When you’re searching for something to watch on a streaming platform with as big a catalog as Netflix has, it can get overwhelming. Even when you’ve narrowed down the genres, there’s just too many things to watch. You don’t want to take a risk on a new movie, end up not liking it, and turn it off halfway through to find a new one and start the process all over again.
To hopefully help you navigate the labyrinth of movies that is Netflix while searching for a new psychological thriller to watch, we’ve put together a list of more than 25 great picks for you to watch during your next night on the couch. With any luck, you’ll find something that fits your fancy and you enjoy watching.
Check out the best psychological thrillers available to stream now on Netflix.
Director: Lee Chung-hyun
Writer: Lee Chung-hyun, Sergio Casci
Cast: Park Shin-hye, Jun Jong-seo, Kim Sung-ryung
If you are looking for a mind-bending thriller that will make your head hurt, the 2020 South Korean film The Call is the perfect pick for you. The story starts with a woman named Seo-yeon (Park Shin-hye) in 2019, who finds an old cordless phone while visiting her sick mother at her childhood home and picks up a random call. On the other side of the call is a woman named Young-sook (Jun Jong-seo) who is living a tortured life with her shaman adoptive mother twenty years in the past, in 1999.
Both women have suffered intense loss and find solace in the other, and soon enough Seo-yeon is helping Young-sook save her future, while Young-sook changes Seo-Yeon’s past, and therefore the present. While at first everything seems great, the changes start having huge, deadly ramifications, especially when Seo-yeon discovers just how dangerous her companion is. Brace yourself for an intricate, gripping story that constantly keeps you on your toes. By the end of The Call, you’ll consider yourself lucky that you can’t change the past.
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Laeta Kalogridis, Dennis Lehane
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley
The partnership between Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese is one for the ages. With five films produced together and another on the way, the duo continually creates critically acclaimed and financially successful movies that have made a lasting impact on the film industry, and 2010’s Shutter Island is no exception. A neo-noir thriller based on the book of the same name by Dennis Lehane, the movie is set in 1954 and stars DiCaprio as Deputy U.S. Marshal Edward “Teddy” Daniels. Teddy travels with his new partner Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) to a place called Shutter Island in Boston Harbor to investigate a missing patient at the Ashecliffe psychiatric hospital.
When a storm leaves the two men stuck on the island for a few days, Teddy and Chuck try to investigate further, but only get pushback from the staff and increasingly strange mysteries out of the patients. As more of Teddy’s past and personal connections to the case are revealed, increasingly intense twists and turns take the story to places you’d never expect. While some of the films on this list explore modern or futuristic storylines, Shutter Island is a suspenseful mystery that evokes the style of Alfred Hitchcock and classic horror films.
The Clovehitch Killer
Director: Duncan Skiles
Writer: Christopher Ford
Cast: Dylan McDermott, Charlie Plummer, Samantha Mathis
In the small town of Clarksville, Kentucky, a teenage boy named Tyler (Charlie Plummer) finds a strange, sexual photo of a woman in his father’s truck, and begins to suspect that he might have some connection to the Clovehitch Killer, a never-caught serial killer who terrorized the town 10 years earlier. A devout Christian, Tyler’s father Don (Dylan McDermott) seems like the perfect, kind man, but as Tyler keeps investigating, he finds more and more evidence pointing at Don having a deadly dark past.
The psychological thriller is heavily based on the real-life story of Dennis Rader, known to many as the BTK Killer. After a spree of killings, Rader took a ten-year break, before sending taunting letters to the police that led to his arrest. While The Clovehitch Killer might have a bit of predictability, its strength lies in the cast’s stellar performances and the sinister tone that keeps the audience consistently on edge.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Director: David Fincher
Writer: Steven Zaillian
Cast: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgård
Around the same time that Sweden was releasing their own adaptation of the bestselling Stieg Larrson mystery novel The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sony started working on an American version as well. In 2011, the film finally came out, starring Daniel Craig as a disgraced journalist named Mikael Blomkvist investigating the cold case of a missing girl who disappeared four decades earlier. Rooney Mara plays the title character, Lisbeth Salander, an extremely talented hacker and investigator who adopts a vigilante-style attitude as she works alongside Blomkvist on the case.
