The Most Psychologically Disturbing Movies Ever

by ttmab7 | created - 23 Oct 2012 | updated - 08 Sep 2013 | Public

Not necessarily the best or goriest movies, but the most disturbing. This isn't the most gruesome, but the most emotionally traumatizing.

What am I missing? (Note: I don't count movies like Seed or Cannibal Holocaust, because they contain actual footage of violence. I consider that disturbing in a documentary sense. We're talking movies that are disturbing despite being strictly fake violence.)

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1. Srpski film (2010)

NC-17 | 104 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

5.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

An aging porn star agrees to participate in an "art film" in order to make a clean break from the business, only to discover that he has been drafted into making a pedophilia and necrophilia themed snuff film.

Director: Srdjan Spasojevic | Stars: Srdjan 'Zika' Todorovic, Sergej Trifunovic, Jelena Gavrilovic, Slobodan Bestic

Votes: 46,180

The most disturbing movie I've ever seen. I will never watch it again. Seriously, even veteran horror movie fans will be shocked by this one. If you're not sure if you are one, don't watch it.

2. Inside (2007)

R | 82 min | Horror

6.8
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Four months after the death of her husband, a woman on the brink of motherhood is tormented in her home by a strange woman who wants her unborn baby.

Directors: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury | Stars: Alysson Paradis, Jean-Baptiste Tabourin, Claude Lulé, Dominique Frot

Votes: 32,120

One of the most relentlessly brutal movies I've ever seen.

3. Rottweiler (2004)

R | 95 min | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi

3.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 3.1/10 X  

Dante travels across a desolate, futuristic Spain in search of his girlfriend, Ula. He is pursued by a bloodthirsty, cybernetic Rottweiler.

Director: Brian Yuzna | Stars: William Miller, Irene Montalà, Paulina Gálvez, Cornell John

Votes: 1,899

This one is just emotionally brutal, there's no light at the end of the tunnel here.

4. The Mist (2007)

R | 126 min | Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
58 Metascore

A freak storm unleashes a species of bloodthirsty creatures on a small town, where a small band of citizens hole up in a supermarket and fight for their lives.

Director: Frank Darabont | Stars: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher

Votes: 244,107 | Gross: $25.59M

That ending will ruin your week.

5. Masters of Horror (2005–2007)
Episode: Imprint (2006)

TV-MA | 63 min | Horror

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In the 1800s, an American returns to Japan to find the prostitute he fell in love with, but instead learns of the psychical and existential horror that befell her after he left.

Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Billy Drago, Shihô Harumi, Michié, Magy

Votes: 6,231

Plotwise this one kind of goes off the rails at the end, but that doesn't change the fact that the needle torture scene is absolutely jaw-dropping.

6. Shutter (II) (2004)

Not Rated | 97 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young photographer and his girlfriend discover mysterious shadows in their photographs after a tragic accident. They soon learn that you can not escape your past.

Directors: Banjong Pisanthanakun, Parkpoom Wongpoom | Stars: Ananda Everingham, Natthaweeranuch Thongmee, Achita Sikamana, Unnop Chanpaibool

Votes: 34,833

One of the most perfectly chilling endings I've ever seen.

7. Eden Lake (2008)

R | 91 min | Horror, Thriller

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
65 Metascore

Refusing to let anything spoil their romantic weekend break, a young couple confront a gang of loutish youths with terrifyingly brutal consequences.

Director: James Watkins | Stars: Kelly Reilly, Michael Fassbender, Tara Ellis, Jack O'Connell

Votes: 64,799 | Gross: $0.01M

I don't particularly like this movie, but man it was disturbing, I'll give them that.

8. Night Visions (2001– )
Episode: Now He's Coming Up the Stairs/Used Car (2001)

Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A psychiatrist has the ability to absorb people's mental illnesses, but can he help a seemingly possessed child? / An unhappy wife comes to believe that the used car her husband bought her is possessed by the spirit of a young woman.

Directors: Nick Gomez, Michael W. Watkins | Stars: Luke Perry, Sherilyn Fenn, Hart Bochner, Allison Hossack

Votes: 50

I can't find this one anywhere, but it stands out to me as one of the most psychologically disturbing episodes of a show that I've ever laid eyes on.

9. Martyrs (2008)

R | 99 min | Horror

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young woman's quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.

