15 Chilling Movies like American Psycho
Jeff, TV analyst for WatchTVAbroad hails from Pennsylvania, United States and after growing up disinterested in sport found his sport calling in his late teenage years. Now he loves nothing more than streaming boxing, MMA and other combat sports.
As soon as it came out back in 2000, American Psycho, and its Patrick Bateman, took the world by storm.
Most people know of the film, or some scenes from it, even without watching, thanks to a popular meme featuring Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) with an axe. The internet community also meme-ified more than a few jokes about his love of Huey Lewis and more.
The axe-swinging violence is still the most memorable one, featuring pithy reaction images of having a bad day.
However, the same can be said of the movie itself. Harron finds real tension in numerous moments, including the one involving a nail gun. But, apart from being simply entertaining, it is also thought-provoking.
Not to mention that it makes your heart beat faster and leaves you craving for more.
American Psycho cannot be replicated, with its black comedy, a sense of unease, and behavior that is downright zany at times. But, I can offer the next best thing, 15 films just like it, at least when it comes to intrigue and excitement.
Here is the list. The last one might surprise you!
Fight Club (1999)
The first on our list is Fight Club, and while it doesn’t have horror sequences where a serial killer goes on a killing spree, it does have a compelling story and a biting satire of masculinity in crisis.
There are two protagonists, Tyler Durden and his unnamed protege, who start living life to the fullest, satisfying their every impulse. This eventually leads to the creation of the Fight Club, a secret club for everyday people where they can go to fight and dump their frustrations in order to live healthier lives.
However, under Durden’s leadership, the Fight Club slowly starts growing into something larger, and more sinister. Plus, there is a big plot twist near the end of the movie, and that alone makes it worth watching.
So, if you love American Psycho and you want films similar to it, with the same cracked jokes, a troubled young man, and a shocking truth reveal at the end, definitely check out this masterpiece of modern cinema.
The film stars Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter.
Black Swan (2010)
Commenting on Black Swan, The Guardian said that it is “Fantastically deranged at all times, Darren Aronofsky’s ballet psycho-melodrama is a glittering, crackling, outrageously pickable scab of a film.”
It certainly has a cracking performance that dances at the edge of being a horror story, with interesting developments and a free trip down into the dark of the human psyche.
It revolves around a woman, Nina, who is an NYC ballerina. When the new play called Swan Lake requires a lead who can play both the White Swan with innocence and grace, and the Black Swan with guile and sensuality, she believes that she is born for the role.
While Nina is the perfect White Swan, another dancer, Lily, is the personification of the Black Swan.
Over the course of the movie, however, Nina gets in touch with her dark side, which eventually threatens to destroy her.
The film stars Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis.
The Dark Knight (2008)
If you like movies like American Psycho, that have the same recklessness of Christian Bale’s serial killer, then another one of his movies, The Dark Knight is a must watch.
In this film, Bale plays a billionaire, Bruce Wayne, who is better known under his other name, Batman. However, the star of this movie is clearly Heath Ledger’s Joker.
Like Patrick Bateman, the Joker has been a meme ever since the movie came out and one of the biggest and most famous memes on the internet.
The plot is the same old game between the two iconic characters, where the Joker wants to make Batman’s life hell, while Batman aims to save lives and defeat the bad guy.
However, the brilliant performance of both actors made this movie undoubtedly the best Batman movie ever filmed.
It has thrilling encounters, brutal scenes, violence, and one death that turns Batman from friend to foe.
The film stars Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Aaron Eckhart.
Mr. Brooks (2007)
If you want movies like American Psycho, with natural-born killers and tension throughout the entire film, then Mr. Brooks is definitely the way to go.
Unlike Patrick Bateman, Mr. Brooks is not ruled by his emotions. He is a calm and calculated serial killer who does what he does because it is an addiction, and he cannot let go, no matter what he tries.
It is rare to watch a crime movie from the perspective of serial killers who know that they are sick, and are trying to deal with it, which makes this movie as unique as it is entertaining.
Mr. Brooks is not a typical serial killer loner, either. He is married, successful, and a father, meaning that he is forced to lead a double life and hide his dark secret.
Things go bad for him, however, when he gives into his habit one last time, only to later discover that there is a witness who has a rather unusual request.
