Saint Maud is an unsettling deep dive into the world of obsession, religion and addiction. It’s a very moody and unsettling picture, one that’s been heralded by many critics as one of the best horror movies for a long time.
If you’ve finished streaming this one and are looking for alternatives – fret not! We’ve combed through the archives and saved you the hassle with our top picks for alternate viewing.
So without further ado, we present 10 movies to check out when you’ve finished watching Saint Maud.
The quintessential horror picture, The Exorcist is one of the best and most beloved horror flicks for a reason. When it released back in 1973, it brought with it a combination of impressive visual effects, shocking horror and some genuinely unnerving moments.
For those unaware, the movie adopts a pretty simple premise and revolves around a 12-year-old girl called Regan. She finds herself at the mercy of a strange, demonic presence that’s wormed its way inside her. Regan’s desperate Mother calls on two priests to try and save her, as the battle between demon and priest ensues.
Well written and armed with some genuinely disturbing scenes, The Exorcist is quite simply horror at its best.
Black Swan depicts the struggles of an aspiring ballet dancer who finds herself consumed by addiction and jealousy. Our central protagonist here is Nina, a committed but quiet dancer who tries to bag the lead role in a production of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake”. Elation soon turns to twisted obsession though, as Nina begins to slip and descend down a dark path from which there seems to be no hope of returning.
With strong themes surrounding betrayal, addiction and mental health, Black Swan draws more than a few similarities to Saint Maud. There’s some pretty unsettling scenes in here too, making for a really trippy, well written psychological thriller.
Much like Saint Maud will be this year, Mother! was 2017’s polarizing thriller/horror flick. Admittedly, we weren’t massive fans of this movie but it’s undoubtedly similar to Saint Maud in terms of its symbolism and ideas.
The story revolves around a woman awakening in a remote mansion, calling out for her beloved, conveniently named “Him”. Their quiet life and relationship is put to the ultimate test when “Him” opens the door for guests to come and stay, destroying their tranquility and privacy forever.
The story builds toward the midway point as a horde of people flood the house before this narrative jumps forward in time and starts the cycle of building up toward a large crowd entering the house again. There’s some obvious Christian symbology at play here, with the two stories contrasting and playing off as artistic recreations of a few bible fables.
Beyond that though, there isn’t an awful lot else to this picture but if you’re looking for a similar movie in terms of tone and Christian imagery, this one may be worth a watch.
If you’re looking for a more physical manifestation of obsession and addiction though, Christian Bale’s excellent performance in The Machinist is well worth checking out. Armed with a nice twist and some genuinely disturbing scenes, this thriller makes the most of its run-time to deliver one heck of a thrill ride.
The story itself revolves around an industrial worker called Trevor Reznik who hasn’t slept in over a year. As he goes about his daily grind, he begins to doubt his own sanity and things inevitably take a turn for the worst.
Bale’s incredible transformation into this unsettling and grotesque character is nothing short of incredible, and his performance really elevates this thriller, making for an intense and heady trip.
Speaking of heady trips, Jacob’s Ladder is a psychologically charged experience that’s easily one of the more unsettling movies on this list. Mourning his dead child, the movie revolves around the haunted Vietnam War Vet Jacob, who tries to uncover his past while suffering from a severe case of dissociation.
As he dives deeper into his own subconscious, Jacob struggles to distinguish the different between the waking and dream world, leading to a mesmerizing and scary story to follow.
The movie is a real rollercoaster ride, akin to a wild-mouse corkscrew; spinning you around and around without letting up. When things finally do settle down, the movie hits you with a surreal ending that’ll leave you confused and amazed in equal measure. This one’s a must watch.
One of Stephen King’s best books (the third he published, believe it or not!) The Shining is a chilling psychological thriller that begins like any other horror before peeling away layers of weird, surreal imagery to show an ugly truth.
Our protagonist here is aspiring author and recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance. Determined to try and break the dreaded curse of writer’s block, he drags his wife Wendy and son Danny up to the secluded Overlook Hotel. Only, something lurks in the shadows, as the ominous Room 237 remains off-limits and Danny inexplicably seems gifted with a psychic gift called “The Shining.”
With incessant voices whispering in Jack’s head, and the isolated setting playing into the uneasy dread clinging to the picture, Jack starts to lose his mind.
Well written and regarded as one of the timeless horror movies of our generation, The Shining is a wonderfully creepy film.
Requim For A Dream
From one Coney Island to another, Requim For A Dream is a heady trip – in more ways than one. The movie’s premise centers around four different people who find out the hard way what a crippling effect drug addiction can have. In terms of its themes about addiction and obsession, Requim For A Dream shares more than a few similarities to Saint Maud.
Interestingly, this movie is also Directed by Darren Aronofsky, who’s responsible for bringing both Mother! and Black Swan to life (both of which appearing on this list of course.) The themes are similar but to reveal much more about this movie would be a disservice to some of the more shocking moments in the film. If you haven’t seen it, you really should check it out.
Cries and Whispers
Cries and Whispers is a powerful drama about three sisters whose lives are slowly revealed in detail across the course of the movie. At the heart of this though lies Agnes, a lonely 37-year-old who has cancer and awaits her inevitable death.
Her older sister Karin is trapped in an unhappy marriage while her younger sister, Maria, is the polar opposite. She has a stable marriage and finds herself surrounded by wealth. Rounding out this ensemble is Anna, the servant in Agnes’ house.
When Agnes’ condition starts to deteriorate, the movie experiments with its timeline, diving back into flashbacks that reveal a myriad of secrets, full of lies, deceit, callousness, guilt and forbidden love.
While not a horror or psychological thriller like others on this list, Cries and Whispers does manage to examine ideas surrounding death incredibly well and does so with enough intensity to maintain an aura of uneasiness until the final credits.
Another big movie about obsession, Misery is as much a metaphor for toxic fan culture today as it is about the dangers of obsession. The story here revolves around best-selling novelist Paul Sheldon who, on his way home after completing his latest book, crashes his car in a freak blizzard.
Despite being critically injured, he’s thankfully saved by a former nurse called Annie Wilkes, who claims to be Paul’s number 1 fan. Unfortunately when she starts to learn about what he’s written in his new book, Annie turns on a dime and lashes out in the most destructive way possible.
A masterful performance from Kathy Bates elevates King’s story, making for a very gripping and shocking thriller.
Breaking the Waves
Breaking the Waves is an incredibly powerful and moving picture, one that bears similarities to Saint Maud for the way it depicts religion.
The story itself takes place in a repressed and deeply religious community in Northern Scotland. There, a naïve young woman called Bess falls in love with a Danish oil-rig worker called Jan. Despite praying for his safe return from work, Jan returns badly hurt, sporting a broken neck and unable to engage sexually with her. Well, Jan suggests Bess take another lover for the time being.
Believing she’s being guided by God, Bess becomes increasingly deviant, led by an impressive performance from Emily Watson, who brings this character to life with incredible depth.
The ideas surrounding religion and God’s role in life rings true with Saint Maud too of course, delivering a really impressive drama. This certainly isn’t a horror but it is a very good film in its own right.
So there we have it, our 10 Movie picks to keep you busy after watching Saint Maud.
What do you think of our picks? Do you agree? Are there any notable omissions? Let us know in the comments below!