6 Deeply Disturbing Psychological Films

A list of 6 films that disturbed me so much they have a permanent residence in the back of my mind.

michael Michael

Michael is the directorial debut from Austrian filmmaker Markus  Schleinzer. The story of an insurance salesman called Michael. To everyone around him, Michael seems to live a quiet and boring life.What they don’t know is that he keeps a 10-year-old boy locked in his soundproof basement.

The film is a tough subject, and it is astonishing filmmaking. It isn’t graphic, and the abuse takes place off-screen. It is what you don’t see that is disturbing. Wolfgang (the kidnapped kid) is allowed to come out of the basement when the shutters go down over the windows at night. He is allowed to eat dinner at the table and watch TV. That is another interesting point about the film – although we are aware that Michael has kidnapped this kid, you sometimes forget that something sinister is going on. Then it’s a big slap back to reality as the child is made to back into a soundproof cellar

Wolfgang (the kidnapped kid) is allowed to come out of the basement when the shutters go down over the windows at night. He is allowed to eat dinner at the table and watch TV. That is another interesting point about the film – although we are aware that Michael has kidnapped this kid, you sometimes forget that something sinister is going on. Then it’s a big slap back to reality as the child is made to back into a soundproof cellar

A slow-burning masterclass in uneasiness! 

Michael [DVD]

image Martyrs

I am sure everyone has seen Martyrs by now, but  I won’t give away too much plot. Hopefully, this article is the first time you hear about the film.

In the first scene of Martyrs, we see a half-naked young girl running for her life through some sort of industrial wasteland. She was kidnapped but managed to escape her captor.

When we see the Opening credits roll, we see segments of the girl’s new upbringing. Lucie has been taking in by an orphanage (run by nuns), but whatever her kidnapper done to her, it has turned her into a mentally unstable child.  She is now a recluse that doesn’t mingle, or talks with any of the other kids…except one,  her  best friend, Anna.

Years later, Lucie see’s an article in a local newspaper. She is certain that the people in this article were the people who kidnapped her years ago and destroyed her life.

Armed with a shotgun – they set out to get revenge

Also, would like to bring up the point that Martyrs is not “torture-porn”. To me, torture-porn is a film that is just violent without any meaning whatsoever. The porn reference (to me anyways) indicates a poorly written, or cheesy script.

This is not the case with Martyrs. Although there is a sickening amount of violence in the film, I believe that it was all 100% justified, and plays a huge part in how the story unfolds.

Martyrs [Blu-ray]

image The Living and the dead

This is the most realistic horror film that I have ever seen (and yes it is a horror movie, very much so). It might so realistic that some viewers would find it hard to watch. Some of the reviews I have read have been from healthcare professionals who confirm that this film is a little bit too close to home.

The film is about a family who lives in a large, run-down estate who are facing financial ruin. There is the father, the bedridden sick wife/mother, and the mentally disabled son.

The father is left with no choice but to leave the estate to find medication for his wife. He hires a nurse to come in and look after his wife and son when he is gone.

The son is a manic depressive with violent tendencies – he also has the mental age of a child. When his father tells him that a nurse is coming to look after them while he is gone, he doesn’t take it too well. He believes that he can look after his mother, he is the man of the house, and he can,”make her better”.

When the father leaves, the son locks the nurse out of the house. Not long after you start to see the pressure mounting, we start to see his mother’s health deteriorate rapidly, as well as his own mental state.

Very uncomfortable viewing, and a film that is not suited for everyone. If you like a character-driven story, the acting does not get any better than this. It is scarily real !

The Living And The Dead [DVD]

red-white-and-blue-movie-blood-vest-flag-noah-taylor Red White & Blue

Another film from The Living And The Dead director  Simon Rumley. The only two films that I have seen from this man have scarred me for life….I mean that in the best  possible way.

 Red, White & Blue has a few stories going on at once that all come together in one final act that has to be seen to be believed . We have a failed musician called Franki who is also caring for his sick mother. A woman called  Erica, who is nymphomaniac – she roams clubs & bars looking for anyone who will sleep with her. Then finally, we have Nate, an unstable ex-army interrogator, who is scary, unpredictable and someone who could lose his mind at any time.

When the stories come together, that’s when Red, White & Blue becomes one of the most memorable, and possibly one of the most disturbing films that you could ever wish to see.

The acting is top notch, all the cast did such a good job at bringing this bleak tale to life. A daring role for Amanda Fuller that she executed perfectly.

Noah Taylor’s character is still in my head to this day. One of the most frightening and terrifying performances you will ever see. Great to see Taylor popping up now in some big movies, but he is always in the background. If you want to see what the man is capable of the check out  Red, White & Blue

Red White & Blue [DVD]

irreversible-2002-16-g Irreversible 

One of the most popular controversial movies of all time.  This is a film that is so graphic and disturbing that it would make you question your whole existence because you’re  actually watching something that is so fucked up.

In saying that, the film is a modern day masterpiece. Director Gasper Noe managed to create something so unique and something that was never done before.  A brilliantly told story of love and revenge featuring unreal performances from a young Vincent Cassel and the beautiful Monica Bellucci.

Definitely not for the faint of heart. Some of the most realistic and graphic, horrid violence still to be ever put on-screen.

You will never look at fire extinguishers in the same way again.

Irreversible 2002, Region 1,2,3,4,5,6 Compatible DVD

grim-loveGrimm Love

The story of the consented cannibal killing that took place in Germany in 1998.  Grimm Love is primarily about an American student who is studying the case for her thesis. The story of the student was somewhat predictable but still entertaining.

I thought that the film would’ve had more of a psychological impact if it was just about that the killing that took place. Still, some of the scenes in this movie will stick with you forever.

If you’re a bloke then prepare to feel even more uncomfortable. One of the factual events in the film is someone getting their man-bits fried in a frying pan, with a little bit of onion..you know, for extra flavour!!

When I worked in a small video shop in Dublin, I had a teenage girl ask me to recommend her a horror movie. I knew she had seen just about everything we had. Her Mum had no problem with her renting out 18-Cert horrors.

I had Grimm Love under the counter (it was new release day), I was going to be taking it home to view. Unable to find something suitable for her, I told her about Grimm Love. She had a quick glance at the cover and took my word for it. You see, I sort of fucked up there. I didn’t read what the movie was about, I just saw “disturbing” and set it aside for myself.

The next day she came staggering into the shop, white as a ghost (even whiter than her usual Goth self). She placed the movie on the counter and said something like; “why would you give me something like that?, I’m only 16”. Instead of feeling apologetic and trying to reassure her that it was only a movie. I thought to myself “yup, that’s this evening’s viewing sorted”.

That is why this movie makes this list. I will never forget the impact that it had on that teenage girl.

Grimm Love [DVD]


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