The missing girl in question is the granddaughter of a very influential and rich businessman named Henrik Vanger, played by Christopher Plummer, who believes that he is being taunted by his granddaughter’s killer. Through their intense investigation, Blomkvist and Salander uncover quite a few dark Vanger family secrets, and the closer to the truth they get, the more dangerous and life-threatening the situation becomes.
While it’s best to go into watching The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo if you know nothing about it ahead of time, the film is a great and relatively accurate adaptation of the thrilling novel, which is also worth checking out if you’ve got the time. Being directed by film auteur David Fincher, you should generally expect to get something dark, gripping, and visually striking, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo delivers on all fronts.
Director: Ben Wheatley
Writer: Jane Goldman, Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse
Cast: Lily James, Armie Hammer, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ann Dowd
Although nothing can really compare to Hitchcock’s Best Picture-winning 1940 film Rebecca, based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier, the 2020 remake from Kill List and High-Rise director Ben Wheatley is a visually stunning, unnerving adaptation in its own right. Arguably quite underrated, the Netflix Original film stars Lily James as Mrs. de Winter, the new wife of recent widower Maxim de Winter (Armie Hammer), who supposedly lost his wife Rebecca in a boating accident. When Mrs. de Winter arrives at her new home, she encounters an unfriendly housekeeper named Mrs. Danvers (Kristin Scott Thomas), who clearly prefers Rebecca to Maxim’s new wife. Facing marriage with a man hiding a past full of secrets, Mrs. de Winter pushes for answers, but she might not like what she finds.
Of course, no one can best Hitchcock, and that’s okay. But Wheatley’s version of the classic story is brilliantly made with fantastic performances from the main cast, and is still an enjoyable watch. If you’ve never seen the 1940 film, even better. You can go into the 2020 version of Rebecca with a fresh mind, and decide for yourself if it’s a good film or not, but do yourself a favor and make sure to watch the classic version too.
Director: Adam Wingard
Writer: Simon Barrett
Cast: Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Sheila Kelley, Brendan Meyer
Now here’s a film with a thrilling, action-packed story and standout cinematography. Released in 2014, Adam Wingard, an up-and-coming horror director at the time, came out with his new action-thriller, The Guest. The movie stars Maika Monroe as a teenage girl named Anna living in a small town, whose life is completely changed when a man claiming to be her late brother’s friend from the army shows up at their door. Played by Dan Stevens with a chilling calm and convincing American accent, the man in question, David, is invited by Anna’s mother to stay as long as he likes, and that he does.
David seems practically perfect, and he becomes a role model of sorts for Anna’s younger brother, Luke (Brendan Meyer), encouraging the teenager to physically defend himself against bullies at school. As David gets more violent and his actions get stranger, Anna starts to put together pieces of his real story. Yes, David is from the army, but he’s no ordinary soldier, and you definitely don’t want to get on his bad side.
Seriously, if you love action movies, thrillers, or honestly any type of film, you have to watch The Guest. In the years since the film’s release, it has developed a cult following, and it’s well-deserved. Stevens is amazing as the creepy yet alluring David, and you’ll be in awe at some of the visuals in the film’s climactic finale.
It Comes at Night
Director/Writer: Trey Edward Shults
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Riley Keough, Kelvin Harrison Jr.
Another movie that melds genres like The Guest, It Comes at Night is an indie film from 2017 about a family hiding in the woods as the world suffers from a deadly disease. Secluded in the forest, Paul (Joel Edgerton), Sarah (Carmen Ejogo), and their son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) know little about what’s going on in the rest of the world, except that night is a dangerous time, and the disease is highly contagious. When a man named Will (Christopher Abbot) shows up at the house one day with his wife and young son asking for help, the family lets them stay, as long as they follow their strict set of rules.
Over the course of the film, small events set the characters on edge, leading to intense distrust and suspicion that anyone could be infected. The movie doesn’t dig deep into what the truth of the situation is, leaving you to figure out what you think is really causing the disease. While the infectious condition is definitely a big cause of death in It Comes at Night, the movie makes a strong argument for the spread of fear, and how that can create just as much damage.
