Tumbling into Madness:

Movies that Capture the Journey to Insanity

With horror moving away from schlocky jumpscares and branching into sophisticated, elevated horror, one of the most popular avenues for directors to explore is the descent into madness trope.

When a character (innocuous or not) becomes obsessed or driven to madness for many reasons. Some of the best descent to madness stories were released last year. My personal favorite is Pearl.


Mia Goth is Pearl, a wannabee starlet capable of going to great lengths to achieve the dream she wants. Released as a prequel to the slasher homage XPearl revolved around a young woman destined for the big screen, or so she thought.

Pearl starts as a shy, kind girl living on a farm with her sick father and overbearing mother. Soon, the farmhouse's confines and Hollywood's outstretched arms absorb her every thought. Pearl descends into a swirl of madness.

When Dani’s parents and sister all die in a murder-suicide, Dani resorts to the only remaining support system: her estranged boyfriend, Christian.


Dani, Christian, and their friends all travel to a Swedish ritual on behalf of their friend, Pelle. A peaceful outing between friends and family spirals into a terrifying cult celebration.

Dani’s depression manifests into terror, but you won’t be able to peel your eyes off Florence Pugh’s masterful performance, no matter how brutal the film gets — and it gets brutal.

Saint Maud delivers one of the best stories about religious obsession ever. Plus, the film's final scene stays burned in your brain forever.  

Saint Maud 

Swipe up to learn more!