While some movies are benign and mundane, some fascinate us about life, and the rare few can play with our psyche. The eerie feeling stays under your skin for a while, even after the credits have rolled on. They play with your psyche with ambient noise and gut-wrenching visuals. Shock is a significant element in producing value in the cinematic medium, and while some are mundane, some stick to you for your life. If you are hunting for disturbing movies, here are a few films that may enter your mind and never leave. These movies are readily available on HBO Max.
10. The Batman (2022)
Bob Kane and Bill Finger’s epic action comic hero becomes the vehicle of horror in Matt Reeves’ superhero noir-thriller ‘The Batman.’ Robert Pattinson slips into the shoes of Gotham’s savior, bringing a grim and gritty touch to the character; this Batman does not shine or party but is a bit of a detective by night. When a sadist killer named Riddler promises to kill one after another official until the truth about the city comes out in the open, Batman teams up with Inspector Gordon to crack the case. With some shocking castings and adequately ominous cinematography, this movie is a fascinating take on the noir superhero.
9. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
Western icon Clint Eastwood is also a master director in his merit, apparent from a slew of films, including the sports drama ‘Million Dollar Baby.’ Frankie Dunn and Eddie “Scrap-Iron” Dupris run a small boxing club together, though the former has seen better days. Frankie agrees to coach Maggie despite his qualms, and with relentless training, she becomes ‘Mo Cuishle.’ Sadly, an unfortunate fight with dirty playing welterweight champion Billie “The Blue Bear” Osterman ends her budding career. If failure is something you don’t take lightly, the finale of ‘Million Dollar Baby’ will disturb you. Thus, the modern classic becomes the ninth entry on our list.
8. 28 Days Later (2002)
English director Danny Boyle infuses a menacing visual jittering in his post-apocalyptic survival movie ’28 Days Later.’ The narrative follows a mysterious virus named Rage, destroying almost all of the global populace. The scenes unfold primarily from the perspective of bicycle courier Jim, who wakes up from a comatose state to see anarchy erupting in a world of uncertainty. A genre-bending tale of trauma and the allure of a zombie movie at the same time, the act of watching ’28 Days Later’ is quite an experience. While it is all too relevant in a post-COVID era, the movie is available on the streamer.
7. American Psycho (2000)
Mary Harron adapted the controversial eponymous novel by Bret Easton Ellis into a slick and maddening psychological thriller ‘American Psycho.’ With a star-studded cast ensemble featuring Christian Bale, Willem Defoe, and Jared Leto, the movie chronicles the macabre and fascinating mind of a sociopath. Patrick Bateman is a high-profile bachelor and a banker by the day; while he finds it hard to one-up his contenders at the office, he has a good time living the life of a serial killer by night. Or, wait, are you concluding too soon? This movie parodies the American Dream to a haunting excess.
6. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Whenever you watch Quentin Tarantino‘s debut feature ‘Reservoir Dogs,’ don’t do it while having lunch. As the tale goes, eight people plan a heist, which goes sideways. After having breakfast and a lasting cultural analysis of Madonna’s “Like a Virgin,” they head to the theft. Mr. Brown dies in the conundrum, and whoever knows who the murderer is. Meanwhile, Blonde ends up killing half the town, and then some more bloodshed follows. The movie oscillates between past and present, showing glimpses of Tarantino’s early fascination with time. With some stomach-churning violence, this gem is a funny yet harrowing watch.
5. Eyes Without A Face (1960)
Georges Franju’s moody French-original horror movie ‘Eyes Without a Face’ (or ‘Les Yeux Sans Visage’) amply scares you with the simple trope of concealment. As a jab at the capitalization of the female face, the movie chronicles the case of Christiane. Her father, Dr. Génessier, is guilt-ridden after an accident that has scarred her face beyond repair.
To fix Christiane’s face and prove his surgical capability, the doctor brings over women whose faces he thinks would be the best fit for her. He progresses to cut their faces off, but has he ever asked his daughter what she wants? Not just that, you would wait for the ending to find a major surprise in store. While not a conventional horror movie, ‘Eyes Without a Face’ is bleak as it is disturbing.
4. Donnie Darko (2001)
If you like movies that raise more questions than answering them, Richard Kelly’s eerie coming-of-age movie ‘Donnie Darko‘ should be your next cinematic destination. Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal), a teenager with sleepwalking tendencies, often sees a monstrous figure named Frank. In a dysfunctional family, people are worried about the adolescent boy’s nocturnal disappearances.
Frank tells Donny that the world ends in 28 days, 6 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. Afterward, the latter meets an old lady whose book sends him on a downward spiral. Watching the movie gives you an eerie sense of an ending, backed by a profound score. If you are eager for a macabre mind-bender, you can rely on this movie to finish your popcorn bucket.
3. The Shining (1980)
Stanley Kubrick‘s take on Stephen King‘s novel ‘The Shining‘ is one of the greatest works of the horror genre, and like in best cases, the horror is psychological. Jack Torrance wants to become a writer, but his blasted job as a manager at the Overlook Hotel seems overwhelming. He has to tend after the vast hotel and the maze-like garden where one can quickly lose oneself.
Furthermore, there are stories of haunting, which do not bother Jack, though his son, Danny, sees ominous premonitions, which makes the former furious. In the end, he discovers something uncanny and attacks his family in a fit of anger. With a jolting finale, the movie lingers in your mind for a long time. Besides, if you like movies that make you think, you can consider this one brain food.
2. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Helmed by Stanley Kubrick, the arthouse crime drama ‘A Clockwork Orange‘ is a film you must see a couple of times to adjust to it. The movie is replete with the director’s signatures, including his use of space, color, and sound to evoke a feeling. Adapted from the eponymous novel by Anthony Burgess, which is a cultural landmark in itself, the movie is also a great character study.
In a futuristic England, where people speak a curious creole named Nadsat, Alex and his “droogs” walk out of a milk bar and embark upon some old ultraviolence involving sadistic torture and sexually assaulting a writer’s wife. As a result, Alex gets into an experimental therapy session, which goes haywire—after watching this movie, hearing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony will never be the same for you.
1. Eraserhead (1977)
David Lynch had already toyed with visuals in several short films when he made his first feature, ‘Eraserhead,’ a surreal pro-life horror that plays with your unconscious mind. Monochrome and contrast enhance the spectacle, creating a gloomy industrial landscape. The protagonist of the hour is Spencer, who must marry Mary X since she bears his child. The baby, an inhuman, sperm-like creature, cries incessantly, and Mary leaves Spencer and the child.
As Spencer rears the child all by himself, his visions spiral out of control. Watching the profoundly Kafkaesque movie is nothing less than a cinematic experience to treasure, as it uses evocative images and visuals to make a free-flowing mindscape. If you want to watch a movie that crawls on your skin, here is a film you must see once in your life.
Read More: Best Directors Who Make Disturbing Movies