There are so many great films out there that warrant repeat viewing, but some we’d struggle to sit through again.
This isn’t because they are bad, rather that the filmmaker has depicted some seriously harrowing subject matter that it can be difficult to watch their cinematic offering a second time.
Some of this is to do with guts and gore, brutal acts of sexual violent or simply because of the desolate feeling the characters’ stories leave you with by the film’s end.
Here’s 14 good but disturbing films that fall into this “watch-it-once” category.
READ MORE Colin Firth compares new movie to Hamlet Tarantino’s artistic vision is no excuse for endangering his star Call Me By Your Name director wanted to make Black Panther Dir: Gaspar Noé This film has one of the most graphic and harrowing rape scenes ever depicted on screen. Monica Bellucci plays the victim Alex, who is assaulted and annaly raped for several minutes. The disturbing and lengthy focus on the violent attack, as well as a shocking murder scene, does not warrant repeat viewing. Dir: Lars von Trier Antichrist may arguably be one of the most shocking movies ever made. Starring Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg as a couple who retreat to the country after their son dies, the film follows her descent into vengeful madness as she tortures her husband and herself through genital mutilation. In 2009 the BBFC approved the release of the film uncut so make sure you have a sickbag ready if you do manage to watch it. Dir: Darren Aronofsky The film is a climate change parable that was rather divisive among critics and audiences. Jennifer Lawrence plays Mother Earth whose house (the Earth) is terrorised and ransacked by unwanted guests and sycophants (humanity) obsessed with her husband (God) who eventually tear her and it apart. Baby-killing scene aside, this movie will stress you out too much to watch a second time. Dir: Tony Kaye Edward Norton earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as a violent neo-Nazi who is reformed after a troubling time in prison. Edward Furlong played his younger brother, who is on the same racist path but through the mentorship of his black principal he sees the error of his ways. However, there are scenes too horrible to want to witness twice; the first being a man getting curb-stomped and another being gang-raped in prison. Dir: Lee Daniels This film is brilliant but it’s tough to watch more than once. Based on Sapphire’s novel Push, it follows a 16-year-old who is abused by her mother and pregnant with her second child by her father. Though the film ends with hope, the road to it is very harrowing to take in.
Dir: John Hillcoat
This film is not as gory or violent as the other films in this list but there is something so dark and depressing about the journey of the man (Viggo Mortensen) and his boy, trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world where cannibals are around every corner, that watching it again is a struggle in itself. Dir: Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo Inside is another French extreme horror film that centres on a depressed pregnant woman, mourning the loss of her lover, whose home is invaded by a woman dead set on cutting out her unborn baby. This film is gruesome and brutal and not for the faint-hearted. Dir: Eli Roth Eli Roth is known for his gory horror movies and Cabin Fever is no exception. The film follows a group of young friends who head to a cabin in the woods only to become infected by a virus that is plagueing those around them. Cue some serious gross out moments, including a scene where one of the girls shaves her legs and takes the skin with it. Yuck. Dir: David Lynch David Lynch is known for not pulling his cinematic punches and Eraserhead cemented his surrealist reputation. The film follows a man, prone to hallucinations, who is his left to care for his deformed child. The baby in question suffers terrible pain and sores and a later scene reveals disturbing revelations about it. Dir: Michael Haneke Hollywood remade this film in 2007 but the original is far more disturbing. It centres on a family of three who are held hostage by two young men, in their own home, and are forced to engage in torturous games of pain. It’s a desolate and brilliant film but that doesn’t mean you have to watch it twice. Dir: Takashi Miike This Japanese horror flick is not for the faint-hearted. It centres on a widower who holds auditions for a fake movie with no intention of making it, just to find a new wife. Sadly he picks Asami, a sadistic serial killer with a penchant for chopping off her victims’ feet and other appendages and poking needles in eyes. She even feeds one of them her vomit. *cringe* Dir: Pascal Laugier This film is a struggle to watch because of the graphic torture of women throughout the film. It follows a a young victim’s mission for revenge against her tormentors and how her friend ends up suffering the same terror and depravity. Martyrs offers some of the most extreme depictions of violence in cinematic history. Dir: Mitchell Lichtenstein A feminist movie whose bite is worse than its bark, there are so many penises getting bitten off that it is definitely a tough watch for any man. The gory moments when animals start feasting on the flacid appendages are enough to stop any person from watching it a second time.
Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini
The film is a loose adaptation of the book, The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade, and follows four Libertines and the four months of extreme violence, sadism, sexual and mental torture they inflict on 18 teenagers over four months. This includes rape and forcing the victims into eating feces. Horrific.