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10 Movies Like Shutter Island For Fans Of Deeply Cerebral Films

movies like shutter island

The American Neo-noir psychological film Shutter Island by one of the greatest directors of our time, Martin Scorsese is a visually stunning, incredibly acted and relentlessly gripping ballad. The brilliant and unrestrained mind-bending thrill of this film is riveting from the beginning to the very end. If you are looking for movies like Shutter Island that capture the internal and external intricacies of human emotions, then you’re at the right place!

We have curated a list of 10 truly amazing movies that you can check out. Shutter Island was adapted from Dennis Lehane’s best-selling novel of the same name. The story gets closer and closer to the horror of reality, and we, the viewers- like the characters find ourselves deeply pulled into the wrapping mystery. Scorsese crafted this film in a unique and moody tone that is as stylish as it is detailed.

List of Movies Like Shutter Island

1. Memento (2000)

When we talk about psychological thriller films, a couple of Christopher Nolan movies are bound to be on the list. One of Nolan’s early movies, Memento is a rare gem that presented a unique style of storytelling through a protagonist with memory loss. This movie engages the viewer in a mystery so exciting that it won’t lose your desire to participate in the questions about the protagonist’s (Leonard Shelby) life for a single minute. 

Leonard is an insurance investigator suffering from a type of memory loss called anterograde amnesia. He keeps a series of notes and tattoos his body to hunt for a man that he thinks killed his wife. Memento is an exceptionally intelligent film that I highly recommend you watch after films like Shutter Island.

2. The Prestige (2006)

To follow on the list of Nolan’s greats is The Prestige. In a fictionalized world with Nikola Tesla (David Bowie), are 2 friends/fellow magicians turned enemies. After an accident in hands of Alfred (Christian Bale) kills Robert’s (Hugh Jackman) wife, both form a rivalry where Robert is obsessed with outdoing Alfred’s ‘special magic trick’.

The Prestige is one of the most brilliant, amazing movies of all time. This lesser known masterpiece will leave you gasping at its ingenious storyline and acting. Told in a narrative that goes back and forth in the timeline, is a film that plays out like an illusion itself. Few movies similar to Shutter Island have the capability of doing quite the magic The Prestige does. 

3. The Girl on the Train (2016)

The psychological thriller movie The Girl on the Train is about divorced alcoholic Rachel Watson witnessing something shocking and getting entangled in a mystery of a missing woman. The story opens with Rachel (Emily Blunt), who is travelling on a train in New York, looking out of the window right when she discovers something horrifying.

And as you may have guessed, similar to movies like Shutter Island, the main character’s point of view brings in unprecedented suspicion to the mystery of the disappearance of Megan. The film does a great job of bringing details of Rachel’s life as the mystery progresses. Emily Blunt’s performance is worth every praise. For fans of mystery movies, The Girl on The Train is a great pick.

4. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

This is an incredible movie based on the real-life events of the Nobel-prize winner John Nash. He is known as a mathematical wizard and made incredible contributions to the field of economics. The story follows him when he’s working on a secret mission with the government. But there is a mystery, a sense of paranoia and a disconnect between John and the world.

Not only is this an incredibly thrilling film to watch but it’s one that inspires. John Nash’s story will not only touch your heart but you will be impressed with Russell Crowe’s exceptional performance. A Beautiful Mind is a perfect movie to watch on weekends if you’re looking for more films like Shutter Island.

Also Read: Movies About Mental Illness

5. Inception (2010)

It would be impossible to make a list of films like Shutter Island and not mention Inception. The third film on this list, and rightly so, is a gripping suspense thriller with Shutter Island’s Leonardo DiCaprio as the lead protagonist, Cobb. Working as a professional thief in cutting-edge dream technology, Cobb tries to pull corporate espionage. He longs to be with his kids but due to a certain event of the past, he can’t unless his name is cleared.

There is a shared complexity between both the characters of Leo- A question of how the world is truly built around him. With 8 Academy Awards nominations and 4 wins, this is one of the best films out there and personally one I’d recommend the most. So if you are a fan of movies like Shutter Island, you should definitely check out Inception.

6. The Uninvited (2009)

A teenage girl (Emily Browning) is admitted to a mental hospital after her mother is killed in a tragic accident. She meets up with her older sister (Arielle Kebbel) when she returns to her father’s estate on Maine’s coast and tries to get along with her dad’s new girlfriend (Elizabeth Banks), a former nurse (of her mother’s) who seems to be taking over. Her father is a successful author.

The Uninvited is a horror film that plays with the human psyche. The creepy atmosphere and unexpected twists are packed with genuine suspense, tension and shocks. As a fan of movies like Shutter Island, I’m sure the underrated and brilliant horror The Uninvited will knock your socks off and become one of your favourites.

7. Black Swan (2010)

At first, you wouldn’t think Shutter Island and Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan wouldn’t have too much in common. One is a mystery with an FBI agent unravelling layers of truth and lies at an island hospital. While the other is all about a ballerina called Nina struggling with the pressures that come with the role of a lifetime. But if you scratch the surface, the two films share a lot of DNA.

Breathtaking, The Black Swan is a psychological thriller that perfects the unreliable POV of the protagonist. The plot is unique and the visuals are haunting. The performances are so amazing that the viewer gets lost in Nina’s struggles- whatever she feels, sees, hears and does. The Black Swan is a stunning choice for films like Shutter Island.

8. Fight Club (1999)

The 1996 David Fincher film Fight Club revolves around an unnamed narrator suffering from amnesia (Ed Norton), who is discontented with his life until he meets a soap maker named Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), whom he forms a friendship with. Both men start a fight club and the narrator gets embroiled in a relationship woman named Marla Singer.

However, everything is not what it seems, as the narrator finds out the group is out of control and after a major revelation, he realizes there is only one way out. All you really need to know is that the first rule of Fight Club is, you have to watch Fight Club! Filled with fist-on-fist violence, this is a great pick similar to movies like Shutter Island.

9. Gone Girl (2014)

Yet another stunning film by David Fincher that you should consider is Gone Girl. The Movie focuses on Nick and Amy’s seemingly prim and perfect marriage. On their 5th wedding anniversary, Amy mysteriously vanishes, and all evidence points to Nick being implicated in her disappearance. Here we begin to piece together the genuine reality of their lives as the movie progresses.

Adapted from the page to the screen by novelist Gillian Flynn and directed by the modern master of psychological thrillers David Fincher, ‘Gone Girl’ is an intriguing and unsettling mystery thriller that has us questioning It eventually leads to the question of who should be judged in this case. Is Nick truly to blame, or was Amy the one who was wrong all along?. Similar to films like Shutter Island, this film is dark, moody and twisting that surprises and shocks, with questions raised about who we can believe and who we trust with the story.

10. Changeling (2008)

A single mother finds her son missing when she gets home one day in the tale. The cops then give her a child a few months later, but it’s not her son. The mom, Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) is adamant that this child is not her son, but the police continue to insist that he is and accuse her of being insane.

An adaption of horrifying real-life events, the story’s intrigue and acting performances are moving. What’s really great about this movie is that it shows how corrupt and hypo-critic the system can be, especially to the law enforcement units who could use their power without restraint. As a fan of movies like Shutter Island, Changeling is a good option.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few psychological thriller movies like Shutter Island that didn’t make it to the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. The Machinist
  2. Mulholland Drive
  3. Jacob’s Ladder

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.


The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island.

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake

The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66.

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created.

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan

The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world.

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward
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