20 Most Psychologically Disturbing Movies That Will Shake You Up


There are many different viewpoints on what makes a film disturbing. For the purpose of this article, "disturbing" can be interpreted to mean simply upsetting or disquieting. It does not necessarily mean that these films are graphically violent or overtly sexual (although many of them are very much so). For instance, Aftermath did not make this list. It is a thirty-odd minute short film depicting the rape and mutilation of a corpse. While certainly a visually upsetting piece, I feel that it lacks the depth to really linger with the viewer.

The following movies do have that extra depth to really get under the viewer's skin. You need to watch the films on this list. You may hate them, but even if you do, you should still see them. Why? Because they are guaranteed to produce a visceral reaction, and any art that is capable of provoking thought and eliciting strong emotions is a significant accomplishment.

20. Oldboy (2003)

After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days.

Disturbingness grade: 7/10
Audience review: "To start off; This is the one and only film that kept me quiet for a whole 5 mins after seeing it. I literally couldn't close my mouth, and yet there wasn't any sound coming out of it. Oldboy had such an impact on me that words are too little to describe that impact."


19. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

In future Britain, charismatic delinquent Alex DeLarge is jailed and volunteers for an experimental aversion therapy developed by the government in an effort to solve society's crime problem - but not all goes according to plan.

Disturbingness grade: 7/10
Audience review:  "Because of the intense violence, particularly against women, it is a disturbing and difficult film to sit through. But if you care about the cinema, you must watch without interruption! Characters get what they deserve...in the beginning and at the climax. Let Kubrick take you on the emotional rollercoaster of your cinematic life. And don't forget to breathe."


18. I Spit on Your Grave (2010)

A writer who is brutalized during her cabin retreat seeks revenge on her attackers, who left her for dead.

Disturbingness grade: 7/10
Audience review: "My experience watching this remake of "I Spit on Your Grave" at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival is one I'm not likely to forget. I don't know the exact number of audience members I was with, but there must've been over 500 of them. Two reportedly passed out, a few walked out, and there were lots of cheering and sounds of disgust during the gruesome revenge scene."


17. Hostel (2005)

Three backpackers head to a Slovak city that promises to meet their hedonistic expectations, with no idea of the hell that awaits them.

Disturbingness grade: 7.5/10

Audience review: "Sick, twisted, disgusting and absolutely brilliant"


Click to see.

16. Funny Games (1997)

Two psychotic young men take a mother, father, and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic "games" with one another for their own amusement.

Disturbingness grade: 7.5/10
Audience review"Prepare for a highly suspenseful yet sickeningly violent, non-Hollywood, edge-of-the-seat piece of art."

15. À l'intérieur (2007)

Four months after the death of her husband, a woman on the brink of motherhood is tormented in her home by a strange woman who wants her unborn baby.

Disturbingness grade: 8/10
Audience review: "It is one of the most polarizing and disturbing films I have seen. If I were to describe this film in one word, it would be extreme.."

Click to see.

14. Crash (1996)

After getting into a serious car accident, a TV director discovers an underground sub-culture of scarred, omnisexual car-crash victims who use car accidents and the raw sexual energy they produce to try to rejuvenate his sex life with his wife

Disturbingness grade: 8/10
Audience review: "With an amazing star cast, "Crash" not only was, but still is, one of the most controversial movies today. Doubtless some of the audiences have to ask themselves, "Are there really people like these?" The answer is overwhelmingly, indeed there are. "

13. Antichrist (2009)

A grieving couple retreats to their cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse.

Disturbingness grade: 8/10
Audience review: "A hard and gruelling movie to watch "

12. Irréversible (2002)

Events over the course of one traumatic night in Paris unfold in reverse-chronological order as the beautiful Alex is brutally raped and beaten by a stranger in an underpass.

Disturbingness grade: 8/10
Audience review: "Watching 'Irreversible' makes you question why you watch movies. If you just want movies to be entertainment and nothing more then obviously this is not something you will EVER want to see in your life."

Click to see.

11. Eraserhead (1977)

Henry Spencer tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend, and the unbearable screams of his newly born mutant child.

 Disturbingness grade: 8/10

Audience review: "A dark dream of disturbing things..."


Click to see.

10. The Last House on the Left (1972)

Two teenage girls head to a rock concert for one's birthday. While trying to score marijuana in the city, they are kidnapped and brutalized by a gang of psychotic convicts.
Disturbingness grade: 8/10
Audience review:  "A landmark horror film which is still as powerful and disturbing as ever."


9. Nymphomaniac (2013)

A self-diagnosed nymphomaniac recounts her erotic experiences to the man who saved her after a beating.

Disturbingness grade: 8.5/10
Audience review: "Lars von Trier has ever been a censor-baiting director and he seemed to reach new extremes of sex and sadistic violence with his ANTICHRIST."


8. Freaks (1932)

A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance.

Disturbingness grade: 8.5/10
Audience review: "This film was initially received with so much repulsion from audiences that MGM virtually disowned the film."

7. Martyrs (2008)

A young woman's quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.

Disturbingness grade: 8.5/10

Audience review: "This film is as terrifying as anything ever released... "

Click to see.

6. Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (1975)

Four fascist libertines round up nine adolescent boys and girls and subject them to one hundred and twenty days of physical, mental and sexual torture.

Disturbingness grade: 9/10
Audience review: "Salo is a film of rage and sadness. It is a film that asks you to hate humanity, to hate what we're capable of; to look in the mirror and hate yourself. Then weep because nothing can be done about it. Nothing will ever change..."


Click to see.

5. Nuit et brouillard (1955)

Click to see.

The history of Nazi Germany's death camps of the Final Solution and the hellish world of dehumanization and death contained inside.

Disturbingness grade: 9/10
Audience review:  "I don't possess a vocabulary to convey the impact the images had upon me. I sat unmmoving, sick to my stomach. Those images would not leave my head."


Click to see.

4. The Human Centipede (2009)

A mad scientist kidnaps and mutilates a trio of tourists in order to reassemble them into a human centipede, created by stitching their mouths to each others' rectums.

Disturbingness grade: 9.5/10
Audience review: "I'm torn between feeling really awful about watching it and how unique the concept was."


Click to see.

3. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Click to see.

During a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest, a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew.

Disturbingness grade: 9.5/10
Audience review: " The violence is incredibly realistic. It's no wonder that director Ruggero Deodato was taken to court to prove that he hasn't slain real people for his motion picture"


Click to see.

2. Faces of Death (1978)

A collection of death scenes, ranging from TV-material to home-made super-8 movies The common factor is death by some means.

Disturbingness grade: 10/10

Audience review:  "Yet, after watching, there is a strange feeling. I walked around for two days unable to erase the images from my mind."


Click to see.

1. Srpski Film (2010)

An aging porn star agrees to participate in an "art film" in order to make a clean break from the business, only to discover that he has been drafted into making a pedophilia and necrophilia themed snuff film.

Disturbingness grade: 10/10

Audience review:  "That saying, "Some things you can't unsee" is definitely in full affect here. I have seen everything under the sun when it comes to sick and twisted cinema and this tops it all."


Click to see.
How do you feel?
Tears of Joy
Relieved Face
Clapping Hands
Thumbs Down
Send Feedback