20 Movies That Leave You Wondering, ‘What on Earth Did I Just See?’

Sometimes you watch a movie, and it leaves you scratching your head, confused about what you saw, the message, and whether you even liked it. A group of film enthusiasts from a popular online forum sparked a conversation about some of the movies that left them in shock by the credits. Have you seen any of these films that made the list?

1. Sorry To Bother You (2018)

Sorry To Bother You
Image Credit: Annapurna Pictures, Focus Features, and Universal Pictures.

This movie is tricky because you either love or hate how far it's willing to go to make points about controversial topics. It's actually difficult to put it in a category, as there's drama, satire, science fiction, horror, fantasy, comedy, and so much more wrapped up in one. 

The film revolves around conflicts related to money, jobs, racial divisions, police brutality, and the ideologies surrounding them. Including genetic mutation and animal-like transformations intensifies the confusion you experience at the end. It's purposefully over-the-top with mind-boggling twists to provoke deep thought. 

2. Mulholland Drive (2001)

Mulholland Drive Laura Harring, Naomi Watts
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Lynch has gained notoriety for creating dream sequences that truly resemble our actual dream experiences. These scenes are perplexing, fragmented, and often convey a sense of communication but remain intentionally vague, reaching levels of absurdity. 

In essence, Mulholland Drive can be summarized as a dream depicted as reality, only to be recapped at the end as if it were a dream. Due to its dream-like nature, it becomes challenging to pinpoint all the elements of reality, just as it is difficult to explain the peculiar aspects of our own dreams. That's what makes it great in many users' opinions!

3. Annihilation (2018)

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Many forum members regarded Annihilation as a good film that leaves you speechless for a few reasons. While it isn't excessively graphic, the bear scene, in particular, is highly unsettling. A woman falls victim to a monstrous creature that looks like a bear, and it brutally attacks her. 

You see a silhouette depicting her getting bitten, tossed into the air, and forcibly dragged away. Eventually, her lifeless body is discovered, with the neck torn apart, revealing a disturbing sight of multicolored organs and blood. It's a head-scratcher for sure in terms of symbolism. However, Garland has described the movie as being about self-destruction on a metaphysical level. 

4. Inland Empire (2006)

Inland Empire
Image Credit: 518 and Media Absurda.

Another David Lynch original, Inland Empire, is enigmatic, complex, and mysterious. The actress who plays an actress in the film, Nikki Grace, starts becoming entangled as her own identity starts to blur with that of her character, who's married in real life but having an affair on camera. 

There are distorted perceptions of time and reality versus the fictional narrative she's engaging in, and the movie is highly abstract overall. Add in anthropomorphic rabbits, doppelgangers, and a choppy timeline, and it's a recipe for confusion….and brilliance. You have to interpret much of what you see for yourself, leaving you with this feeling of bewilderment by the end.

5. Mother! (2017)

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Criticized for possibly praising and somewhat romanticizing toxic behavior within a relationship, Mother! takes you from watching Jennifer Lawrence as a submissive, barely-speaking-in-an-audible-tone caretaker to a serial killer at her breaking point. 

In a nutshell, this psychological horror film revolves around a family in a secluded house that starts receiving unwanted guests who do bizarre and inappropriate things. The imagery is chaotic, and the tension is high as the dark side of human nature gets exposed, leaving viewers disturbed and contemplating its layered meanings.

6. Swiss Army Man (2016)

Swiss Army Man Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe
Image Credit: A24.

Swiss Army Man is an odd film that follows the journey of a man named Hank, who is stranded on a deserted island without hope. He was ready to take his life until he discovered a flatulent corpse that he befriended and decided to take on an epic journey with him to find his way home. 

The film blurs the line between fantasy and reality as the interactions between the characters become increasingly absurd and surreal. The movie's dark humor, grotesque visuals, and unconventional storytelling techniques create a disturbing experience, exploring themes of loneliness, connection, and the fragility of sanity.

7. Splice (2009)

Splice Sarah Polley, Delphine Chanéac
Image Credit: Les Films Séville.

Few movies take you on such a strange journey as Splice does. This sci-fi thriller follows two scientists who are interested in genetic engineering. They decide to experiment (though forbidden) with combining human and animal DNA. 

However, they bit off more than they could chew, so they're dealing with a somewhat human, amphibious, male and female scorpion creature that's murderous and growing bored with her confinements. “While I understood some of the themes that the movie was broaching, I didn't particularly care for the sexual assault, violence, and gross body horror in the film,” says one individual. 

8. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Image Credit: EMI Films.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a comedic take on King Arthur and his knights as they search for the Holy Grail. The movie isn't excessively graphic, so you wonder what you were watching because the men's journey was rooted in absurd obstacles and eccentric character interactions. 

They come in contact with a deadly rabbit, shouting Frenchmen, a bridge of death, and other ridiculous elements that are somehow still intriguing. One of the movie lovers from the forum says, “It's not a bad movie; it's just not a good movie. But it's good enough to keep me watching.”

9. The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

The Killing of a Sacred Deer Nicole Kidman, Sunny Suljic
Image Credit: Curzon Artificial Eye.

When you incorporate supernatural elements into a movie, there's always the chance it can leave the audience a bit freaked out. The Killing of a Sacred Deer is about a teenage boy who becomes friends with a famous cardiovascular surgeon. 

The surgeon is unaware that he couldn't save the boy's dad during a surgery that went wrong years back. Now the boy is out for revenge, and he places a curse on the doctor and his family. This dark connection between the main characters and the sacrifice the surgeon has to make to free his family from the curse's affliction makes for a disturbing viewing experience.

