The adjective “weird” can mean and be applied to many different things when it comes to movies. Whether it is the content that is weird or the execution, the following 10 movies of this past decade prove that cinema remains truly unique and has the potential to entertain us with its strangeness. There has always been a place reserved for odd movies and though it is usually the independent features that revel in weirdness, some mainstream content makes its way in there too.
10. Sorry to Bother You
Sorry to Bother You is a movie that trods along as if it’s your above-average comedy with sharp social commentary but in its final moments takes a turn way into left field. The marketing team for this movie did a great job hiding the absurdist twist at the end, making the revelation all the more effective and surprising.
Coming out just last year, the film industry was seeing many movies aimed at reinforcing a political agenda, but Sorry to Bother You has the gall to be more ambitious and, though a little too heavy-handed for its own good, it largely achieves what it’s reaching for to make for a truly unique movie experience like none you’re likely to see get wide release.
9. Lost River
Coming off of acting in two Nicolas Winding Refn movies, it seems Ryan Gosling was inspired by the director to try his hand at directing. Very much borrowing from Refn’s unique style, Gosling tries to make a lurid, nihilistic take of poverty in modern America. Everything that can go wrong with the main character, played by Christina Hendricks, does and it relishes in its unpleasantness.
A mixed to negative response from the critics kept this movie from surfacing to mainstream awareness and it’s likely due to the movie’s pervasive weirdness. The neon drenched color scheme compliments the movie’s embrace of sex and violence and keeps the movie feeling more fantastical than realistic. As a result, the movie is off-putting and singular but worth a watch for people who like traces of David Lynch and Nicolas Winding Refn in their movies.
8. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Director Yorgos Lanthimos has propelled himself into the mainstream with his most recent movie, The Favourite, earning accolades across the board but The Killing of a Sacred Deer flew relatively under the radar and it’s not hard to see why. With a far more specified audience than a movie like The Favourite, The Killing of a Sacred Deer sees characters behave aberrantly, an over-bearing sense of the supernatural, and close-up shots of surgery with no intention on explaining why or how it all connects.
It’s one of the director’s most dense works but it’s perhaps best looked at through religious allusions. Making references to the plagues of the Old Testament as well as other stories like Abraham and Isaac, The Killing of a Sacred Deer seems to be a modern interpretation of Biblical stories and one whose weirdness lingers in the audience’s memory.
7. The Forbidden Room
Those familiar with Guy Maddin won’t be surprised to find that one of his movies makes it on this list. A movie that many critics said was another brilliant outing while audiences seemed to find it more impenetrable, The Forbidden Room’s appeal will be based on the viewer’s willingness to search for a true meaning. While many will find such an effort not worth it, those who have engaged with Maddin’s work in the past will likely find themselves enjoying this experience. The Forbidden Room serves best as a disconnected sequence of images featuring recurring subjects as opposed to a classical narrative.
It is near impossible to assemble any kind of coherent narrative with the material given and that innate weirdness is only complimented further by the aberrance of its subjects. Impossible to classify and certainly not for everyone, The Forbidden Room will likely prove to frustrating for viewers that haven’t taken prior enjoyment in experimental film and Maddin’s work in particular.
6. The Lure
The Lure is a truly bizarre bit of genre-blending. A musical-fantasy-horror-romance is the best way to describe this truly singular movie about mermaids working at a nightclub. Following two mermaids in particular, one who is looking to eat people and the other who is looking to have sex with them, the movie is about as wild as that premise would suggest.
Gleefully showing the audience exactly how someone copulates with a mermaid and making The Shape of Water look like a Disney movie in doing so, The Lure’s allure comes from its utter strangeness. Truly nothing like this movie has been made and 120 years into film’s existence, not every movie can easily say that. You may not “enjoy” the movie per se, but you can’t say its weirdness doesn’t have an intrinsic charm.