(Photo by Universal / courtesy Everett Collection)

20 Movies To Watch If You Loved Shutter Island

Martin Scorsese followed his Best Picture and Director-winning The Departed with his most directly entertaining, plot twist-heavy movie, a psychological thriller starring Leonardo DiCaprio investigating a remote asylum with a missing patient. Of course, it’s apparent from the beginning things aren’t as they seem…

If you’re looking for more movies like Shutter Island, why not start with the grandaddy of unreliable narrator movies: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It may be 100 (!) years old, but it still has the power to spook and captivate.

Part of Shutter Island‘s fun is that it encourages viewers to participate in solving the mystery, poke holes in the movie’s established reality, and look for the actual truth. It requires filmmaking mastery to create these puzzle boxes, so it’s not surprising some of our most beloved directors built their reputation on these: Alfred Hitchcock (Rebecca, Vertigo), David Fincher (The Game, Gone Girl), Christopher Nolan (Inception, Memento), Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), and David Lynch (Mulholland Drive).

Movies like Shutter Island are all about building paranoia, like the hero has tapped into something true and sinister that nobody else is taking seriously. And frequently they’re told from a female perspective: Along with the already mentioned Black Swan, there’s also The Girl on the Train, the classic Diabolique, and Clint Eastwood’s Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie, who’s convinced the missing son the police have returned to her is not her boy.

Psychological thrillers like Shutter Island differ from typical mysteries in that the nature of the film itself is the central mystery, as opposed to, say, figuring out who the murderer is. Movies in this vein include Open Your Eyes (remade as Vanilla Sky), John Frankenheimer’s Seconds (which helped drive Brian Wilson over the edge in real life), the sci-fi noir Dark City, the relentlessly scary Jacob’s Ladder, and A Scanner Darkly, arguably Keanu Reeves’ best movie made in that period between The Matrix and the Keanussance.

And if you’re looking for something more basic and primal, check out Identity or Secret Window. Not too taxing on the mind, but they’ll still give it a good twist.

Adjusted Score: 56.089%
Critics Consensus: Emily Blunt's outstanding performance isn't enough to keep The Girl on the Train from sliding sluggishly into exploitative melodrama.
Synopsis: Rachel, devastated by her recent divorce, spends her daily commute fantasizing about the seemingly perfect couple who live in a... [More]
Directed By: Tate Taylor


Secret Window (2004)

Adjusted Score: 50.379%
Critics Consensus: Depp is quirkily entertaining, but the movie runs out of steam by the end.
Synopsis: From writer/director David Koepp (Stir of Echoes) comes this filmed adaptation of Stephen King's novella Secret Window, Secret Garden, one... [More]
Directed By: David Koepp


Changeling (2008)

Adjusted Score: 69.946%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully shot and well-acted, Changeling is a compelling story that unfortunately gives in to convention too often.
Synopsis: Inspired by actual events that occurred in 1920s-era Los Angeles, Clint Eastwood's The Changeling tells the story of a woman... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood


Identity (2003)

Adjusted Score: 66.799%
Critics Consensus: Identity is a film that will divide audiences -- the twists of its plot will either impress or exasperate you.
Synopsis: Ten strangers are brought together during a weather emergency, only to discover a far greater danger awaits them in this... [More]
Directed By: David Clevenger


A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Adjusted Score: 74.256%
Critics Consensus: A faithful adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel, A Scanner Darkly takes the viewer on a visual and mind-blowing journey into the author's conception of a drug-addled and politically unstable world.
Synopsis: Set in a future world where America has lost the war on drugs, an undercover cop, Fred, is one of... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater


Jacob's Ladder (1990)

Adjusted Score: 77.5%
Critics Consensus: Even with its disorienting leaps of logic and structure, Jacob's Ladder is an engrossing, nerve-shattering experience.
Synopsis: A tortured man finds himself caught in a middle-ground between hallucination and reality in this supernatural thriller, scripted by Bruce... [More]
Directed By: Adrian Lyne


The Game (1997)

Adjusted Score: 78.303%
Critics Consensus: The ending could use a little work but this is otherwise another sterling example of David Fincher's iron grip on atmosphere and storytelling.
Synopsis: Director David Fincher followed the success of his dark and atmospheric crime thriller Seven (1995) with another exercise in stylish... [More]
Directed By: David Fincher


Dark City (1998)

Adjusted Score: 80.471%
Critics Consensus: Stylishly gloomy, Dark City offers a polarizing whirl of arresting visuals and noirish action.
Synopsis: From the director of "The Crow," an atmospheric melange of styles and substance about aliens, night and unspeakable acts. Interesting,... [More]
Directed By: Alex Proyas


The Machinist (2004)

