Serial Killer Movies: 10 Must See Films!

Herner Klenthur

I am a sucker for serial killer movies and over the years we have experience some true gems. This Top 10 horror movies list is my tribute to the ten best serial killers put to film. Obviously tastes will vary but that is what makes things interesting! I can say with confidence that even if you do not agree with my list entirely you will definitely agree with a few of them none the less.

So in no particular order here is my list of the 10 best serial killer movies.


Directed by the incredibly talented David Fincher this 1995 serial thriller starred Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey and Morgan Freeman.  This movie really hit home because I nearly lost an appendage while watching the film with my girlfriend. She was so terrified during one particular scene she went from holding my thumb to tearing it off!

Seven is the story of two detectives, a rookie and a veteran who hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his modus operandi. With one of the most shocking twist ending Seven is clearly one of the 10 best serial killer movies of all time.

Silence of the Lambs

1991’s Silence of the Lambs tells the story of a young FBI cadet played by Jodie Foster who must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer played by Anthony Hopkins to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims. Not only is this film a gem among genre fans but for ones the Academy even recognized a film we all love.

Silence of the Lambs won the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay. What’s more it is also the first horror movie to ever win an Oscar. It was also the second horror movie to ever get an oscar nod with The Exorcist being the first in 1973


The directorial début of Bill Paxton he also starred alongside Matthew McConaughey. Paxton plays a religious man who believes that demons surround him and sets out to murder them and becomes a serial killer in the process.

A truly under rated and fantastic tale of murder and mayhem and considering it is Bill Paxton’s first shot as a director demonstrates his immense talent behind and in front of the camera.


The Zodiac Killer is one of the most disturbing moments in history mainly because to this day the killer has never been caught. Their have been many speculations about who the killer was but they are continually debunked time and time again.

The film by David Fincher is the story of a cartoonist who becomes obsessed with capturing the Zodiac Killer and unmasking him. I normally am not for special editions or DVD extras but you need to watch the extras on this DVD because it is literally hours of interviews with people involved in the case including the first officer at the scene of the first murder and the man who many believe is the Zodiac.

Mr Brooks

Mr Brooks stars Kevin Costner, William Hurt and Demi Moore and is the story of a loving father and husband who is wealthy and respected in his community. He also however harbors a dark secret of murder and mayhem.

Kevin Costner is truly outstanding as the villain and delivers in my view one of his best performances with a truly complex character.

I Saw The Devil.

I Saw The Devil has made a ton of our top lists and it should come as no surprise this is one of the best films I have ever seen. I Saw The Devil is one of the Top 10 Best Foreign Horror films of all time and is also one of the 10 Best Horror Films of 2010 but on top of that it is one of the best serial killer films of all time.

I Saw The Devil follows the story of a special agent who when his pregnant fiancée becomes the latest victim of a serial killer blurs the line between good and evil in his pursuit of revenge. The easy break down on this film is think TAKEN with way more brutality.

Behind The Mask

I love independent horror and Behind The Mask is a truly unique experience. In Behind The Mask the next great psycho horror slasher has given a documentary crew exclusive access to his life as he plans his reign of terror over the sleepy town of Glen Echo, all the while deconstructing the conventions and archetypes of the horror genre for them.

What makes this film great is its unique story, the way it was shot and its truly unique perspective.

American Psycho

Before Christian Bale was Batman he was doing great films like American Psycho which is a classic example of the monster that lives next door. Christian Bale plays a wall street man who hides a dark secret… he’s a perverted and murderous maniac.


If you are ever in doubt about how great female horror directors are Jennifer Lynch demonstrates her greatness with Surveillance. Frankly I am not sure how many of you have seen Surveillance since it has gotten very little fanfare but let me just say wow. Released in 2008 it stars Bill Pullman and Julia Ormand as two FBI agents sent to investigate some heinous murders in a small town.

What seems like a cut and dry formula movie of FBI agents versus the killer is anything but. Similar to SEVEN which kicked this list off it is a well written spell binding film with a twist that will blow you away


I seriously doubt that anyone needs explanation on this one. SAW which was released in 2004 and made for pennies is one of the few good low budget thrillers to come out in the last decade.

James Wan and Leigh Whannell not only proved that they could make a great film on a shoe string budget the launched an iconic killer named Jigsaw!


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      1. Optimus_past_my_Prime August 6, 2012 at 11:31 am

        Some awesome picks. I would have Kalifornia on my list for sure. Early Grace, great serial killer.

        • HorrorMovies November 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm

          great call. Kalifornia is an awesome movie.

      2. chubungie August 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm

        I loved them all (except I still haven’t watched “I saw the Devil” yet)

        • mr rahul October 14, 2017 at 1:33 pm


        • mr rahul October 14, 2017 at 1:40 pm

          samay, murder2, amarabati, bollywood serial killer movie,

      3. Jeff Rittenour August 6, 2012 at 6:23 pm

        Best list i’ve ever read on this site. missed only two of these… I would add The Bone Collector to this list. It’s a lil been there done that but Denzel was f’n amazing in the film and it works RIGHT UPTO the end…

      4. Jeff Rittenour August 6, 2012 at 6:24 pm

        and behind the mask was hilarious in parts but very poorly edited.

      5. Randy Adams November 25, 2012 at 11:23 pm

        What about Henry:Portrait of a Serial Killer?? Clearly belongs on the list. And,American Psycho sucked.

