenplay was written by Alec Coppel and Samuel A...

    , Psycho, Marnie
    Marnie (film)
    Marnie is a 1964 psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock and based on the novel of the same name by Winston Graham. The film stars Tippi Hedren and Sean Connery. The original film score was composed by Bernard Herrmann.-Plot:...

    and Rear Window
    Rear Window
    Rear Window is a 1954 American suspense film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, written by John Michael Hayes and based on Cornell Woolrich's 1942 short story "It Had to Be Murder"...

    .
  • Richard Kelly
    Richard Kelly (director)
    James Richard Kelly is an American film director and writer, best known for writing and directing the cult classic Donnie Darko in 2001.-Early life:...

    – Director who examined many of the themes illustrated above in the film Donnie Darko
    Donnie Darko
    Donnie Darko is a 2001 American psychological thriller film written and directed by Richard Kelly and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Noah Wyle, Jena Malone, and Mary McDonnell...

    .
  • Stanley Kubrick
    Stanley Kubrick
    Stanley Kubrick was an American film director, writer, producer, and photographer who lived in England during most of the last four decades of his career...

    - His films are characterized by a formal visual style and attention to detail – often combining elements of surrealism
    Surrealism
    Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

     and expressionism
    Expressionism
    Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas...

     that give the viewers a feeling of discomfort, such as in 2001: A Space Odyssey
    2001: A Space Odyssey (film)
    2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, and co-written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, partially inspired by Clarke's short story The Sentinel...

    , The Shining
    The Shining (film)
    The Shining is a 1980 psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, and Danny Lloyd. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King. A writer, Jack Torrance, takes a job as an...

    , Eyes Wide Shut
    Eyes Wide Shut
    Eyes Wide Shut is a 1999 drama film based upon Arthur Schnitzler's 1926 novella Traumnovelle . The film was directed, produced and co-written by Stanley Kubrick, and was his last film. The story, set in and around New York City, follows the sexually-charged adventures of Dr...

    and A Clockwork Orange
    A Clockwork Orange (film)
    A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 film adaptation of Anthony Burgess's 1962 novel of the same name. It was written, directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick...

    .
  • David Lynch
    David Lynch
    David Keith Lynch is an American filmmaker, television director, visual artist, musician and occasional actor. Known for his surrealist films, he has developed his own unique cinematic style, which has been dubbed "Lynchian", and which is characterized by its dream imagery and meticulous sound...

    Surrealistic
    Surrealism
    Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

     director whose mysteries are usually puzzles of the mind. Both the audience and the characters themselves must figure out what is real and what is not, especially in Inland Empire
    Inland Empire (film)
    Inland Empire, sometimes styled as INLAND EMPIRE, is a 2006 mystery film written and directed by David Lynch. It was his first feature-length film since 2001's Mulholland Drive, and shares many similarities with that film. It premiered in Italy at the Venice Film Festival on September 6, 2006...

    , Lost Highway, Eraserhead
    Eraserhead
    Eraserhead is a 1977 American surrealist film and the first feature film of David Lynch, who wrote, produced and directed. Lynch began working on the film at the AFI Conservatory, which gave him a $10,000 grant to make the film after he had begun working there following his 1971 move to Los Angeles...

    and Mulholland Drive
    Mulholland Drive (film)
    Mulholland Drive is a 2001 American neo-noir psychological thriller written and directed by David Lynch, starring Justin Theroux, Naomi Watts, and Laura Harring. The surrealist film was highly acclaimed by many critics and earned Lynch the Prix de la mise en scène at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival...

    .
  • Christopher Nolan
    Christopher Nolan
    Christopher Jonathan James Nolan is a British-American film director, screenwriter and producer.He received serious notice after his second feature Memento , which he wrote and directed based on a story idea by his brother, Jonathan Nolan. Jonathan went to co-write later scripts with him,...

