Disturbing Films – Hurrah!
Happily, there are shit loads of disturbing and weird movies out there. But which ones are ACTUALLY worth watching?
10. A Serbian Film (2010)
Not the most pleasant of subjects (in fact the complete opposite) but A Serbian Film is so fucking ludicrously sick that I swear you can’t watch it seriously anyway. Plus it was pretty well made, obviously had some kind of budget with okay acting and a decent soundtrack. A very gross story which could potentially haunt unprepared viewers but worth watching at least once if you’re a horror buff.
9. The Skin I Live In (2011)
Starring Antonio Banderas as a plastic surgeon striving to invent perfect, damage-proof skin, this Spanish movie includes many shock scenes plus a mental twist ending you won’t forget in a hurry. What makes it that bit nicer is the beautiful imagery, colours and moments of tenderness. Amongst all the horror there is genuine love and weirdly good intention. Plus it’s nice to hear Banderas speak his native tongue.
8. Happiness (1998)
In total honesty I would never watch this film again. But it DID captivate throughout (even if not always for the right reasons), had a pretty funky cast and at times, was mildly and very darkly amusing. Not at ALL TIMES though. I must stress that. Not at all times. Like what times? Well, when a paedophile father explains to his young son that he raped two of his schoolmates, but don’t worry son I’d never rape you, I’d just jerk off instead… Yeah, scenes like that.
7. Once Were Warriors (1994)
With domestic violence, alcoholism, suicide and rape this gritty, low-budget film is not the most cheery but it is still very good. Made in New Zealand, it centers around a poverty-stricken family with descent to Maori warriors, now just living in the slums. Whilst it is difficult to watch in places, it’s undeniably haunting.
6. Kill List (2011)
Kill List is first and foremost very strange – and if you don’t like your films too ambiguous then it may not be for you. What we do know is our lead character (played by a slim Neil Maskell) is a hit man and the story revolves around his new job. Kill List has a constantly eerie feel, twinned with ‘dig your nails in your hand’ ultra-realistic violent scenes. And whilst we go deeper down the rabbit hole it constantly feels as though something dreadful is about to happen – which it does.
5. Scum (1977)
Scum is one of my personal favourites. Starring a young Ray Winstone (and many youthful faces from The Bill) this film tells the brutal story of life inside the British boys prison – Borstal. Set in the 1970s with top-level violence from both the inmates and the guards, there is cruelty, bullying and what seems to be a complete disregard for any wellbeing. Scum is both upsetting and so very thought-provoking, with brilliant writing. It spawned some of Ray’s most quotable lines, even to this day.
4. Martyrs (2008)
Now quick warning: this film is extremely violent and horrid. One of the most severe torture movies around, this French horror is not for the faint hearted OR children. I’ve seen it once, found it pretty darn interesting but not sure I’d bother to stomach it again. What made it memorable – and indeed, what made me add it to this list – was the complete tenderness I felt for the characters, who I genuinely cared about. I really felt sad watching it in places and with this kind of genre, that doesn’t happen often.
3. Hard Candy (2005)
Something a little tamer now. And a film that serves to both shock and make the viewer think (man). It stars Ellen Page as a fourteen year old intent on getting revenge on an older man (Patrick Wilson) who she believes to be a child molester. The film quickly descends into dangerous territory and Page is both worrying and annoying as the out of control teenager. It’s an interesting one because you end up inevitably sympathising with a supposed child molester. An interesting story.
2. Battle Royale (2000)
Compared to (so) many screwed up Japanese movies, Battle Royale isn’t even that bad. Seriously, it really really isn’t. But it’s so crazy, original – and also another favourite of mine – that I had to include it. Plus it does include children killing each other so surely it deserves to be here? Set in a sort of dystopian Japan – a bunch of (supposedly) unruly school kids are chosen to take part in a new government program – fighting each other to the death. Yay!
1. Eden Lake (2008)
This is my number one choice for one reason only – it’s a fucking brilliant horror film. It’s tense, scary, bleak, cruel, violent and most importantly – highly believable. My mouth was literally left hanging open as the final credits rolled. A British film starring Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reilly as likeable couple who become the target of some teenagers and end up in a situation escalating out of control. Not as objectively ‘sick’ as many of the films mentioned here but a real, genuine triumph for the horror genre.