It has been an entire decade since the dream collaboration between Christopher Nolan and Leonardo DiCaprio took place, presenting an astonishing movie— Inception, which not only matched the previous game-changer of the director (The Dark Knight) but also left the spectators wanting for more. The science fiction action thriller amazed the viewers with its composite shots, consisting of a city collapsing, the realistic effects bewitchery of spinning hallway brawls, and a heavily layered plot. If you are here, it indicates you have already watched the movie along with other of Nolan’s films, including the mind-shattering ‘Memento: (1999) and ‘The Prestige’ (2006). Here are some of the other films that share the same mindset and theme as Inception, with different plots flavored with similar thrills.
The Cell (2000)
Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Vincent D’Onofrio, Vince Vaughn, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Jake Weber
Directed by: Tarsem Singh
Plot- The movie takes us into a peculiar, riveting trip of the mind, into the dangerous and dark passage of a chain killer’s psyche— the only thing that can save the life of the last trapped victim of the killer, who is still alive. For this, a psychologist named Catherine Deane decides to experiment with a radical therapy based on new transcendental science. She can experience the incidents taking place inside a different person’s mind while he is unconscious.
The Thirteenth Floor (1999)
Starring: Vincent D’Onofrio, Craig Bierko, Gretchen Mol, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Dennis Haysbert
Directed by: Josef Rusnak
The plot is a neo-noir Sci-Fi crime thriller movie loosely inspired by the 1964 novel ‘Simulacron-3’ penned down by Daniel F. Galouye. It revolves around a man who wakes up discovering a shirt stained with blood in his house, along with the dead body of his boss. The fact that he does not remember anything that happened the night before explores the menacing chances of a universe stimulated by technology. People believe that they are the only real ones.
What Dreams May Come(1998)
Starring: Robin Williams, Annabella Sciorra, Cuba Gooding Jr., Max von Sydow
Directed By: Vincent Ward
Plot- Inspired by the 1978 novel written by Richard Matheson, bearing the same name, ‘What Dreams May Come’ is a fantasy drama film covering Chris Nielsen’s afterlife, guided by Albert, after his death in a car accident. Although the new world is far better than what he had imagined, with his children keeping him company, he gets disappointed to learn that his wife, Annie, has been sent to hell because of her unholy action of committing suicide. Ignoring all the warnings of Albert, he sets out on his journey to rescue Annie from there.
Synecdoche, New York (2008)
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tom Noonan, Catherine Keener, Josh Pais
Director: Charlie Kaufman
Plot- After his wife and daughter leaves him, the life of theater director Caden Cotard gets deserted. It gets worse when his therapist gets focused more on publicizing her new book, rather than helping him deal with his problems, while he gets diagnosed with a strange disease, causing his body to deteriorate. Caden moves to New York City from Schenectady, where he works on a stage production, deeply committed to realism, blurring out the margins between reality and fiction.
Mr. Nobody (2009)
Starring: Diane Kruger, Jared Leto, Linh Dan Pham, Sarah Polley
Directed By: Jaco Van Dormael
Plot- This is a Sci-Fi movie set in 2092, when the last mortal human on the Earth, the 118-year-old Nemo Nobody, narrates his life story, reflecting his past, with his fading memory. He makes references to three of his main love interests, his parents getting divorced, and the gradual difficulties that he went through at three different nodes of his life— at the age of nine, fifteen, and finally thirty-four. He thinks about the alternative decisions that he could have made and the difference it could have made during those critical junctions.
Shutter Island (2010)
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams
Directed By: Martin Scorsese
Plot- It is a neo-noir psychological thriller movie, inspired by the 2003 novel by Dennis Lehane, bearing the same name. The movie is about the improbable escape of a witty killer, which brings Teddy Daniels, the U.S. Marshal, and his partner to Ashecliffe Hospital— the criminally insane asylum located in Shutter Island, in Boston Harbor. From what appears superficially, the woman gets disappeared from a locked room, leaving behind clues pointing to terrible deeds that have been committed inside the hospital. As the story progresses, Teddy realizes that he needs to battle his own dark fears to come out of the island safely.
Starring: Shane Carruth, Anand Upadhyaya, Casey Gooden, David Sullivan
Directed By: Shane Carruth
Plot- ‘Primer’ is a science fiction centering the discovery of time traveling by chance, owing to Aaron and Abe— the two intelligent engineers who create and sell error-checking gadgets, taking help from their friends, Robert and Phillip. However, when the two of them invents the time machine by mistake, Abe goes a step ahead and modifies it to transport humans and tries to test it, only to discover the unknown dark consequences brought upon by their actions.
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Sarah Gadon, Mélanie Laurent, Isabella Rossellini
Directed By: Denis Villeneuve
Plot- Loosely inspired from the 2002 novel by José Saramago titled, ‘The Double,’ the movie is a psychological thriller mystery movie which stars actor Jake Gyllenhaal in double roles, as two physically identical men, having varying personalities— one being a mild-mannered professor of a college, while the other as an actor. The movie has been labeled as an intense and remarkably adventurous thriller.
The Congress (2013)
Starring: Robin Wright, Paul Giamatti, Danny Huston, Harvey Keitel
Directed By: Ari Folman
Plot- The movie has been inspired by the 1971 Polish novel written by Stanisław Lem, titled ‘The Futurological Congress’, which revolves around an aging actress who agrees to conserve her digital resemblance for a studio for utilizing in an upcoming film that it likes. The live-action/animated Sci-Fi movie has been praised for Robin Wright’s performance, accompanied by technical thrills and ambitious storytelling to outshine its messy structure.
