Top Ten Best Psychological Thrillers and Dark Movies

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top ten best psychological thrillers and dark movies

The Indian films have been seen changed over the past two decades. The filmmakers have been busy making commercial cinema. The value of dark and gripping movies has seen a decrease in the eyes of Indian audiences. However, film directors such as Anurag Kashyap, Vishal Bharadwaj and many others are still holding to make the best dark and gripping movies. Among the vibrant energy of different genres like song and dance programs or heartwarming family dramas, there exists a universe of cinema that moves into the shadows, uncovering tales of mystery and psychological depth. In this blog, we delve into to bring you the top ten best psychological thrillers and dark movies.

A deeper look at the top psychological thriller movies in India to watch

1. Vikram Vedha (2017)

Vikram Vedha | top ten best psychological thrillers and dark movies

A Tamil psychological masterpiece on ethical surprise and suspense. “Vikram Vedha” is a modern masterpiece that defies genre conventions. This crime thriller was directed by Pushkar-Gayathri and released in 2017. 

The film stars R. Madhavan and Vijay Sethupathi in the lead, with Shraddha Srinath, Kathir, Varalaxmi Sarathkumar, Prem, Achyuth Kumar, Hareesh Peradi, and Vivek Prasanna playing supporting roles.

The film is based on the Indian traditional tale Vikram-Betaal where R. Madhavan plays Vikram, a determined police officer dedicated to protecting justice, and Vijay Sethupathi as Vedha, a mysterious gangster. The plot unfolds as Vikram chases Vedha, resulting in a sequence of occurrences that put not just their wits to the test, but also the very fabric of right and wrong.

Also read: Top 20 Bollywood Songs Of Arijit Singh In 2023

Strength and Weakness of Movie 'Vikram Vedha'


  • Innovative Narrative Structure
  • Powerful Performances
  • Good Direction


  • Pacing Challenges
  • Character Backstories
  • Predictable Moments

2. No Smoking (2007)

No Smoking | top ten best psychological thrillers and dark movies

Anurag Kashyap is a director renowned for challenging conventional storytelling in the context of Bollywood. where mainstream narratives frequently rule. “No Smoking,” which came out in 2007, is proof of Anurag Kashyap’s preference for creating unique, thought-provoking stories that are difficult to classify. 

“No Smoking” is one of the top ten best psychological thrillers and dark movies that delves deep into the complexities of addiction, mind control, and the impacts of giving up one’s free choice. 

The film stars John Abraham in the lead, a chain smoker who becomes engaged in a mystery rehabilitation program conducted by Baba Bengali played by Paresh Rawal. As the main character progresses through the program, he realizes that quitting smoking comes at a much higher cost than he could have imagined.

The film is partially based on Stephen King’s 1978 short tale “Quitters, Inc.“, which was previously adapted as one of three pieces in the Hollywood anthology film Cat’s Eye (1985).

Strength and Weakness of Movie 'No Smoking'


  • Innovative Storytelling
  • Powerful Social Commentary
  • Strong Performances


  • Complexity may Alienate Audiences
  • Limited Commercial Success
  • Puzzled Ending

3. Talaash: The Answer Lies Within (2012)

Talaash | top ten best psychological thrillers and dark movies

“Talaash” directed by Reema Kagti, is a dramatic Bollywood suspenseful movie. The film, which was released in 2012, tells a story of suspense, supernatural aspects, and human emotions, making it a distinct addition to the world of Indian cinema.

“Talaash” is set against Mumbai’s bustling streets and hidden, enigmatic places. Surjan Singh Shekhawat, played by the perfectionist Aamir Khan. An emotionally disturbed police inspector is investigating the strange death of a well-known actor, Armaan Kapoor played by Vivek Oberoi.

As the story dives deeper, Aamir Khan’s character meets the mysterious and intangible Rosie (Kareena Kapoor), a sex worker with ties to the late actor.