Director: Pascal Laugier | Stars: Morjana Alaoui, Mylène Jampanoï, Catherine Bégin, Robert Toupin

Votes: 67,409

My favorite horror movie. Brilliant and disturbing. I don't know what it was, but the end left me almost shaking.

10. Bijitâ Q (2001 Video)

R | 84 min | Comedy, Drama, Horror

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A troubled and perverted family find their lives intruded by a mysterious stranger who seems to help find a balance in their disturbing natures.

Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Ken'ichi Endô, Shungiku Uchida, Kazushi Watanabe, Jun Mutô

Votes: 13,077

Good lord. You wont want to eat a dairy product for like a week after watching this. You guys who have seen it know what I mean. :P

11. Akai misshitsu (heya): Kindan no ôsama geemu (1999 Video)

68 min | Horror

4.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

How low would you go to win a million dollars? Just how desperate are you for the cash? Desperate enough to enter the Red Room? In this latest and most vicious game show to emerge from the ... See full summary »

Director: Daisuke Yamanouchi | Stars: Hiroshi Kitasenju, Sheena Nagamori, Mayumi Ookawa, Yuuki Tsukamoto

Votes: 830

A little cheesy, but that ending was brutal!

12. Jiao zi (2004)

Not Rated | 91 min | Drama, Horror

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In Hong Kong, Aunt Mei is a cook famous for her home-made rejuvenation dumplings, based on a millenarian recipe prepared with a mysterious ingredient that she brings directly from China. ... See full summary »

Director: Fruit Chan | Stars: Pauline Lau, Tony Ka Fai Leung, Bai Ling, Meme Tian

Votes: 7,698

Not often I watch a movie that makes me dry heave.

13. Jûsan-nin no shikaku (2010)

R | 141 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
84 Metascore

A group of assassins come together for a suicide mission to kill an evil lord.

Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Kôji Yakusho, Takayuki Yamada, Yûsuke Iseya, Ikki Sawamura

Votes: 55,130 | Gross: $0.80M

There's a scene about 20 minutes in that brought tears to my eyes. Not a horror movie, but some truly, truly disturbing scenes.

14. Deliverance (1972)

R | 109 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Intent on seeing the Cahulawassee River before it's turned into one huge lake, outdoor fanatic Lewis Medlock takes his friends on a river-rafting trip they'll never forget into the dangerous American back-country.

Director: John Boorman | Stars: Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox

Votes: 84,779

There are more graphic rape scenes out there, but this is one of the most disturbing to me.

15. The Poughkeepsie Tapes (2007)

R | 81 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

6.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

In an abandoned house in Poughkeepsie, New York murder investigators uncover hundreds of tapes showing decades of a serial killer's work.

Director: John Erick Dowdle | Stars: Stacy Chbosky, Ben Messmer, Samantha Robson, Ivar Brogger

Votes: 11,166

I read somewhere that they wired up the test audiences, and picked out the scenes that caused the greatest fear reaction. Either way, it's still brilliant. Good luck finding it, though.

16. Rampage (2009)

R | 85 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A man with a thirst for revenge builds a full body armor from Kevlar and goes on a killing spree.

Director: Uwe Boll | Stars: Brendan Fletcher, Shaun Sipos, Michael Paré, Matt Frewer

Votes: 16,364

I can't believe this is by Uwe Boll. It's amazing.

17. Salvage (2006)

Not Rated | 80 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

5.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Claire Parker is going to die. At the hands of a sadistic and depraved killer, she will endure a terrifying, unimaginable brutal death--and it will all happen again. After being beaten, ... See full summary »

Directors: Jeff Crook, Josh Crook | Stars: Lauren Currie Lewis, Chris Ferry, Cody Darbe, Maureen Olander

Votes: 2,284

All that more amazing because it's a low-budget movie. Proves you don't need money to be disturbing. One of the best twist endings ever!

18. House of Wax (2005)

R | 108 min | Horror

5.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
41 Metascore

A group of unwitting teens are stranded near a strange wax museum and soon must fight to survive and keep from becoming the next exhibit.

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra | Stars: Chad Michael Murray, Paris Hilton, Elisha Cuthbert, Brian Van Holt

Votes: 101,870 | Gross: $32.06M

Brutal and surprisingly good, despite Paris Hilton's involvement.

19. Saam gaang yi (2004)

R | 125 min | Horror

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
66 Metascore

An Asian cross-cultural trilogy of horror films from accomplished indie directors.

