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Like The Silence of the Lambs? Then watch these 3 great thrillers right now

A man attacks another man in Prisoners.
Warner Bros. Pictures

The definition of thriller should feature a passage on The Silence of the Lambs. Jonathan Demme’s 1991 masterpiece stars Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee tasked with interviewing the brilliant serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), who may provide insight into catching another murderer, “Buffalo Bill.” The psychological horror film weaves a thrilling mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences agreed, awarding The Silence of the Lambs the “Big Five” Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Several movies provide similar thrills and chills to The Silence of the Lambs. Below, you’ll find three great thrillers to watch this weekend. Our selections include an earlier depiction of Hopkins’ iconic character, a 1990s violent mystery, and a chilling story about what a father is willing to do to protect his family.

Manhunter (1986)

William Peterson points a gun and stares in Manhunter.
De Laurentiis Entertainment Group

Brian Cox walked so Hopkins could run. Six years before The Silence of the Lambs, Cox had the first shot at portraying Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Manhunter. Written and directed by Michael Mann, Manhunter is based on Thomas Harris’ 1981 novel, Red Dragon. At the center of Manhunter is Will Graham (William Petersen), a former FBI profiler who retired after capturing Dr. Hannibal Lecktor* (Succession’s Cox). The entire ordeal with Lecktor changed Graham, leading to frequent mental breakdowns.

While living with his family in Florida, Graham is visited by his former FBI superior, Jack Crawford (Dennis Farina), who recruits him to investigate the profile of a serial killer known as the “Tooth Fairy” (Tom Noonan). To catch a psychopath, Graham needs the help of someone who thinks like one, leading him to seek aid from Dr. Lecktor. Manhunter is ultimately better as a Mann movie than an adaptation of Harris’ works. That being said, Manhunter is a compelling thriller with an atmospheric score and tense mystery.

*Lecter’s name was changed to “Lecktor” in Manhunter.

Rent Manhunter Prime Video, Apple, or Google.

Se7en (1995)

Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman in Se7en.
New Line Cinema

What’s in the box? Se7en was already a great movie before Brad Pitt’s David Mills uttered that iconic phrase. However, that phrase and a shocking ending have become Se7en’s legacy. With all due respect to Alien 3Se7en is David Fincher’s arrival as a film director. Fincher’s technical prowess and attention to detail were on full display as Se7en established the young filmmaker as a master of the thriller.

In Se7en, Detective William Somerset (Morgan Freeman), one week away from retirement, teams up with young Detective Mills on a case not for the faint of heart. The duo are on the hunt for a serial killer known as John Doe (Kevin Spacey), whose murders are based on the Seven Deadly Sins. Despite making progress on the case, Somerset realizes that they’re pawns in John Doe’s games, while Mills still believes he can put an end to the killer’s destruction. Unfortunately for both detectives, there are no winners in this game …

Stream Se7en on Max.

Prisoners (2013)

Hugh Jackman holding Paul Dano by the jacket against a car in Prisoners (2013).
Warner Bros. Pictures

Before storming the theaters this weekend to watch Dune: Part Two, revisit Denis Villeneuve’s first English-language feature, Prisoners. On Thanksgiving, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) and his family spend the holiday with neighborhood friends, the Birches. After dinner, Keller’s young daughter and the Birch’s daughter go missing. Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal), the lead investigator, arrests Alex Jones (Paul Dano), the owner of a motor home parked on the street where the girls were taken. Due to a lack of evidence, Loki is forced to release Jones.

Disgusted with the legal system, Keller takes matters into his own hands and kidnaps Jones, torturing him for answers about his daughter’s whereabouts. Knowing that Prisoners kicks off Villeneuve’s insane run of critically acclaimed films makes the film that much more special. It also features two aggressive, committed, and mesmerizing performances from Jackman and Gyllenhaal.

Rent Manhunter Prime Video, Apple, or Google.

Editors' Recommendations

Dan Girolamo
Dan is a passionate and multitalented content creator with experience in pop culture, entertainment, and sports. Throughout…
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