Qu’est-ce que c’est
There’s a special kind of pleasure in watching cinema that doesn’t just exhilarate in its own morbidity, but actively makes the viewer feel like he or she is losing their mind. Here are some gnarly, disturbing psychological horror movies.
Natalie Portman plays a ballsy biologist venturing into a mysterious shimmer that’s eating up the world in the most terrifying of ways. The shimmer doesn’t just have physical manifestations however, it can also do unsightly things to the mind.
2. Jacob’s Ladder
A Vietnam War veteran returns home, only for us to realise he’s already in the process of going insane. His hallucinations take terrifying forms, and the world around him falls apart. In the bible, Jacob’s Ladder is the connection between earth and heaven. Here, it could be the tether between our minds and reality.
3. Bone Tomahawk
A slow burner of immoderate length, this film might feel like a drag to some. However, the character development of this Western is imperative to the psychological experience, and the sudden bursts of brutality certainly help.
4. Session 9
A group of asbestos removers are working in an abandoned mental asylum that most of the townsfolk consider haunted. Obviously, things start to go wrong, in the most hypnotic and disturbing ways.
This film knows how to perfectly utilise the fear of the unknown. Radhika Apte plays an artist who develops agoraphphobia (the fear of going outside) after an assault by a taxi driver. Her condition gradually gets worse, and more malevolent.
Never give up on M. Night Shyamalan. This film, the 2nd in the Unbreakable series, follows the child-kidnapping escapades of Kevin, a man with 23 personalities all vying for space in his tortured mind.
7. The Visit
A riveting psychological found-footage flick with just the right amount of danger, madness and grotesquerie. This film is about 2 kids who go to stay with their grandparents, who they’re meeting for the first time. Heads up, old people can be scary as fuck.
A whodunit with a real sadistic twist, this film is about ten strangers stranded in a motel during a heavy storm. They keep getting killed off one by one. There’s also a murder trial going on alongside.
A horror novelist with a knack for discrediting paranormal activity checks into the notorious room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel. He soon realises that his skepticism was most definitely misplaced. Based on the short story by Stephen King.
10. The Shining
The big daddy of all horror movies, this Jack Nicholson starrer is still as terrifying as the first time we watched it. Twin girl children and the name ‘Johnny’ have never been the same.
11. Secret Window
A writer living in a remote cabin is constantly harassed by a man in a black hat, as well as having to face his own personal issues with an ex-wife. This one is a slow burn, and really makes you feel like you’re losing your mind. It’s distressing.
12. The Gift
Simon and Robyn, a married couple, are hounded by an increasingly interfering acquaintance from Simon’s past. As more things come to light however, Robyn comes to the devastating realisation that she may not know her husband all too well.
13. We Need To Talk About Kevin
A free-spirited wife gives up her bohemian lifestyle to have a child. Unfortunately, the child is a mess, who grows into a sociopathic beast with a penchant for the sadistic.
14. The Killing Of A Sacred Deer
A sleek surgeon with a seemingly perfect family life has to contend with a fatherless teen who becomes increasingly more menacing. As time goes on, skeletons from the past come tumbling down.
15. Funny Games
Two pally psychopaths take over the home of a couple and their son, holding them hostage. They proceed to play several sadistic and violent games as time goes along, breaking down their hostages in the process.
Something for your mind.