Directors: Fruit Chan, Takashi Miike, Chan-wook Park | Stars: Bai Ling, Byung-hun Lee, Kyoko Hasegawa, Pauline Lau

Votes: 16,928 | Gross: $0.08M

Ranging from gruesome to haunting, all good and disturbing films.

20. King of the Ants (I) (2003)

R | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young drifter discovers his true calling when he's hired by a mobster to stalk and kill a prominent accountant, and then decides to seek revenge when the stingy thugs try to kill him rather than pay him.

Director: Stuart Gordon | Stars: Chris McKenna, Kari Wuhrer, George Wendt, Vernon Wells

Votes: 3,494

Relentlessly brutal. One of the main characters hallucinations was amazingly horrifying. A must watch for horror fans.

21. Feed (2005)

Not Rated | 101 min | Crime, Horror, Thriller

5.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A cybercrime investigator tracks a man (O'Loughlin) suspected of force-feeding women to death.

Director: Brett Leonard | Stars: Alex O'Loughlin, Patrick Thompson, Gabby Millgate, Jack Thompson

Votes: 5,108

Wow. If you aren't at least a little disturbed watching the first five minutes...

22. The Phantom of the Opera (1925)

Unrated | 93 min | Horror

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer.

Directors: Rupert Julian, Lon Chaney, Ernst Laemmle, Edward Sedgwick | Stars: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry, Arthur Edmund Carewe

Votes: 13,730 | Gross: $0.72M

Not disturbing in the modern sense, but a classic nonetheless, and the definitive Phantom of the Opera movie, that has yet to be equaled. Movie theaters actually had to stock smelling salts, because people passed out from fear at the unmasking scene!

23. The Broken (2008)

R | 93 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

5.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

In London, the radiologist Gina McVey organizes a surprise birthday party to her father John McVey with her boyfriend Stefan Chambers, her brother Daniel McVey and his girlfriend Kate ... See full summary »

Director: Sean Ellis | Stars: Lena Headey, Ulrich Thomsen, Melvil Poupaud, Michelle Duncan

Votes: 9,354

Again, this isn't a list of the goriest, and this isn't one of them. Not much violence, but there are some chilling scenes in this, at least in a psychological sense.

24. Titus (1999)

R | 162 min | Drama, History, Thriller

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
57 Metascore

Titus returns victorious from war, only to plant the seeds of future turmoil for himself and his family.

Director: Julie Taymor | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange, Osheen Jones, Dario D'Ambrosi

Votes: 18,219 | Gross: $1.92M

Not a horror film per se, but it's almost unrelentingly brutal. Makes me laugh at the people who think Shakespeare is boring and lofty. :D

25. Night of the Demons (1988)

R | 90 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Ten teenagers party at an abandoned funeral parlor on Halloween night. When an evil force awakens, demonic spirits keep them from leaving and turn their gathering into a living Hell.

Director: Kevin Tenney | Stars: Cathy Podewell, Alvin Alexis, Hal Havins, Allison Barron

Votes: 10,171 | Gross: $3.11M

I have to include this, just for the lipstick scene. Don't know what I'm talking about? Just go watch it. >:D

26. Hard Candy (2005)

R | 104 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
58 Metascore

A teenage girl raids a man's home in order to expose him under suspicion that he is a pedophile.

Director: David Slade | Stars: Patrick Wilson, Ellen Page, Sandra Oh, Odessa Rae

Votes: 140,682 | Gross: $1.01M

I personally didn't like this movie, but props to them for making it one hell of a disturbing film!

27. The Devil's Rejects (2005)

R | 107 min | Crime, Horror

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
53 Metascore

The murderous, backwoods Firefly family take to the road to escape a vengeful police force which is not afraid of being as ruthless as their target.

Director: Rob Zombie | Stars: Sid Haig, Sheri Moon Zombie, Bill Moseley, William Forsythe

Votes: 81,782 | Gross: $17.04M

Some impressively disturbing moments.

28. Vile (2011)

R | 90 min | Horror

5.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

A group of friends stop to pick up a hitchhiking woman only to end up getting drugged by her with a gas. They awaken to find that vials have been implanted in the base of their skulls - ... See full summary »

Director: Taylor Sheridan | Stars: Eric Jay Beck, April Matson, Akeem Smith, Greg Cipes

Votes: 4,873

I consider this one mediocre, but that opening scene is seriously f'ed up! Good ending too.

