12 Movies like Se7en: Psychological Crime Thriller film Like Seven

Audiences have often returned to David Fincher’s 1995 movie “Se7en” because it is gritty, exciting, and has a touch of darkness that brings other horror films to shame.

People struggle to let it go for a variety of reasons. Even after all these years, nightmares are still stoked by John Doe’s gruesome, miserable executions, which were all presented as moral killings with each victim representing one of the 7 deadly sins. Each of them leaves a lasting impression on the spectator due to their imaginative yet realistic cruelty.

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Most importantly, regardless of genre, the movie has that quality that makes it unforgettable. You won’t soon forget it after you’ve seen it. Even the way it looks, with its murky, rain-soaked sets and greenish filters, has come to represent the genre in popular culture.

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It’s a famous movie and among the best thrillers, one can discover. Here are other movies like Se7en that strike many of the same frightening notes.

Movies like Seven

12 Movies like Se7en: Psychological Crime Thriller film Like Seven

  1. Prisoners

    Director: Denis Villeneuve

    Writer: Aaron Guzikowski

    Stars: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis

    Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

     Prisoners (2013) on IMDb

    In terms of structure, atmosphere, and content, ‘Prisoners’ is without a doubt one of the movies that most closely resembles Se7en. It is gloomy, foreboding, and overtly filled with mythology, symbolism, and philosophy. It begins as a comparatively sober crime thriller: Over Thanksgiving, two young girls go missing. A detective eventually solves the case by the name of Loki, who uses a ‘War on God’ including mazes, parental retribution, and snakes as his backdrop. Hugh Jackman’s fiercely unlikeable portrayal of Keller, one of the small girls’ parents, leads them on a horrifying path of inquiry.

    Keller is still adamant that the girls’ abduction was caused by Alex, the mentally challenged guy who was initially detained by the police. His response? Use a ruthlessly straightforward, easily manipulated mechanism to torture the truth out of him; the results will haunt the observer. Keller’s voyage into his own dark heart of darkness takes him in a similar path as Loki gets closer to the truth, but it might actually help the kidnappers. Add some standout, stunningly gorgeous visuals, and another heart-stopping conclusion, and you have a film that is both terrifying and unforgettable.

  2. Zodiac

    Director: David Fincher

    Writers: James Vanderbilt, Robert Graysmith

    Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo

    Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

     Zodiac (2007) on IMDb

    Zodiac operates with discipline but never fails to deliver a fascinating and frequently frightful film. It provides a detailed narrative of the investigation into the real-life Zodiac killings. It’s also a psychologically accurate examination of these searches’ impact on the individuals conducting them: We observe downward spirals, obsessions, burnouts, and a great deal of fatigue. And you have the impression that Detective Somerset, at the very least, would understand a lot about this kind of tiredness.

    Additionally, since this is another David Fincher film, you can be sure to receive the same caliber of brilliance, particularly in terms of an eerie atmosphere and outstanding performances. With more than two hours running, this relentlessly quick movie supercharges every minute with the most details possible. It is incredibly detailed and crazily dense. It is excellent at simulating the experience of painstakingly and assiduously looking for a reality that you might never find. Keep in mind that the Zodiac case is infamously unsolved.

  3. Nightcrawler

    Director: Dan Gilroy

    Writer: Dan Gilroy

    Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton

    Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller

     Nightcrawler (2014) on IMDb

    In Nightcrawler, we see violence becoming a topic for the evening news. Lou Bloom, a cunning psychopath, identifies with the TV news industry since there, if it bleeds, it leads. Videos depicting violent crimes in suburban areas and bloody mishaps are in high demand because they reward both titillation and paranoia. Bloom will soon become a success story. This is a man who will go to any length to obtain the proper shot, so perhaps he deserves to be. In addition, he will create a positive news article if there isn’t one already.

    Gyllenhaal’s portrayal of Bloom, which he does in a way that is both fascinating and repellent, is the film’s main attraction. You can’t help but admire his sense of cleverness, but what he does with it is horrifying. The fact that nobody is present to properly comment on how chaotic everything is adds to the cynicism and grime of the situation. Instead, we’re dealing with individuals who are adept at surviving in this type of environment. Perhaps they even enjoy it. You can also watch this movie on Hulu after a premium Hulu subscription.

