It’s because of the rise of OTT platforms that stories about serial killers have lost their potential to be extraordinarily fresh. You’ll find hundreds of contents featuring copycat killers and serial killers, which diminishes the novelty of such narratives. Amidst this trend arrives a movie like “Mindcage.” Released in 2022 and directed by Mauro Borrelli, “Mindcage” is not a stand-alone work of fiction, nor does it promise to be unique in the genre. Nothing in this film, not even the talent of actors like John Malkovich, makes it incredible. However, if you’re keen on watching any serial killer films, then “Mindcage” is worth a try.
The fascination with serial killing stories lies in their exploration of the darker aspects of human psychology and behavior. They often discuss themes of obsession, power dynamics, and the complexities of morality. On top of that, the cat-and-mouse game between the killer and the moral protagonist, along with the suspenseful narrative structure, can intrigue the audiences. Despite the gruesome subject matter, these stories inspire us to confront the depths of human depravity and the intricacies of the human psyche. The more the killer explains, the more the audience finds themselves in a place hard to breathe. Now, that is particularly lacking in “Mindcage.”
Anyway, before we reveal much about the film itself, let’s try and explore what are the other films that are similar to “Mindcage” or even better than this one.
1. The Little Things (2021)
Written and directed by John Lee Hancock, the 2021 mystery thriller “The Little Things” is co-produced by Mark Johnson. The film stars some of the finest actors in Hollywood, including Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, and Jared Leto. The story is set in early 1990s Los Angeles. It’s about two detectives, played by Denzel Washington and Rami Malek, solving a series of murders. They suspect a strange loner, played by Jared Leto, who might be the killer.
This film is like any other modern serial-killing story, which is neither particularly bad nor remarkable. The expectation from Jared Leto is always high, but his performance here and the narrative is underwhelming. But, if you want to see movies like “Mindcage,” well, this is perhaps the most similar story you are going to find apart from the copycat killer portion. Here, too, the cat-and-mouse chase is vibrantly staged, especially when the two detectives try to capture the murder suspect.
2. The Prestige (2006)
Whenever two protagonists challenge each other, and both of them are viciously brilliant, at least on paper, Christopher Nolan’s 2006 masterpiece “The Prestige” will come to mind. Starring some of the finest actors in Hollywood, such as Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, and Andy Serkis, “The Prestige” is one of the most highly acclaimed works in the mystery/thriller genre. But why compare it with “Mindcage”? The quality of the films does not definitely line up as one is a masterpiece, whereas the other is easy to forget.
But Mauro Borrelli has tried to showcase the duel between the two artists. One is original, and the other has the urge to be remarkable but lacks the talent, yet he prospers by copying the craft from the authentic artist. This, in particular, claims the position to be qualified in the category of movies like “Mindcage” itself. In “The Prestige,” we see almost the same dynamics between Borden and Angier. Here too, in “Mindcage,” you will find the same between the Artist and the copycat killer.
3. Copycat (1995)
“Copycat” is a mystery thriller film from 1995. Directed by Jon Amiel, this film stars Sigourney Weaver, Holly Hunter, and Dermot Mulroney. The background score from Christopher Young is one of the most talked about things in the film. The story revolves around a psychologist and a detective teaming up to catch a serial killer who copies famous murderers. Just like in “Mindcage,” the Artist’s killing methods are being copied by the new serial killer.
One of the striking things about this film is the chemistry shared between Holly Hunter as MJ Monahan and Sigourney Weaver as Helen Hudson. Sigourney’s portrayal as a psychologist really has an impact on the narrative, and Holly Hunter runs the show in the second half. The film never lacks pace, unlike “Mindcage” itself, so if you are looking for movies like “Mindcage,” this is a far better option to have instead.
4. The Minus Man (1999)
“The Minus Man” is a 1999 psychological thriller film starring Owen Wilson and Janeane Garofalo. Directed by Hampton Fancher, the story comes from a book by Lew McCreary. Just like “Mindcage,” this is also a story about a serial killer who thinks that he is helping society in some way. Fancher says the killer is like a mix of characters from “Psycho,” “Billy Budd,” and “Being There.” Owen Wilson’s cold performance throughout the film is one of the most intriguing things for the viewers of this genre.
In “Mindcage,” the Artist killed six women who were sex workers, and here in “The Minus Man,” Owen Wilson’s character Vann kills people who he thinks are an unnecessary burden for society. In “The Minus Man,” Vann poisons his victims just like Arnaud in “Mindcage.” There are a lot of similarities between the two films, so if you wish to watch movies like “Mindcage,” you can definitely try this one.
5. Donnie Darko (2001)
Directed by Richard Kelly, “Donnie Darko” is a 2001 psychological thriller movie about a troubled teenager named Donnie who sleepwalks. He sees a strange guy in a rabbit costume named Frank who tells him that the world will end in a month. The movie stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, and others. This film is a cult classic as it constantly follows a troubled teenager who begins to experience bizarre visions of a giant rabbit that manipulates him to commit strange acts.
The film’s surreal atmosphere, psychological depth, and exploration of alternate realities sync with the themes found in “Mindcage.” Just like the copycat killer explores alternate realities, manipulated by inner demons, here in “Donnie Darko,” the lead character loses it all only to be manipulated by his eternal doom. For an audience seeking movies like “Mindcage,” “Donnie Darko” might not share the exact genre or storyline, but it does explore similar themes.
6. Jacob’s Ladder (1990)
If you are looking for mystery, horror, and thriller all in one, the 1990’s “Jacob’s Ladder” is a perfect choice. Directed by Adrian Lyne, produced by Alan Marshall, and written by Bruce Joel Rubin, this film has one of the most prolific narratives in this genre. Played brilliantly by Tim Robbins, the character of Jacob Singer, a soldier with weird visions from Vietnam, is so well-written that one can relate to the trauma of a soldier haunted by the war.
After returning from the Vietnam War, Jacob Singer experiences disturbing hallucinations and begins to explore the truth about his past. The film’s exploration of trauma, perception, and reality bears resemblance to the themes present in “Mindcage.” Here too, the Artist sees the copycat killers’ actions, which makes him reconsider his own identity as a serial killer. However, “Mindcage” does not qualify to be in the same category as “Jacob’s Ladder” because of the storytelling, visual brilliance, masterclass performance, and basically everything. But, since we are exploring, this film is a must-see if you haven’t already.
7. Mr. Brooks (2007)
Since we have talked a lot about thrillers, mysteries, and horrors, why not talk about one of the finest crime dramas? Directed by the ingenious Bruce A. Evans, “Mr. Brooks” stars Kevin Costner, Demi Moore, Dane Cook, and William Hurt. The story is about a guy named Mr. Brooks, who is a successful businessman in Portland but also a serial killer. He gets blackmailed into teaching someone else his ways. Also, he has this inner voice that pushes him to keep killing.
Since the story of “Mr. Brooks” leads to a sort of mentor-protege relationship with a competitive edge, it can indeed be compared with “Mindcage.” However, let me remind you that this comparison is solely based on the mentor-protege relationship we are discussing. “Mr. Brooks” excels in all aspects of filmmaking compared to “Mindcage.” So, if you’ve already seen “Mindcage,” consider exploring the lesser-known masterpiece “Mr. Brooks.”