Best Serial Killer Movies: A Spine-Chilling Collection

Let’s take a look at the best serial killer movies, shall we?! When it comes to horror movies and thrillers, few subgenres captivate audiences like serial killer movies.

The blend of suspense, psychology, and raw terror creates unforgettable cinematic experiences. In fact, it’s the kind that can be equally strong when watched on the small screen. It gets under your skin in so many ways.


To check out our “serial killer” tag right here >

Maybe it’s because they reflect some of the stories we hear on the news. Sure, we’re watching a movie, but real life doesn’t differ too much. With serial killer movies, we get details and background instead of clickbait headlines with no substance.

If you’re a fan of this dark and intriguing genre, here’s a list of the best serial killer movies you should not miss. Also, most of them can be watched more than once. Way more!

Different kinds of serial killer movies

The films on this list represent some of the best of the serial killer genre. Each one offers a unique and chilling exploration of the darkest corners of the human psyche.

Whether you prefer psychological thrillers, true crime stories, classic horror, or supernatural elements, this list has something to satisfy your craving for suspense and terror.

Here’s our list of the best serial killer movies

The list below is in chronological order.

We’re starting out with a movie that hasn’t even been released officially yet. Without a doubt, this movie will begin to feature on various “Best Serial Killer Movies”-lists very soon. It’s out in wide US release on July 12, 2024.

Longlegs (2024)

Set to be one of the most anticipated releases of 2024, Longlegs promises to deliver a gritty and intense look into the mind of a killer. This film is already generating buzz for its raw portrayal of crime and complex characters.

Written and directed by Oz Perkins (The Monkey). He’s the son of Anthony Perkins who famously starred in Hitchcock’s cult classic Psycho (1960) as Norman Bates, which is the oldest movie on this list.

In other words, our list begins and ends with a Perkins.

Lowlifes (2024)

Lowlifes delivers a gritty and intense look into the minds of several serial killers. This film offers some comedy as well as very brutal and bloody scenes. Also, it takes many horror movie tropes and does a neat little switcheroo on them.

This is actually a Tubi Original, which isn’t something we would expect to include on a “Best”-list, but here we are. However, we acknowledge that Tubi is releasing some truly impressive productions and it’s free, so do check it out!

You’ll Never Find Me (2024)

Another 2024 release, You’ll Never Find Me dives deep into the cat-and-mouse game between a visitor and a cunning serial killer. The film’s tension and unexpected twists make it a must-watch for thriller enthusiasts.

This one is out on Shudder.

Devils (2023)

Devils takes viewers on a harrowing journey through a series of gruesome murders with a delicious twist. The film’s dark atmosphere and chilling narrative have made it a standout in the genre. A South Korean character-driven serial killer movie.

Holy Spider (2022)

Inspired by true events, Holy Spider follows a journalist’s pursuit of a serial killer in Iran. The movie’s gritty realism and intense storytelling have earned it critical acclaim.

The Batman (2022)

While primarily a superhero film, The Batman incorporates elements of a serial killer thriller. Including a terrifying version of The Riddler that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Directed by Matt Reeves.

Bones and All (2022)

A unique blend of romance and horror, Bones and All explores the life of a young woman with a dark craving. This film’s haunting beauty and disturbing narrative make it a memorable watch.

Piggy (2022)

Piggy is a psychological horror movie that delves into the life of a bullied teen who encounters a serial killer. The movie’s intense emotional depth and suspenseful plot twists will keep you hooked.

The Black Phone (2021)

In The Black Phone, a young boy is abducted by a masked killer. The supernatural elements and heart-pounding suspense create a unique and terrifying experience.

Unknown Origins (2020)

Unknown Origins combines the world of comic books with a serial killer mystery. The film’s clever plot and intriguing characters make it a fresh take on the genre.

The Golden Glove (2019)

A disturbing portrayal of real-life killer Fritz Honka, The Golden Glove is a gritty and unsettling film that doesn’t shy away from the horrors of its subject matter.

It’s one of the relatively few serial killer movies based directly on a true story!

I Saw the Devil (2010)

This South Korean masterpiece is a brutal and relentless tale of revenge. I Saw the Devil is praised for its intense action and psychological depth.

I Saw The Devil – serial killer movie

The Chaser (2008)

Another gem from South Korea, The Chaser follows a former detective turned pimp as he hunts down a serial killer. The film’s relentless pace and gripping story make it a must-watch.

Zodiac (2007)

Directed by David Fincher, “Zodiac” is a meticulous and haunting depiction of the infamous Zodiac killer. The film’s detailed narrative and stellar performances have made it a classic.

Perfume (2006)

Perfume is a unique and visually stunning film about a man with an extraordinary sense of smell who becomes a killer to create the perfect scent. Its artistry and dark storyline are unforgettable.

