First, we agree with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - One of us thinks those books are dry, poorly written, and about as boring as a textbook, but no one can deny that the main female character is worth getting to know. The movies bring her dark side, past, and undesirable experiences forth in a way that sticks with you, even though you’re not gonna like it. Plus there’s a rape scene. Yikes.
American History X - That’s at the top of Leeard’s list, in particular. It's about a skinhead who finds redemption.
Quills - This is the first movie that came to mind after the phone call. It takes place in an insane asylum (always a good place to start for this sort of thing), and it is, largely, about sexual desire and expression. It has Kate Winslet, Geoffrey Rush, and Joaquin Phoenix in it, so you know that acting is right on. This one lingered in the brain pan for about a week after we saw it. Hard to watch, and disgusting, but interesting.
The Last King of Scotland - When the Scottish guy goes looking for the young wife after her abortion, close your eyes as he descends some stairs into the basement, or you are going to see the most disturbing image in the history of Ern’s movie viewing. The rest of the movie is no walk in the park either, but this mostly true story is worth looking into.
The Lives of Others - This one isn’t disturbing, but it’s stirring. Maybe it doesn’t go with the rest of the list, but it’s very good, and it stays with you. It’s not necessarily happy.
Sophie Scholl: The Final Days - This is a true story about a college-aged girl who opposed the Nazis, distributed anti-Nazi literature, and totally got caught. But in an age where everyone is trying to be cool and master “the science of cool,” this is a move that will show you what cool really looks like. While you are bawling your eyes out.
United 93 - Ern doesn't do a lot of crying, but she bawled for about three hours after this movie. It's well-done, but do you really want to watch it? For the record, Leeard refuses to watch this movie, for a multitude of reasons.
The Passion of the Christ - We defend this movie because it's good. It's a good movie, for what it was. What were people expecting? It was a movie about a man who died slowly and left a mark on the world that changed history, whether you believe he was God or not. Definitely a memorable, powerful, yet bloody and disturbing experience.
Nothing is Private/Towelhead - Yeah, this one aimed to shock, and so many people are going to hate it. But we loved the way this girl had one neighbor who didn’t stick her head in the sand. If, as a child, you have one capable adult on your side, that’s a powerful thing. Ballsy movie with a mix of good and terrible people.
The Reader - Well, anything where Kate Winslet is a Nazi who sleeps with a teenage boy and then ages badly is going to be on this list. This is a given. This is like putting Saving Private Ryan or Schindler’s List in this entry. It’s like….duh.
Audition - Japanese horror movie. Watch it. Seriously.
The Last House on the Left - It’s debatable whether this movie is GOOD, but, due to its content, it belongs on this list completely. Leeard liked the recent remake, too.
Se7en - A man kills people for committing the seven deadly sins in a manner that points out their deadly sin, and Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman are the detectives after him. The ending will leave you with your mouth hanging open.
Trainspotting - This one is disturbing and fun at the same time. Yeah, that’s a combo. But it’s a really good anti-drug PSA that doesn’t leave you feeling completely pummeled like….
…..Requiem for a Dream - Another Leeard pick for this list. Leeard and Ern have a mutual friend who names this as her all-time favorite movie. (It IS good.) This friend made one of us watch it for the first time, and we looked back at her once the (ominous) credit music pounded down on our heads, and we were like, “Dude, what’s wrong with you.” We are eternally depressed by this movie. But it was good.
Rachel Getting Married - Moving family drama, but there’s at least one heartbreaking scene.
Little Children - Anything with a child molester in it is creepy. This is one you actually feel compassion for.
The Green Mile - Stephen King and Frank Darabont returned to the old prison setting (after The Shawshank Redemption, a movie almost everyone likes), and this time, they brought a little of the supernatural with them. Plus some gross executions. Fun for the whole family! (It's not, but we love this movie.)
Hard Candy - A young girl creeped on via the internet takes revenge on a sexual predator. It’s Dateline NBC on crack. She’s got her issues too, and this is the strongest role for Ellen Page, who everyone loves now.
Black Swan might be a contender for this list for a lot of people.
Dogtooth- This is an odd one, but it's really interesting.
Fish Tank- Lots of good acting, but you will be depressed by the messed-up dynamics at work here.
So there you are, sister. A list to unsettle, challenge, and creep you out.