6. Dancer in the Dark (2000)
The second film of Lars Von Trier’s to appear in this list, Dancer in the Dark is nothing less then devastating.
Starring the Grammy award-winning singer Björk in one of her few feature film appearances, Dancer in the Dark focuses on the harrowing tale of Selma, a Czech immigrant making ends meet in America.
After discovering a rare condition that will rob her of her sight, Selma descends into a downward spiral of unimaginable events. As a victim of circumstance, Selma does everything in her power to prevent her son from suffering the same inevitable fate.
With the aid of Björk’s award winning soundtrack, Trier crafts a heart aching tale of a mother’s unconditional love and her desperate struggle to save him.
Dancer in the Dark will leave you questioning your own happiness, and you will be better for it.
7. Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)
Not for the faint of heart, Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom is far from an easy watch.
Based on the book 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade, Salò follows the fictional, traumatic tale of eighteen kidnapped teenagers who are subject to abuse of physical, mental and sexual torture by four rich Italian Social Republic libertines.
It is both distressing and controversial with its depictions of extreme violence, torture and sadistic portrayal of sexual depravity. Salò succeeds in delivering a horrific and unsettling film that inspired filmmakers, such as Reggero Deodato’s (Cannibal Holocaust), as well as genres including the highly popular 00’s torture porn movement.
Clocking in at nearly two hours long, Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom is not for everyone. For those who can stomach this cruel and merciless saga be prepared to be left speechless and disgusted.
You have been warned.
8. Wake in Fright (1971)
Premiering to acclaimed reviews at Cannes film festival back in 1971, Wake in Frights existence was short-lived until recent years.
After seemingly being lost from circulation for over 20 years, Anthony Buckley (the films editor) started a quest to find a preserved copy of the film. After a decade of searching, Wake in Fright was rediscovered in a shipping container in Pittsburgh that was labelled “for destruction”.
Saved from its cruel fate, Wake in Fright delivers nothing short of a raw, brutal and harsh depiction of the Australian outback. Experimental in its storytelling and influential to other progressive filmmakers, such as Peter Weir (Picnic at Hanging Rock), Wake in Fright acts an as a pivotal milestone in Australian cinema.
The hype surrounding the unusual disappearance and resurfacing of the film resulted in a historic second premier screening at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
Overall, Wake in Frights nightmarish content will leave you quivering with fear at the thought of travelling Australia alone.
9. A Field in England (2013)
One of the most bizarre and twisted films in recent years, Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England sets itself apart from most of the films in the director’s repertoire.
Abandoning their posts during the mid 17th century English Civil War, a group of deserters find themselves under the spell of a lone alchemists who convinces the group to help in the search of hidden treasure.
Full with some of the most visceral and creative representations of insanity, Wheatley creates a deeply unnerving experience that transcends the unimaginable.
Enhanced with its gorgeous black and white cinematography, hypnotic editing and entrancing score, A Field in England blends together an uncomfortable and difficult watch that’s sure to assault the senses.
10. Eyes of my Mother (2016)
One of 2016’s lesser-known horror/thriller titles, Eyes of my Mother delivers a memorable and unsettling tale reminiscent of many films currently on this list.
After the sudden murder of her mother on their family farm, Francisca, a young teenage girl, disturbed in nature and tortured by her mother’s death lives an isolating and heinous life. After robbing her mother’s killer of his voice and sight, Francisca holds the man hostage to atone for his sins.
At first Eyes of my Mother possesses the qualities of a classic revenge horror story but soon reveals itself to be much more. With the death of both her parents and no one to hold her back, Francisca now possess the freedom to fulfil and satisfy her deepest, darkest desires.
Brimming with originality, this slow burner, indie thriller is the perfect example of experimental storytelling in today’s cinema.
Author Bio: Graduating with a Bachelor of Film Production at SAE Sydney, Joel Plunkett has a passion for everything cinema. Currently, Joel freelances under his own business ‘Esthetik Video Productions’ creating content for a range of audiences. Avid book reader, television show binger, and movie enthusist!