There are (happily) 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 but A Serbian Film is so well made it was actually kind of fine to watch. I’m used to ‘extreme horror’ going hand-in-hand with ‘low budget’ but this was filmed well, had a great soundtrack and decent acting. Clearly money had been spent on the production. A pretty gross and awful story which will 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 shocking 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 going on, there are good intentions and love at heart. And it’s nice to hear Banderas speak his native tongue.
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 very good. Made in New Zealand, it centers around a poverty-stricken family with descent to Maori warriors, now just living in the slums. Once Were Warriors is the sort of film that leaves you thinking for a long time. And 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 film revolves around his new job. Though nothing is simple and Kill List has an eerie feel. Whilst we go deeper down the rabbit hole it constantly feels as though something dreadful is about to happen – which it does. And if you’re looking for violent scenes that make you dig your nails into your hand, this is for you. Ouch ouch ouch.
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, cruelty, bullying and what seems to be a complete disregard for any wellbeing, Scum is both upsetting and 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. One of the more severe torture movies around, this French horror flick is not for the faint hearted or children. Martyrs seems to have everything nasty you could imagine: a supernatural edge, a shocking home invasion scene and almost obscene amounts of torture. What made it memorable for me was the complete sadness and tenderness I felt for the characters – who I really cared about. I really felt sad watching this.
3. Hard Candy (2005)
This film is another that serves to both shock and make the viewer think. 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 terrifying as the out of control teenager. It’s an interesting one because you end up, inevitably, sympathising with the supposed baddie in the whole story. An interesting, edge-of-your-seat movie, the only let down being the slight cop-out ending.
2. Battle Royale (2000)
Compared to many screwed up Japanese movies, Battle Royale isn’t even that bad. But it’s so crazy, original (and also another personal favourite) 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 utopian Japan, a bunch of 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. Tense, scary, bleak, cruel, violent and highly believable – my mouth was (literally) left hanging open when the final credits rolled. A British horror starring Michael Fassbender and Kelly Reilly as very likeable couple who become the target of some teenagers and quickly end up in a situation that escalates out of control. If you’re a fan of scary films and bored of many modern efforts, try this for genuine shock and horror.