In the series, from My Favorite Murder to Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, We’re looking at the most frightening true-crime thrillers that will keep your lights on.
With the increasing popularity of all the films starting from My Favorite Murder and Netflix’s Extremely wicked, shockingly evil and The Vile, as well as Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the genre of true crime has become more popular than it has ever been before.
True Crime Movies That Will Keep You Up at Night
1: Foxcatcher (2014)
If wrestling champion Mark Schultz (Tatum) is summoned to the home of John du Pont (Carell) to join his team in the coming 1988 Olympics, The wrestler is thrilled at the chance to break free of his famous brother Dave (Ruffalo).
But, joining the Foxcatcher team proves to be far from appealing, and in the end, du Pont’s eyes are drawn to Schultz turning vicious and violent.
The film was nominated for five Oscars in 2014 (including the best actor award in the role of Carell and the best supporting actor for Ruffalo). Foxcatcher is a gruesome investigation of obsession set against the bloody and brutal world of wrestling competition.
2: In Cold Blood (1967)
When ex-convicts Perry Smith (Robert Blake) and Richard Hickock (Scott Wilson) kill a family of four during a robbery that went wrong, they must face the consequences of the crime as well as the imminent reality of their mortality.
It is a cinematic retelling of The Truman Capote penned non-fiction masterpiece that essentially created “true crime,” a viable and well-known style; Richard Brooks’s In Cold Blood is an intense, suspenseful, and tense docu-drama smothered in noirish in black and white.
While it cannot scratch the surface of two tough killers of Capote’s irreplaceable source material, it’s a dark masterpiece on its own.
3: Summer of Sam (1999)
It is set during the time summer of 1977 when the murders of David Berkowitz were at their highest; the film by Spike Lee is about the circle of friends comprised of Vinny (John Leguizamo).
Who nearly becomes victimized by the murderer’s rampage and how his wife, his best friend, and aspiring porn actress try to discover his “Son of Sam’s” true identity before killing another time.
Very rarely (if ever) mentioned among Lee’s greatest, Summer of Sam’s fragmented focus could be difficult for some viewers to accept. Lee appears to be doing his best to show viewers that the people we ignore when we get caught up in the horrific crimes committed by serial killers are worthy of not just a minute’s thought.
However, his well-crafted social messages are hidden beneath an inflexible and crowded narrative. It’s a fascinating story of an unexplored moment in the dark past of NYC.
4: Monster (2003)
Charlize Theron’s character is prostitute Aileen Wuornos, who is determined to get authentic after being in a relationship with timid Selby Wall (Christina Ricci). After a tense encounter with john leads to Aileen murdering him, after which she vows to stop prostitution completely.
But supplying her partner with a regular job isn’t on the plan for Aileen, who is sucked back into hooking, killing, and leaving the remains of males to follow her.
5: My Friend Dahmer (2017)
Theron earned her own Oscar for her performance of the woman who is stripped of her choices by a brutal and insensitive world.
Director and writer Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman) is savvy in keeping the spotlight on Wuornos as a flesh-and-blood character, not her actions, and takes a magnifying lens to the marks on a deeply damaged person. Sometimes, it’s soapy but captivating and heart-rending; the monster is a real-life drama with high drama.
6: My Friend Dahmer (2017)
Marc Meyers’ film is inspired by an illustrated graphic novel created by John “Derf” Backderf, who had a close relationship with the legendary serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer when he was at school in the 70s.
With former Disney actor Ross Lynch as Dahmer, the film explores the social, family, and adolescent influences that led to Dahmer’s murder streak.
To bridge the gap between nurture and nature, My Dahmer Friend is a story that examines the topic with anger and compassion. Was young Jeffrey always evil? Or was he pressured into it? My friend Dahmer could be able to answer this question; however, it will leave the viewer with many things to think about.
7: Changeling (2008)
In 1928, a single mom, Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie), returns to her home 1928 and discovers that her infant son, Walter, has disappeared. A few months later, the police inform Christine that they’ve located Walter, but the boy that turns up isn’t her son.
If the police claim that she’s wrong and refuse to assist her in any way, Christine turns to a clergyman (John Malkovich) to assist her in determining the truth and shed light on the corruption eating away at The Los Angeles Police Department.
Clint Eastwood’s dark and stunningly exaggerated exploration of this bizarre but true story isn’t deep enough to be an iconic film. Still, as a delicious and sometimes unsettling melodrama, it’s an absolute must-see.
8: Devil’s Knot (2013)
It got national attention when a group of teenage boys murdered three little children in their small town. The name means the group “West Memphis Three”; Satanism is believed to be the primary reason at fault for their actions.
However, this lousy motive isn’t convinced by a local mom (Reese Witherspoon) and an investigator (Colin Firth).
Anyone familiar with the case that is the basis of Atom Egoyan’s film will not be surprised by the story presented to those who have seen The Devil’s Knot the dramatized version will be pretty captivating for the majority of people and how it reveals the flaws in the justice system as well as how the media can smear people makes it a worthy the recommendation.
9: Helter Skelter (1976)
This film, based on the prosecutor’s bestseller of 1974, Helter Skelter: The Real Story of The Manson Murders, was among the most successful made-for-tv productions ever.
The film aired over two nights to an audience that had witnessed a dramatic historic crime unfold in real-time. Helter Skelter is still the most riveting and disturbing account of the events that led to the murders of actor Sharon Tate and her friends in the home in Cielo Drive.
Although it is outdated in specific ways and restricted by the TV format of the day, Steve Railsback’s portrayal of Manson is unsurpassed. The film engages as a cultural documentary and a relic of the crime.
10: Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer (1986)
After being released from prison following an attack on his mother’s body, Henry (Michael Rooker) accepts a job to work as an exterminator. In the daytime, he works and then commits brutal acts in the evening.
He is paired up with Otis (Tom Towles), a former convict and a drug dealer, who is the victim of his own murder. As Henry’s bond with Otis and his sister Becky (Tracy Arnold) grows increasingly severe, the vicious pair’s friendship ends.