When famed author Paul Sheldon is in a car crash, Annie Wilkes who is a fan of his books, discovers him and brings him to her remote home to recuperate. However, it’s her discovery of Paul’s manuscript, which he had in the car with him and which details how he plans to kill off Annie’s favourite character, Misery, in the next Paul. Enraged, she’s determined to hold him captive until he rewrites the book.
Throughout the ordeal, Annie breaks both of Paul’s legs, kills a Sheriff investigating Paul’s disappearance and shoots Paul with a revolver. All before getting smashed in the head with a typewriter and then being bashed by a metal doorstop. Misery is a great example of how fandom can take the idea of being someone’s “number 1 fan” too far.
During a recent re-watch it made me think about how obsession can drive someone insane. So I put together a few movies like Misery which demonstrate this all too well.
RELATED: 15 Crazy Annie Wilkes quotes from Misery (1990 Movie)
1. The Shining (1980)
Directed by Stanley Kubrick, The Shining is based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. Despite this, however, Stephen King has famously gone on record saying that he hated what Kubrick did to the story.
The Shining follows main character Jack Torrance, a wannabe writer, who accepts a position as caretaker for the Overlook Hotel. With him, his wife Wendy and son Danny, who has psychic abilities. As winter grows worse and the family is stranded at the hotel, Jack turns insane and tries to kill his family.
2. Gerald’s Game (2017)
Directed by Mike Flanagan, Gerald’s Game stars Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood and focuses on a couple that head out to an isolated cabin for some romance. However, things go from bad to worse when the husband dies during foreplay. Which wouldn’t normally be a problem if you weren’t handcuffed to a bed, don’t know where the key to the handcuffs is and aren’t in an isolated cabin where no one knows where the hell you are.
What more could you expect from a Mike Flanagan directed film based on a Stephen King book? It’s the best combination.
3. Copycat (1995)
Directed by Jon Amiel, Copycat stars Sigourney Weaver, Holly Hunter and Harry Connick Jr and focuses on a psychologist who suffers from agoraphobia after getting attacked by a psychopath. She then gradually begins to reintegrate with the world around her as she teams up with two detectives to try and find a serial killer.
Admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve watched this film, but the way Harry Connick Jr plays the killer will leave you with goosebumps.
4. Single White Female (1992)
Directed by Barbet Schroeder, Single White Female stars Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh. It focuses on a woman named Allison who moves next door to another woman named Hedra which all seems pretty normal at first but when Allison gets back together with her boyfriend she notices Hedra start to get really strange.
What follows next is a wicked combo of deceit, lies, and even death as Hedra turns into an absolute nightmare of a neighbor.
5. Basic Instinct (1992)
Directed by Paul Verhoeven, Basic Instinct was a hugely successful erotically charged thriller that starred Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone. It starts with the death of a rockstar who Catherine Tramell is having sex with and is a suspect of his murder. As the Detectives investigate further this cat and mouse game of deceit, mistrust and sex is played out between between Catherine and Detective Nick Curran. This is the film that both saved Sharon Stone’s career but also catapulted her into mainstream success.
RELATED: 21 Movies like Basic Instinct for your Erotic Thriller Kicks
6. Gone Girl (2014)
Gone Girl is a well known dark, psychological thriller directed by David Fincher and starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and Neil Patrick Harris. It’s about Rosamund Pike’s character Amy who goes missing on her and her husband Nick (Ben Affleck)’s fifth wedding anniversary. However, as the story goes deeper we find out that Nick has been cheating on his wife and Amy has faked her disappearance in order to frame him for murder – as revenge for cheating.
7. Secret Window (2004)
Directed by David Koepp, Secret Window stars Johnny Depp, John Turturro, Maria Bello, Timothy Hutton and Charles S. Dutton. The plot follows Mort Rainey who retreats to his cabin to work on his writer’s block and is interrupted by a mystery writer named John Shooter who claims that Mort plagiarised his writing. Eventually, it is revealed that Shooter is a figment of his own hallucinations as Mort is gradually going insane and so kills his ex-wife, her new partner a private investigator.
In my opinion, Secret Window is the best example of Johnny Depp’s acting range.
8. Psycho (1960)
Psycho is probably the very first slasher film ever created. In it, Norman Bates, one of the owners of the Bates Motel, seems harmless enough but pretty soon who turns into a savage killer who likes to turn his kitchen knife on his guests while they’re in the shower. There’s also the aspect of his fetish for cross dressing as his dead mother who happens to be just a skeleton looking down at the motel from their house.
