The Most Disturbing Movies of All Time

If seeing films that are bizarre, and unsettling to the viewer is your thing, then you should get ready to take some notes off our most disturbing movies of all time. Because users of BuzzFeed offered their thoughts on the movies, they considered to be the most unsettling they’ve ever watched. 

Most disturbing films are adaptations of true events, which only heighten the tension. These movies will get you thinking about the shadowy side of humanity and may leave you with a queasy feeling. There’s a vast range of unsettling films out there, from those centred on serial killers to Resident Evil: The Movies in Order.

You don’t even have to leave your house to view a distressing film, thanks to the abundance of streaming sites that offer them. Netflix, Hulu, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, and many others are just a few of the most well-liked streaming services.

Have a read at what they had to say down below, and don’t forget to watch the trailers for these films that are guaranteed to give you the creeps!

1. The Crucible (1996)

The Crucible is the most terrifying film ever made. In the movie, the main character, John Proctor, is accused of witchcraft when people find out about his affair with Abigail Williams. Judge Danforth, played by Paul Scofield, presides over the witch trials.

The Crucible is an unsettling look at the effects of mob panic and religious intolerance. It ranks up there among the most unsettling thrillers in the horror genre.

Genre: Drama, History

Director: Nicholas Hytner

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Scofield, Winona Ryder

IMDb Rating: 6.8/10

2. A Serbian Film

This film’s title is as direct as the plot, so you have been warned. With A Serbian Film, filmmaker Sran Spasojevi directly comments on the hypocrisy of a government that funds bourgeois, “safe,” films that strive to whitewash their own atrocities while simultaneously putting the entire country of Serbia in the crosshairs. To drive home this argument, Spasojevi and co-writer Aleksandar Radivojevi have concocted a plot that takes place in the hereafter. Milo (Sran Todorovi), a retired pornstar, is struggling to provide for his family.

 So, against his better judgment, he signs on to star in a daring auteur Sergej Trifunovi’s (Sergej) arty porn flick. However, the director’s chosen tactics and topics involve drugging Milo into a comatose state and making him perform gruesome acts for the camera. What I have experienced is truly unspeakable, and I do not use that word lightly. Because of the film’s unflinching depiction of taboo subjects including sexual assault, necrophilia, incest, and pedophilia, it gained instant notoriety at film festivals. Every aspect of that last shot and that last choice were terrible.

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller

Director: Srđan Spasojević

Stars: Srđan Todorović, Sergej Trifunović, Jelena Gavrilović, Slobodan Beštić, Katarina Žutić

IMDb Rating: 5.0 / 10

3. Bone Tomahawk (2015)

Bone Tomahawk is another one of 2022’s most unsettling horror films. Franklin Hunt, the sheriff, organizes a rescue mission into the woods to find some settlers who were kidnapped. The sheriff must utilize all his resources to free the gang from the cannibals who have captured them.

The audience will be frightened and amazed by the excellent suspense and horrific moments in Bone Tomahawk.

Genre: Drama, Horror, Western

Director: S. Craig Zahler

Cast: Kurt Russell, Patrick Wilson, Matthew Fox

IMDb Rating: 7.1/10

4. The Grudge (2020)

The Grudge will still be one of 2022’s most unsettling films. After her husband kills Kayako’s family, she starts to be haunted by a spirit who wants revenge.

Anyone who gets in contact with the ghost will die, and as the corpse count rises, the audience is left guessing as to who will be next. As a horror movie, The Grudge does a great job of making a tense, scary atmosphere that will make people feel uneasy. Similarly, watching the Annabelle films in order is like watching the best horror movies of all time.

Genre: Horror, Fantasy

Director: Nicolas Pesce

Cast: Tara Westwood, David Lawrence Brown, Junko Bailey

IMDb Rating: 4.3/10

5. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

In this film, our heroes are a team of documentary makers that set out for the Amazon to capture footage of a cannibalistic people group. Unfortunately, the cannibals the crew was trying to film turned out to be and the crew was soon captured and eaten by them.

There are few films more frightening than Cannibal Holocaust. For some, Cannibal Holocaust may be a bit too severe, but true horror enthusiasts won’t want to miss it.

