11 Medical Thriller Movies To Stream When You're Done Freaking Out Over 'Brain On Fire'


Movie and TV viewers live for the thrill of a medical mystery. We love nothing more than a freak diagnosis, surgical nightmare, or random epidemic seen on Grey's Anatomy, for instance, even though we'd never want to encounter one in real life. Perhaps it's a way of skirting the edges of danger without feeling its powerful grip personally, or maybe by exposing ourselves to a hospital room horror, the worst case scenario becomes more manageable shall that day ever come in our own lives. Recently, Netflix released Brain on Fire, a film based on the true story of a woman diagnosed with a rare condition after a long journey from symptoms-to-diagnosis. If you were compelled all throughout Brain on Fire, here are 11 medical thriller movies to stream next.

Watching these films will let you indulge in your fascination and horror over shady mental institutions, strange side effects, and enough community-killing epidemics to keep conspiracy sites in business for a very long time. Whether you're a masochist cycling through every doomsday film imaginable (hey, no judgment) or just an overly cautious cinephile hungry for all of the proper information before freaking out, there's a film on this list perfect to stoke your senses after Brain on Fire.


'Shutter Island'

Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, and Michelle Williams star in this Scorcese-directed thriller about an island that's home to a hospital for the mentally ill. But once DiCaprio's U.S. Marshal begins to investigate the premises, a slew of medical atrocities are uncovered.

Watch Shutter Island on Hulu.


'Girl, Interrupted'

Based on a landmark novel of the same name, this film chronicles life in a mental hospital for a group of women in the '60s, as they fight to be recognized despite their often limiting categorizations.

Watch Girl, Interrupted on Amazon.



This is basically everyone's worst nightmare of what goes on in the basement of a hospital after hours. A remake of the 1990 original, the movie follows a group of medical students who purposely flatlin themselves so that they might discover an afterlife and gain unprecedented medical knowledge.

Watch Flatliners on Amazon.


'Side Effects'

Rooney Mara stars as a woman who, after showing signs of depression and suicidal tendencies, seeks help from a psychiatrist. But the drug causes unintentional ~side effects~ that lead to danger in her orbit.

Watch Side Effects on Amazon.



What begins as a peaceful existence for a suburban couple is disrupted when a doctor who claims to be "god-like" performs a surgery that has major ramifications on their marriage.

Watch Malice on Amazon.


'A Cure For Wellness'

The moral of this film is to never trust a shady "wellness center" in which each inhabitant is longing for a cure for the same disease.

Watch A Cure for Wellness on HBO Go.


'John Q'

It's usually pretty easy to root for leading man Denzel Washington. This time is harder, though, as his character holds an emergency room hostage because insurance won't cover an operation for his son.

Watch John Q on Amazon.


'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest'

Jack Nicholson won an Oscar for his performance as a criminal who must fight what he deems an abusive mental institution while under their "care."

Watch One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest on Amazon.


'And The Band Played On'

When an epidemiologist identifies a growing medical epidemic in the gay community as AIDS, he must fight a prejudiced scientific community in the search for a treatment.

Watch And the Band Played On on HBO Go.



Another day, another mysterious epidemic taking over the population without a cure. Only this time the enigmatic virus is threatening the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, and Kate Winslet.

Watch Contagion on Amazon.



There's something particularly unpredictable and terrifying about the idea of entering a coma. Add in the uncharacteristically high number of comas after routine procedures found in this film's hospital, and you've got the recipe for an intriguing medical thriller.

Watch Coma on Amazon.

Scared yet?