29. Session 9 (2001)

R | 97 min | Horror, Mystery

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
58 Metascore

Tensions rise within an asbestos cleaning crew as they work in an abandoned mental hospital with a horrific past that seems to be coming back.

Director: Brad Anderson | Stars: David Caruso, Stephen Gevedon, Paul Guilfoyle, Josh Lucas

Votes: 47,293 | Gross: $0.38M

A superb example of psychological horror. Very good.

30. Sauna (2008)

Unrated | 83 min | Horror

6.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

As a 25-year war between Russia and Sweden concludes, two brothers who are part of an effort to outline new border accords become undone by their actions, and their mistreatment of a young woman during their journey.

Director: Antti-Jussi Annila | Stars: Ville Virtanen, Tommi Eronen, Viktor Klimenko, Rain Tolk

Votes: 6,058

I'm not even sure what to say about this one, but never has disturbing been so beautiful.

31. After.Life (2009)

R | 104 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

5.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
36 Metascore

After a car accident, a young woman who is caught between life and death, meets a funeral director who appears to have the gift of transitioning the dead into the afterlife.

Director: Agnieszka Wojtowicz-Vosloo | Stars: Christina Ricci, Liam Neeson, Justin Long, Chandler Canterbury

Votes: 33,005 | Gross: $0.11M

A brilliantly underrated film. Chilling.

32. Orphan (2009)

R | 123 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

7.0
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
42 Metascore

A husband and wife who recently lost their baby adopt a 9 year-old girl who is not nearly as innocent as she claims to be.

Director: Jaume Collet-Serra | Stars: Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman, CCH Pounder

Votes: 161,397 | Gross: $41.60M

Man, that chick is messed up!

33. The Rite (2011)

PG-13 | 114 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

6.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  
38 Metascore

An American seminary student travels to Italy to take an exorcism course.

Director: Mikael Håfström | Stars: Colin O'Donoghue, Anthony Hopkins, Ciarán Hinds, Alice Braga

Votes: 81,427 | Gross: $33.05M

I thought this one sucked, until Anthony Hopkins showed up. One of the best exorcism scenes I've ever seen.

34. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
85 Metascore

A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons

Votes: 1,014,906 | Gross: $130.74M

If I have to tell you why this movie is disturbing, you haven't seen it, lol.

35. 8MM (1999)

R | 123 min | Mystery, Thriller

6.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
19 Metascore

A private investigator is hired to discover if a "snuff film" is authentic or not.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Nicolas Cage, Joaquin Phoenix, James Gandolfini, Peter Stormare

Votes: 110,595 | Gross: $36.66M

This might be mainstream, but man, there's some pretty emotionally disturbing parts in it.

36. The Woodsman (2004)

R | 87 min | Drama, Romance

7.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
72 Metascore

A child molester returns to his hometown after 12 years in prison and attempts to start a new life.

Director: Nicole Kassell | Stars: Kevin Bacon, Kyra Sedgwick, Yasiin Bey, David Alan Grier

Votes: 29,184 | Gross: $0.04M

Again, not a horror movie, but if Mos Def's scene about why he hates pedophiles doesn't mess you up a little bit I don't know what to say.

37. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

R | 102 min | Drama

8.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
68 Metascore

The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions run deep.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans

Votes: 644,421 | Gross: $3.64M

My favorite movie ever. Not a horror movie, but emotionally brutal. If you haven't seen it, watch it. Right now.

38. Compliance (2012)

R | 90 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

6.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
68 Metascore

A normal Friday service at a fast food restaurant becomes interrupted by a police officer who claims an employee stole from a customer, but something more sinister is going on.

Director: Craig Zobel | Stars: Ann Dowd, Dreama Walker, Pat Healy, Bill Camp

Votes: 27,032 | Gross: $0.32M

Amazing how a movie with no violence at all can, on some level, be more disturbing than many blood-soaked horror movies. Profoundly uncomfortable to watch.

39. Lake Mungo (2008)

R | 87 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

6.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A supernatural drama about grief.

Director: Joel Anderson | Stars: Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin Sharpe, Talia Zucker

Votes: 11,350

I don't know if you'd classify this as a horror movie or not, but the scene where you find out what's on the cell phone footage gave me chills that just wouldn't go away.