10 Perfect Psychological Horror Movies You've Never Heard Of

These WTF horrors should've got more credit.

A Dark Song
IFC Films

In many ways, psychological horror can be more disturbing than a traditional slasher or gorefest. A film that primarily deals with paranoia and suspense is sure to be unsettling, even when there are no serial killers or monsters on-screen.

Such movies may still have plenty of grim imagery, but it's the atmosphere and tension that leaves a lasting impression. And if the story is told by an unreliable narrator, it's all the more eerie since it's impossible to tell where the truth ends and the lies start. Even if everything ends with the heroes living to see another day, it's challenging to root for them when it's obvious the traumatising events they experienced have taken a heavy toll on them.

When it comes to perfect features in this subgenre, Se7en, The Shining, and Rosemary's Baby are at the top of the pile. However, there are a bunch of other twisted thrillers that have still yet to really get their due.

Although some underrated psychological horrors went on to become cult classics, others continue to go unnoticed. Considering how engrossing and petrifying the films on this list are, it's baffling how they didn't generate more buzz when they were released.

10. Under The Shadow

A Dark Song
XYZ Films/Vertical Entertainment

Even though Under the Shadow centres around a Tehrani woman and her child being tormented by a Djinn spirit, it's so much more than a mere ghost story. 

Despite being Babak Invari's first full-length feature, the Iranian filmmaker effortlessly tackles multiple genres, powerful political subtexts, and thought-provoking themes. Instead of focusing on the wicked spectre, the narrative revolves around Shideh and her relationship with her daughter, Dorsa. Watching Shideh deal with her past and her inner demons is so captivating, it's easy to forget about the very real demon lurking in her apartment.

Under the Shadow may rely on jump-scares, but the Persian thriller gets away with it since these moments are legitimately heart-pounding.

Since the Djinn often takes the form of a human-shaped shroud, it could come across as intentionally funny in the hands of an inferior director. (After all, being tormented by a blanket doesn't sound particularly scary.) Fortunately, Invari utilises a mix of seamless special effects and claustrophobic close-ups to make this dark entity incredibly unnerving.

Though comparisons to The Babadook have been made, there truly is nothing else like Under the Shadow.

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James Egan has written 80 books including 1000 Facts about Superheroes Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Horror Movies Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about The Greatest Films Ever Made Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Video Games Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about TV Shows Vol. 1-3 Twitter - @jameswzegan85