Films that stretch the boundary of what’s deemed dark and depressing play a critical role in our overall psyche. Although sorrowful films are just stories, they can strike a chord in a person’s emotional overtone for their daily lives. Whether it’s a form of sympathy or just a state of sadness, dark films aren’t meant for everyone.
Films that seemingly have no hope or stay true to their dark storytelling can be very polarizing. Most people don’t want to see a sad storyline and would rather see the main protagonists achieve whatever goal they set out. Nevertheless, we’re going to highlight seven of the darkest and depressing films every movie fanatic should watch. Let’s take a look!
1. Man Bites Dog (1992)
Logline: A film crew follows a ruthless thief and heartless killer as he goes about his daily routine. But complications set in when the film crew lose their objectivity and begin lending a hand.
Man Bites Dog takes audiences on a genuinely psychopathic journey following Ben (Benoît Poelvoorde) as he shows his routine as a thief and killer. It’s not for the faint of heart and is extremely violent, disturbing, and intimate.
2. Paddleton (2019)
Logline: An unlikely friendship between two misfit neighbors becomes an unexpectedly emotional journey when the younger man is diagnosed with terminal cancer.
More or less a dark comedy, Michael (Mark Duplass) is diagnosed with terminal cancer and his best friend Andy (Ray Romano), goes on a cross-country trip with him to pick up his assisted suicide meds. It’s an oddly funny yet extremely emotional film about two best friends who don’t have much time together.
3. THX 1138 (1971)
Logline: In the 25th century, a time when people have designations instead of names, a man, THX 1138, and a woman, LUH 3417, rebel against their rigidly controlled society.
George Lucas’s film prior to Star Wars has a much different feel to it than the Star Wars franchise. Although the ending isn’t as depressing as some of the films on this list, the seemingly far yet near future is a disturbing reality to imagine living in.
4. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Logline: In the future, a sadistic gang leader is imprisoned and volunteers for a conduct-aversion experiment, but it doesn’t go as planned.
It’s impossible to discuss disheartening films without bringing up A Clockwork Orange. Extraordinarily unique and disturbing, Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange will have audiences feel bad for a sociopath who is thrown back onto the streets after being rehabilitated.
5. We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)
Logline: Kevin’s mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly dangerous things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined.
Truly dark films will have a challenging time trying to be more disturbing than We Need To Talk About Kevin. It showcases a mother (Tilda Swinton) and her natural intuition while realizing her son is a sociopath.
6. The Sound of Metal (2020)
Logline: A heavy-metal drummer’s life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing.
Musicians of all levels will have difficulty watching The Sound of Metal. A film discussing the honest yet brutal nature of how sensitive our ears are, just about every person will begin wearing earplugs at concerts after viewing The Sound of Metal.
7. Waves (2019)
Logline: Traces the journey of a suburban family – led by a well-intentioned but domineering father – as they navigate love, forgiveness, and coming together in the aftermath of a loss.
This epic follows Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr.), a popular high school senior whose life begins crashing down once he realizes his shoulder is injured and can no longer wrestle. This film takes an unpredictable approach throughout it and follows Tyler’s entire family while dealing with the unbelievable nature of loss. Tissues are required upon viewing.