  4. Gone Baby Gone

    Director: Ben Affleck

    Writers: Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard, Dennis Lehane

    Stars: Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, Casey Affleck

    Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

     Gone Baby Gone (2007) on IMDb

    Gone Baby Gone puts you into yet another gruesome, high-stakes case which finally drives the detectives tasked with solving it to the brink of insanity. When Angie Gennaro and Patrick Kenzie are recruited to locate a missing 4-year-old daughter, every clue they pursue indicates that a successful resolution to their search is unlikely.

    It’s dismal because they can’t even rely on the girl’s mother, Helene, who is uncaring and frequently intoxicated. And when they do, after far too much bloodshed, have a solution, they are unsure of what to do with it. In such a corrupt environment, how can one live morally? This film is terrific throughout, but its conclusion takes it to an entirely new level.

  5. Manhunter

    Director: Michael Mann

    Writers: Thomas Harris, Michael Mann

    Stars: William Petersen, Kim Greist, Joan Allen

    Genres: Crime, Mystery, Thriller

     Manhunter (1986) on IMDb

    Manhunter, a Hannibal film, features characters who are just as driven and dark as Se7en. Will Graham, played by William Petersen, is an FBI profiler who reluctantly returns from early retirement to attempt to solve a particularly brutal series of murders done by the Tooth Fairy. To refresh his memory on how to get inside a killer’s head, he goes to see the worst killer he has ever caught: Dr. Hannibal Lecktor.

    The cast of Manhunter delivers some outstanding performances, from Noonan’s ability to frighten you while also touching your heart to Petersen’s frigid, laser-like focus. However, Brian Cox’s portrayal of Hannibal deserves special mention because, although being less of a showman than Anthony Hopkins’, he is just as strong and lethal. And his friendly, almost ordinary charm can make you cringe. All of this creates a classic hero vs villain scenario.

  6. A History of Violence

    Director: David Cronenberg

    Writers: John Wagner, Vince Locke, Josh Olson

    Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris

    Genres: Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller

     A History of Violence (2005) on IMDb

    A History of Violence highlights the gravity and repercussions of a life lived in the shadows. Tom Stall, played by Viggo Mortensen, accidentally destroys the peaceful small-town existence he worked so hard to create. Years of being a regular diner owner ended when the wrong men showed up. They are a threat, and he eliminates them with speed and efficiency that belies the man he claims to be. He is a hero due to his deeds, and the media is content to grant him his 5 minutes of fame.

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    But because of the coverage, he is now visible to the individuals he had been trying to avoid, people who were well aware of his criminal record and willing to take advantage of it. They’re willing to use Tom’s family as leverage if he won’t cooperate. It appears that he will have to acknowledge the man he once was in some way or another. It’s difficult to predict whether he will still have anything at the end of it. You get all the suspenseful dark pleasures you could ask for, but it also makes you consider what it may do to the human soul to endure it all.

  7. Brick

    Director: Rian Johnson

    Writer: Rian Johnson

    Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lukas Haas, Emilie de Ravin

    Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

     Brick (2005) on IMDb

    Brick situates a California high school in the epicenter of “Se7en’s” moral gravity and melancholy. The focus of the movie is young Joseph’s Gordon-excellent Levitt’s performance. He plays Brendan, an impression of a young man who gets an odd and alarming call from his ex-girlfriend Emily.

    In an effort to locate Emily after she vanished, Brendan starts selling drugs, hangs out at parties for popular teenagers, and tells lies. The atmosphere in this case is crucial, and Brick does a great job of generating it with lots of moodiness and texture.

  8. No Country for Old Men

    Directors: Ethan CoenJoel Coen

    Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Cormac McCarthy

    Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin

    Genres: Crime, Drama, Thriller

     No Country for Old Men (2007) on IMDb

    The villain in this film is just as terrifying and depressing as John Doe, but he or she almost seems like a natural force. No matter how many corpses he leaves in his path, Anton Chigurh is unrelenting in his pursuit to find a bag of money that has been stolen. He will kill out of convenience, rage, or random whim. In contrast to the resourceful but extremely human Llewelyn Moss, he is just frightening with his terrible haircut and his captive bolt pistol.

    Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, who has witnessed too much in his career and is unsure if he will be able to see it all, is trailing behind both of them. No Country for Old Men is a must-see movie thanks to its stunning cinematography, excellent acting, intense tension, and alluring sense of place.