Adjusted Score: 80.719%
Critics Consensus: Brad Anderson's dark psychological thriller about a sleepless factory worker is elevated by Christian Bale astonishingly committed performance.
Synopsis: Brad Anderson directs the psychological thriller The Machinist, a production of Spain's Filmax company. Christian Bale plays Trevor Reznik, a... [More]
Directed By: Brad Anderson


Mulholland Drive (2001)

Adjusted Score: 88.939%
Critics Consensus: David Lynch's dreamlike and mysterious Mulholland Drive is a twisty neo-noir with an unconventional structure that features a mesmirizing performance from Naomi Watts as a woman on the dark fringes of Hollywood.
Synopsis: Along Mulholland Drive nothing is what it seems. In the unreal universe of Los Angeles, the city bares its schizophrenic... [More]
Directed By: David Lynch


Black Swan (2010)

Adjusted Score: 94.701%
Critics Consensus: Bracingly intense, passionate, and wildly melodramatic, Black Swan glides on Darren Aronofsky's bold direction -- and a bravura performance from Natalie Portman.
Synopsis: A psychological thriller set in the world of New York City ballet, BLACK SWAN stars Natalie Portman as Nina, a... [More]
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

Adjusted Score: 86.405%
Critics Consensus: Director Alejandro Amenábar tackles some heady issues with finesse and clarity in Open Your Eyes, a gripping exploration of existentialism and the human spirit.
Synopsis: In this Spanish-French-Italian co-production, a man deserts women after sleeping with them just once, a lifestyle that becomes his ultimate... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar


Gone Girl (2014)

Adjusted Score: 101.9%
Critics Consensus: Dark, intelligent, and stylish to a fault, Gone Girl plays to director David Fincher's sick strengths while bringing the best out of stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike.
Synopsis: GONE GIRL - directed by David Fincher and based upon the global bestseller by Gillian Flynn - unearths the secrets... [More]
Directed By: David Fincher


Inception (2010)

Adjusted Score: 98.392%
Critics Consensus: Smart, innovative, and thrilling, Inception is that rare summer blockbuster that succeeds viscerally as well as intellectually.
Synopsis: Visionary filmmaker Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Dark Knight) writes and directs this psychological sci-fi action film about a thief who... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan


Seconds (1966)

Adjusted Score: 92.931%
Critics Consensus: Featuring dazzling, disorienting cinematography from the great James Wong Howe and a strong lead performance by Rock Hudson, Seconds is a compellingly paranoid take on the legend of Faust.
Synopsis: Fifty-ish Arthur Hamilton (John Randolph) is approached by a secret company that promises to provide him with a fresh start,... [More]
Directed By: John Frankenheimer


Memento (2000)

Adjusted Score: 99.536%
Critics Consensus: Christopher Nolan skillfully guides the audience through Memento's fractured narrative, seeping his film in existential dread.
Synopsis: A man is determined to find justice after the loss of a loved one, even though he is incapable of... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan


Vertigo (1958)

Adjusted Score: 106.402%
Critics Consensus: An unpredictable scary thriller that doubles as a mournful meditation on love, loss, and human comfort.
Synopsis: Dismissed when first released, later heralded as one of director Alfred Hitchcock's finest films (and, according to Hitchcock, his most... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

Adjusted Score: 101.884%
Critics Consensus: Cruel, dark, but undeniably effective, Diabolique is a suspense thriller as effective as Hitchcock's best work and with a brilliant twist ending.
Synopsis: The greatest film that Alfred Hitchcock never made, Henri-Georges Clouzot's Diabolique is set in a provincial boarding school run by... [More]
Directed By: Henri-Georges Clouzot

Adjusted Score: 111.565%
Critics Consensus: Arguably the first true horror film, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari set a brilliantly high bar for the genre -- and remains terrifying nearly a century after it first stalked the screen.
Synopsis: In one of the most influential films of the silent era, Werner Krauss plays the title character, a sinister hypnotist... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wiene


Rebecca (1940)

Adjusted Score: 108.927%
Critics Consensus: Hitchcock's first American film (and his only Best Picture winner), Rebecca is a masterpiece of haunting atmosphere, Gothic thrills, and gripping suspense.
Synopsis: The second Mrs. de Winter is a shy and naive young woman, besotted with charming and urbane Maxim de Winter.... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