Strength and Weakness of Movie 'Talaash: The Answer Lies Within'


  • Suspenseful Narrative
  • Aamir Khan’s Performance
  • Deep Human Emotions


  • Limited Character Development
  • Predictable Twist
  • Pacing Issues

4. Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016)

Raman Raghav | top ten best psychological thrillers and dark movies

The next movie on the list of the top ten best psychological thrillers and dark movies is Raman Raghav 2.0 which is a psychological thriller “Raman Raghav 2.0.” The film, which was released in 2016, dives into the dark and disturbing mentality of a serial killer, drawing influence from the real-life criminal Raman Raghav, also known as Psycho Raman, who terrorized Mumbai in the 1960s.

The film, produced by Anurag Kashyap, Vikramaditya Motwane, Vikas Bahl, and Madhu Mantena, stars Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, and Sobhita Dhulipala in her debut. It follows serial killer Ramanna (Siddiqui) on a cat-and-mouse chase by corrupt cop Raghavan (Kaushal) throughout eight chapters. You surely don’t want to miss this movie which is available on Zee5.

Strength and Weakness of Movie 'Raman Raghav 2.0'


  • Powerful Performances
  • Raw and Realistic Cinematography
  • Good Direction


  • Disturbing Content
  • Film Limited Appeal
  • Limited Characterization

5. Detective Byomkesh Bakshy (2015)

Byomkesh Bakshi | top ten best psychological thrillers and dark movies

Sushant Singh Rajput starrer and Directed by Dibakar Banerjee’s “Detective Byomkesh Bakshy” is a masterpiece that takes fans on an exciting journey through the world of mystery and suspense. The film, which was released in 2015, is a combining historical drama detective fiction, and dark themes.

The 1940s novel “Detective Byomkesh Bakshy” tells the unbelievable serene story of a legendary investigator who appears to know more about Kolkata and its underworld than any authority in the city.

Based on the tales of Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay, “Detective Byomkesh Bakshy” presents us with the lead detective in pre-independence Calcutta. The film focuses on Byomkesh Bakshy’s first case when political turmoil and the threat of war loom in the background as he takes on a complicated network of crimes.

Strength and Weakness of Movie 'Detective Byomkesh Bakshy'


  • Magnificient Plot and Suspense
  • Extraordinary Art Direction
  • Sushant Singh Rajput’s Stellar Performance


  • Pacing Issues in the Second Half
  • Limited Character Development
  • Mixed Reception to the Climax

6. NH10 (2015)

NH 10 | top ten best psychological thrillers and dark movies

The next on the list of the top ten best psychological thrillers and dark movies is Anushka Sharma’s NH10, directed by Navdeep Singh. NH10 is a Bollywood thriller that received attention from the audience.

The terrifying story of a couple entangled in a horrifying series of events pushes the limits of suspense and vengeance. The pair becomes involved in a web of violence and crime, forcing them to confront their own anxieties and challenge the societal standards that allow for such atrocities. 

Under the production house of Anushka Sharma, the movie was made to give a hint on honor killing. Anushka’s strong presence on the screen and her acting make it one of the best movies to watch on Jio Cinema. 

Also read: Top 9 Best Serial Killer Movies That Will Haunt Your Dreams

Strength and Weakness of Movie 'NH10'


  • Intense Performances
  • Tense and Suspenseful Plot
  • Brilliant Direction


  • Limited Exploration of Supporting Characters
  • Undeveloped Storyline
  • Predictable in Parts

7. Kavaludaari (2019)


“Kavaludaari” is a Kannada-language and one of the best thriller movies directed by Hemanth M. Rao that has emerged as a brilliant example of Indian noir film. The film, released in 2019, captures audiences with its intricate plot, stunning performances, and in-depth examination of morality and justice.

“Kavaludaari,” which means “Crossroads” in English, takes viewers through an exciting journey through the complex web of morality and criminality. The movie follows Rishi’s character Satya, a traffic police officer, as his life unexpectedly changes after he obtains an old case file. In the course of investigating a case involving several unsolved killings from the 1970s, Satya discovers a network of hidden facts that cast doubt on both his convictions and the very foundation of justice.

Strength and Weakness of Movie 'Kavaludaari'


  • Extraordinary Cinematography
  • Supporting Casts
  • Brilliant Storyline


  • Limited Accessibility
  • Pacing Challenges in Parts
  • Character Dynamics Complexity

8. Being Cyrus (2005)

Being Cyrus

Homi Adajania directed Being Cyrus, a 2005 Indian English-language thriller film. The film follows an abnormal Parsi household. The film was initially titled Akoori, which refers to a popular Parsi scrambled-egg side dish. The film is Homi Adajania’s directorial debut and Saif Ali Khan’s first feature in English.

