Sick of true crime documentaries? Watch these movies about serial killers
Do you rip through every new true crime doc as soon as it’s released? If you’re like most streaming fans, there’s nothing like the morbid fascination tickled by a true crime documentary, and audiences can’t seem to get enough.
HBO’s The Jinx had streaming fans hooked in 2015 with the telling of the true-life crimes of Robert Durst. The years following gave us a storm of similarly addicting movies & series like 2016’s Amanda Knox, 2017’s Abducted in Plain Sight, and 2019’s Tell Me Who I Am to name a few.
However, the popularity of true crime docs have left fictional crime movies overshadowed – audiences quickly forgot about the thrills movies about serial killers so quickly give the viewer. Lucky for them, we’ve put together a list of movies about serial killers that put even the most riveting true crime documentaries to shame. Here’s what we came up with.
2007’s Zodiac is one of the most polarizing movies about serial killers because (spoiler alert) the killer’s never found. However, that doesn’t make Zodiac any less valuable as one of the most intriguing movies about serial killers, and it’s based on the true story about the Zodiac killings of the late 1960s & early 70s.
David Fincher’s trademarks run constantly through Zodiac, as the director gives us uncomfortably intimate recreations of the Zodiac killer’s real murders. Mark Ruffalo & Jake Gyllenhall play investigators who, like in real life, failed to find their man. In Zodiac, Fincher gives us a serial killer movie unlike any other.
Most true crime fans have seen one of the greatest serial killer movies of all time, 1991’s iconic Silence of the Lambs, but fewer have seen its 2002 prequel Red Dragon.
Audiences may have slowed their interest in cinema’s most famous cannibal killer when 2001’s Hannibal flopped, but Red Dragon redeems Anthony Hopkins’s iconic role and puts some respect on the Hannibal trilogy.
Ed Norton plays an ex-FBI agent who was nearly killed by Hannibal before he sent the murderer to jail and headed to sunny retirement in Florida. The FBI then needs him back to help catch the Tooth Fairy killer, Ralph Fiennes’s devilish brute who makes Buffalo Bill look like a reasonable guy.
The Tooth Fairy killer turns out to be a tough nut to crack, and the FBI needs some additional help from (you guessed it) famed brilliant killer Hannibal Lecter. Is the killer caught or does Hannibal’s mind games put FBI time & money in the trash bin with its other unsolved cases? To find out, you’ll have to watch this two-for-one special that’s one of the early 2000s’ best movies about serial killers.
A Walk Amongst the Tombstones
Liam Neeson thrillers are about as hard to come by as a breath of oxygen, and not many can go toe to toe with canon like Taken. 2014’s A Walk Amongst the Tombstones is one of the best of Neeson’s lot of gun-slinging hero pictures and comes from Queen’s Gambit co-creator Scott Frank in his second directorial effort.
Neeson plays detective Scudder who is hired to come out of retirement and hunt down a killer after a victim’s husband finds his wife dismembered in a car after her kidnapping. Similarly brutal killings pop up, and Neeson follows closely in an attempt to get face to face with the killers and save lives while facing his own demons.
Eyes of Laura Mars
Movies about serial killers were around long before HD digital filming and ten-part true crime series became the norm, and Eyes of Laura Mars nailed the serial killer thing way before Dexter – way back in ‘78.
Faye Dunaway & Tommy Lee Jones star in this iconic thriller about serial killings in 70s NYC with tremendous edge and directing expertise by Irvin Kershner, who Star Wars freaks will know brought The Empire Strikes Back to the big screen as director.
Visually stunning with killer POV nodding to horror classics like Peeping Tom & Halloween, Eyes of Laura Mars is a movie that will keep you guessing and leave your mouth agape with its twists, turns, and simply wild ending.