    – British-American director whose narrative structures often reflect the mental construction of the characters, as in The Dark Knight
    The Dark Knight (film)
    The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed, produced and co-written by Christopher Nolan. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, the film is part of Nolan's Batman film series and a sequel to 2005's Batman Begins...

    , Insomnia
    Insomnia (2002 film)
    Insomnia is an American psychological thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Al Pacino, Robin Williams, and Hilary Swank. The film, released on 24 May 2002, is a remake of the 1997 Norwegian film of the same name.-Plot:...

    , Memento, Following, The Prestige
    The Prestige (film)
    The Prestige is a 2006 mystery thriller film written, directed and co-produced by Christopher Nolan, with a screenplay adapted from Christopher Priest's 1995 novel of the same name. The story follows Robert Angier and Alfred Borden, rival stage magicians in London at the end of the 19th century...

    and Inception
    Inception
    Inception: The Subconscious Jams 1994-1995 is a compilation of unreleased tracks by the band Download.-Track listing:# "Primitive Tekno Jam" – 3:23# "Bee Sting Sickness" – 8:04# "Weed Acid Techno" – 8:19...

  • Roman Polanski
    Roman Polanski
    Roman Polanski is a French-Polish film director, producer, writer and actor. Having made films in Poland, Britain, France and the USA, he is considered one of the few "truly international filmmakers."...

    – Polish director whose thrillers focus on the alienation and isolation of the characters, as in
    Repulsion
    Repulsion
    Repulsion is a 1965 British psychological thriller film directed by Roman Polanski, based on a scenario by Gérard Brach and Roman Polanski. It was Polanski's first English language film, and was shot in Britain, as such being his second film made outside his native Poland. The cast includes...

    and Le Locataire.
  • Martin Scorsese
    Martin Scorsese
    Martin Charles Scorsese is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, actor, and film historian. In 1990 he founded The Film Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to film preservation, and in 2007 he founded the World Cinema Foundation...

    – American director who directed
    Shutter Island.
  • M. Night Shyamalan
    M. Night Shyamalan
    Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan,known professionally as M. Night Shyamalan, is an Indian-born American screenwriter, film director, and producer known for making movies with contemporary supernatural plots that climax with a twist ending. He is also known for filming his movies in and around...

    – Indian-American director well known for making psychological thrillers which often have a twist ending in them. He successfully executed the psychological thrillers,
    The Sixth Sense
    The Sixth Sense
    The Sixth Sense is a 1999 American psychological thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film tells the story of Cole Sear , a troubled, isolated boy who is able to see and talk to the dead, and an equally troubled child psychologist who tries to help him...

    , Unbreakable and Signs
    Signs
    Signs is the plural of sign. See sign .Signs may also refer to:*Signs , a 2002 film by M. Night Shyamalan*Signs , a journal of women's studies...

    .
  • Satoshi Kon
    Satoshi Kon
    was a Japanese anime director and manga artist from Kushiro, Hokkaidō and a member of the Japanese Animation Creators Association . He was a graduate of the Graphic Design department of the Musashino Art University. He is sometimes credited as in the credits of Paranoia Agent...

    – Japanese anime director whose well known for making psychological anime thrillers, as in
    Perfect Blue
    Perfect Blue
    is a 1997 Japanese animated psychological thriller film directed by Satoshi Kon and written by Kon and Sadayuki Murai based on the novel of the same name by Yoshikazu Takeuchi. Junko Iwao plays Mima Kirigoe, a member of a Japanese pop-idol group called "CHAM!", who decides to pursue her career as...

    , Paranoia Agent
    Paranoia Agent
    is a Japanese anime television series created by director Satoshi Kon and produced by Madhouse about a social phenomenon in Musashino, Tokyo caused by a juvenile serial assailant named Lil' Slugger...

