Zodiac is a 2007 American mystery thriller directed by David Fincher and based on non-fiction novels of similar names written by Robert Graysmith. Zodiac remains one of the quintessential crime films, and that is why we have created a list of 12 movies like Zodiac for you to watch.
The film tells the story of the manhunt for the Zodiac Killer, a serial murderer who terrorized the San Francisco Bay Area during the late 1960s and early 1970s, taunting police with letters, bloodstained clothing, and cyphers mailed to newspapers. The case remains one of the United States’ most infamous unsolved crimes. Zodiac is a gripping and gut-wrenching thriller, which will leave your head spinning, wondering how in hell he got away with it all. If you are a fan of the movie, then look no further for recommendations of films like Zodiac.
List of Movies Like Zodiac
- Nightcrawler (2014)
- Prisoners (2013)
- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
- Gone Girl (2014)
- The Bone Collector (1999)
- The Silence of The Lambs (1991)
- Mystic River (2003)
- Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)
- The Number 23 (2007)
- The Zodiac Killer (1971)
- The Boston Strangler (2016)
- Se7en (1995)
1. Nightcrawler (2014)
Nightcrawler is a crime thriller, and quite similar to movies like Zodiac in more ways than one. This movie is written and directed by Dan Gilroy. The film also features Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom, a driven young man who finds work as a freelance videographer capturing violent and disturbing crimes and accidents in Los Angeles
As he rises in the industry, he becomes increasingly ruthless and unethical, leading him to cross ethical and moral lines. Nightcrawler, which has been praised for Gyllenhaal’s performances, will give you a deeper look into how far the media are willing to go for a story, crime and ambition. This movie will definitely take you on a whirlwind ride from start to finish.
2. Prisoners (2013)
It seems to be a running theme to have Jake Gyllenhaal feature in these sorts of movies, and Prisoners is the same. Prisoners is a mystery thriller directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Aaron Guzikowski. The film stars Hugh Jackman as Keller Dover, a desperate father who takes matters into his own hands when his daughter and her friend are kidnapped.
Along with the detective in charge of the case, Detective Loki, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, embarks on a dark and intense journey to find the missing girls and bring the abductor to justice. As they delve deeper into the investigation, they uncover a web of lies and secrets that threaten to tear their lives apart. Prisoners, similar to films like Zodiac, will have you hoping for justice to prevail, and the culprits to get their due reward in the end. The movie is characterized by some really strong performances, great direction, and a suspenseful storyline.
3. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a mystery thriller based on the novel of the same name by Stieg Larsson. Directed by David Fincher, the film stars Daniel Craig as Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who is hired to solve the mystery of a wealthy family’s missing heir.
He teams up with Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant but troubled computer hacker played by Rooney Mara, to uncover the truth behind the disappearance and a series of mysterious deaths. The film is set in Sweden and follows the duo as they delve into the dark and twisted history of the wealthy family and confront the secrets that they uncover. Its themes are quite similar to films like Zodiac, and will keep you on the edge as the mystery gets closer to being solved.
Also Read: Movies like Memento
4. Gone Girl (2014)
Gone Girl is a psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher and based on the best-selling novel of the same name by Gillian Flynn. The film stars Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne, a man who becomes the prime suspect in the disappearance of his wife, Amy, played by Rosamund Pike.
As an investigation into Amy’s disappearance unfolds, it becomes clear that nothing is as it seems and that both Nick and Amy have been keeping secrets from each other. The film explores themes of marriage, trust, and media manipulation, and was praised for its sharp writing, direction, and standout performances by Affleck and Pike. This is a sublime mystery for all fans of movies like Zodiac.
5. The Bone Collector (1999)
The Bone Collector is a crime thriller film directed by Phillip Noyce and based on the novel of the same name by Jeffery Deaver. The film stars Denzel Washington as Lincoln Rhyme, a quadriplegic detective who teams up with a beat cop, played by Angelina Jolie, to solve a series of crimes committed by a serial killer known as ‘The Bone Collector’.
Rhyme, who is confined to his bed and unable to move, uses his extensive knowledge and expertise to guide the young cop through the investigation and catch the killer. The film is a tense and suspenseful mystery similar to films like Zodiac. If you want to see a team of detectives fight through their limitations, in the aim of getting justice, then The Bone Collector is for you. A masterful performance by Denzel Washington doesn’t hurt either.
