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12 Movies Like Zodiac For Fans of Spine-Chilling Films

movies like zodiac

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

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.

Also Read: Gangster Movies like Goodfellas

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.

Honorable Mentions

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)

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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