10. Brimstone (2016)

Brimstone (2016)
Image Credit: Paradiso Entertainment.

Brimstone leaves you wondering what you watched because it's a Dangerous cocktail of many controversial themes. It talks about religious fanaticism and an evil preacher who uses religion as a weapon to justify his horrific treatment of women. 

So you get a bit of sadomasochism, violence, and gore, which is a trigger for many. How the gruesome story unfolds is not only unsettling, but some people feel that the portrayal of religion as a tool of control is offensive. 

11. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Multiple film aficionados said they think 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best science fiction/horror film ever. At first, I thought it was a nonsense take, but then I sifted through some of their main points. Essentially, this movie focuses on existential terror, and it hinges on mankind's fear of the unknown. 

There's not a ton of violence or intense scenes featuring blood as one might expect from a typical horror film, but it's like an endless nightmare that details the outer space vacuum. It's beyond our understanding and delves into artificial intelligence's power and unpredictable nature.  

12. Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

Everything Everywhere All At Once
Image Credit: A24.

Everything Everywhere All At Once is titled exactly how it should be. There are so many outlandish costumes, insane fighting scenes, and weird elements that it all kind of just works. The overall premise is about kindness, acceptance, reconciliation, and love, but the way that the movie gets you there is bizarre, to say the least. 

You might like this flick if you can get down with a movie about a seemingly ordinary Chinese immigrant traversing through the multiverse, sometimes with hot dogs for fingers or fighting a Pomeranian-armed woman with a huge nose. 

13. The Lobster (2015)

The Lobster
Image Credit: Feelgood Entertainment.

The Lobster is based on people who are single and need to find a partner or get transformed into animals. Inherently, it's a dystopian premise that automatically grabs your attention. Another element that's strange is the deadpan performances from the actors who deliver their lines in a monotone fashion, so you can't truly observe any emotion from one person to the next. 

With all the crazy rituals and rules in place, you're trying to understand the commentary that the film makes. “It's a surreal universe that feels detached, and you never quite get used to it during the film,” mentioned one person. 

14. The Lighthouse (2019)

The Lighthouse
Image Credit: A24.

The Lighthouse really drags you all over the place with the surrealism and the psychological ups and downs of the main characters. You can't tell who is delusional, which parts are fantasy, which parts are reality, and what message they're sending. 

Some parts are straightforward, and you understand the nature of someone losing their mind. However, as the movie progresses, you wonder if they were ever really sane to begin with. It's an interesting film that leaves you with more questions than answers, but it gives Shutter Island vibes in certain regards. I'll take that. 

15. Eraserhead (1977)

Eraserhead Movie
Image Credit: Libra Films.

Eraserhead is an incredibly uncomfortable movie that shows us, in a strange and grotesque way, situations in life that people find themselves in but don't want to confront. For a gross oversimplification, think about a man married to someone he doesn't love and having a baby he didn't want. 

When David Lynch decides to make the baby more of a deformed gremlin creature than a human, it makes you feel weird inside, and you're not sure who you're empathizing with. At the same time, the slow pacing of the film, eerie atmosphere, and bland delivery by the actors make you wonder what you saw when it was over. 

16. Tusk (2014)

Image Credit: A24.

While Tusk might be an A24 movie, this movie is so hard to watch, and it's not full of the coming-of-age themes that fill so many A24 films. Tusk is focused on an arrogant podcaster, Wallace (Justin Long), who is interested in a man who lives a pretty recluse life up in Canada. But this man is strange, and he has an even stranger love of walruses. 

But when Wallace realizes he's trapped with the man, it only gets worse as he is slowly turned into a walrus. If you've seen this movie, the ending is so shocking and heartbreaking to watch, you'll probably turn your TV off before the credits even start to roll.

17. Cloud Atlas (2012)

cloud atlas 2012
Image Credit: Reiner Bajo/ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Cloud Atlas has all the makings of being a great film, and for a lot of people, they do truly love it. With the great cast and beautiful sets, the movie is still really intense to watch because of all of its plot lines. A lot of people have come out of this movie, confused about what actually happened in the movie because there are just too many stories set in different time periods, all linking together somehow.

18. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Fear and loathing in las vegas
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a beloved movie by so many, but the movie is trippy and can be hard to follow along. The film follows Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and Dr. Gonzo (Benicio del Toro) as they travel to Las Vegas with a lot of drugs and a plan to cover a motorcycle event for a magazine. As the movie continues, the drug trips get darker and weirder. It's a wild ride with a strange plot, and a lot of people come out of the movie confused about what they just saw.

19. Beau is Afraid (2023)

Beau Is Afraid
Image Credit: A24.

When it was announced that Ari Aster was going to release another movie in 2023, a lot of people were excited about a dark, complex horror film like Midsommer and Hereditary. But when fans flocked to the theaters to watch Beau is Afraid, they were in for a much darker movie that is extremely confusing. 

The movie follows Beau, a man with complex anxieties and dark fears who needs to journey home after the death of his mother. The epic trip home is confusing and strange, leaving a lot of friends with a complex movie, but not the one they expected from such a great director. 

20. Vivarium (2019)

Image Credit: Vertigo Releasing.

Vivarium is a visually stunning movie about a young couple who is looking to find their first home together and start their adult lives. But when they move into their perfect neighborhood, their lives get more and more complex and strange. Starring Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg, this movie is dark and complex, and afterward, you'll be confused about what actually just happened.

Source: (Reddit).