(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.

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 59060%
Critics Consensus: Emily Blunt's outstanding performance isn't enough to keep The Girl on the Train from sliding sluggishly into exploitative melodrama.
Synopsis: Despite her struggles with memory loss, a voyeuristic alcoholic (Emily Blunt) tries to help police solve the mystery of a... [More]
Directed By: Tate Taylor

#19

Secret Window (2004)
46%

#19
Adjusted Score: 50983%
Critics Consensus: Depp is quirkily entertaining, but the movie runs out of steam by the end.
Synopsis: Mysterious events plague a troubled author (Johnny Depp) after a menacing stranger (John Turturro) accuses him of plagiarism.... [More]
Directed By: David Koepp

#18

Changeling (2008)
62%

#18
Adjusted Score: 70034%
Critics Consensus: Beautifully shot and well-acted, Changeling is a compelling story that unfortunately gives in to convention too often.
Synopsis: After her son is kidnapped and later found, a woman (Angelina Jolie) insists that the boy who was returned to... [More]
Directed By: Clint Eastwood

#17

Identity (2003)
62%

#17
Adjusted Score: 66657%
Critics Consensus: Identity is a film that will divide audiences -- the twists of its plot will either impress or exasperate you.
Synopsis: A killer terrorizes people (John Cusack, Ray Liotta, Amanda Peet) stranded at a remote Nevada hotel during a torrential rainstorm.... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#16

A Scanner Darkly (2006)
68%

#16
Adjusted Score: 74249%
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: In Orange County, Calif., a drug-addicted cop (Keanu Reeves) who works under cover receives orders to spy on his housemates... [More]
Directed By: Richard Linklater

#15

Jacob's Ladder (1990)
73%

#15
Adjusted Score: 77476%
Critics Consensus: Even with its disorienting leaps of logic and structure, Jacob's Ladder is an engrossing, nerve-shattering experience.
Synopsis: A Vietnam vet prone to flashbacks walks the edge of sanity as he searches for the cause of his nightmarish... [More]
Directed By: Adrian Lyne

#14

The Game (1997)
76%

#14
Adjusted Score: 80157%
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: A control freak's (Michael Douglas) disreputable brother (Sean Penn) introduces him to a mysterious game that invades his ordered existence.... [More]
Directed By: David Fincher

#13

Dark City (1998)
76%

#13
Adjusted Score: 81333%
Critics Consensus: Stylishly gloomy, Dark City offers a polarizing whirl of arresting visuals and noirish action.
Synopsis: A demented genius (Kiefer Sutherland), a sympathetic detective and a group of ominous beings are drawn to an amnesiac (Rufus... [More]
Directed By: Alex Proyas

#12

The Machinist (2004)
77%

#12
Adjusted Score: 80242%
Critics Consensus: Brad Anderson's dark psychological thriller about a sleepless factory worker is elevated by Christian Bale astonishingly committed performance.
Synopsis: Cryptic notes and encounters with a mysterious stranger torment a drill-press operator (Christian Bale) who has not slept in a... [More]
Directed By: Brad Anderson

#11

Mulholland Dr. (2001)
83%

#11
Adjusted Score: 90125%
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: An actress (Naomi Watts) goes to Los Angeles to audition for a director (Justin Theroux) and falls into a conspiracy... [More]
Directed By: David Lynch

#10

Black Swan (2010)
85%

#10
Adjusted Score: 95694%
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 ballerina (Natalie Portman) begins to lose her fragile grip on reality as a sultry newcomer (Mila Kunis) threatens to... [More]
Directed By: Darren Aronofsky

#9

Open Your Eyes (1997)
85%

#9
Adjusted Score: 86703%
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: A former womanizer (Eduardo Noriega), disfigured in a car crash, has trouble distinguishing dreams from reality.... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar

#8

Gone Girl (2014)
87%

#8
Adjusted Score: 105347%
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: A man (Ben Affleck) reports that his wife (Rosamund Pike) has gone missing on their fifth wedding anniversary, but his... [More]
Directed By: David Fincher