Starring: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Willem Dafoe, Ian Holm, Jude Law
Directed By: David Cronenberg
Plot- This Sci-Fi thriller movie revolves around the deeds of a video game designer named Allegra Geller, who has created a virtual reality game known as EXistenZ. Owing to a crazy fan who tries to kill her, Allegra decides to save her game by planting the game pod carrying a faulty copy of the game, into the body of her bodyguard, Ted, due to which, they get involved in a chain of incidents, leading to blurring out of the boundary between reality and fantasy.
Time Lapse (2014)
Starring: Danielle Panabaker, George Finn, John Rhys-Davies, Matt O’Leary
Directed By: Bradley King
Plot- The indie sci-fi thriller movie marks the directorial debut of Bradley King, revolving around a group of three friends who discovers a photo machine capable of taking pictures of events that will take place a day after, in the future. Upon using it for their own interests, many disturbing and dangerous photos start developing, causing an increased chain of complex causal loops.
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Kate Capshaw, Christopher Plummer, Max von Sydow
Directed By: Joseph Ruben
Plot- The dark Sci-Fi adventure horror movie ‘Dreamscape’ is centered on a self-centered teen, Alex Gardner, who is forced to join a government project, suited mostly for psychics like him, where they are taught to enter into the dreams of others. Soon after he learns to use his abilities for good, a new official named Bob Blair takes over the scheme’s control. However, the true motives of Blair involved the assassination of people via their dreams, and to expose those, Alex takes the help of a writer and soon finds himself in the path of something very terrible.
Total Recall (1990)
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronny Cox, Rachel Ticotin, Sharon Stone
Directed By: Paul Verhoeven
Plot- Set in the year 2084, the movie has loosely been inspired by the 1966 short story, written by Philip K. Dick titled as, ‘We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,’ revolving around a bored construction worker who has a dream of visiting the colonized planet of Mars. To fulfill his dream, he visits a company named ‘Rekall,’ which is known for implanting fake memories into people’s minds, making them experience the thrills of visiting Mars without actually having to go there. However, things take a sharp turn, and Quaid comes to know that his entire life was a fake memory, and the people who had implanted those in his head now want him to die.
Starring: Tôru Furuya, Megumi Hayashibara, Toru Emori, Katsunosuke Hori
Directed By: Satoshi Kon
Plot- Adapted from the 1993 novel by Yasutaka Tsutsui, bearing the same name, this Sci-Fi psychological thriller anime movie focuses on a scientist named Dr. Atsuko Chiba, who is a dream detective going by the code name, Paprika, during the night. When a DC Mini device prototype, intending to aid psychiatric patients, gets stolen, on which Atsuko and her colleagues had been working— capable enough to destroy people’s minds when falls into the wrong hands— Paprika sets into motion to recover the device before something wrong happens.
Starring: Ethan Hawke, Noah Taylor, Sarah Snook, Christopher Kirby
Directed By: Peter Spierig, Michael Spierig
Plot- The movie has been inspired by a 1959 short story titled, ‘—All You Zombies—’ penned down by Robert A. Heinlein, revolving around a temporal agent, Agent Doe, who undertakes an ultimate time-traveling project, to prevent a tricky criminal from setting in motion an attack to murder thousands of people. The movie comes flavored with uncommon intelligence, Sci-Fi adventure, and action thrills.
Starring: Emily Foxler, Elizabeth Gracen, Nicholas Brendon, Maury Sterling
Directed By: James Ward Byrkit
Plot- This surreal Sci-Fi psychological thriller movie focuses on a group of eight friends who, at a dinner party, encounter a troubling series of events owing to the malicious impact of a passing comet. The movie, which is more-or-less a case study in filmmaking, marks writer and director James Ward Byrkit.
Starring: Candela Fernández, Karra Elejalde, Bárbara Goenaga, Nacho Vigalondo
Directed By: Nacho Vigalondo
Plot- Known as Los Cronocrímenes in Spanish, the science-fiction thriller movie briefly focuses on Héctor, who unwittingly gets involved in a time loop and needs to stop other of his selves from existing. It opens with Hector observing women getting undressed in the woods, close by his property, and as he continues to investigate, he finds her assaulted. He gets hit by a mysterious man. Trying to save his life, he comes across a scientific facility and hides into a time machine, taking him a few hours back in time.
The Truman Show (1998)
Starring: Noah Emmerich, Jim Carrey, Laura Linney, Ed Harris
Directed By: Peter Weir
Plot- The movie showcases the protagonist of the story, Truman Burbank, who grew up as an ordinary man—without even realizing that his life is a part of a large TV set, for a show, being produced by Christof, about him, filled with various actors. The show is a live broadcast of every step taken by Truman, captured with hidden cameras. His life worsens when Cristof attempts to control his mind, replacing his true love, Sylvia, from the show with a new girl, Meryl. Gradually Truman realizes the truth and determines to escape.
Being John Malkovich (1999)
Starring: John Cusack, Catherine Keener, Cameron Diaz, John Malkovich
Directed By: Spike Jonze
Plot- The classic cult-favorite fantasy comedy-drama movie centers on Craig Schwartz, an unemployed NYC puppeteer who unwillingly takes up a temporary job working as a filing clerk under Dr. Lester, where he discovers a portal leading him into the famous actor John Malkovich’s mind. He involves his co-worker Maxine with his secret, and both of them begin an uncommon business plan and somehow get Lotte, Craig’s restless wife, involved.
World on a Wire (1973)
Starring: Barbara Valentin, Klaus Löwitsch, Mascha Rabben, Wolfgang Schenck, Karl Heinz Vosgerau
Directed by: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Plot- Adapted from the 1964 novel written by Daniel F. Galouye, titled as ‘Simulacron-3,’ the dystopic Sci-Fi epic, known as ‘Welt am Draht,’ in German, highlights the sophisticated and philosophical aspects of the minds of humans, the stimulation and the importance of scientific research.