Top 10 Cruelly Dark Movies Like 'Split'

Updated on October 13, 2019
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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.

What Movies Are Like Split?

After the stumbles, Shyamalan, the director behind Split, has finally cracked the code to enigmatize his audiences again, just like he did back in the old days with his gems like The Sixth Sense and The Village. In contrast to his earlier movies, Split is not focused on cheap thrills. Instead, this short feature delivers an admixture of horror, suspense, and superstition in an unparalleled fashion.

Split is a transfixing journey in the beginning but soon trades its rowdiness for pure satanic antics, delivering one ordeal after another with no breathers. What should you watch after this movie? Here are some similar movies to Split that will haunt you for days to come.

Shows Similar To Split

  1. Get Out
  2. The Visit
  3. The Invitation
  4. Shutter Island
  5. The Sixth Sense
  6. The Machinist
  7. Donnie Darko
  8. The Shining
  9. The Badadook
  10. Gone Girl

1. Get Out

Directed by Jordan Peele, his debut directional picture, Get Out follows a young black man persuaded by his white girlfriend to meet her parents. He arrives there, only to notice that these folks are trying too hard to appear welcoming and charming, bringing race in almost every topic they discuss. All the sneers and compliments about his athletic physique have him believe that everyone is conspiring against him, leading him to take actions that would change his fate forever.

Get Out is a treacherous masterstroke. It leads you all the way to the end, making you believe that you have the story figured out. The first half is disguised as a light horror with a spice of satire and romance. The ordeal that follows afterward can’t be inscribed in words. Well, I could, but why spoil the experience? I want you to go in cold, not knowing anything about its dark, gritty affairs. Let it bathe you in its unholiness. Savor the experience.

Simmering below its social commentary is a dark, twisted narrative that will shake you to the core.

2. The Visit

When two young kids excitedly get ready to visit their estranged grandparents, they have no idea about the Lovecraftian horrors awaiting them. At first, the kids write off their grandparents’ peculiar antics, but when their rowdiness transforms into a meaner demeanor, they begin to suspect if they’re even at the right place.

The whole movie toys with the possibility of oldies being a little crazy, only to drop the bomb on you almost at the end, where the whole picture fits perfectly into the frame.

The slow build-up of suspense and distrust leads to inevitable uncovering of a morbid secret - one that will make you question their motives and identity. No offense to old people, but they can be quite scary when they act bonkers. Shyamalan exploits this bitter unspoken truth to advantage, as the film continues to descend down the path of no return. If their creepy sneers and sinister hisses don’t get you, you probably are immune to horror or just used to being around batshit crazy people. Go on, give this low-budget gem a shot.

3. The Invitation

The story follows Will and Kira, an everyday couple living a normal life. Will gets an invite from her ex to join a dinner party, which he hesitantly accepts, bringing Kira along as well.

Everyone seems happy and content, especially the hostess whose vacant smile tells a different story than the one she's narrating. Something is amiss. Will senses a grave danger, but can't quite figure out just what it is. With the clock ticking, he must stop the impending carnage.

Made on a tight budget, The Invitation lacks the grandeur and glitter of a blockbuster but makes up for it with an enchanting, evenly-paced storyline that whizzes through in a gallop. This lean, mean feature will not startle you, but brace yourself for experiencing a disturbing story rife with revenge, plotting, and some cultism.

4. Shutter Island

When a U.S. Marshall is sent to a remote island to track down a missing patient, things go according to the plan at first. However, he soon begins witnessing abnormal phenomenon on this island, leading him to believe there is something else going on in this place - something he himself must uncover.

His quest to rationalize the macabre events only prods him into a labyrinth of confusion and agony. When he starts getting flashbacks of his hidden past, he discovers a harrowing truth about himself. As insanity inches ever so close of engulfing him, he takes abrupt action, only to descend further down the path of chaos.

Shutter Island is a visual extravaganza, but lying beneath its placid Island is a volcano of a twist waiting to erupt. DiCaprio brings life in his role with his authentic performance - one that elicits sympathy and dread at the same time. All the same, Robert Bridge Richardson captures the beauty and sinister secrets of the island in painstaking details. To sum it up, Shutter Island is one of the best movies like Split. If it went under your radar, now is the time to give it a shot.

5. The Sixth Sense

The Sixth Sense is arguably the best horror movie of this generation - one that delivers a twist so thudding it still gives contemporary twisters a run for their money. This one of a kind spectacle was imitated by countless movies later on, but nothing could ever come close to this crackjacked masterpiece. Blurring the ever so thin boundaries of life and afterlife, The Sixth Sense asks some uncomfortable questions, but answers are not simple.

Director Shyamalan’s shrewd sneakiness is on display here as he leads everyone to believe it’s a sob story of an old man who has lost his way, but that’s only the half-truth. The answers lie in the transient hints he hurls at the audience all the way through. And when you finally have a firm grip on The Sixth Sense’s cerebral affairs, you’ll thank everyone involved with this feature.

