Mainstream movies usually attract a larger audience due to easy-to-understand storylines and light-hearted characters. However, amidst these full movies there lie some of the darkest movies that are often overlooked and ignored.
These dark movies usually have obscure yet interesting storylines. Some are character studies of some broken and dark protagonists others are just explorations of real human experiences and some are just fucked up for the sake of it. Furthermore, these dark and disturbing movies usually stay in your head for a long time.
So if you’re looking for such films then here is a list of our top 15 darkest movies.
Lilya 4-ever revolves around Lilja, a 16-year-old girl living in Russia with her lone friend a little boy named Volodja, and fantasizes about a better life. Andrej, a slightly older man who is moving to Sweden, falls in love with Lilja and encourages her to join him. However, she is unaware of what lies ahead.
Although not based on true events, the plot of Lilya 4-ever is grounded in the real world and its themes of deception and exploitation should ring uncomfortably familiar to anyone who’s been in a similarly vulnerable position.
Overall, Lilya 4-ever provides a haunting experience and will keep you awake at night.
14. Natural Born Killers (1994)
Natural Born Killers is a crime film that revolves around two devastated children who grow up to be lovers and psychopathic serial killers. They murder everyone around them wherever they stop. However, they always leave one person alive to tell the story.
Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis’ unhinged performances in the film naturally complement and enhance director Oliver stone’s vision.
The controversial film is visually stunning, without taking away from the fairly unpleasant subject it tackles.
13. The Last House on The Left (1972)
Sometimes filmmakers go out of their way to create a disturbing premise and execute it. However, these films usually end up getting canned or banned by censor boards despite arguably being good.
The Last House on The Left is a horror-thriller film following Mari and her friend who is kidnapped by ruthless criminals. Taking them into the woods and subjecting them to physical, mental, and sexual torment, the assailants are completely oblivious to Mari’s parents’ imminent vengeance.The British censor board restricted the release of this film due to its violent scenes, hence its obscurity. But if you’re not repulsed by extensive portrayals of violence it’s worth a viewing.
12. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Speaking of banned films, Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange is probably the only film that was pulled from theaters upon the request of the film’s director himself, the reason? People started copying the crimes portrayed in the film.
A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian crime film telling the story of a vicious gang boss who is imprisoned and volunteers for a behavior-correction experiment, but things don’t go as planned.
Famous for its beautiful set designs, A Clockwork Orange is a haunting film that depicts the future in a disturbing light. It is one of the darkest movies in the sci-fi genre.
11. Eraserhead (1977)
a solid debut by Lynch, Eraserhead is a fantasy-horror film Set in a post-apocalyptic world. The story revolves around Henry Spacer, a factory worker whose girlfriend, Mary, gives birth to a demonic baby.
This film is just purely creepy and bone-chilling at times. You can imagine how good the film is by the fact that Kubrick asked his cast to watch it before shooting The Shining.The score is the true highlight of the film, its gothic and distinct 20th-century sound alone is worth a viewing.
10. Irreversible (2002)
This next movie comes to us from French director Gasper Noe. Irreversible is a French crime film. The story of this movie is told in reverse chronology following Alex who is brutally assaulted and battered by a stranger in the underpass on one tragic night in Paris. Her boyfriend and ex-boyfriend are now hell-bent on taking revenge.
Containing some of the most graphic yet artful visuals to ever be put to screen -the rape scene, in particular, comes to mind- the movie maintains this disturbing environment through its runtime and is sure to both unease and fascinate you
9. I Saw The Devil (2010)
Korean movies hold their ground when it comes to delivering a unique, twisted, and dark storyline.
I Saw the Devil is a crime thriller film. It revolves around a secret agent whose fiance is murdered by a twisted serial killer. However, once he gets a hold of him he beats him up but lets him go and a bizarre cat-and-mouse game ensues. A revenge movie with a unique storyline, the true centerpiece is Choi Min-Sik’s portrayal of the demented serial killer
Twisted and fast-paced this movie is both one the darkest movies of all time as well as one of the genre’s most action based entry and definitely should be on the list of any thrill seeker
8. Requiem for A Dream (2000)
Darren Aronofsky’s undisputed darkest movie to date. Requiem for A Dream revolves around the interlinked lives of four individuals, each of them dealing with addiction in one way or another. We follow them as their vices lead them to the darkest places in their lives. The ending of this film will leave you speechless, and if that’s your vibe, we’ve also included this film in our list of movies about obsession so give that a read as well.
