10 Unsettling Movies, Ranked by How Likely You Are to Press Stop Before They're Over
You might want to forget you ever watched these films. We warned you.
While a lot of us enjoy the occasional fright, sometimes, just sometimes, you might feel an odd fascination with movies that mess with your mind and make your stomach churn. Yes, we are talking about those kinds of movies that you eventually want to erase from your memory (if you manage to watch them till the end).
10. I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
This movie tells the chilling story of a woman seeking revenge on the men who assaulted her. While the concept of revenge can be satisfying to some, the way it’s executed here is beyond graphic.
The film definitely doesn't shy away from explicit visuals and themes, which can be really hard for some to stomach.
9. The Girl Next Door (2007)
Based on a true story, The Girl Next Door explores the unimaginable torture and abuse of a teenage girl at the hands of her caregiver and the neighborhood children. What makes this film even more disturbing is knowing that the events portrayed actually happened.
The realness of it might make you question humanity, and there are numerous times when you might want to just stop watching altogether.
8. The Platform (2019)
This Spanish dystopian thriller that takes the concept of societal hierarchy and makes it very literal. In a vertical prison, inmates on the upper levels eat first, and those below get the leftovers. The further down you are, the less you get.
As you can imagine, things get grim fast. Sure, there’s a message about wealth distribution and society’s greed in there, but there are scenes in this film that might make you squirm in your seat.
7. Mysterious Skin (2004)
Mysterious Skin isn’t scary in a horror-movie kind of way. It's more like an emotional gut punch. The story revolves around two young men dealing with traumatic events from their childhood.
The movie is disturbing, and feels incredibly real. There are moments where you might find yourself taking a break just to gather your thoughts. While it's a beautifully made film, it's definitely not for the faint-hearted.
6. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
This Darren Aronofsky masterpiece tells us about drug addiction in a really haunting way. Its exceptional editing and memorable performances highlight the harrowing impact of addiction on individuals and those close to them.
By the conclusion, you might feel as though you've personally experienced the events depicted. It's a cinematic journey you'll remember, though you might hesitate to revisit it.
5. Martyrs (2008)
Labeling this French film as a "horror movie" seems almost too mild. It goes beyond mere jump scares or spooky apparitions. The narrative unfolds layer by layer, drawing you into a deep abyss of both emotional and physical anguish. It's incredibly intense and evokes feelings that are difficult to shake off.
4. Antichrist (2009)
Antichrist is one of those films that’s not just unsettling; it's downright shocking in places. Directed by Lars von Trier, the film mixes deep emotional trauma with some... let’s just say, hard-to-stomach visuals.
Set against the isolation of a remote forest, it addresses themes of grief, desolation, and remorse in ways that push cinematic limits. If you appreciate Willem Dafoe's work, it is still worth a watch.
3. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
This film is notorious, not just for its on-screen gore and violence, but also for the controversies surrounding its making. It's a found footage style film about a documentary crew that goes missing in the Amazon while filming a tribe of cannibals.
The unsettling scenes of violence, real animal killings, and the fact that the director was actually brought to court (because people believed the actors were really killed) makes this one a top contender for most unsettling.
2. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
Pier Paolo Pasolini's controversial adaptation of Marquis de Sade's novel is not only unsettling but deeply disturbing. Set during World War II, it showcases the sadistic games played by Italian fascists on a group of young captives.
The movie is infamous for its scenes of extreme violence, sexual depravity, and sheer human cruelty. It's one of those films that make you constantly question the director's intent and wonder why you decided to watch it in the first place.
1. A Serbian Film (2010)
Topping our list is the infamous Serbian Film. This one is the heavyweight champion of disturbing films. To say that the movie is shocking is putting it mildly. There's a multitude of graphic, explicit, and horrifying scenes that serve the sole purpose to leave you traumatized.
Many argue that there's a deep political subtext to it, but it doesn't change the fact that it's intensely uncomfortable to watch. Likelihood of hitting stop: within the first 30 minutes, if you make it that far.