The film stars Kevin Costner, William Hurt, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, and Danielle Panabaker.
Another good choice for those who love American Psycho is Nightcrawler, with just as deranged and downright insane main character. His name is Louis Bloom, and he works as a photographer who takes photos of emergencies and crime scenes and sells them to news stations.
At first, the character seems only slightly insane, but over the course of the movie, his descent into total madness becomes more and more apparent.
He abandons morality completely in order to get the most shocking footage he can find, and over time, he even starts getting involved with crime scenes.
Night crawler and American Psycho have many similarities, including horror elements, violence, a disturbing, yet strangely charismatic main character, and a rather brutal plot. In the end, you will get the same thrilling experience, and that is all that matters.
The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Riz Ahmed, and others.
The Shining (1980)
Next, we have one of the films inspired by Stephen King’s novel of the same name, The Shining.
The plot takes place in the Overlook Hotel, which got its new winter caretaker, Jack Torrance, and his family. Jack is a writer suffering from writer’s block, and he hopes that the change of the scenery could help him overcome it.
However, the hotel, which is closed for the winter, has something dark and disturbing in it, which turns Jack more violent and dangerous, to the point where he eventually starts hunting his family.
This is one of the films that have depicted a descent into madness better than most, and it certainly shares elements with American Psycho. While Jack is not a serial killer, this horror movie shows that anyone can become a danger even to their own family, which is where the true horror lies.
The film stars Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, Danny Lloyd, and others.
The House That Jack Built (2018)
Moving on with our theme of similar movies to American Psycho, we have Lars von Trier’s The House That Jack Built.
Many people who saw American Psycho noticed that it left some things out, including the fact that the killer has been busier than the audience thought.
Nearing the end of the movie, the truth comes out as dead bodies are found in closets, showing us that we only saw a few murders, and that there are many more that we did not.
The House That Jack Built plays with this same idea, where the killer shares a story, or rather five of them, about the murders he had committed, which show how adept at killing he became over time.
The character does things brutal enough to call this a legitimate horror story, and all the while, the world remains oblivious to his crime.
The film stars Matt Dillon, Uma Thurman, Riley Keough, Bruno Ganz, and others.
Taxi Driver (1976)
Another, older movie that I ran into while searching for films like American Psycho is Taxi Driver. Not so much a horror movie, but rather something that is showcasing the descent into madness, this is a movie about a Vietnam veteran who returned from the war only to become a late-night cabbie.
However, he spends his nights with little else to do than watch the filth around him. The absence of morality, constant crime, wasted opportunities, and life that is casually thrown away all help to trigger rage inside of him.
He gives into fantasies of murder, assassination, and then suddenly the intention to save a 12-year-old prostitute.
Becoming a ticking time bomb, the main character eventually snaps, which is something that the audience can see from a mile away, just not when it might happen, or what would be the last drop for him.
The film stars Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Jodie Foster, Harvey Keitel, and others.
William Lustig’s Maniac is a rather interesting and a different story about a serial killer who gets overcome with bloodlust at night. The only goal that he has during these episodes is to find a new woman to scalp.
However, the thing that makes this movie different is that almost all of it was shot from the killer’s point of view.
Over the years, many movies wanted to make the audience feel complicit to the violence seen on the screen, but this one takes things to an entirely new level with its style.
The only time when we see the killer is when he looks at his own reflection, contemplating himself, which allows the audience to do the same, and watch the face of someone who can commit murder and senseless violence and just walk away without any guilt.
The Maniac is a remake of the movie from 1980, which stars Joe Spinell, and The Guardian said that “Maniac is still nasty but it’s a cut above most horror remakes.“
The film stars Elijah Wood, Nora Amezeder, Jon Broberg, Liane Balaban, and others.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Eyes Wide Shut is, again, not exactly a story that can be called pure horror, but it definitely isn’t a comedy, either. It is among the movies that still show things that are definitely questionable and not right with the world, and the true horror lies in the fact that we all know that such things are real, somewhere out there.
It revolves around Bill Hartford, whose wife admits that she has sexual fantasies about a man she met. Following that, Bill himself becomes obsessed with having a sexual encounter.