    , Millennium Actress
    Millennium Actress
    is a 2001 Japanese anime by director Satoshi Kon and animated by the Studio Madhouse. It tells the story of a documentary filmmaker investigating the life of an elderly actress in which reality and cinema become blurred.-Plot:...

    and Paprika

Video games

  • Alan Wake
    Alan Wake
    Alan Wake is a story-driven action game in the psychological thriller genre, developed by Remedy Entertainment and published by Microsoft Game Studios, released for the Xbox 360 video game console in 2010...

    – An Xbox 360
    Xbox 360
    The Xbox 360 is the second video game console produced by Microsoft and the successor to the Xbox. The Xbox 360 competes with Sony's PlayStation 3 and Nintendo's Wii as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles...

     video game developed by Remedy Entertainment
    Remedy Entertainment
    Remedy Entertainment is a Finnish computer game developer founded in 1995 and based in Espoo, Finland. The company is best known for its Max Payne and Alan Wake series of video games.-History:...

     contains a main plot line that follows author Alan Wake, who is suffering from writer's block
    Writer's block
    Writer's block is a condition, primarily associated with writing as a profession, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work. The condition varies widely in intensity. It can be trivial, a temporary difficulty in dealing with the task at hand. At the other extreme, some "blocked"...

     for two years and vacations in a town called Bright Falls with his wife. Once there, his wife goes missing and an evil presence stalks the town and its residents. Alan must overcome this force, but at the same time discern what is real and what is in his head. The works of Stephen King
    Stephen King
    Stephen Edwin King is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy fiction. His books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books...

    , The X-Files
    The X-Files
    The X-Files is an American science fiction television series and a part of The X-Files franchise, created by screenwriter Chris Carter. The program originally aired from to . The show was a hit for the Fox network, and its characters and slogans became popular culture touchstones in the 1990s...

    , Lost
    Lost (TV series)
    Lost is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island...

     and Twin Peaks
    Twin Peaks
    Twin Peaks is an American television serial drama created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. The series follows the investigation headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper , of the murder of a popular teenager and homecoming queen, Laura Palmer...

     are listed as influences for making the game.

  • Heavy Rain
    Heavy Rain
    Heavy Rain is an interactive drama psychological thriller video game created by Quantic Dream exclusively for the PlayStation 3. The game is written and directed by Quantic Dream's founder and CEO David Cage....

    - A PS3 exclusive developed by Quantic Dream
    Quantic Dream
    Quantic Dream is a French video game developer based in Paris, France, founded in 1997. The company also supplies motion capture services to the film and video game industries.-History:...

    , putting you into four different perspectives, and giving you one task: to track down a serial killer on loose.

Examples in television

  • Battlestar Galactica
    Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series)
    Battlestar Galactica is an American military science fiction television series, and part of the Battlestar Galactica franchise. The show was developed by Ronald D. Moore as a re-imagining of the 1978 Battlestar Galactica television series created by Glen A. Larson...

  • Damages
    Damages (TV series)
    Damages is an American television drama series created by the writing and production trio of Daniel Zelman and brothers Glenn and Todd A. Kessler . It is broadcast in the United States on the DirecTV channel Audience Network after originally airing on FX and is produced by the creators' own...

  • Death Note
    Death Note
    is a manga created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and manga artist Takeshi Obata. The main character is Light Yagami, a high school student who discovers a supernatural notebook, the "Death Note", dropped on Earth by a god of death, or a shinigami, named Ryuk...

  • Dollhouse
    Dollhouse (TV series)
    Dollhouse is an American science fiction television series created by writer and director Joss Whedon under Mutant Enemy Productions. It premiered on February 13, 2009, on the Fox network and was officially cancelled on November 11, 2009. The final episode aired on January 29, 2010...

  • Exile
    Exile (TV series)
    Exile is a British psychological thriller television series dealing with the topic of Alzheimer's disease against a background of corruption. It stars John Simm and Jim Broadbent and was broadcast on BBC One...