Director/Writer: Jang Hang-jun
Cast: Kang Ha-neul, Kim Mu-yeol, Mun Seong-kun, Na Young-hee
If you want to watch a movie that will really mess with your head, the South Korean psychological thriller Forgotten is it. Honestly, the plot is really hard to explain without giving anything away, but it basically centers around a man named Jin-seok (Kang Ha-neul) who has no memories of the last 20 years, who reunites with a man claiming to be his brother, Yoo-seok (Kim Mu-yeol). When Jin-seok begins to suspect that something’s amiss, Yoo-seok reveals that he really isn’t Jin-seok’s brother, and that he is on a mission to find out what really happened one night two decades prior, when a woman and her daughter were brutally murdered in their house.
With Forgotten, it’s best to just go into watching the movie without knowing too much about the plot, because soon enough everything you think you know about the story will be thrown out the window anyway. It’s a seriously twisted story about these two men and how deeply their pasts are intertwined, as they both grow desperate in their search for answers.
Director: Oriol Paulo
Writer: Oriol Paulo, Lara Sendim
Cast: Adriana Ugarte, Chino Darín, Javier Gutiérrez, Álvaro Morte
The Spanish-language Netflix Original movie Mirage is built around a similar premise as The Call, but thankfully it’s not quite as sinister. In Mirage, a woman named Vera (Adriana Ugarte) moves into a new house with her husband and daughter. There, they find an old TV set, and during a strange electrical storm, they discover that they can communicate through the TV with a boy in 1989. Finding out that the boy in question dies soon after, Vera uses the TV to warn him of his fate, which in turn completely alters Vera’s current reality. In a world without her family, Vera starts looking into how she can use the TV set to reverse her mistake, while also still saving the young boy’s life.
At the center of Mirage is a murder case that happens in 1989 where a man murders his wife. The boy originally dies in his efforts to run away and tell someone after he witnesses the murder, leading the man to get arrested. When Vera saves the boy’s life, she inadvertently allows the man to get away with murder, and so along with fixing reality herself, Vera must do everything she can to make sure that justice is served in the murder case as well. Complicated, but well-planned and executed, Mirage is a compelling and suspenseful drama that really shines through the emotional character arcs.
Director: Mike Flanagan
Writer: Mike Flanagan, Jeff Howard
Cast: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Chiara Aurelia, Carel Struycken
Directed by Mike Flanagan, the mind behind the movie adaptation of Doctor Sleep, the indie horror film Hush, and hit horror series like The Haunting of Hill House, Gerald’s Game was Flanagan’s first Stephen King adaptation, but obviously not his last. The movie, which came out on Netflix in 2017, is the first adaptation of the book of the same name. Many people believed the book was simply unadaptable in any understandable way, since most of the book is first-person narration that takes place in the main character’s head. Still, Flanagan took on the challenge, and he succeeded, making a psychological horror film that will leave you with nightmares for months.
Gerald’s Game stars frequent Flanagan collaborator Carla Gugino as Jessie Burlingame, a woman who travels to a lake house retreat with her husband, Gerald (Bruce Greenwood), in an attempt to save their marriage. The two engage in foreplay in bed, which Gerald takes to an unexpected place when he handcuffs Jessie’s wrists to the bedposts and attempts to enact a rape fantasy, a kink Jessie has no interest in. The two start to argue, and in the middle of the conversation, Gerald has a heart attack and dies, falling off the bed and leaving Jessie alone, still handcuffed to an unmovale bedpost.
The rest of the movie chronicles Jessie’s experience trapped in the handcuffs, slowly becoming dehydrated and losing her sanity as she scrambles for any way to escape. The movie is seriously creepy and a fantastic mystery, but fair warning that a character in this story knowm as “the man made of moonlight” is one of King’s scariest creations, and he’s even worse on-screen. Not to mention a particularly gory scene, infamous for making even hardened horror fans squirm in their seats.
