7 Mind-Bending Thriller Movies Like "Prisoners"

Updated on May 27, 2018
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Rahul is a movie addict who can never get enough of good films. His all time favorites are Inception, 12 Angry Men, and Scarface.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve, Prisoners is a thriller about a desperate father crossing all the lines to protect his family. It’s an intense experience where the suspense never lets up. Prisoners is an excellent puzzle that unravels slowly to reveal its depth. All these parts add up to a gut-wrenching story that would stay with you for a long time. If you are on this page, it most likely means that you have already watched it and are looking for some other films like Prisoners. Let's take a look.

How would you rate Prisoners out of 5 stars?

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Se7en

I would say that’s it more of a horror movie than a thriller. The mood is set right from the beginning. It's intense and dark, sucking us all in from the very first moment.

Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, Se7en is by far one of the most well-written and inventive films to ever come out. The pair of Brad Pitt and Freeman is the best cop pair ever. Brad had a rare chance to play more than a pretty boy, and he did it with perfection.

The film never resorts to Hollywood movie clichés, staying focused on the narrative and the message it wants to convey. The story remains fascinating throughout, never straying towards irrelevant issues. Se7en unravels pretty slowly while remaining entertaining and shocking as we reach towards the seventh sin, which completely fits the circle of events that begun with the first.

It can be a bit depressing to watch, but in a good way. Excellent camera work, or the lack of it, some convincing acting and a tight plotline makes cements Se7en’s place as one of the best movies like Prisoners.

Zodiac – One of the most untraditional movies like Prisoners

If you expect a traditional David Fincher movie filled with suspense and drama,.Zodiac might prove to be a tad disappointing It’s not a traditional serial killer thriller.

The film begins from the killer’s prospective as we see him wandering around the San Francisco Bay area and carrying out murders. The early footages are a bit disorienting compared to the rest of the movie. You’d find some parts of it to be intensely creepy. The gloomy weather has been used to its maximum potential by director David Fincher to add more scare to an already creepy movie. As we move towards the latter half of this movie, the focus shifts on the investigations to find this mysterious killer - an investigation that still to this day has not reached a conclusion.

If you love movies like Prisoners, Fight Club and Se7en, you’d love this movie as well, but it’s more grown up than those movies. And for you to enjoy it, you’d have to pay attention to all the details.

The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo

An extremely dialoged driven movie has finally made it to this list. Be prepared for a lot of talking. It’s very similar to Zodiac, yet way more engrossing. Have you already watched the original movie? Even if you have, give this remake a shot, and you’d still find yourself getting sucked into the story. Even though my loyalty remains with the Swedish version, I have to say that it Fincher’s version is miles ahead visually. The cinematography is infallible. From the long drives on the snow to amazing sceneries, The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo remains an eye candy.

While this movie is not for everybody, it's pretty similar to movies like Prisoners and Zodiac. With a phenomenal cast and some incredible cinematography, The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo is certainly an improvement over the original.

The Game – One of the best movies like Prisoners

I have seen my share of thrillers all my life, good and bad. But very few of them have ever come even close to The Game in terms of entertainment value. It’s an intelligent tale, kind of a brain teaser filled with twists and turns to take you on a roller-coaster ride until credits roll. It’s one of those movies where suspense never lets up.

There is something for everybody here. No matter what kinds of movies you like, you are going to love watching this puzzle unravel at a slow pace. If you are like me, you’ll have your eyes stuck on screen to find out what actually happened.

Gone Baby Gone

Every once in a while, a movie comes that haunts us for a long time after leaving the theater. You;d find that Gone Baby Gone is one of those movies.

Based on the book Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone was the first ever film directed by Ben Afflek, who also wrote the plotline with Aaron Stockard. Starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Monaghan, it's is a thriller about a missing four-year-old girl and the dark mystery surrounding it. It provokes the question of what would you say is right and what is wrong, pitting you in a struggle between moral absolutes and situational ethics.

With some outstanding performances, a clever plotline filled with suspense and a tense build up to conclusion, Gone Baby Gone is certainly one of the best movies like Prisoners you should watch.

Memories Of Murder – A South Korean movie like Prisoners

South Korean thrillers are not my cup of tea. I find them a bit too slow paced for my taste. Memories Of Murder, however, is an exception. No, it’s not a fast-paced movie by any means. But the slowness is what makes it better than 90% of the American thriller out there. You’ll have to be patient with it to enjoy the movie. The first hour or so is full of comedy where all the character development and plot build up is taken care of. But the latter half, especially the haunting climax, is what makes this movie one of the best South Korean thrillers of all time. San-Kung Kim and Kang-ho Song are brilliant as the cop team who don’t think the same way about solving a crime. And this is what makes them fun to watch on screen. Highly recommended to anyone who’s up for a slow burn movie.

True Detective – One of the best TV shows like Prisoners

What’s a TV show doing here? It’s supposed to be about movies, right? Well, let’s say that this entry is an exception. If you are looking for movies like Prisoners, but have somehow missed out on True Detective, you should stream it as soon as you can.

If you are more into your traditional action movie where no such thing exists as character development, you should avoid True Detective at all costs. The first couple of episodes are all about character development, building up a solid base for a tear-inducing climax.

On the other hand, if you love lengthy, deep dialogues in your movies with some convincing performances, watching True Detective should be a no-brainer. I can’t even think of a show or movie like this hitting the screen in recent years. The southern ambience and incredible cinematography sucks you in from the word go.

Talking about performances – they are nothing but great. Even the smaller parts per perfectly cast. And the two leads – they are as convincing and likeable as a detective team as it gets. Watching them trying to solve a ritual murder while they try to get along with each other is captivating.

I would go as far as to say that it’s going to be HBO’S next ‘The Wire’. 10 out of 10 stars for hitting all the right notes, especially in the finale. If you love character driven stories and you are not put off by a slow build up, this is the one show you’d love.


Conclusion

I am concluding this list of movies like Prisoners with True Detective. There are tons of other movies out there are that are quite similar in nature, but these are the ones I felt are best. What do you think of this list? Was this helpful? Do you have any other movies to recommend? Let me know in the comments section below.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Ash 

      7 weeks ago

      Had you included 'Gone Girl' the list would have become much better.

    • profile image

      Arun Dhawan 

      8 weeks ago

      The following are some of my fav picks to add to your list.

      Mulholland Drive

      The Sixth Sense

      The Third Man

      Memento

      Fargo

      No Country For Old Men

    • profile image

      Re 

      8 months ago

      I agree with Jen, too bad I watched all of them

      wish i could find more like this

    • profile image

      Dani 

      10 months ago

      Just a quick correction: the film 'Gone Baby Gone' is not based on the book 'Mystic River'. The film is based on the book 'Gone Baby Gone' by Dennis LeHane. He wrote both books which got turned into films by the same names.

    • profile image

      Jen 

      23 months ago

      I found this very helpful this is the first article where someone actually had good taste in movies good job thank you.

    • profile image

      milly 

      24 months ago

      EXAM is a really good movie

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