I am the author of three middle-grade children's books, and I blog on the side. My favorite topics are movies, writing, and pop culture.
Disturbing Movies You'll Only Watch Once
I’ve watched plenty of movies where I've said afterwards, “That was so terrible. I’ll never waste my time with that one again.” Then, there are a select few that I avoid, not necessarily because they’re bad, but they are just too disturbing to watch more than once. The experience is not entertaining as much as haunting, and they are not worth the mood or disturbing feeling that lingers for hours or even days after I watch them. Below are five movies that I have watched once and have sworn to never watch again.
Think of every bad thing that can happen in a person’s life, and you have the movie Precious. I normally tend to gravitate to movies with tragic characters living in awful situations, but her story is a lot to swallow.
Illness, incest, abuse, and illiteracy are only a few of the issues that plague Precious. The only positive thing you can get from it is the realization that your life is not so bad compared to hers. Yet, she still finds a way to be positive, whether it is in her fantasy world or in her determination to take care of her children and give them a better life from her own.
This is a very well-made movie with really strong performances. But it left me feeling a sense of hopelessness for this girl who, through no fault of her own, was dealt a bad hand from birth and continued on a downward spiral with no help in sight.
The Exorcist (1973)
An obvious choice, this film's reputation says it all. Ask someone who saw this movie when it first came out, and they will regale you with stories of audience members passing out in their chairs and puking in the aisles.
In spite of, or maybe because of these stories, I was fascinated about this film from the first time I heard about it. What kind of movie could make adults lose their concept of reality and react the way they did? Apparently, one about a demon inhabiting the body of a young girl and battling two priests who attempt to cast it out of her.
Actually, watching the movie wasn't too bad. The 70's effects were a bit cheesy (like the spider-crawl down the stairs), and the weight of some of the scenes (like the infamous crucifix scene) did not register in my teenage mind.
It was after the credits rolled, though, that the subject matter got to me. Its images and ideas were like a parasite running around in my brain for days. Being raised Catholic didn’t help either, and I've kept away from Ouija boards and repeat viewings ever since.
Funny Games (2007)
A family is terrorized by two young men while on vacation. It's a simple premise, but it's how this story is told that hits a nerve.
It was not my idea to watch this film, but I went into it totally willing and not expecting any lasting effects. My favorite brand of horror movies consists of fun, thrilling moments with some order to them.
This movie is twisted, disturbing, and not fun at all. The audience feels as captive as the victims as the killers break the fourth wall, literally rewind when things don't go their way, and basically set the rules within the movie, providing no hope of escape.
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Funny Games is a very different movie-watching experience that forfeits the adrenaline rush of your typical horror movie and replaces it with repeated gut punches to the audience's psyche. This movie just made me want to buy a home security system and wall myself in.
We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
Most movies today try to give their villains some depth to show what any of us could become if given the right circumstances. We especially tend to see child killers as victims themselves. They suffer from mental illness, have lead terrible lives, or are being physically influenced by another person or supernatural enabler. But what about a killer who has no reason to be evil?
In this film, Kevin is just that. He’s pure evil. He has had no terrible upbringing. No doctor can figure him out. Still, he is as sadistic as can be, using his intelligence and powers of manipulation to carry out his evil plan.
What he does to his poor mother before and after his life-defining criminal act makes you want to smother him at birth. What sane person would say that about a child? Someone who has seen this movie.
The Fly (1986)
I think that I can handle gore, especially movie gore. I know that it’s fake, and the effects are created by talented artists. This movie, though, is gross.
The final sequence will get your stomach churning with the practical 80’s effects used to turn otherwise likable Jeff Goldblum from a scientist experimenting with teleportation into an acid pus-filled, hairy, rotting, man-fly.
To me, the effects in this movie will always hold up to CGI, and some of those disgusting images will forever be burned into my brain. Never again.
What movies have disturbed you to the point where you have sworn never to watch them again? Leave your responses in the comments below.
Michelle from Central Ohio, USA on November 20, 2014:
I have to agree with your assessments of the movies 'Precious' and 'We Need to Talk About Kevin'! They were both one shot wonders for me too. 'The Exorcist' isn't my cup of tea anyway so I've never bothered to watch it. The Fly didn't really bother me. I never even heard of the other movie here, 'Funny Games'. It certainly doesn't sound funny and I'll remember that and avoid it if I ever run across it.
William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on September 06, 2014:
I'm very careful never to watch them the first time... Thanks for sharing. Great food for thought... in movie selection! ;-)
Gloria Smith on September 06, 2014:
One was enough.