Director/Writer: Zak Hilditch
Cast: Thomas Jane, Molly Parker, Dylan Schmid
Another Stephen King adaptation, 1922 is based on the author’s novella from his 2010 collection, “Full Dark, No Stars”. Set in the year 1922 in Hemingford Home, Nebraska, the story follows the character Wilfred “Wilf” James, played by Thomas Jane, a farmer who lives with his wife Arlette, played by Molly Parker, and a 14-year-old son named Henry, portrayed by Dylan Schmid.
When Arlette, who owns more than half of the family’s farm through her father, announces that she wants to sell the land and move to Omaha, Wilf decides that the only way to stop her is to murder her, and he blackmails his teenage son into being his accomplice. Together, the two trick their mother into thinking they want to sell the farm, let her get completely drunk, before killing her and dumping the body in the family well. The rest of the movie chronicles Wilf and Henry’s slow journey to insanity as they are terrorized by the guilt and the rot that settles into their home, land, and minds.
1922 is a dark, psychological horror film for both hardcore Stephen King fans and regular movie watchers alike. It’s a particularly good pick if you like period horror films like The Witch or television series like The Terror. While there are a lot of horror elements, 1922 primarily plays on the complex power of the mind and perception in the same way that Gerald’s Game does, earning it’s place as one of the best psychological thrillers on Netflix.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Director: Stacie Passon
Writer: Mark Kruger
Cast: Alexandra Daddario, Taissa Farmiga, Crispin Glover, Sebastian Stan
It appears that classic mystery literature makes for really great psychological thrillers on-screen, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle is another example of that. The 2018 film, directed by Stacie Passon, is based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson. It was the writer’s final work before her death, and tells the story of a family consisting of two sisters and their uncle, who are ostracized by their village after the girls’ parents are killed by arsenic poisoning. The older sister, Constance (Alexandra Daddario), is initially tried for the crime and then acquitted, but the public still believes she’s guilty.
While Constance stays cooped up in their old house, her younger sister Merricat (Taissa Farmiga) bears the town’s ridicule in order to run errands and keep the family going, also relying on some sort of natural magic for protection. Soon enough, their little bubble of existence is interrupted by their estranged cousin Charles (Sebastian Stan), who comes to stay at their home. While Constance is instantly taken by the young man, Merricat is very suspicious, and over time it becomes clear that Charles has a more personal reason for showing up than he initially lets on.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle focuses on the relationship between Constance and Merricat and their strong trust and love for one another, all while continually questioning who really poisoned their parents, and why. Set in the 1960s, the movie plays up the classic style of suspense that you see in old films, and is a great watch if you love gothic mystery-type stories.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Writer: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthymis Filippou
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Raffey Cassidy, Barry Keoghan
Greek film director Yorgos Lanthimos is known for his strange, emotionally intense stories that push the boundaries of film genres and viewers’ expectations. If you want to see what many believe to be his darkest, wildest film (so far), check out 2009’s Dogtooth, otherwise, check out The Killing of a Sacred Deer – which is pretty dark and wild in its own right. The director’s sixth film, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is a modern take on the ancient Greek story Iphigenia at Aulis by Euripides. In the original story, king Agamemnon accidentally kills one of Artemis’s sacred deer — hence, the title — and is ordered to kill his oldest daughter, Iphigenia, to maintain the balance. Depending on the version of the original myth that you hear, Iphigenia is either killed or saved at the last minute by the goddess.
In The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Colin Farrell’s Steven Murphy plays the role of Agamemnon, when he is approached by the son of a man he accidentally killed in surgery. The young man, Martin (Barry Keoghan), tells Steven that he must kill a member of his family to make up for Martin’s father’s death, or his entire family will die in three stages — lower-body paralysis, starvation, and then bleeding from the eyes. At first, Steven doesn’t believe Martin’s threats, but when his young son experiences paralysis in his legs and stops eating, Steve is forced to make a tough, life-changing decision. Through his film, Lanthimos considers what’s fair about life and death, concepts of justice and atonement, and if there is a balance that must be maintained. It’s a dark, intense story, and definitely a film that only the bravest of viewers should watch.