However, after attending a meeting of a strange underground sexual group, the mystery of it all disappears, as he realizes that he is in over his head.
This movie lets the audience watch a different world from the one they are used to, one of crime and perversion, that could easily be a true story.
The film stars Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack, Madison Eginton, Todd Field, and others.
Seven Psychopaths (2012)
Next, we have another movie that shares similar dark comedy as the one in American Psycho, Seven Psychopaths. It comes with a lot of violence, comical situations, and alike. As such, it might not be for everyone, especially not those who seek a movie about the mystery of a deranged mind.
Seven Psychopaths is chaotic and crazy, and it can get quite brutal at times. The story revolves actually about a writer called Marty, who hit the writer’s block, and while he has the title for his story, he has no story that would accompany it.
So, in search of inspiration, he starts spending time with two friends who kidnap dogs and then return them only to collect the reward. However, after they kidnap a dog belonging to a dangerous gangster, things get out of control, which is just what Marty needs to create a screenplay.
The film stars Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, Collin Farrell, Woody Harrelson, and others.
The Machinist (2004)
Apart from playing Batman and American psycho, Christian Bale has another brilliant role in a movie worthy of this list. We are, of course, talking about The Machinist, where Bale plays Trevor Reznik.
Reznik suffers from insomnia, which prevented him from sleeping for more than a year. His situation takes a hard toll on his body, as well as his mind.
Bale’s dedication to the role had him lose most of his weight in order to play the character, which was rather unsettling for the audience when they saw his skeletal appearance.
But, just like in American Psycho, it is unknown how much of The Machinist can be taken at face value, and how large is the portion of the film represents a distorted point of view of the troubled character.
The film stars Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, John Sharian, and others..
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
Silence of the Lambs is nothing short of a cult classic at this point, featuring brilliant performances. In it, Anthony Hopkins plays Dr. Hannibal Lecter, which is likely a name that requires no introduction.
In this film, Lecter has already been exposed and imprisoned, and the main character, a woman called Clarice Starling, who caught Lecter, comes to him for aid with her killer character study, while trying to solve a murder.
The two have a brilliant dynamic that is a privilege to watch, and internet users to this day quote some of the things that Hannibal says during these conversations.
A natural-born killer, Lecter is still every bit as dangerous and terrifying as ever, which goes to show us that old men are not to be underestimated.
The film stars Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Ted Levine, Brooke Smith, Scott Glenn, and others.
For a somewhat different experience, we have Orphan. Still similar to American Psycho in some ways, the film revolves around a little girl adopted by her new family, which hoped they would get a little girl to call their daughter.
At first, the child, Esther, seems a bit strange and eccentric, but after a dangerous series of events, the parents start to suspect that there is something truly evil lurking behind her angelic exterior.
By the end of the movie, it becomes quite clear what horror the family let into their home, as Esther is not at all what she seems.
The film stars Isabelle Fuhrman, Vera Farmiga, Aryana Engineer, Peter Sarsgaard, and others.
Lastly, we have Zodiac, a film based on one of the most infamous, natural-born killers that were never caught. The film follows investigators and reporters who are trying to hunt down the serial killer who stalks the streets of San Francisco, committing murder after murder with no mercy or regret.
What’s more, he taunts the authorities, leaving cryptic messages, ciphers, and more. As fear grips the city, the investigators become obsessed with learning his identity.
While this film doesn’t provide the audience an insight into the mind of the killer like American Psycho, it is still packed with mystery and suspense, and one of the best serial killer movies out there.
The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards, and others.
American Psycho is one of the most popular horrors to ever hit the screens, not only because of Bale’s brilliant performance, but also because it plays on some of our greatest fears, that anyone can be a psychopath, even successful people that we trust.
As such, American Psycho is a classic that I definitely recommend if you haven’t watched it.
However, if it leaves you wanting more, then this list should provide you with all the tension-packed horrors and crime stories that you could ever want.
In truth, these are all quite different movies, but they share certain elements with American Psycho, as well as with one another.
At the end of the day, if they provide good entertainment for you, then that is all that matters.
Check out Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu to find most of these films in your region.
Which is your favorite on this list? I would love to know so drop me a comment below. Or did I miss off something you think should be here, either way, let me know.