Genre: Horror, Adventure

Director: Ruggero Deodato

Cast: Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen

IMDb Rating: 5.8/10

6. Begotten (1989)

Begotten is a terrifying film that ranks among the all-time worst in that category. A God-like being gives birth to a humanoid monster, who thereafter goes on a killing spree. The film is shot in a very odd and eerie style, which adds to the unnerving atmosphere.

Begotten is an unsettling and original film experience that not everyone will enjoy but should not be missed by fans of experimental filmmaking. It ranks up there among the most unsettling movies ever made.

Genre: Horror, Fantasy

Director: Edmund Elias Merhige

Cast: Brian Salzberg, Matthew Rauch, Donna Dempsey

IMDb Rating: 5.6/10

7. Antichrist (2009)

Antichrist is a terrifying film about a married couple. After the tragic loss of their son, they withdraw to a secluded cabin in the woods. During their stay, they get more and more crazy and violent, which leads to one of the most disturbing endings I can remember in recent years.

Antichrist is a brilliantly executed horror flick that will terrify its viewers. The film is one of the most unsettling in the horror genre.

Genre: Drama, Horror, Thriller

Director: Lars von Trier

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm

IMDb Rating: 6.5/10

8. August Underground’s Mordum

Toetag Pictures, the independent studio founded by Fred Vogel, is most recognized for its low-budget, genre-bending extreme films. Their manifesto is the August Underground trifecta of found-footage mayhem. It is harsh, nihilistic, and aggressive, and it is one of the things that makes the band stand out. As the titles suggest, all three films revolve around a discovered family of serial killers who tour the country, filming each other while inflicting various forms of horrifying torture and death on unsuspecting victims. 

Each of these three movies has a rough, lo-fi look that makes it feel as close to a snuff film as any narrative feature film has ever gotten. All three films include intensely realistic special effects and dedicated actors who aren’t afraid to get down and dirty. Mordum, August Underground’s second chapter, maybe the most unsettling of the bunch, though. The Toetag crew treats bodies as nothing more than blank canvases for gruesome dissections and corruption, and they are more than happy to throw it all in our faces, with each scenario topping the last in terms of horrible cruelty. Is there more to it than the apparent anarchy of the material? Toetag might not want to know that information, so I won’t force the issue.

Genre: Horror

Director: Jerami Cruise, Killjoy, Michael Todd Schneider

Stars: Cristie Whiles, Fred Vogel, Michael Todd Schneider

IMDb Rating: 2.9 / 10

9. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom

This horrifying horror classic has been put in the film industry’s Hall of Fame because it is the best scary movie ever made. You can get the gruesomely detailed depictions of corrupt fascism and animal instinct gone wild in Sal or in 120 Days of Sodomon, a high-end Criterion Collection Blu-ray package. Sal, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s last film before he was murdered, draws equally on the real-life horrors inflicted by a fascist Italian government during World War II and Marquis de Sade’s The 120 Days of Sodom, a seminal work on the limits and breaking points of human degradation and sexuality. 

Every day, countless young people are tortured, disfigured, forced to commit horrible activities against each other, and slaughtered in ways that appear to exist just to fulfil the increasingly lurid whims of their oppressors. Sal is a horrible film, and I’m not sure anyone can truly “recommend” it, but it is an essential one to watch, anyway. This film exposes the chasm that forms between good and evil when organised authority takes its cues from the top down. You shouldn’t watch this while you’re trying to eat.

Genre: Horror

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Cast: Paolo Bonacelli, Giorgio Cataldi, Umberto Paolo Quintavalle, Aldo Valletti, Caterina Boratto, Elsa De Giorgi, Hélène Surgère, Sonia Saviange, Inès Pellegrini

IMDb Rating: 5.8/10

Wrap Up!

Exploring the realm of disturbing cinema can be a challenging yet thought-provoking experience for movie enthusiasts. Throughout the history of film, there have been numerous productions that push the boundaries of storytelling, visuals, and psychological impact. These movies have the power to unsettle, disturb, and provoke intense emotional responses from viewers.

The most disturbing movies of all time delve into the darkest corners of the human psyche, often exploring themes of horror, psychological trauma, violence, and taboo subjects. They challenge conventional storytelling and push the limits of what is considered acceptable or comfortable to portray on screen. These films are not for the faint of heart, as they can leave a lasting impact on the viewer’s mind.

Anoosha Khan
Anoosha Khan

Anoosha Khan is a film critic and entertainment editor based in the UK. She has been reporting about celebs and movies for WatchinUK for the past year.

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