#7

Inception (2010)
87%

#7
Adjusted Score: 100450%
Critics Consensus: Smart, innovative, and thrilling, Inception is that rare summer blockbuster that succeeds viscerally as well as intellectually.
Synopsis: A thief (Leonardo DiCaprio) who enters people's dreams and steals their secrets gets a shot at redemption when he is... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#6

Seconds (1966)
89%

#6
Adjusted Score: 92434%
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: A sinister company turns a plain client (John Randolph) into a tall, dark and handsome Malibu artist (Rock Hudson).... [More]
Directed By: John Frankenheimer

#5

Memento (2000)
93%

#5
Adjusted Score: 100901%
Critics Consensus: Christopher Nolan skillfully guides the audience through Memento's fractured narrative, seeping his film in existential dread.
Synopsis: A barmaid (Carrie-Anne Moss) and a friend (Joe Pantoliano) help a man (Guy Pearce) who has short-term-memory loss since his... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#4

Vertigo (1958)
94%

#4
Adjusted Score: 107045%
Critics Consensus: An unpredictable scary thriller that doubles as a mournful meditation on love, loss, and human comfort.
Synopsis: A former San Francisco detective (James Stewart) who dreads heights falls for a woman (Kim Novak) he is hired to... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

#3

Diabolique (1955)
96%

#3
Adjusted Score: 102333%
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: A wife (Vera Clouzot) and a mistress (Simone Signoret) conspire to murder the brutal headmaster (Paul Meurisse) of a school... [More]
Directed By: Henri-Georges Clouzot

#2
Adjusted Score: 114273%
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: A hypnotist (Werner Krauss) in black exhibits a cabinet, which contains a pale man (Conrad Veidt) in black in a... [More]
Directed By: Robert Wiene

#1

Rebecca (1940)
100%

#1
Adjusted Score: 114093%
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: A British gentleman's (Laurence Olivier) innocent bride (Joan Fontaine) grapples with intrusive reminders of his deceased wife.... [More]
Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

