10 Seriously Messed Up Psychological Horror Movies

Nothing gets your mind going like a psychological horror!

Dumplings - Three... Extremes
Applause Pictures

If you want to watch a movie that will mess with your head, it'll be hard to find something better than a good old-fashioned psychological horror flick.

Many movies from the spooky genre run right at you with bulging scary muscles comprised of monsters, killers and overt gore, but the psychological subgenre comes with a different approach. Instead of charging headlong with jump scares and the like, these movies focus on emotion, mentality and (obviously) psychology to disturb you.

Of course, even though psychological horror gets you sweating by invading your mind, that doesn't mean they steer clear of gore and violence. Thus, with these films, you often get to have your cake and eat it too with stomach-churning horror and cerebral storytelling.

By maintaining the same level of violence and depravity but focussing on personal feelings or emotions, these movies can burrow right under your skin and nest there uncomfortably. This approach has led to a slew of films that can be best described as messed up.

The following ten horrors are some of the best examples of this, as they will disturb your mind, body and even soul - if you're not careful.

10. Possessor (2020)

Dumplings - Three... Extremes
Signature Entertainment

If you hear someone say they are "going into the family business", you can usually assume they're taking over a company or becoming a doctor like their parents. But, what you don't expect is for them to become the creator of disturbing body horror movies. Well, that is unless the person comes from the Cronenberg household.

From the mind of Brandon Cronenberg (the son of horror icon David Cronenberg), Possessor is a twisted and disturbing sci-fi tale that pits ultraviolence against mind-melding psychological storytelling.

It follows Tasya Vos, an assassin working for a secretive organisation with the technology to let their killers invade other people's bodies. However, after losing control, Vos ends up battling inside the body of a possessed host.

You can certainly see that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree here, as the younger Cronenberg has the same affinity for gruesome practical effects as his father. This is a bloody movie to the max, but what makes it stand out is the focus on psychology.

The inner torment of the protagonist and the literal fighting inside someone's mind make the film visceral and intense. In this movie, the hero doesn't need weapons or strategy to win, they just need mental fortitude - it's a literal battle of wits.


Michael is my name, overanalysing comedy is my game! Anime, wrestling, TV, movies and video games all live in my head rent free!