Made as a German Netflix mini-series as well.

Saw (2004)

Saw reinvigorated the horror genre with its clever traps and psychological twists. The film’s gritty atmosphere and shocking ending left a lasting impact on audiences.

The franchise is still going on (though not always strong) with Saw XI coming out in 2025.

Memories of Murder (2003)

Based on true events, Memories of Murder is a gripping South Korean film that combines crime thriller and dark humor. Its compelling narrative and strong performances have earned it international acclaim.

Monster (2003)

Charlize Theron delivers an Oscar-winning performance in Monster, a biographical film about serial killer Aileen Wuornos. The movie’s raw portrayal of Wuornos’s life is both heartbreaking and terrifying.

Again, a serial killer movie based directly on a real-life serial killer.

Red Dragon (2002)

A prequel to Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon delves into the mind of Hannibal Lecter and his relationship with FBI agent Will Graham. The film’s suspense and psychological complexity make it a worthy addition to the series.

Frailty (2001)

Frailty is a chilling tale of a man who believes he is on a mission from God to destroy demons disguised as people. The film’s twists and eerie atmosphere will keep you guessing until the end.

Directed by and starring the late Bill Paxton alongside Matthew McConaughey. This is a grossly undervalued genre gem and a personal favorite of mine.

Hannibal (2001)

Hannibal continues the story of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, offering a more graphic and intense look into his life. The film’s dark themes and strong performances make it a gripping sequel.

American Psycho (2000)

Christian Bale’s portrayal of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho is iconic for a reason. This film’s satirical take on the yuppie culture of the 1980s, combined with its disturbing violence, has made it a cult favorite.

Based on the hugely successful novel by Bret Easton Ellis.

The Cell (2000)

The Cell is a visually stunning film where a psychologist enters the mind of a comatose serial killer to save his last victim. Its unique concept and striking imagery set it apart from other thrillers.

Starring Vincent D’Onofrio in a terrifying portrayal and Jennifer Lopez in one of her better performances.

Summer of Sam (1999)

Directed by Spike Lee, Summer of Sam captures the paranoia and chaos during the Son of Sam killings in New York City. The film’s strong characters and tense atmosphere make it a standout.

The Bone Collector (1999)

In The Bone Collector, a quadriplegic detective and his partner track down a serial killer. The film’s suspenseful plot and strong performances keep viewers engaged from start to finish.

Kiss the Girls (1997)

Morgan Freeman stars as detective Alex Cross in Kiss the Girls, a gripping thriller about a killer who kidnaps and tortures young women. The film’s tension and mystery make it a compelling watch.

Snuff (1996)

Snuff explores the dark world of underground films and a serial killer who documents his crimes. Its disturbing subject matter and gritty style have made it a controversial yet intriguing film.

Se7en (1995)

Se7en is a dark and atmospheric thriller about two detectives hunting a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi. The film’s bleak tone and shocking climax have made it a classic.

Yet another serial killer movie from director David Fincher and screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker. Their most recent collaboration was The Killer (2023).

Copycat (1995)

Sigourney Weaver and Holly Hunter star in Copycat, a film about a criminal psychologist and a detective tracking down a killer who mimics notorious serial killers. Its intelligent plot and strong performances are highly engaging.

Silence of the Lambs (1991)

This iconic film introduced audiences to Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins. Silence of the Lambs is a masterclass in suspense and psychological horror, winning multiple Academy Awards.

Please note: We acknowledge that in Manhunter (1986), we met the character “Dr. Hannibal Lecktor” portrayed by Brian Cox. He co-starred with William Petersen as Will Graham.

These two characters would become the main characters of the Hannibal series starring Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy.

Cruising (1980)

Starring Al Pacino, Cruising delves into the underground S&M gay subculture of New York City as a detective hunts for a serial killer. The film’s controversial subject matter and intense atmosphere make it a unique entry in the genre.

Directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist).

Taxi Driver (1976)

Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver is a haunting portrayal of urban alienation and the descent into madness. Robert De Niro‘s performance as Travis Bickle, a mentally unstable cab driver, is unforgettable.

Psycho (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho is a seminal work in the thriller genre. The film’s iconic shower scene and the chilling performance by Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates have cemented its place in cinematic history.

I usually keep up-to-date with all the horror news, and make sure Heaven of Horror share the best and latest trailers for upcoming horror movies. I love all kinds of horror. My love affair started when I watched 'Poltergeist' alone around the age of 10. I slept like a baby that night and I haven't stopped watching horror movies since. The crazy slasher stuff isn't really for me, but hey, to each their own. I guess I just like to be scared and get jump scares, more than being disgusted and laughing at the grotesque. Also, Korean and Spanish horror movies made within the past 10-15 years are among my absolute favorites.
Nadja "HorrorDiva" Houmoller
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