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 European original and the American remake. What clutches my throat about this movie is that there is simply no rationalisation possible. The innocent gets brutalised for no reason. The perps then get away scots free. Worst of all, it openly violates the sanctity of the family unit, that very concept most sane people take refuge in. Call me a naïve idealist, but I escape into movies to savour imaginary justice. This movie cuts a little too close to reality. I know I would hate life even more if I were to watch it.
Man Behind the Sun
Believe it or not, a teacher of mine encouraged me to watch Man Behind the Sun when it was screened in cinemas. He was, of course, attempting to spread awareness of Japanese brutality during World War II. The unbearable torture scenes aside, Man Behind the Sun was notorious for scenes of animal cruelty. Again, call me a naïve idealist, but cruelty to animals is a big no-no for me in film-making. At the same time, it also feels to be sheer hypocrisy to demonstrate violence during wartime through the performance of more violence. Surely there are better ways to present the message?
3. Ebola Syndrome
I consider Hong Kong showbiz veteran Anthony Wong one of the former colony’s most accomplished actors. Because of this, I wouldn’t even consider a peep at his most notorious movie, knowing far too well how extreme he could be in his performances. This exploitative movie from the 90s openly sells itself on gore and disgust, and just by looking at the poster, you know it’s going to be one hellish ride from start to end. Unless you have a really strong stomach, I advise you don’t even read the synopsis or hunt for screenshots of it. If you do want to watch, then might I suggest not having dinner beforehand. I have friends who skipped meals for the rest of the day, and the day thereafter, after one unfortunate viewing.
4. United 93
What keeps me away from United 93 is not the inevitable ending. Nor is it that I subscribe to the many conspiracy theories about 9/11. It’s the grim fact that the repercussions of that catastrophe continue to strangle the world today. The very name of this disturbing movie reminds me of how mankind remains firmly divided by ideological and political differences, and how in many cases, many people 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 at the risk of losing sleep for days and weeks, I will continue to stay away from this movie.
I confess. I have the VCD for Elephant and I’ve peeped at different parts of it. 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. Just snippets of the movie is enough to haunt for days. That murderous sociopaths are often not glaring signboards, that they could be anyone from the angelic boy next door to the whining whim in gym class, further adds to the distressing potency of this movie. In short, the grim reality this movie 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.
If you haven't, which of these disturbing movies would you consider watching?
© 2017 Kuan Leong Yong