Tag Cloud

Food Network social media Mindy Kaling Apple TV Plus Infographic nfl Summer batman hispanic stop motion 73rd Emmy Awards crossover mission: impossible transformers Ghostbusters movies Binge Guide breaking bad obituary Superheroe PlayStation Spike Certified Fresh Syfy Academy Awards 2019 spain USA Network Film The Walking Dead psychological thriller news dogs Lifetime Trailer harry potter spanish zombies comic book movies Shudder binge versus composers jurassic park DC Universe Quiz scorecard TV basketball Red Carpet anthology richard e. Grant Rock Mary Tyler Moore heist movie LGBTQ Musical elevated horror toy story book adaptation comedies worst Pride Month new star wars movies 20th Century Fox Video Games Epix Drama king kong Interview Tarantino jamie lee curtis Spectrum Originals Character Guide Television Academy Hallmark Christmas movies Emmy Nominations Amazon Prime Horror Pirates Adult Swim joker Bravo Awards Tour rt labs APB 007 new york telelvision 90s Turner Classic Movies Disney+ Disney Plus chucky lord of the rings adenture NYCC Martial Arts WarnerMedia teaser Masterpiece American Society of Cinematographers Thanksgiving Teen fast and furious new zealand RT History free movies Best and Worst crime drama Fall TV halloween tv Amazon Prime Video doctor who Baby Yoda Walt Disney Pictures archives Lucasfilm Watching Series toronto reboot Reality Competition President A24 festival docuseries comics Sony Pictures reviews fresh sequel high school BBC monster movies strong female leads know your critic TIFF Podcast Sci-Fi rom-coms Pop TV New York Comic Con TNT WGN Fantasy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt italian Lionsgate FX emmy awards japanese laika wonder woman FXX Awards biography The Walt Disney Company political drama Captain marvel PBS all-time adaptation SDCC crime Travel Channel saw TCM cults Animation australia Comedy Central rotten movies we love posters Toys Columbia Pictures See It Skip It 2016 facebook BAFTA singing competition Logo Amazon Studios Fox News canceled TV shows Biopics video Apple casting Stephen King San Diego Comic-Con action-comedy ID Elton John worst movies justice league trailers Chernobyl Nat Geo Winners cancelled Christmas streaming movies adventure scary movies Acorn TV spanish language gangster cancelled television zero dark thirty Premiere Dates Image Comics stand-up comedy Cartoon Network 2021 Western criterion AMC Musicals mockumentary Cannes Pacific Islander theme song TCA Winter 2020 CBS All Access spinoff Star Trek BET Awards 1990s 45 prank 24 frames TV One Action 21st Century Fox docudrama ABC Rocky blockbusters Crackle LGBT Brie Larson hidden camera classics Discovery Channel parents Family ViacomCBS golden globes children's TV Netflix Christmas movies best critic resources PaleyFest science fiction crime thriller romance TLC 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Mary Poppins Returns discovery Pet Sematary romantic comedy YA DC Comics Winter TV japan Countdown National Geographic Music natural history 2020 MTV women BBC America tv talk Mystery FOX GLAAD VH1 dexter Comics on TV scene in color DGA movie Chilling Adventures of Sabrina war renewed TV shows cars Hear Us Out nature 2015 VICE Holiday Ovation green book Universal critics quibi feel good Rocketman Tomatazos godzilla superhero television Oscars popular disaster mcc TCA 2017 First Look unscripted deadpool SXSW Election twilight Women's History Month mutant Spring TV Comic-Con@Home 2021 cats RT21 Crunchyroll Sundance Now Calendar films Super Bowl game of thrones Britbox blockbuster TruTV Paramount Emmys HBO Go anime nbcuniversal Black History Month stoner Funimation screenings historical drama razzies Country true crime Disney Channel Ellie Kemper universal monsters period drama aliens Paramount Network FX on Hulu finale A&E ABC Family Legendary series Broadway Marathons suspense streaming Disney streaming service Box Office superman Schedule Comedy Arrowverse Extras travel target satire Tumblr 71st Emmy Awards IFC Films thriller miniseries Peacock psycho witnail biopic based on movie 2017 christmas movies Marvel Television Television Critics Association spider-man First Reviews OWN OneApp Star Wars dceu BBC One Superheroes CW Seed supernatural olympics Apple TV+ french cartoon SundanceTV CMT boxing Pop comic Hallmark cops debate Pixar Shondaland cinemax pirates of the caribbean hispanic heritage month Rom-Com Comic Book HBO 93rd Oscars Song of Ice and Fire what to watch james bond Valentine's Day Nominations Freeform venice Heroines Fox Searchlight Holidays Showtime dramedy E! football dragons technology History YouTube Premium ITV GoT Turner Marvel VOD child's play Vudu Nickelodeon E3 ghosts royal family asian-american 99% Trivia game show Anna Paquin 4/20 TV renewals Sundance spy thriller dc Marvel Studios Photos marvel cinematic universe ESPN Paramount Plus MSNBC Exclusive Video cancelled TV series rotten die hard The Arrangement Kids & Family comic books zombie foreign Creative Arts Emmys CBS Wes Anderson Reality Set visit Disney Plus indie police drama TV movies sag awards werewolf documentary Alien HBO Max south america hist kaiju Trophy Talk documentaries a nightmare on elm street cancelled TV shows Esquire kids dark Mudbound The CW Year in Review NBA revenge USA Endgame international aapi Avengers young adult slasher Netflix TCA Awards NBC Sundance TV canceled The Academy ABC Signature king arthur Lifetime Christmas movies YouTube DirecTV DC streaming service black boxoffice marvel comics sequels name the review sitcom El Rey Film Festival cooking Grammys Starz medical drama halloween BET Sneak Peek comiccon YouTube Red TCA 2018 Warner Bros. MCU golden globe awards GIFs diversity concert The Purge directors live action screen actors guild blaxploitation Mary poppins comic book movie Tubi slashers TV Land politics talk show indiana jones Polls and Games IFC independent kong remakes Disney Black Mirror franchise book TBS Hulu Amazon Cosplay animated serial killer rt labs critics edition CNN latino The Witch Tokyo Olympics Opinion hollywood video on demand 72 Emmy Awards festivals legend Writers Guild of America ratings X-Men award winner rt archives space robots Classic Film Dark Horse Comics sports vampires