Movies have been a staple activity for date nights since the days of black and white films. There’s nothing more romantic than meeting someone on a dating platform, then inviting them over for a proper liaison, organizing refreshments, before becoming engrossed in the entertainment. The latest Netflix releases? Your favorite rom-com? The possibilities are endless. When it comes to choosing what to watch, psychological horror might not be an obvious choice. But these films draw you into dark and twisted plots, extreme characters, and frequent jump scares. What better excuse for you to snuggle closer, anticipating the next tense scene? Here are our top five recommendations from experts of this website that would made your date night truly special.
The Silence of the Lambs
Based on the bestselling novel by Thomas Harris, the creepy star of this psychological horror is Dr. Hannibal Lecter (portrayed with aplomb by Anthony Hopkins). It also stars Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling, a novice FBI agent on the trail of a serial killer known as Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine), who has kidnapped a senator’s daughter. Starling interviews Lecter in the hope of receiving pointers towards capturing the deranged kidnapper, who is known for skinning his female victims. Lecter escapes custody, then Starling finds herself alone in Bill’s subterranean lair. Many moments will have the pair of you on the edge of your seats, not least when Lecter describes his culinary habits!
A group of college buddies travel to a pagan commune in rural Sweden, eager to find out more about the origins of a once-in-a-lifetime festival celebrating midsummer. What appears to be a pastoral cult relishing having returned to simpler times is revealed to be something far more sinister. As the Americans find themselves swept up in a crazed whirlpool of hallucinogenic drug-taking and human sacrifice, this thriller just gets ever scarier as it hurtles towards a devastating, and fiery, climax.
The Girl on the Train
Versatile actor Emily Blunt plays Rachel Watson, a recovering alcoholic who takes the same aimless train journey into New York after her marriage fails and she loses her job. When news of a woman’s disappearance coincides with something she thinks she has witnessed during her travels, can she trust her memory, or has she unlocked a vital clue that would solve this case? She has to convince the authorities about what she thinks she has seen, while inwardly trying to resolve a similar argument with her doubts. Another excellent psychological movie for your date night.
The Sixth Sense
When this horror feature was first released, it focused on the wonderful performance of Haley Joel Osmont, a troubled young boy who confides in his psychologist, Dr. Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) that he can “see dead people.” Throughout the film, we see many examples of this ‘sixth sense’ in action, but his ability to envisage ghosts gives the film its much-discussed plot twist towards the end.
This latest version of the story of Batman’s nemesis, Joker, features an incredible lead performance by Joaquin Phoenix. He plays a clown whose garishly painted smile masks a turbulent psyche, plagued by having been bullied and neglected his whole life, resulting in mental health issues. A loner in society, he unwittingly finds himself becoming the figurehead for the underdogs in Gotham City, inspiring a counter-cultural revolution against the wealthy and corrupt. Although he is ultimately a tragic figure, Phoenix’s riveting portrayal gives an extra dimension to what would have been another run-of-the-mill revenge story. Nominated for 11 Oscars, for which Phoenix won the best actor award in 2019, this would be a worthy conclusion to your date night of psychological horror.