  • Homeland
    Homeland (TV series)
    Homeland is an American psychological thriller television series developed by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa, based on the Israeli series Hatufim, also known as Prisoners of War, which was created by Gideon Raff...

  • Mad Dogs
    Mad Dogs (TV series)
    Mad Dogs is a four-part British black comedy and psychological thriller television series created by Cris Cole that started broadcast on Sky1 on 10 February 2011. It was produced by Left Bank Pictures, and co-produced by Palma Pictures. The series stars John Simm, Marc Warren, Max Beesley and...

  • Twin Peaks
    Twin Peaks
    Twin Peaks is an American television serial drama created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. The series follows the investigation headed by FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper , of the murder of a popular teenager and homecoming queen, Laura Palmer...


Examples in literature

  • Emile Zola
    Émile Zola
    Émile François Zola was a French writer, the most important exemplar of the literary school of naturalism and an important contributor to the development of theatrical naturalism...

    – His novel La Bete Humaine is a chilling psychological thriller that focuses on the dark recesses of human nature.
  • Patricia Highsmith
    Patricia Highsmith
    Patricia Highsmith was an American novelist and short-story writer most widely known for her psychological thrillers, which led to more than two dozen film adaptations. Her first novel, Strangers on a Train, has been adapted for stage and screen numerous times, notably by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951...

    – Highsmith's novels usually focus on troubled young men who are either sociopathic
    Psychopathy
    Psychopathy is a mental disorder characterized primarily by a lack of empathy and remorse, shallow emotions, egocentricity, and deceptiveness. Psychopaths are highly prone to antisocial behavior and abusive treatment of others, and are very disproportionately responsible for violent crime...

     or emotionally unstable; throughout each story the protagonist is somehow drawn into a murky murder case, and must contend with persistent policemen and suspicious friends. Her most famous character is the charming con man
    Confidence trick
    A confidence trick is an attempt to defraud a person or group by gaining their confidence. A confidence artist is an individual working alone or in concert with others who exploits characteristics of the human psyche such as dishonesty and honesty, vanity, compassion, credulity, irresponsibility,...

     and serial murderer Tom Ripley who, over the course of five books, successfully kills nine people.
  • Desmond Cory
    Desmond Cory
    Desmond Cory is a pseudonym used by British mystery/thriller writer Shaun Lloyd McCarthy...

    – Cory's popular novels have been made into successful films (The Mark of the Phoenix, Deadfall) and a television series (Circe Complex). Cory explored many different aspects of the psychological thriller, featuring a wide spectrum of characters that ranged from the jewel-thief to the terrorist.
  • Rod Glenn
    Rod Glenn
    Rod Glenn is an author of fiction from the north east of England.The King of America is a futuristic thriller set five hundred years into the future with the Americas all ruled by a European-style monarchy....

    – Glenn's novel, Sinema: The Northumberland Massacre explores the idea that a seemingly well-adjusted individual with an unremarkable upbringing can make a sane decision to commit murder. Sinema features the unusually likeable and charismatic character of Hannibal Whitman as the central anti-hero.
  • Jonathan Kellerman
    Jonathan Kellerman
    Jonathan Kellerman is an American psychologist, and Edgar and Anthony Award winning author of numerous bestselling suspense novels....

    – Kellerman's Alex Delaware
    Alex Delaware
    Alex Delaware is a literary character created by Jonathan Kellerman. The Alex Delaware detective series begins with When the Bough Breaks, published in 1985. Delaware appears in 23 of Kellerman's popular murder mysteries. Kellerman sets the series in Los Angeles...

     novels often deal with various matters of criminal psychology
    Criminal psychology
    Criminal psychology is the study of the wills, thoughts, intentions and reactions of criminals. It is related to the field of criminal anthropology. The study goes deeply into what makes someone commit crime, but also the reactions after the crime, on the run or in court...

