20 Mind-Bending Movies On Netflix You'll Be Analyzing For WEEKS After Watching


Some people like to unwind by watching relaxing cooking shows, others like to turn on something that will check you out of reality altogether. If you're part of the latter camp, you're in luck: there's a whole treasure trove of mind-bending movies on Netflix that will not only absorb your attention for a few hours, but keep you analyzing for weeks to come.

Some, like the 2009 sci-fi Moon, are filled with unexpected plot twists, while others, like the 2016 Netflix documentary Amanda Knox, don't offer a straightforward conclusion even after all evidence is presented. Following the möbius plot of Inception will require a good deal of mental gymnastics, and movies like Her, Ex Machina, and Casting JonBenét will leave you to interrogate your own belief systems long after the credits roll.

Whether you like horror, action, fantasy, or a little bit of everything, here are 20 mind-blowing movies on Netflix that just might melt your brain. Pro tip: you may want to use Netflix Party to watch with a friend or two, because you'll definitely need someone to discuss with afterward...or at least to help make sense of what's going on. Some films are best as a group activity.


Despite being set on the vast, empty moon, Duncan Jones' debut feature feels claustrophobic. Sam Rockwell plays lone mining astronaut Sam Bell, who's near the end of his three-year work contract and is looking forward to heading home. After a near-death accident, he returns to the base to find something that leaves him very confused. —Danielle Burgos

'Amanda Knox'

Convicted then acquitted of murdering an Italian exchange student, Amanda Knox was tried as much in the court of public opinion as she was by the legal system. Sensational stories, a leaked private diary, and Knox's sometimes bizarre behavior only add up to deeper questions. —Danielle Burgos

'The Invitation'

You get invited to a dinner party at your ex wife's house — do you go? At first, this Karyn Kusama film feels like a tense drama: exes are reunited, couples are in conflict, and no one seems particularly excited to be sitting around the table. But when the guests realize what their hosts have planned for them, the film turns into something much more terrifying. —Ivana Rihter


A must-see for fans of Parasite, Snowpiercer is set amid the Earth's second Ice Age. All the survivors live on a train: the rich in the front, the poor in the caboose. Struggling to stay alive, those in the back of the train decide to overtake the front. As with all of Bong Joon-Ho’s films, class dynamics are at the center of everything. —Ivana Rihter

'Ex Machina'

After winning a weekend at his CEO’s estate, programmer Caleb Smith is excited to immerse himself in Nathan Bateman’s strange new experiment. But as he gets to know Ava, a robot with extremely advanced abilities, he realizes that she's more conscious than he or Nathan realized. —Ivana Rihter

‘Under the Skin’

This film will disturb and delight you. An alien (who takes the form of a gorgeous woman) drives around the streets of Scotland at night. She pulls over, seduces men, and eventually gets them into her van. Things take a startling turn from there. —Ivana Rihter

'The Matrix'

If you're looking for a great '90s era sci-fi, The Matrix holds up. The Keanu Reeves classic is set in the dystopian future where people are kept in a virtual reality world while their bodies are being used by extraterrestrials for...well, you'll just have to watch to find out. —Ivana Rihter

'Pan's Labyrinth'

This surrealist Guillermo del Toro film effortlessly combines fantasy and terror. Set in the last years of World War II, it follows young Ofelia while she traverses the forests of Spain with her father. As she witnesses the atrocities of war and her own father's cruelty, she finds herself in the mystical world of Pan’s Labyrinth. The creators and mythological beings she encounters will stay with you long after the movie ends. —Ivana Rihter

'Good Time'

No one does high anxiety like the Safdie Brothers. In Good Time, the fallout of a bank robbery plays out in one night of violence and mayhem. Robert Pattinson’s performance is absolutely incredible and the twists and turns are beyond stressful. —Ivana Rihter


What if you could plant ideas in people’s dreams? That's the premise of 2010's Inception, but as in any good thriller, the implications get a little more complicated. The movie follows Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) on an impossible mission in which he must outsmart everyone in order to get his life back. —Ivana Rihter

'Bird Box'

The rules for staying alive in Bird Box are simple: if you see the monster, you die. This leaves Malorie Hayes with little choice but to try to escape and find safety with her children. To protect themselves from an invisible force that takes on your worst fears, they must take the journey blindfolded. —Ivana Rihter


Theodore falls in love with his computer's new operating system, "Samantha," in this Spike Jonze sci-fi romance. Set in a world that feels both dystopian and completely familiar, Her will challenge the way you see intimacy and relationships — as well as break your heart a few times over. —Ivana Rihter

'The Witch'

If you're in the mood for something spooky, The Witch will leave you breathless. Set in New England circa the 1600s, the film follows a farming family as they devolve into paranoia over who among them is practicing witchcraft. There are creepy twins, biblical references, and a lot of truly terrifying scares. —Ivana Rihter

'Casting JonBenét'

On Christmas night in 1996, 6-year-old pageant queen JonBenét Ramsey was found murdered in her family's home. Her story has been fixated on and sensationalized for years, but director Kitty Green wanted to do something different, so she put out a series of calls asking people to audition for the role of JonBenét and her family members. The result is a fascinating dive into the way we as a society treat these stories that will take you by surprise and force you to investigate your own problematic views on true crime. —Ivana Rihter


What would you do if you discovered your doppelgänger? Directed by Denis Villeneuve, this psychological thriller follows the unsettling events that unfold after a college professor discovers an actor who looks identical to him. There are rendezvous in motel rooms, chase sequences, and a twist ending you will be analyzing for a long while. —Ivana Rihter

'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button'

Benjamin Button was born an old man and died a baby. Curious indeed! This 2008 film follows Button (Brad Pitt) over the course of his whole life. He falls in love, makes great friends, and comes to terms with his bizarre condition. In many ways, it feels like a warped Forrest Gump with a lot of the same larger than life qualities but way more oddities. —Ivana Rihter

'Skins' (2017)

Like slapping an Instagram filter over a John Waters movie, this melodramatic soap opera follows the lives of people with deformities and odd dreams navigating a world that doesn't accept them. One seemingly healthy young man dreams of chopping his legs off to become a mermaid, while another woman has an "inverted digestive system" in which her mouth and anus are swapped. —Danielle Burgos


This movie is a slow burn (no pun intended). Jong-soo reunites with a childhood friend by chance and develops a crush. When she leaves for a long trip, he's tasked with caring for her cat until she returns, and to his chagrin, she comes back with a wealthy man named Ben by her side. When Jong-soo discovers Ben's unnerving hobby, tensions rise. —Ivana Rihter

'Minority Report'

Based on a sci-fi story by Philip K. Dick, this film is set in the year 2054. There have been major advancements in psychic technology and now, criminals just *thinking* about a murder can be convicted before they commit their crime. But what happens when the head of the pre-crime unit is accused of a future murder? If you're in the mood for some action and a lot of Tom Cruise, Minority Report delivers. —Ivana Rihter


This 1990 film is hilarious, confusing, and incredibly entertaining. When two brothers decide to leave their boring existence in Perfection, Nevada they find themselves in the middle of a battle for their lives...agains giant worm monsters that live under the ground. —Ivana Rihter

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