Most of us watch movies and wish life was more like celluloid dreams, but these movies will have you thanking the stars that your life isn’t quite as…exciting, shall we say? as the ones they portray. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Sleep Tight
Director: Jaume Balagueró
Stars: Luis Tosar, Marta Etura This Spanish movie follows the lives of people living in an apartment complex. The caretaker Cesar has a deep-seated grudge towards Clara, a rather happy-go-lucky girl, and is out to break her down. There is a degree of role reversal as a child becomes a blackmailer; and there is really no solid explanation of the link between Clara and Cesar, which makes Cesar a sick but successful sociopath. Clara’s only fault is her happiness and Cesar will go to the absolute end to make sure that she is as unhappy as him.
Director: Pascal Laugier
Stars: Morjana Alaoui, Mylène Jampanoï
This French film follows the story of two girls, one of whom was tortured as a child and is haunted by a demon of her past quite literally. Throw in a secret society full of the shady elite who wish to torture others for their own twisted desires and you have movie that will leave you shaking or throwing up (yes, literally). Both girls go down a terrifying rabbit hole and the body count at the end will be a tragic number. It is beautifully shot, but watch it only if you can stand gore.
3. Bad Guy
Director: Ki-duk Kim
Stars: Jae-hyeon Jo, Won Seo
Korean director Ki-duk Kim has made plenty of strange movies with twisted plot lines, and in this movie, there is virtually no communication between the two leading characters – you don’t even hear the male lead speak until towards the end of the movie. Yet the affect the “bad guy” has on the life of the girl is immense. This movie will impress you with it’s honesty but at the same time leave you questioning the concepts of good and bad, right and wrong and even what it means to love someone.
Director: Kaneto Shindô
Stars: Nobuko Otowa, Jitsuko Yoshimura, Kei Satô
Traditionally, we view women and children as victims of war as they suffer without fighting, but this Japanese black and white movie will change your mind about that. Two women, one young and one old, kill lost Samurai and steal their belongings to sell them off. As the younger woman begins an affair with a returned neighbor, the older one is fearful of being left behind. She decides to take a path that will not let her get off it. A classic look at how some steps we take can change us in ways that we don’t anticipate.
5. Blue Velvet
Director: David Lynch
Stars: Isabella Rossellini, Kyle MacLachlan, Dennis Hopper
So I could have included just about any movie by David Lynch in this list, but I decided to go with the gorgeous Isabella Rossellini starter ‘Blue Velvet’. With the discovery of a severed human ear, things quickly escalate for a mysterious nightclub singer; there is added danger as her son has been kidnapped by some criminals. As usually, Lynch does a marvelous job of ‘layering’ and contrasting. This movie questions what innocence is and explores the various shades of grey in our daily lives. In Lynch’s hand, a good thriller turns into a creepy, suspenseful story.
Director: Takashi Miike
Stars: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina
Ever decided to get over a heartbreak and look for someone new in your life? Then you’d better avoid Audition. This Japanese film is about a widower who is looking for a new wife. An influential friend arranges to hold fake auditions for him so that he can meet women easily. Unluckily for the man, he takes a fancy to a girl and despite his friend’s warnings, develops an obsession with her. Needless to say, his world is about to be turned upside down. What stops Audition from being a mere torture-fest are the nuances in the movie and it’s atmospheric shots.