    .
  • Melanie Wells – Unlike her contemporaries, Wells has taken a different approach to the genre by adding supernatural elements. Her novels, such as When The Day of Evil Comes, The Soul Hunter and My Soul to Keep, feature the psychological mind games of Peter Terry - a demon
    Demon
    call - 1347 531 7769 for more infoIn Ancient Near Eastern religions as well as in the Abrahamic traditions, including ancient and medieval Christian demonology, a demon is considered an "unclean spirit" which may cause demonic possession, to be addressed with an act of exorcism...

     who seeks to steal his victim's peace of mind and hope.
  • Mary Higgins Clark
    Mary Higgins Clark
    Mary Theresa Eleanor Higgins Clark Conheeney , known professionally as Mary Higgins Clark, is an American author of suspense novels...

    – Clark's novels typically focus on a successful woman caught up in the diaboloical games of men, who are usually either psychotic or sexually perverse
    Human sexuality
    Human sexuality is the awareness of gender differences, and the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. Human sexuality can also be described as the way someone is sexually attracted to another person whether it is to opposite sexes , to the same sex , to either sexes , or not being...

    . The crimes in her stories often involve children in some way, and occasionally deal with child telepathy
    Telepathy
    Telepathy , is the induction of mental states from one mind to another. The term was coined in 1882 by the classical scholar Fredric W. H. Myers, a founder of the Society for Psychical Research, and has remained more popular than the more-correct expression thought-transference...

    .
  • Nicci French
    Nicci French
    Nicci French is the pseudonym of English husband-and-wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French, who write psychological thrillers together.-Personal life:...

    – The pseudonym
    Pseudonym
    A pseudonym is a name that a person assumes for a particular purpose and that differs from his or her original orthonym...

     of husband-and-wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. Their novels often revolve around a young female protagonist who is either targeted by or is suspected of being a psychopathic killer. The stories are quite unique in that they focus just as much, if not more so, on the victims of crime rather than the actual criminals.
  • Stephen King
    Stephen King
    Stephen Edwin King is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy fiction. His books have sold more than 350 million copies and have been adapted into a number of feature films, television movies and comic books...

    – Although his books Carrie
    Carrie (novel)
    Carrie is American author Stephen King's first published novel, released in 1974. It revolves around the eponymous Carrie, a shy high-school girl, who uses her newly discovered telekinetic powers to exact revenge on those who tease her...

    , Cycle of the Werewolf
    Cycle of the Werewolf
    Cycle of the Werewolf is a short horror novel by Stephen King, featuring illustrations by renowned comic book artist Bernie Wrightson. Each chapter is a short story unto itself. It tells the story of a werewolf haunting a small town as the moon turns full once every month...

    , Thinner
    Thinner (novel)
    Thinner is a 1984 novel by Stephen King, published under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. It would be the last novel which King released under the Richard Bachman pseudonym until the release of The Regulators in 1996 . The photo is claimed to have been taken by Claudia Inez Bachman...

    and others are considered as horror novels, his book often focus on the protagonist(s) and antagonist(s), their origins, backgrounds for character and certain activities.
  • Orson Scott Card
    Orson Scott Card
    Orson Scott Card is an American author, critic, public speaker, essayist, columnist, and political activist. He writes in several genres, but is primarily known for his science fiction. His novel Ender's Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead both won Hugo and Nebula Awards, making Card the...

    Ender's Game
    Ender's Game
    Ender's Game is a science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card. The book originated as the short story "Ender's Game", published in the August 1977 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Elaborating on characters and plot lines depicted in the novel, Card later wrote additional...

    , though usually identified as a science fiction novel, gets more into the life of a child, rather than focusing upon the technology and means of the future.

External links

  • IMDb - Psychological Thriller at the Internet Movie Database
    Internet Movie Database
    Internet Movie Database is an online database of information related to movies, television shows, actors, production crew personnel, video games and fictional characters featured in visual entertainment media. It is one of the most popular online entertainment destinations, with over 100 million...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK