There are a number of reasons the new Netflix miniseries Maniac might have caught your attention, from the stars (Emma Stone and Jonah Hill) to the director (True Detective's Cary Joji Fukunaga) to Oh hey, is that Sally Field? I guess I will watch this. But another big reason to watch Maniac is because you like movies and TV shows that explore the human mind and leave you feeling that very particular type of freaked out. The type of films and series that stick with you at night, not because they're scary, but because you're mind is still racing.
Maniac is based on a Norwegian series of the same name that is actually very different from the new American version and is set in a psychiatric ward. The new miniseries, on the other hand, is centered around Annie Landsberg (Stone) and Owen Milgrim (Hill), who both sign up for a pharmaceutical trial that aims to solve all their mental health issues. While under the influence of the drugs they're given, Annie and Owen exist (or seem to exist) in a series of dream sequences that span decades and levels of realism.
Whether this all intrigues you or you've already seen the entire series, the movies below will probably speak to you, too. Some are darkly comedic like Maniac, while others offer more frightening levels of exploration into the human mind.
1. The Science Of Sleep
The plot of The Science of Sleep is summed up succinctly by the main character's mother in the trailer: "Stephane has always confused his dreams with reality." And since director Michel Gondry also combines the reality in the movie with what's going on in Stephane's head, it's a pretty bizarre ride. (Available to rent on Amazon and YouTube.)
2. Ex Machina
A computer programmer gets to meet the CEO of the technology company he works for and finds out that he's created a startlingly humanlike AI. And, uh, things take a turn from there. (Available on Netflix.)
It's very different from Ex Machina, but Her is another movie about a man who falls for an AI woman... well, not a woman exactly, but you get the idea. (Available on Netflix.)
4. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind
Like Maniac, Eternal Sunshine has to do with the mind being altered by a (very sketchy) physician. This time, it's about memories being permanently erased from the brain. (Available to rent on Amazon and YouTube.)
5. The Truman Show
And Jim Carrey pops up again. In The Truman Show, a man doesn't know his entire life has been a reality show starring him... until he does know and has to confront what that means and what to do about it. (Available on Netflix.)
On the much darker end of the spectrum is Inception, a movie about dreams so layered that your mind will keep spinning (or stop spinning?!) long after you're finished watching it. (Available to rent on Amazon and YouTube.)
7. Being John Malkovich
It's pretty simple, really: A portal in an office leads into the mind of actor John Malkovich and you exit his brain via the New Jersey Turnpike. You'll have to watch the movie to figure out everything else. (Available to rent on Amazon and YouTube.)
8. Shutter Island
Shutter Island is about a detective investigating a patient missing from a psychiatric facility... or is it? It's also is definitely the scariest movie on this list. (Available on Hulu.)
9. Inside Out
10. Cloud Atlas
If it's the way that Maniac spans different time periods with the same characters that has you most interested, then it could be worth checking out Cloud Atlas, which does this to the extreme. (Available on Netflix.)
Yes, Arrival is an alien movie, but it's so much more than that, too. And it's a real mind-bender, something that only increases as it goes on. (Available on Hulu and Amazon Prime.
If you're finished with Maniac, or just like what it's going for but need something different, these 11 movies should get the job done. It's up to you if you want to go for something silly or something dark.