6. The Silence of The Lambs (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs is a 90s classic psychological horror-thriller film directed by Jonathan Demme and based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Harris. The film stars Jodie Foster as Clarice Sterling, an FBI trainee who is tasked with hunting down a serial killer known as ‘Buffalo Bill’. She turns to the help of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant but cannibalistic psychiatrist played by Anthony Hopkins, who is locked up in a high-security prison.
As Clarice seeks Lecter’s assistance in solving the case, she finds herself drawn into a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with the cunning and sadistic killer. The film takes you deep into the mind of a depraved serial killer and his motivations, just as in movies like Zodiac. The Silence of the Lambs is, without a doubt, one of the most highly regarded and commercially successful thrillers to hit the big screen.
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7. Mystic River (2003)
Mystic River is a classic among other classic films like Zodiac. Directed by Clint Eastwood and based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane. The film stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon as three childhood friends whose lives are forever changed when one of their daughters is murdered.
The three men are drawn back together as the investigation into the murder unfolds, and they are forced to confront their own dark pasts and the secrets that they have been keeping from each other. Mystic River is a highly acclaimed movie and won Penn and Robbins Academy Award nominations for their respective roles.
8. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)
Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile is a biographical crime film directed by Joe Berlinger and written by Michael Werwie. The film stars Zac Efron as Ted Bundy, one of America’s most infamous serial killers, and Lily Collins as Elizabeth Kloepfer, Bundy’s long-time girlfriend who refused to believe in his guilt for years.
EWSEV, similar to movies like Zodiac, is told from Kloepfer’s perspective and follows her journey as she slowly realizes the truth about Bundy and his crimes. We get a good glimpse into the power of manipulation, and how sometimes it can be difficult to see the secrets directly under your nose, particularly by Efron who received critical acclaim for his portrayal of Bundy.
9. The Number 23 (2007)
The Number 23 is a psychological thriller quite similar to films like Zodiac. This film is directed by Joel Schumacher and written by Fernley Phillips, and features Jim Carrey as Walter Sparrow. Sparrow becomes increasingly obsessed with a mysterious book called ‘The Number 23’ after his wife gives it to him as a gift.
The book, which is a dark and twisted story about a man named Fingerling who is haunted by the number 23, begins to manifest in his own reality. The book starts to take over Sparrow’s life, as he even starts to fear that it will bring about some horrific consequences for him and his family, all destined to meet a tragic end.
10. The Zodiac Killer (1971)
The 1970s film The Zodiac Killer is a low-budget exploitation film that was made in the wake of the Zodiac Killer’s infamous crimes in Northern California. The film was made in a fast and loose style and is widely considered to be one of the earliest examples of the ‘mockumentary’ genre. The film presents a fictionalized account of the Zodiac Killer’s by making use of fictional videos of ‘eyewitnesses’ and ‘experts’.
Zodiac Killer, which is not credited for being particularly factual compared to films like Zodiac, has however become a cult classic among mystery fans over the years. Critics have cited it regularly as a great way in which movies can be taken from these true-life crime stories and modified to be more entertaining for viewers.
11. The Boston Strangler (1968)
The Boston Strangler is a bit on the older side like the previous film on this list. It also tells the story of a serial murderer similar to movies like Zodiac. Although the serial killer is actually found as he confesses to his crimes. The film features Tony Curtis as Albert DeSalvo, who is put on trial for his crimes as The Boston Strangler.
The Boston Strangler follows the story of DeSalvo’s confession and trial and delves into the psychological and social factors that may have driven him to commit the murders. This film, just like The Zodiac Killer above, is very liberal in its use of facts and embellishes a lot. Nevertheless, the film is still hailed as a 60s classic by fans and critics alike.
12. Se7en (1995)
Se7en is a psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker. The film stars Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as detectives working on a case involving a serial killer who is using the seven deadly sins as inspiration for his crimes. As the detectives work to track down the elusive killer, they are forced to confront their own beliefs and biases as they try to unravel the twisted motivations behind the murders.
Se7en is a dark and suspenseful film similar to movies like Zodiac. It is an expansive exploration of crime and the human psyche. A tag team of Pitt and Freeman means you will definitely not be disappointed with regard to the acting, should you decide to give this classic from the 90s a watch.
Here are a few movies like Zodiac that didn’t make the list, but you should still check them out:
1. All the President’s Men (1976)
2. Halloween (1978)
3. The Irishman (2019)