If you’re looking for that infamous horror scene involving a stabbing in a shower – this is the movie it’s from.
9. The Game (1997)
Directed by David Fincher, The Game is about a wealthy investment banker who receives a gift from his brother which is for a game that begins to take over every aspect of his life. Pretty soon things get out of hand and a larger conspiracy reveals itself. One which appears to be a real threat!
10. The Cable Guy (1996)
Directed by Ben Stiller, The Cable Guy is a psychological thriller/black comedy starring Jim Carey, Matthew Broderick, Leslie Mann and George Segal. In the Cable Guy, Jim Carey plays an intrusive and obsessive cable TV worker who becomes too involved in the life of one of his customers (played by Matthew Broderick). The film is hilarious, has numerous pop culture references and is at time frightening when just how insane someone who has no friends can get.
11. Memento (2000)
Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, Memento follows the investigations of Leonard Shelby, an insurance investigator who suffers from anterograde amnesia which means he can’t form new memories. So he uses notes and tattoos addressed to himself as clues to help him find the person responsible for murdering his wife. There’s also plenty of stars from The Matrix films that appear which will made me come up with the conspiracy theory: what if Memento is just another level of The Matrix? I clearly need help.
12. The Machinist (2004)
Written by Scott Kosar and directed by Brad Anderson, The Machinist is a dark psychological drama featuring a machinist who is suffering from guilt and paranoid delusions because he hasn’t been able to sleep for an entire year. Fun fact: this is the film in which people started to speculate and worry about Christian Bale’s health as he lost 28 kilos (62 pounds) in order to look the part for the film.
I remember loaning the DVD of the Machinist to an old room mate who swiftly returned it after watching with a note attached saying “this is f***ed up.” And if that’s not an accurate review then I don’t know what is.
13. Black Swan (2010)
Directed by Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan is an American psychological horror film. This movie follows the story of Nina, a ballerina in a New York City ballet company whose life is all about dance. As the story proceeds, Nina starts to embrace her dark side with a recklessness that threatens to destroy her. This film is filled with sensitive themes such as the awakening of female sexuality, insecurity, obsession, and even mental illness.
14. Disturbia (2007)
Directed by D.J. Caruso, Disturbia is a psychological thriller about a teenager, Kale Brecht, who is given 3 months house arrest for punching his teacher. During his house arrest and after playing too many video games causes his mother to cut the cables, Kale turns to watching his neighbours via a pair of binoculars. Initially spotting his hot neighbour Ashley, he then begins to people watch another neighbour, Robert Turner, who Kale suspects of foul play. Ashley and Kale begin to investigate but pretty soon the harmless people watching turns into a fight for their lives.
15. Black Christmas (1974)
Directed by Bob Clark, Black Christmas stars Olivia Hussey, Keir Dullea, Margot Kidder, Andrea Martin, Lynne Griffin and John Saxon. The story follows a group of sorority sisters who receive threatening phone calls and are eventually stalked and murdered by a deranged killer during the Christmas season. Black Christmas (originally titled Silent Night, Evil Night), followed the fad of taking a well-known holiday and then turning it into a horror film. To this day, Black Christmas is still celebrated and has a rabid cult following.
16. The Girl on the Train (2016)
Directed by Tate Taylor, The Girl on the Train is a psychological thriller about a recovering alcoholic named Rachel who rides a train aimlessly after losing her job and her marriage. Rachel begins to fixate on the neighbours of her ex-husband Tom; Scott and Megan, but when Megan goes missing after Rachel spots her kissing a stranger, Rachel decides to investigate on her own and re-inserts herself into the lives of her ex-husband Tom and his new wife Anna. Creating all sorts of drama, turmoil and mistrust for everyone concerned.
17. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg, 10 Cloverfield Lane stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr. It is the second film in J.J. Abram’s Cloverfield franchise and is set in an underground bunker in rural North America where the owner of the bunker has somehow managed to survive the events depicted in the first Cloverfield film.
John Goodman plays the owner of the cabin and comes across as an obsessive end of the world conspiracy junkie and doomsday prepper who will do anything to keep his two guests captive. Unfortunately, at the end of the film he’s proven to be right about the “aliens.”
What did you think of this list of ‘Movies like Misery’?
What did you think of Misery? Have you seen any of these films before?
Let us know what you think on social media.