Director: Karyn Kusama
Writer: Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi
Cast: Logan Marshall-Green, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michiel Huisman, Tammy Blanchard
Directed by Karyn Kusama, who also helmed the 2009 cult classic Jennifer’s Body and the 2018 crime thriller Destroyer, The Invitation is a thriller drama that plays on people’s distrust and suspicion of one another. Logan Marshall-Green stars as Will, who is invited to a dinner party thrown by his ex-wife, Eden, played by Tammy Blanchard. This is Will’s first time returning to his old home in a long time, after Will and Eden fell apart in the aftermath of their son’s accidental death. After Will arrives with his new girlfriend, Kira (Emayatzy Corinealdi), he starts to suspect that something more sinister than dinner and drinks is on the evening’s menu. Of course, the guests, and even his new girlfriend, think it’s all Will’s guilt and resentment at Eden that is causing these crazy accusations. Why would anyone think that this is anything other than a dinner party? But on the other hand, what if he’s right?
This movie is a spot-on recommendation for a psychological thriller, as the story is told through Will’s point of view as he starts suspecting bad intentions from Eden and her new husband, questioning his own perceptions and possibly his sanity in the process. The Invitation has a really great ensemble cast, including horror veterans Michiel Huisman of The Haunting of Hill House and Game of Thrones, and John Carroll Lynch from American Horror Story (Twisty the clown, anyone?), and their tremendous performances anchor the film as Kusama unfurls a paranoid nightmare in which nothing can be certain.
Director: Daniel Goldhaber
Writer: Daniel Goldhaber, Isa Mazzei, Isabelle Link-Levy
Cast: Madeline Brewer, Patch Darragh, Samantha Robinson
Starring Madeline Brewer as Alice, a cam girl who goes by the name “Lola_Lola,” Cam explores the dangers of artificial intelligence, how we alter our online images and personas, and just how much of ourselves we hand over to the unknown when we “log on”. Alice is a successful cam girl on a popular camming site, steadily climbing the ranks, but she wants to be at the top. One day, her rise to the number one spot is interrupted when Alice can’t log into her account. When she investigates what’s going on with her account, she sees that someone who looks and sounds just like her is streaming live on her channel, and despite knowing it’s impossible, Alice is able to confirm that the stream is really happening.
Through further investigation and talking to other cam girls, Alice discovers that the same thing has happened to many other top girls on popular sites, and no one has any idea what or who’s behind it. Still, Alice is determined to take her account back from her doppelgänger no matter what it takes, and get back her identity and the career she truly loves.
Cam is a very interesting film in how it explores the idea of digital replicas, as well as its respectful portrayal of the cam girl industry and the many young women who are creating a full-blown business out of it, and with a script co-written by former cam girl Isa Mazzei, it’s an honest, empathetic look at the highs and lows of online sex work. Brewer is seriously fantastic as Alice and her clone, and with such a smart and tightly-packed plot, Cam is the perfect thriller to watch during your next night in – but it might make you a little paranoid about who or what is controlling your stream.
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Brian Helgeland
Cast: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Emmy Rossum
One of the older films on this list, Mystic River takes on the neo-noir style of crime thrillers with a story about a murder that tears apart the friendship of three men in Boston, Massachusetts in 2000. Based on the book of the same name by Dennis Lehane, the film follows Jimmy (Sean Penn), Dave (Tim Robbins), and Sean (Kevin Bacon); three men who used to be best friends, but the years passed and diverging paths in life have caused them to grow estranged. When Jimmy’s daughter Katie (Emmy Rossum) is found murdered on the same night that Dave comes home to his wife covered in blood, everyone starts pointing fingers and tossing blame.
As the mystery of what really happened to Katie, and whether or not Dave is really telling the truth about that night, starts to unravel, the main characters’ strong emotions of past trauma and regret lead to brutal mistakes and surprising revelations. While the central plotline is a compelling mystery on its own, Mystic River is elevated tenfold by the amazing performances by the main cast of actors, with Penn and Robbins winning the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor Oscars that year, respectively.
