Watching a movie without knowing where the story will take you is always fun. After millennia of stories and more than a century of movies, it’s not always easy for a narrative to surprise us. So whenever a story throws some genuinely unexpected twists and turns at you, you’ve got to appreciate it, even if some of those twists and turns aren’t exactly fun.
One film fan took to an online forum to ask for movies that will make them question everything. Hundreds of people respond with movies that leave their heads spinning and jaws on the floor.
1. Martyrs (2008)
Martyrs is infamously one of the most disturbing movies ever made. But it’s not just the movie’s extreme violence that makes it so memorable. The story of a young woman who seeks revenge on a family that abused her as a child takes so many twists and turns, with reveals that you could never see coming, that it may just be the ideas that surprise and stick with you more than any of the brutality.
2. Sorry to Bother You (2018)
Sorry to Bother You begins as a somewhat strange comedy that takes place in a world slightly different from our own, but as it goes on, it turns into something closer to a science fiction horror movie without ever being outright scary. Multiple viewers confessed to screaming, “What?!” while watching it.
3. Tusk (2014)
Kevin Smith is best known for his comedies, and while Tusk certainly has some funny moments, it’s not just a romp. The movie centers on a man obsessed with turning a human being into a walrus. Yes, you read that right, and that’s just the starting point. It’s a wild ride that will leave you questioning what you just watched and unsure if you found it hilarious, disgusting, or both.
4. The Lighthouse (2019)
The Lighthouse centers on two lighthouse keepers in the late 19th century who experience strange phenomena on their tiny island. One of them begins to have visions of mermaids, while the other sees something mystical in the lighthouse’s light; they also can’t quite figure out how they feel about each other. All those threads make for a movie that delivers something delightfully confounding about every 15 minutes.
5. mother! (2017)
Darren Aronofsky has made his fair share of movies that leave you questioning what you just watched. But mother! is undoubtedly his most confusing, disorienting, and disturbing movie. The film follows a straight couple in an isolated home in a beautiful field as more and more guests arrive into their lives. These guests are welcomed by the man, but cause the woman great stress, until things come to a head in the final third of the film, which offers one of the most visceral cinematic experiences you can endure.
6. The Lobster (2015)
The Lobster is, in theory, a romantic comedy. The high-concept science fiction rom-com takes place in a strange world where people must pair up or be turned into animals. Within that world, the audience follows David (Colin Farrell) as he tries to find a match at a retreat and discovers a revolutionary group known as “the loners.”
7. Cats (2019)
Cats, the adaptation of the long-running stage musical, had people asking questions when the first images of computer-generated humanoid cats were released. Once the movie came out, those questions only increased. One person who saw the film in theaters says, “it was so incoherent in tone and execution, and weird that it just feels like a fever dream in my memory.”
8. The Bad Batch (2016)
Years before Star Wars: The Bad Batch, another The Bad Batch made its way onto screens. The film takes place in a future where criminals are dropped off into a massive, lawless, open-air prison to fend for themselves and features, as one commenter says, “Keanu Reeves has an army of pregnant concubines, Jason Mamoa is a muscled up cannibal who lives with other muscled up cannibals, and Suki Waterhouse has her arm and leg stolen by the cannibals while she’s alive.” That same viewer described the movie as “two hours of what…am I watching?” It’s a movie I love for precisely that reason.
9. Perfect Blue (1997)
Perfect Blue is one of the most beloved anime movies of all time for good reason. The film centers on a pop idol who gets the opportunity to become an actress. But as she begins her acting career, she also begins to have difficulty discerning what’s real.
10. Barbarian (2022)
Barbarian has been hyped up as one of the best movies to go into blind, so I won’t give much away here except to say that the film begins when a young woman arrives at an Airbnb that’s been double booked. From there, the movie delivers a wild and wonderfully surprising ride that offers horror, comedy, and a surprisingly sharp satirical edge.
11. Mulholland Drive (2001)
David Lynch has made several movies that make viewers question what’s going on and what they’re looking at. But Mulholland Drive remains his masterpiece and one of the most surprising and thought-provoking films ever made.
The film follows two women, Betty (Naomi Watts), who has just moved to Los Angeles to become an actress, and Rita (Laura Harring), who has amnesia, as they attempt to discover the secrets of Rita’s past.
12. House (1977)
House is one of the most fun movies you can watch in any context. The film follows a group of teenage girls who go to stay with one of their aunts but experience strange and frightening phenomena after they arrive.
While that sounds like the setup for a horror movie, House is more funny and bewildering than scary, with every new scene of spiritual mischief delivering a new kind of joyous reason to question, “what is happening?”
This thread inspired this post.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Kyle Logan is a film and television critic and general pop culture writer who has written for Alternative Press, Cultured Vultures, Film Stories, Looper, and more. Kyle is particularly interested in horror and animation, as well as genre films written and directed by queer people and women. Along with writing, Kyle organizes a Queer Film Challenge on Letterboxd.