Before you ask, ghosts are galore here, and they’re spooky, but there is a strange serenity with which The Sixth Sense goes about its affairs, especially at the end where Shyamalan has a mother-of-all-the-twists waiting for you. This is an experience you’ll savor for your life. And with so many movies and shows popping up left and right, this is quite a claim!

6. The Machinist

“How do you wake up from a nightmare when you’re not asleep?” This tagline pretty much sums up what this movie is all about. This viscerally incisive feature stars Christian Bale in the role of Trevor, an industrial worker who hasn’t slept in a year. His relationship with everyone and everything goes down the drain as insomnia gets worse with time, reaching to a point where he starts hallucinating. Trevor must find peace and some sleep before it’s too late.

Bale’s dedication to fit in the role of a skinny-to-the-bones guy is nothing short of commendable. As everyone keeps pointing out in the movie, if he were any skinner, he’d vanish. His uncomely visage is not pretty to look at, but his gumption and perfectionism are off the rails, and in a good way.

The Machinist rightly sits alongside The Shining and The Rosemary’s Baby as one of the best phycological thrillers ever released on the big screen. It leaves you with more questions than answers, but this puzzling labyrinth is well worth getting stuck into. A piece of advice before you jump in; don’t watch this movie when you’re high.

7. Donnie Darko

The story revolves around Donnie, a teenager who narrowly escapes a fatal accident at the beginning. Pretty soon, he starts having these nightmarish hallucinations about a bunny rabbit warning him about an impending apocalypse. The world is coming to an end within a month, and Donnie is the only one who could prevent the doom.

Sure, the plot sounds like a dream come true for a brain-dead action blockbuster, but delve deep into it and you’ll find that it has more to offer than contrived and far-fetched cheap thrills. Donnie Darko is more of a healing session - one that’ll compel you to think about everything you hold dear in your life. This catch-all was written off as an oddball upon its initial release, but I’m glad that it has matured like a fine wine with age.

I remember watching Donnie Darko on the big screen. Back in 2001, this movie didn’t leave much of an impression, partly because I wasn’t mature enough to understand its intricate symbolical references steeped in with satirical and political themes.

Though the whole movie revolves around a troubled teenager, Donnie Darko will appeal to intellectual minds - ones who love dissecting everything to pieces until they get to the bottom. This Richard Kelly directed feature encourages you to be explorative. Along with Donnie, you’ll also be looking for answers, not only about the questions Darko poses but of your own life as well.

8. The Shining

Directed by Stanley Kubrick, The Shining is a mind-numbing thriller about a family who moves into a hotel in the middle of nowhere. The isolated, empty hotel gets in the head of the family’s patriarch. As he loses his grip on sanity, violence and gore come knocking down the hotel’s doors. His increasingly violent demeanor causes a potent danger to everyone including himself.

As the movie digs deep into the hotel’s past, you’ll find if there’s some otherworldly presence in the hotel or it’s all just in Jack’s head. I won’t dare spoil an enigmatic and one of the best Stephen King’s adaptation ever. As the ostensibly haunted hotel takes its toll on the family, you as a viewer will also get sucked in its sinister mysteries.

Stick with this slow-burn, even if it feels like a vapid drama in the beginning. The tsunami that follows after the eerie calmness will get to even the most hardcore gorehounds. Brace yourself for some traumatization.

9. The Badadook

The story revolves around a single mother and his capricious young son who live in a claustrophobic house by themselves. She pays no heed to her son’s claims about a sinister presence lurking around the house. Pretty soon, she finds herself dining with the devil as evil manifests in every corner of the house. With the clock ticking down, she must find a way to eliminate or tame the demon.

Given the presence of all familiar horror tropes, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that it’s just another thriller, but this superbly acted and directed feature will definitely take you on a roller-coaster ride as this poor family’s past and present intersect.

It’s easy to write it off as just another monster-in-the-basement thriller, but when you spend some time with it, every seemingly incoherent piece converge to complete a haunting art.

10. Gone Girl

Directed by David Fincher, this psychological thriller revolves around a wife-gone-missing case. Cops and investigators arrive, only to conclude that the husband might be somehow involved in the whole affair. As everyone, including media, starts pointing fingers towards the poor chap, he takes it upon himself to go to the bottom of the whole matter. The insidious truth he stumbles upon much later in the last moments will shake you to the core.

Gone Girl starts out slow, building up the world and characters to deliver a thudded twist with a jolt factor. The meticulous story is crafted in a way it leads you to believe that you know what’s happening on the screen, only to deceive you every now and again with its sharp twists and turns.

The whole spectacle is a cat and mouse affair where you as a viewer will have to be on top of your game. Even then, the ending will certainly catch you off-guard. Despite disguising itself as guilty-pleasure erotica, it’s eventually a combustible story of a couple - one permeating with self-loathing, lying, and disgust. A match made in heaven! Hold on to something as it brazenly shifts its pace.


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