  9. Taxi Driver

    Director: Martin Scorsese

    Writer: Paul Schrader

    Stars: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd

    Genres: Crime, Drama

     Taxi Driver (1976) on IMDb

    Taxi Driver is yet another cynical look at urban deterioration and psychological pressure. Travis Bickle, portrayed by Robert De Niro, is an isolated and growingly deranged guy who lives in the seedy, violent and degrading nightside of New York. Travis carries a lot of darkness with him; sooner or later, it will seep into the outside world. The film’s central theme is how difficult it may be to distinguish between a villain and a self-described hero if they are both driven by the same irrational desires. Will he carry out political assassinations? Or a well-known vigilante?

    Travis’ loneliness is one of Taxi Driver’s most moving themes since it is both tangible and relatable. Most of us have fortunately never even gone close to becoming John Doe, but Travis, who is continually awkwardly trying to connect with people, hits closer to home. Although his decline is terrible, we are able to comprehend his thoughts at every stage. Taxi Driver is among the greatest movies of all time because of this delicate balancing act.

  10. Green Room

    Director: Jeremy Saulnier

    Writer: Jeremy Saulnier

    Stars: Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat

    Genres: Crime, Drama, Horror, Music, Thriller

     Green Room (2015) on IMDb

    The main focus of the movie is a punk band touring. They are so broke that they must steal gasoline to keep the van moving, thus they are unable to decline a performance, even if it is at a small-town neo-Nazi pub. Pat, however, discovers he left the phone inside the green room when it was time to depart. When he returns for it, he sees the terrible murder come to a close. Until they can determine what to do with them, the skinheads barricade the band in the green room.

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    All they have to do is wait for their commander to show up. When he does, he gives explicit instructions: No one makes it out alive. Even though better weapons and numbers encircle them, the band and their reluctant buddy must attempt to flee the pub and get to safety as the movie transforms into an extraordinarily stressful, gory siege.

  11. The Usual Suspects

    Director: Bryan Singer

    Writer: Christopher McQuarrie

    Stars: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri

    Genres: Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

     The Usual Suspects (1995) on IMDb

    The crime story of The Usual Suspects is less about bleak and ruthless preaching and more about greed, deceit, and strategy. However, it features the same brilliant planning, full of surprises, and leading to a genuinely legendary conclusion. The narrative is presented as Agent Dave Kujan’s rambling account of the circumstances surrounding a dockyard slaughter of con artist “Verbal” Kint.

    Verbal explains how a gang of career criminals who were all chosen for the same lineup resolved to cooperate, only to have that choice overturned by the shadowy Keyser Söze, a notorious underworld figure whose notoriety would make even the hardest of criminals cower in fear. Verbal and his coworkers were required to do a difficult task by Söze, but it all went wrong. The Usual Suspects could have been judged only on the strength of its masterfully handled discoveries, but the movie also has an immensely quotable, intelligent, and amusing narrative. It discusses crime in almost mythical ways: We leave with a sense of having explored the origins of evil.

  12. The Vanishing

    Director: George Sluizer

    Writers: Tim Krabbé, George Sluizer

    Stars: Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Gene Bervoets, Johanna ter Steege

    Genres: Mystery, Thriller

     The Vanishing (1988) on IMDb

    Fans of Se7en will like the intriguing premise of The Vanishing.  Rex and Saskia, a couple, stop at a rest spot, and Saskia enters to purchase them some drinks. She never resurfaces, as far as Rex is aware.  Rex is haunted by Saskia’s abrupt, unexplained departure for the rest of his life; even after he’s moved on, he remains fixated on discovering what happened to her. And our knowledge is not much greater than his. The perpetrator has been identified, a seemingly typical family man who painstakingly and dreadfully plotted a kidnapping. But we are unaware of what transpired after he discovered Saskia. Rex and the killer reach a peculiar and unsettling agreement, so we won’t know that until Rex does.

    The Vanishing is a suspenseful thriller about persons’ awareness of the disappearance and their knowledge of themselves. It is a terrifying examination of the consequences of not being able to walk away. It has one of cinema’s darkest frightening endings and a compelling intellectual hook.


While some might argue that Se7en is little more than a gruesome horror movie, I would argue that there is more to it than that. Yes, the film is graphic and disturbing, but it also has a lot to say about the human condition. In particular, the film explores the dark side of human nature, and the ways in which we can be driven to commit terrible acts. Additionally, Se7en also makes us question our own morality, and whether or not we would be able to maintain our humanity in the face of such evil. Ultimately, Se7en is a powerful and thought-provoking film that is well worth watching.

Kierra Rowsey
Kierra Rowsey

Kierra Rowsey is a freelance TV, Film and anime critic for over 12 years, living in Arkansas with her husband and three kids. She graduated from NYU College of Arts & Science in 2008.

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