4 MIN READ | Positive Psychology

Psychological Films (and Series) to Binge-Watch this Quarantine

Nikka Celeste

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Nikka Celeste, (2020, May 30). Psychological Films (and Series) to Binge-Watch this Quarantine. Psychreg on Positive Psychology. https://www.psychreg.org/psychological-films-quarantine/
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Everyone’s in quarantine to help flatten the curve of this pandemic. However, being at home makes us bored as we have nothing else to do but to stay at home, scroll in our social media feeds, watch Netflix, and sleep. You might also watched and re-watched all your favourite films but still get bored once the film ends. So, here are some suggestions for psychological films to binge-watch while on quarantine.

Would You Rather (2013)

This is a psychological thriller film that follows a group of people forced to play a game of ‘Would You Rather’. Only instead of playing for fun, a collection of downtrodden individuals, enticed by a reward, end up playing for their lives. Reminiscent of the Saw franchise, this film is a horrifying portrayal of the lengths people will go to survive. 

It is actually described as ‘torture porn by a psychology professional which means that it is a ‘sub-genre of horror that involves people being mutilated such as Saw and Hostel.’

So, if you think this film is not good for your heart, you might want to jump to the next film on the list. But this film is actually worth a try.

As reviewed by Kate Jackson, the psychological theme of the film is morality. There is the moral question of what is worse, stabbing someone in the leg or whipping someone repeatedly over and over for the sake of saving yourself.

Fractured (2019)

Fractured (2019) is an original Netflix psychological thriller film. The film centres on the disappearance of the protagonist’s wife and child in the hospital after a roadside accident. They are examined by multiple doctors and even go down to the basement for imaging, yet there are no records of their visit, and the protagonist is convinced the hospital is doing bad things like perhaps an illegal organ harvesting operation. 

Fractured’s main psychological theme is about insanity and alternate reality. The way our minds make constructs that would protect and save ourselves from our anxieties and issues leading to the creation of an alternate reality. This film will make you guess what’s real from not with all its twists and turns.

As mentioned in an interview with Brad Anderson, the director of Fractured, ‘It’s not straight-up horror. It’s a tragedy with horror overtones. In this film, in some weird way, the bending of reality and truth is kind of relevant to the times we live in. You can make your own truth. Just like in the film, you could just drive off into the sunset believing whatever you want to believe. Just don’t turn around and look at what’s in your backseat.’

Swallow (2019)

Swallow is a psychological thriller film focusing on the pica disorder – a psychological eating disorder that involves eating items that are not typically thought of as a food and that do not contain a significant nutritional value such as dirt, feces, hair, etc.

According to a review from a short film director: ‘Swallow does not glorify Hunter’s (protagonist) eating disorder, but nor does it harshly judge her for her actions. Rather, it empathises with and explores why she would go to such extreme lengths to find herself.”

This film may be stressful and difficult to watch, but it is highly recommended by psychology professionals for further study and understanding of pica disorder.

Freud (2020)

Freud is a new original eight-part Netflix series that is predominantly set in criminal profiling and hypnosis. It is about Sigmund Freud (Father of psychoanalysis) but is set in a fictional scenario.

There has been an overwhelming amount of criticism for this series because most of the critics feel that this series is essentially worthless to watch since it is about a real psychologist placed in a fictional scenario and because it touches our basic human animalistic impulses can make us feel extremely uncomfortable

However for Dr James Zender, a psychoanalytically trained clinical psychologist, the Freud series is fantastic and mildly entertaining. According to him: ‘The series is a fantastic artistic rendering of some of the great truths and tragedies of human suffering resulting from mental illness and sadistic manipulation.’

He also said that: ‘It’s filled with historical photographs of Freud, his contemporaries, and the settings in which the history of inner mind exploration occurred. It contains pictures of all the founding players in the creation of psychoanalysis, players who are brought back to life with exceptional artistic license in Freud. The casting, performances, costumes, sets, and overall mood are extraordinary.’

Whether you’ll rely on the film critics or on the review of a psychology professional, this series is worth a try.

The Good Place (2016)

The Good Place is a sitcom available on Netflix about a deceased saleswoman who lived a morally corrupt life, finds herself in a heaven-like afterlife in a case of mistaken identity, and tries to hide her past in order to stay there.

The Good Place’s theme revolves around the afterlife and moral philosophies. It has received an overwhelming amount of praise for its theme, storyline, and actors.

It is also recommended by mental health professionals to watch while on quarantine as this sitcom helps you maintain your mental health in good condition because of its comedic and feel-good theme, especially for people who are currently feeling anxious with what’s happening in the world.

Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind (2004)

Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind is a film that focuses on a short-lived relationship and the desire to forget it. It also humorously examines the ethical concerns regarding a high-tech psychological treatment. The film plays with the ideas of memory, society, and perception, questioning the balance of association’s effects on a character, and a character’s effect on the memories they form.

According to Madelon Sprengnether: ‘I loved the film. I found it funny, absurd, and profoundly moving. What its protagonists (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) perceive is that not only do they cling to their most difficult memories but they also tend to repeat their past mistakes, even as they forget the life lessons they believe to have learned from them.’

Overall, this film displays and evoke complex psychological and philosophical themes that deal with the value and necessity of associations and experience as part of personal and interpersonal development. It suggests that the experience of grief is necessary for growth, and displays the faults of ignorance.

Final thoughts

These are just some of the final and series you may watch to fight boredom and cope up with the anxiety this pandemic is giving us. There are many other more available films if you want to know more about psychology through films or if you’re just a fan of psychology-themed films. So, sit back, relax and happy watching.

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Image credit: Freepik


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