Movies are meant to elicit a variety of emotional responses. Some make you happy. Some make you sad. Some frighten you. And some make you realize just how dark and brutal the world can be. But just because those last films are difficult to sit through does not mean they are bad. In fact, here are five movies that prove hard-to-watch films can also be quite good.
This foreign film starring Monica Bellucci is told in reverse order, with the graphically violent end of the story playing first. It is not a movie for the faint of heart. It begins dark and disturbing and ends on a bright and positive scene that is all the more horrible because it is so opposite of how you know everything ends up. There is also one of the most difficult to watch rape scenes in film shown halfway through.
Based on the Pulitzer-prize winning novel, this post-apocalyptic story is quiet, slow, and incredibly sad. It stars Viggo Mortenson as a father trying to find a safe place for his son. He himself is dying, along with most of the world around them. Except for in a few flashbacks there are no laughs to be found in this story. It is beautifully done tragedy from start to finish.
Considered one of the best horror films of the last few years, Ari Aster’s debut feature film pulls no punches. It begins with death, it ends with death, and it explores the concepts of grief and loss along the way. It has a few very surprising moments to shock and frighten viewers, and ends with a third act that is terrifying, brilliant, and incredibly dark.
Last House on the Left
The original Last House on the Left began as a XXX feature. It was cut down to gain an R rating, but some of the graphic nudity and violence from the first version remain. This is the story of two teen girls who head to the city for a concert, only to fall in with the wrong crowd. They end up brutally raped and killed in an area close to home. Then the killers fined themselves meeting hardcore parental vengeance. This movie is very difficult to watch, especially when it comes to the murder scenes. It has been banned at different times and in different places because of how horrible theater owners and movie viewers found it.
This Asian action film is brilliantly made, well acted, and very original. It is also incredibly violent and includes some of the most graphic death scenes seen at the time of its release. It has story elements that many people found very distasteful and hard to deal with. The American remake is similar, but for a truly good film that is also hard to watch, the original is what should be viewed.