Tag Cloud

PBS spanish justice league Fox Searchlight police drama USA Premiere Dates Spike Star Trek satire a nightmare on elm street Crunchyroll book scorecard Music football 007 critics TCA Awards Turner Women's History Month 2019 halloween Sci-Fi screen actors guild Drama Amazon Prime Video archives HBO DGA stop motion cats series cars Amazon SundanceTV Marvel Studios Amazon Prime cooking Animation IFC Films cancelled TV series Marvel Television technology dc laika Chilling Adventures of Sabrina VICE YouTube binge MSNBC HBO Max Spring TV Brie Larson news deadpool biography Apple TV+ Lionsgate Tarantino award winner werewolf Disney diversity Rocky Grammys Epix CNN emmy awards supernatural space Creative Arts Emmys ABC Family Emmys animated cancelled Columbia Pictures classics Certified Fresh TCA 2017 cancelled TV shows Lucasfilm Summer TLC Awards A24 AMC Disney Channel Sundance Now singing competition Funimation Sneak Peek worst movies finale FX on Hulu GIFs Horror Trophy Talk anthology SXSW composers psycho Film Festival Tomatazos Pet Sematary black Spectrum Originals best Pride Month See It Skip It hispanic teaser doctor who james bond versus Holiday 99% superhero period drama BBC nfl dragons Family The Arrangement mockumentary Disney+ Disney Plus Britbox Photos Red Carpet Avengers streaming Countdown Heroines festivals politics canceled TV shows Apple TV Plus Discovery Channel Pirates CBS All Access remakes Podcast LGBT RT21 asian-american 45 OneApp crime thriller breaking bad Winter TV Netflix LGBTQ reviews Superheroes GLAAD Esquire 24 frames Writers Guild of America Netflix Christmas movies First Reviews die hard japanese Nat Geo documentary television child's play thriller A&E name the review Bravo twilight Year in Review President spinoff Fall TV slashers hollywood Disney Plus social media Trailer Baby Yoda YouTube Red Sundance TV Teen Binge Guide Quiz video on demand joker reboot comics robots Television Critics Association Mudbound Logo Nominations Set visit christmas movies USA Network transformers anime Christmas venice Chernobyl talk show Arrowverse disaster OWN TCM Mary poppins National Geographic Trivia 21st Century Fox criterion TruTV The Academy Tumblr Kids & Family Extras boxoffice cops Character Guide Holidays Syfy Western mutant concert Musical casting NYCC based on movie CBS X-Men Black History Month rotten what to watch Superheroe game show Pixar ghosts Apple Hallmark Christmas movies CMT aliens Classic Film 2015 spain indiana jones Fantasy adaptation Martial Arts 20th Century Fox WarnerMedia kids discovery latino FOX unscripted Rock E! Country elevated horror RT History American Society of Cinematographers 71st Emmy Awards ratings PlayStation Toys films TV Land First Look Fox News franchise The CW Election Shudder Food Network vampires Action hist Cosplay BBC One sequel Comedy SDCC 2018 green book Nickelodeon Showtime Freeform ID HBO Go harry potter cults Masterpiece Comedy Central TV renewals IFC New York Comic Con Video Games Emmy Nominations Endgame festival Song of Ice and Fire Dark Horse Comics Adult Swim indie 2017 Amazon Studios dramedy Cartoon Network independent TCA Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Biopics screenings sequels Hulu ABC El Rey crime boxing Box Office Reality Competition spanish language golden globes VH1 docudrama free movies crossover comiccon jamie lee curtis APB Hallmark San Diego Comic-Con Anna Paquin movie Captain marvel psychological thriller tv talk Star Wars renewed TV shows TV Lifetime Calendar dark Turner Classic Movies Film Universal fresh Crackle Comics on TV facebook directors halloween tv blockbuster fast and furious TBS cartoon scary movies The Witch BET History Thanksgiving richard e. Grant Walt Disney Pictures Pop Pop TV australia blaxploitation Mindy Kaling rotten movies we love TCA Winter 2020 Academy Awards dceu Schedule Interview Disney streaming service Mary Tyler Moore romance children's TV worst cinemax NBC Acorn TV PaleyFest theme song Sundance sports comic BAFTA Vudu Peacock VOD nbcuniversal 2016 2020 Valentine's Day Comic Book witnail Opinion ITV south america crime drama Watching Series Mary Poppins Returns Musicals Travel Channel quibi Warner Bros. natural history stoner documentaries zero dark thirty MCU foreign sitcom cancelled television Sony Pictures BET Awards stand-up comedy comedies Starz FXX movies Mystery italian revenge Television Academy MTV Super Bowl batman mission: impossible canceled all-time chucky YA 4/20 nature comic books Cannes The Walking Dead Elton John YouTube Premium Best and Worst game of thrones E3 Ellie Kemper Paramount Ovation true crime strong female leads dogs Infographic FX Black Mirror rt archives The Purge Tubi miniseries ESPN french war adventure historical drama BBC America travel Hear Us Out Rom-Com science fiction CW Seed Polls and Games Shondaland DC streaming service Lifetime Christmas movies Reality spy thriller obituary spider-man Stephen King medical drama Alien universal monsters WGN Winners zombie 72 Emmy Awards TNT TIFF DC Comics Oscars Rocketman political drama GoT Ghostbusters romantic comedy toronto sag awards zombies Awards Tour video DirecTV serial killer Paramount Network Marathons parents toy story Marvel DC Universe