5 Disturbing Movies I Can’t Bring Myself to Watch
1. Funny Games
This was the first movie that came to my mind when preparing for this list of disturbing movies. Both the 1997 European original and the 2007 American remake.
What clutches my throat about this film is that there is simply no rationalization possible. The innocent gets brutalized for no reason. The perps then get away scots free. Worst of all, it openly violates the sanctity of the family unit – the very concept most sane people take refuge in. Call me a naïve idealist but I escape into movies to savor imaginary justice. This movie cuts a little too close to reality. I know I risk hating life utterly just by watching it.
2. Man Behind the Sun
Believe it or not, an ex-teacher of mine encouraged me to watch Man Behind the Sun when it was screened in cinemas in the 80s, that being part of his personal campaign to spread awareness about Japanese brutality during World War II.
The unbearable human torture scenes aside, Man Behind the Sun was also notorious for a hellish scene of animal cruelty, the latter believed by many viewers to have been filmed using an actual cat. Again, call me a naïve idealist, but cruelty to animals is a big no-no for me in film-making, no matter the movie’s intention. At the same time, I also feel it is sheer hypocrisy to exemplify wartime violence by showcasing more violence. Surely there are better ways to present the message?
3. Ebola Syndrome
Personally, I regard Hong Kong showbiz veteran Anthony Wong as one of the former colony’s most accomplished and devoted actors. For that reason, I also wouldn’t consider even a peep at his most notorious work, knowing far too well how extreme he could be in his performances.
To say this Hong Kong exploitation movie from the 90s revels in gore and disgust is an understatement, and just by looking at the poster, you’d know it’s going to be one hellish ride from start to end. Unless you have a really strong stomach, I strongly suggest you do not even read the synopsis or hunt for screenshots of this outrageous movie. If you do intend to watch, then it is probably a good idea not to have food beforehand. I have friends who skipped meals for the rest of the day, and the day thereafter, after one uninformed viewing.
4. United 93
What keeps me away from United 93 is not the inevitable ending. Nor is it because I believe any of the many conspiracy theories about 9/11.
Instead, it is how the repercussions of that catastrophe continue to strangle the world today. The very name of this movie reminds me how mankind remains firmly divided by ideological and political differences, and how in many cases, people simply choose not to reconcile.
To put it in another way, I watch movies to feel better about the world, never to find more reasons to hate it for. This might come across as being escapist, but so as not to lose sleep for days and weeks, I will continue to stay away from United 93. As well as other disturbing movies on the same subject.
I confess. I have the VCD for Elephant and I’ve peeped at different parts of it over the years. That’s why I know I wouldn’t be able to survive any viewing unscathed.
Gus Van Sant’s serene, near lyrical approach to the horrific social phenomenon of school shootings is incredibly unnerving, particularly his emphatic message that murderous sociopaths are more often than not, not glaring signboards you could identity from a mile away. That his leads border on being angelic in appearance further adds to the distressing potency of this disturbing movie. In short, the grim reality that Gus Van Sant paints is way too much for me to bear. I can only pray I never have to face any such horrific tragedy in real life.
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