Director/Writer: Tom Ford
Cast: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Shannon
Directed by celebrated fashion designer turned filmmaker, Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals is an impactful thriller that tells paralleling storylines of an art gallery owner named Susan (Amy Adams) and the manuscript she is reading written by her ex-husband, Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal), which she realizes has dark similarities to their past relationship. The movie flashes back and forth between the story of Susan and Edward and the book’s storyline of the character Tony Hastings (also played by Gyllenhaal), a man on a road trip with his family who finds his wife and daughter taken away from him by a brutal man named Ray Marcus (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). As Susan reads the manuscript, she notices the representation of her own failed relationship with Edward, and begins to regret past mistakes that have led her to where she is now.
Nocturnal Animals can be very dark, especially when Ray enters the picture, but the overarching themes and the layered storylines are really well-orchestrated. If the plotline isn’t enough to convince you to check out the movie, know that Ford really brings his visual expertise to the film medium, and the performances of the actors are amazing.
Director: Brad Anderson
Writer: Alan B. McElroy
Cast: Sam Worthington, Lily Rabe, Lucy Capri, Adjoa Andoh
Released as a Netflix Original movie in 2019, Fractured stars Sam Worthington as a father named Ray waiting for his wife and young daughter to get out of a quick procedure at the hospital, only to be told that they were never there. His wife Joanne is played by Lily Rabe, while Lucy Capri plays his young daughter Peri.
Originally arriving at a hospital to get Peri’s injured arm looked at, the doctor insists on a CAT scan and Joanne accompanies them. After falling asleep in the waiting room, Ray wakes up to find that the hospital has no record of his family ever being there. Ray takes the matter to the police, and as photos and other evidence seem to confirm that Joanne and Peri are real, the police start to suspect Ray as having a darker involvement in their disappearance. While some frequent watchers of psychological thrillers might be able to guess where the story is going, Worthington is powerful as the distraught father, and there are plenty of great plot twists to keep viewers engaged the whole time.
Director: Federico D’Alessandro
Writer: Noga Landau
Cast: Maika Monroe, Ed Skrein, Gary Oldman
If you’re already a fan of Monroe, then you’ll know that the actress got her start in the horror genre, and although she impresses in all of her performances, playing thriller protagonists is still where her main strength lies. In 2018’s Tau, another Netflix Original, Monroe plays Julia, a young woman who unwillingly becomes a test subject in the house of a man named Alex (Ed Skrein). Alex puts Julia through various puzzles and tests to collect data for his own technology, with everything run through his AI system called Tau (voiced by Gary Oldman). As Alex spends his days away at his real job, Julia and Tau keep each other company. Tau starts to sympathize with Julia and care about her wellbeing, but he is unable to help her escape due to Alex’s programming. In order to stop herself from becoming another one of Alex’s victims, Julia must manipulate Alex’s own system of technology and security measures to escape before he kills her.
Tau joins the ever-growing list of sci-fi horror films as the genre gets more popular, with past hits including Upgrade, which came out the same year as Tau, and the modern, reinvented The Invisible Man, both by director Leigh Whannell.
Director/Writer: Matt Palmer
Cast: Jack Lowden, Martin McCann, Tony Curran, Kate Bracken
In 2018’s Calibre, a man named Vaughn (Jack Lowden) goes on a weekend trip with his old school friend Marcus (Martin McCann), leaving his pregnant fiancée at home. Driving out to the Scottish Highlands, the two friends stay in a small town as they plan a hunting trip, Vaughn’s first. While Vaughn is quiet and hesitant, Marcus is aggressive and impulsive, and he clashes with the men around town. Still, they manage to get out to hunt as planned, but it’s safe to say that nothing goes as the two had hoped.
After a fatal hunting accident, Vaughn wants to call the police, but Marcus is adamant that they will be thrown in jail for murder. Vaughn, unwilling to go against his friend, allows Marcus to lead them down a path to nowhere, as the two do whatever they can to escape the town without being caught. Eventually, the story progresses to a situation in which Vaughn is presented with a truly terrible choice, one you never want to have to make. What does he choose?