Five Intense Horror Movies About Paranoia to Stream This Week

In John Carpenter’s horror classic The Thing, R.J. MacReady (Kurt Russell) somberly explains to his tape recorder, “Nobody trusts anybody now, and we’re all very tired.” The now iconic quote summarizes the exhaustive state of sustained paranoia induced by the shape-shifting, extraterrestrial threat that has infiltrated the ranks of an isolated Antarctic research station, seamlessly assuming the identities of its inhabitants.

Isolation, mistrust, and intense paranoia drive Carpenter’s classic 1982 horror movie, heightening the effectiveness of the horror to a tangible degree; and it’s far from the only horror movie to effectively wield paranoia like a sharp blade. This week’s streaming picks highlight intense horror movies that unfurl their unrelenting tension, disorienting distrust, and discomfort through a heavy emphasis on paranoia, whether internal or external.

Here’s where you can stream them this week.

For more Stay Home, Watch Horror picks, click here.

Bug – Fandor, Pluto TV, The Roku Channel


William Friedkin’s claustrophobic thriller follows lonely waitress Agnes (Ashley Judd), who finds herself drawn to a man exhibiting signs of paranoid schizophrenia, Peter (Michael Shannon). Considering Agnes is plagued by strange phone calls, reeling from the news that her abusive ex has been paroled, and unresolved trauma from her son’s disappearance, she quickly takes to Peter’s psychosis as the pair lock themselves away in a hotel room. The conspiracy theories take over, including the concept of microscopic bugs, leading to a paranoia-inducing descent into violent madness. Friedkin peppers in squeamish bursts of body horror and self-mutilation in a wild and disturbing depiction of folie à deux.

The Invisible Man – Peacock

The Invisible Man

Leigh Whannell’s reimagining of the Universal Monsters classic is a masterclass in suspense from beginning to end. He wields negative space like a weapon to maximize the terror, training the viewer to follow the camera’s gaze and fill in the emptiness with the invisible threat stalking Cecilia Kass (Elisabeth Moss). Moss delivers a powerhouse performance as a woman struggling to break free from a psychotic and abusive lover, Adrian Griffin (Oliver Jackson-Cohen). Whannell’s smart approach to this update extends the feelings of paranoia beyond Cecilia; we quickly become paranoid as the camera searches for an invisible enemy. The unwavering suspense leaves your nerves utterly destroyed by the time the end credits arrive.

Jacob’s Ladder – Pluto TV

Jacob's ladder - paranoia horror

In director Adrian Lyne’s influential horror movie, Jacob (Tim Robbins) attempts to readjust upon returning home from the war while still mourning his son’s premature death. When a severe disassociation case sets in, Jacob must decipher reality from bizarre hallucinations while seeking the truth behind his mental state. Time and reality distort through increasingly surreal images that torment Jacob. Twisted nightmare sequences are full of fast-twitching entities amidst settings that stretch normality, pervading his waking life and signaling that something’s deeply amiss as Jacob’s reality untethers further. The more Jacob’s paranoia mounts, the more horrific the imagery.

Save the Green Planet! – Kanopy

Save the Green Planet

Byeong-gu believes Earth is on the verge of an alien invasion and that he’s the only one who can save it. With his loyal girlfriend’s help, he kidnaps and brutally tortures corporate execs and politicians he believes to be aliens in disguise. A complete genre hybrid, toggling between sci-fi, comedy, and horror with paranoia and extreme violence, Save the Green Planet has many shocking moments and unexpected twists. Above all else, it’s paranoia that fuels this wild ride. And with a remake on the way, now is a great time to watch the original.

Watcher – AMC+, Hulu, Shudder

Watcher - Paranoid Maika Monroe

Much like The Invisible Man, Chloe Okuno’s psychological horror movie centers around a woman, Julia (Maika Monroe), isolated and frantic for allies against an unseen threat. No one believes Julia’s claims that she’s being stalked after relocating across the world for her new husband’s job. She’s left almost entirely on her own to adjust to a new country and culture, and it’s made even harder by the language barrier. Her unshakable feeling of being watched transforms into full-blown paranoia with the discovery that a killer named Spider has been stalking and decapitating women in the area. But is someone following Julia, or is it a byproduct of loneliness and culture shock? Okuno utilizes an elegant simplicity to let the paranoia pervade slowly, with wide angle shots in dark, gloomy settings to capture Julia’s vast isolation.

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