        • highbreed June 24, 2016 at 12:07 am

          american psycho was a great film and henry sucked balls

      6. jarrod birds April 17, 2013 at 2:55 pm

        You have missed out RESURRECTION with Christopher Lambert, That was just like seven but with Christ it was well sick and a awesome movie too.

      7. kida May 14, 2013 at 8:43 pm

        I watched a movie that i think is from the 90’s. its about this man who lives in this town and he is a killer who tortures his victims with homemade items. like on of his things is a ball and he sticks a woman all over her body with these spears. then he goes to jail and comes out a changed man and then goes back to his old habbits then steals what i believe is the sherifs daughter would anyone knwo what i am talking about

        • the devil June 28, 2013 at 7:21 pm

          you prolli mean dee sniders strangeland movie

      8. Chuck Schick May 16, 2013 at 9:07 pm

        American Psycho sucked? lol you’re a mental midget or very young and have no idea about what the 80’s were like from personal experience…I think you are all three….and retarded

      9. A June 9, 2013 at 10:25 pm

        Sympathy for Lady Vengeance (2005) It is even better than “I saw the devil” I couldn’t believe so much brutality was possible in a movie.

      10. Josie St. Clair July 7, 2013 at 11:26 pm

        Although you may indeed have good taste in movies, I don’t think that people who can’t write should engage in movie-review writing. And, friend, you can’t write. Or, as you might write, you seriously, truly, awesomely, can’t write.

        • Herner Klenthur July 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm

          Josie as a fan boy who writes about the genre I love I evolve as a ‘writer’ every day. I can not believe you posted for no other reason then to insult my efforts

        • Shimky November 8, 2013 at 5:44 pm

          Get off your high-horse, Josie. Anybody reading your comment will despise you immediately.

        • B August 8, 2014 at 1:21 am

          You Josie, are a D bag.. And I wrote just to confirm what everybody knows who has met you or gave birth to you. Go away and stop wasting valuable oxygen..

        • Tone303 August 9, 2014 at 10:48 am

          This from a person who used two negatives in one sentence, and began a sentence with “and”. At least be constructive in your criticism; otherwise, you come off as pompus.

      11. andrew August 6, 2013 at 5:57 pm

        You are missing three Halloween A Nightmaer on Elm Street and Friday the 13th

      12. ljbad August 4, 2014 at 3:44 am

        I think Rosemary’s Baby won an oscar long before Silence of the Lambs. I guess the award technically went to the actress, but still…

      13. Jeff Mealey September 28, 2014 at 1:35 am

        Wasn’t a fan of “Behind the Mask”, but most of if not all the other movies listed were cool enough.

      14. Sean O'Donnell September 28, 2014 at 2:10 am

        No Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer!

      15. Shawn S. Tuscher September 28, 2014 at 2:24 am

        Sean said, what this Shawn was going to say.

      16. Shawn S. Tuscher September 28, 2014 at 2:26 am

        Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer was the first movie I saw that left a bad taste in my mouth.

      17. Chuva September 28, 2014 at 3:23 am

        Nice list. Only disagree with Surveillance. Never understood the love for that flick. I thought it was boring, predictable and poorly directed. One of the few movies that made me angry watching it cause it was so bad.

        • N37BU6 March 16, 2015 at 6:43 am

          Agreed, it was terrible.

      18. Lee Bowen September 28, 2014 at 3:48 am

        Do I need to look to see Seven as #1?

      19. Matt Baker September 28, 2014 at 6:25 am

        i recommend confessions of murder from Korea

      20. Rob September 28, 2014 at 6:26 am

        Agreed on “Strangeland” and “Resurrection”…I thought both were great and well deserving of recognition on this list. Great job otherwise…

        • Herner Klenthur September 28, 2014 at 12:21 pm

          Good call on Strangelannd. I have not yet watched Ressurection from start to finish

      21. David Taylor September 28, 2014 at 9:22 am

        That’s another three films on my watchlist: I Saw The Devil, Surveillance and Behind The Mask. Not sure why you included Saw – it’s a poor man’s Se7en. I agree with Sean – Henry, or the excellent Chaser would be better inclusions.

      22. Jessica Watson September 28, 2014 at 11:22 am

        Hollywood most horror scenes of all time and comment which scared you the most http://bit.do/SRQM

      23. David Murphy September 28, 2014 at 2:59 pm

        Se7en, Henry and Rampage from 1985/86

      24. John W January 17, 2015 at 6:02 pm

        Great List.

      25. En Wade. (@dalecooper_) January 22, 2015 at 5:40 am

        Now that I’m luch older, on a re-watch it may not live up to memory, “the town that dreaded sundown” was the scariest thing I’d ever seen when I first watched it.

      26. Joe Buck March 26, 2015 at 9:00 am

        I bet you haven’t seen The Poughkeepsie Tapes. Thats because it’s never been released in theaters or dvd. It was on YouTube but they took it down because of copyright. They still have the trailer there. The movie can still be found online if you know where to look.

      27. Danielle Owens January 7, 2016 at 9:14 pm

        I’m SO sad to see that the Collector (sequel to the Collection) is never on any horror list! I liked that movie so much. Probably because I’m such a huge fan of Josh Stewart. I actually loved both of them and I never see them mentioned anywhere

      28. Lp August 2, 2017 at 10:21 pm

        no country for old men