This dark comedy-drama varies from traditional storytelling, delivering a story that combines strange characters, psychological twists, and plenty of dark humor. 

The film follows the weird Sethna family and switches between Panchgani, a small hill station where retired sculptor Dinshaw Sethna (Naseerudin Shah) lives in relative isolation with his wife (Dimple Kapadia), and an old abandoned building in Bombay where the other Sethnas, played by Boman Irani and Simone Singh, live. Dinshaw opens his house to a visitor, Cyrus (Saif Ali Khan), who happily accepts his invitation, but as Cyrus becomes friends with the family, previously hidden gaps begin to reveal themselves. The movie Being Cyrus received critical acclaim at film festivals. South Asian Film Festival in New York described it as “incredible and refreshing to see such unique cinema coming out of India”.

Also read: Top Indian Satire Films on Social Issues

Strength and Weakness of Movie 'Being Cyrus'


  • Unique Narrative Approach
  • Dark Comedy with Psychological Layers
  • Rich Characterization


  • Complex Plot
  • Limited Commercial Success
  • Unrealistic Niche

9. Ulidavaru Kandanthe (2014)

Ulidavaru Kandanthe

Rakshit Shetty, a debutant, wrote and directed the 2014 Indian Kannada gangster film Ulidavaru Kandante. Along with Kishore, Tara, Achyuth Kumar, Rishab Shetty, and Yagna Shetty in supporting parts, Shetty plays the main character. The film revolves around five storylines connected to an incidence of a person’s murder, with each character describing it from his unique perspective.

A mysterious narrator named Richi, played by Rakshit Shetty, introduces the story of crime and revenge in the seaside village of Malpe at the beginning of the movie. The novel “Ulidavaru Kandanthe,” which translates as “As Seen By The Rest,” opens with a chaotic narrative structure.

The movie was the first in Kannada history to be fully recorded with sync sound. The film received praise for portraying Tulu Nadu and its people with a sense of regional realism. The movie was recreated in Tamil with Nivin Pauly as Richie, and it was dubbed in Hindi as Balwaan Badshah (2017).

Strength and Weakness of Movie 'Ulidavaru Kandante'


  • Rich Characterization
  • Innovative Narrative Structure
  • Regional Realism and Cinematography


  • Limited Accessibility for Non-Kannada Speakers
  • Limited Performances
  • Less Conventional

10. Monica O My Darling (2023)

Monica O My darling | top ten best psychological thrillers and dark movies

The last on the list of the top ten best psychological thrillers and dark movies is the film Monica O My Darling. The movie is a suspenseful comedy murder mystery movie which uncovers the story of the main characters like Rajkumar Rao, as Jayant Arkhedkar, Huma Qureshi as Monica Machado, Radhika Apte as ACP Naidu, and Sikander Kher.

The movie centers on Jayant and his coworkers, who are terrified of being blackmailed by Monica, a key suspect. Later it’s fascinating to see how Radhika Apte as ACP Naidu leads you through the narrative. Under the direction of Vasan Bala and written by Yogesh Chandekar. This movie has a perfect saying of a crime thriller.  

Also read: Top 15 Famous Directors Who Did a Cameo in Their Popular Movies

Strength and Weakness of Movie 'Monica O My Darling'


  • Extraordinary Cast
  • Brilliant Storyline
  • Good Direction


  • Limited Accessibility
  • Pacing Challenges in Parts
  • Slightly Lenghty

The above dark and thriller Indian movies may not have been box office hits, but their cinema has left a lasting legacy that movie lovers are still aware of.

If you find any other movie that you think can be a part of the top ten best psychological thrillers and dark movies. You can mention it in the comments section. 

These psychological thriller and dark movies, are often overlooked in the glitter of mainstream movies such as RRR, Pathaan, Jawan, and Baahubali which entertain you. But movies like those in the above list would give you minute detail in the movie scenes and make you realize the art of storytelling.

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Laxmi Patil


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