7. The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence (2011)
There are a few movies that have a very vile and disturbing premise, and even fewer get a sequel, The Human Centipede is one such movie.
Entirely shot in black and white, Its story revolves around Martin, a deranged recluse, who is inspired by the mythical Dr. Heiter ( from the first movie) to create a 12-person centipede and sets out to accomplish his terrible desire.
A sequel to the original, The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence, in a wicked way, actually improves on the dark and gruesome elements as well as lending a Meta aspect to the franchise.
It is gross, it is dark and it is creepy, a horror film like no other. One of the most disgusting and darkest movies ever produced. Shock cinema if there was ever a term for it.
6. Oldboy (2003)
Another entry from Korean Cinema, this entry is another revenge-based film on this list.
a crime-thriller film based on a manga of the same name, Oldboy tells the story of a man who gets imprisoned for 15 years without any reason. When he is released, he sets out to take revenge against the people who ruined his life.
It is one of the darkest movies to be produced by Korea. If you’re not scared off by its violent scenes this movie has a lot more to offer but maybe wait for the 2nd viewing to watch it in the dark.
5. Precious (2009)
Precious is a drama film built around Precious Jones, a 16-year-old obese girl who is molested by her father on a regular basis and physically and mentally tormented by her mother. She is encouraged to join an alternative school while pregnant with her second kid in the hopes of changing her life.
Lee Daniel depicts a story that is so powerful yet disturbing at the same time. This film explores all the darkest corners a human can go to. However, the story doesn’t end without a satisfying redemption
One of the darkest movies to depict a harsh reality, Precious shows the worst side of humanity in quite a grounded and realistic way. Overall, a very strong film and you need a strong heart to watch it.
4. Antichrist (2009)
Antichrist is a psychological horror and thriller film. It is hard to describe the plot of the film without spoiling so the gist of it is that; a mourning couple retreats to their cabin in the woods in the hopes of mending their shattered hearts and problematic marriage, but nature intervenes and things worsen.
Danish director Lars von Trier’s film is a uniquely dark and gritty experience, and if you can get past all of the disturbing images and sequences, the film has layers https://calibbr.com/our-top-best-trippy-movies-of-all-time and layers of subtext to explore
3. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
rejected by the British censor board, so technically illegal, Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom revolves around four fascist libertines who kidnap nine adolescent boys and girls in Italy during World War II and subject them to 120 days of physical, mental, and sexual torment.
Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom is a film about the horrors of fascism. The entire film is a social commentary on how cruel and animalistic the people in power became during the time of war.
2. Martyrs (2008)
Blood and gore have become staples of many horror movies.
A very realistic portrayal of gore and torture can turn any movie into a nightmare. “Martyrs” is one such horror film. The story revolves around a young woman’s thirst for vengeance against those who abducted and mistreated her as a child. This takes her and a buddy, who is also a child abuse victim, on a horrific trip into a depraved hell.
Shot in quite an impactful way, Martyrs works so well as a horror film that becomes more and more disturbing as it progresses. Dark and brutal it is a good film for any slasher movie fan.
1. A Serbian Film (2010)
So far we have discussed various films that were banned in a country; however, this entry on our list breaks all their records. This film has been banned in a total of 46 countries, all thanks to its dark and twisted subject matter.
A Serbian Film is a mystery horror film. It revolves around an aging adult film actor who gets tricked into filming necrophilia and snuff films. However, once he realizes the truth it is too late to turn his back. He has no escape now.
However, there’s more to it than that. It’s not only a shock with no substance; rather it’s an unsavory movie with a statement to make. Its subtle messages can be explored only upon multiple viewings. It’s that unique quality that lands this film at number 1 on our list for darkest movies and we doubt any movie would dethrone it anytime soon.