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Like the classic 1995 film Se7en? Then watch these three great serial killer movies now

A bloody Christian Bale screams in American Psycho.

In 1995, a psychological thriller premiered that would unexpectedly become a massive hit and change horror movies forever. Se7en followed two detectives (Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman) as they tracked down a serial killer who murders people in ways that mirror the seven deadly sins like lust, greed, and gluttony.

Though Se7en was intended to be more of a crime thriller, its grotesque and morbid deaths combined with its sadistic killer placed it firmly in the horror genre — and it even served as a precursor to the “torture porn” craze that horror experienced in the 2000s. But what separates Se7en from many of the horror films it inspired is its focus on character and suspense rather than gore and the macabre. If you loved Se7en, check out these three other serial killer movies that are guaranteed to make your skin crawl.

Saw (2004)

Amanda in the reverse beartrap in Saw

Saw is a must-watch for fans of Se7en because Saw was actually inspired by Se7en. In the film, a sadistic serial killer known as Jigsaw traps and tortures victims who he believes are bad people — like drug addicts, abusers, and thieves. Being a horror movie, Saw naturally leans heavier into the gore and torture than Se7evn, but the film still had a great cat-and-mouse chase between the detectives and the killer, as well as one truly shocking ending.

Almost every Saw movie in the franchise retains some of the smart twists of the original, but in many of the films, the psychological thriller aspect really takes a back seat to the iconic (but brutal) torture scenes. If you’re a fan of Se7en who wants a smart script with great thriller aspects, stick with Saw, Saw II, Spiral, and Saw X.

Saw is streaming for free on The Roku Channel.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Hannibal Lecter in his iconic mask in The Silence of the Lambs
Orion Pictures

If you love the way killer John Doe teases and plays with the detectives in Se7en and is always one step ahead, you’ll love The Silence of the Lambs. In the movie, a young FBI agent (Jodie Foster) is tasked with tracking down an elusive serial killer. To gather information on him, she seeks advice from another serial killer, the notorious Hannibal Lecter … who has his own sinister intentions.

The film is loaded with suspense and audiences can rarely tell when Lecter is telling the truth or simply playing mind games with the FBI. Its story is also fantastically woven and the characters contrast with each other perfectly, creating a gripping and juicy thriller. The Silence of the Lambs also made history by scoring every major award at the Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. It remains one of just a handful of films to ever do so.

The Silence of the Lambs is streaming on MGM+.

American Psycho (2000)

Patrick Bateman stares at a dead victim in American Psycho

Part of what makes Se7en so great is its subversive and sadistic dichotomy. The killer John Doe brutally tortures and murders people, but he does it all believing he is morally cleansing the world and has the divine approval of God. The combination and contrast of murder and righteousness helped give Se7en a depth that few horror and thriller movies have.

American Psycho‘s monster, on the hand, has no morals; the only thing he craves is social status. The movie centers around Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), a hypermasculine Wall Street businessman who values nothing but himself. He disregards human life so much that he feels no remorse for killing anyone who even mildly irks him. Even more shocking is that he lives in a world that lets him get away with all of it.

Underneath all the killing is a subversive message about American society, one where a straight white man can get away with anything and is praised for ruthlessly valuing nothing but himself. American Psycho is filled with unrestrained greed, power, lust, and a lead character who doesn’t have to face any consequences for his actions. It’s the kind of movie where the dissident undertones don’t reveal themselves right away, but after thinking about the movie for a while, it all becomes quite clear.

American Psycho is streaming on Peacock.

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