Velvet Buzzsaw, though highly anticipated, unfortunately, falls short in its goal to deliver on either its horror or satirical elements. The film concerns the discovery of cursed art, which brings grave misfortune to anyone who profits from it. Jake Gyllenhaal once again turns in a great performance for his Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy, but the film never lives up to expectations.
You might think that with such a crazy premise and an opportunity to really dig into the pretentious art world, Velvet Buzzsaw would be able to give the audience a little bit more. However, it never quite hits any of the right beats. These are ten movies that are far more messed up than anything in Velvet Buzzsaw.
Hereditary is the feature film debut of Ari Aster, a director who had already made something of a name for himself by directing a variety of quietly disturbing short films. With Hereditary, Aster put his name on the map of auteurs working outside the typical tropes of modern horror films.
After a devastating loss (which is fully revealed to the audience without any reprieve), a family begins a downward spiral into grief and trauma. This is all complicated by occult forces that begin haunting the family and driving them even further into mental anguish. Hereditary never lets the audience catch their breath, particularly in its nightmarish final 20 minutes.
9 THE CONJURING
How often is a film released that is so scary, it is given an R rating just because of how frightening it is? That's what happened with James Wan's The Conjuring, a ghost story so indelibly creepy and haunting that it had to be restricted for an older audience. A horror film can't really get a better endorsement than that.
The film, based on the real-life exploits of paranormal experts Ed and Lorraine Warren, follows the couple as they investigate a haunting at a recently purchased farmhouse. The film delivers on both creeping dread and haunting imagery and is a must-see for any horror fan.
Luca Guadagnino received widespread critical praise for directing Call Me By Your Name, which he followed up with an ambitious remake of the 1977 Italian horror film Suspiria. Guadagnino took an ambitious approach to this project, creating a film that was far more artistic than its predecessor.
However, Guadagnino still understood that he was making a horror film, and he does not let up on the creepiness, intense violence, or dread that builds throughout the film. Loaded with great performances from Dakota Johnson, Mia Goth, and the incomparable Tilda Swinton, Suspiria serves up a more substantial horror film experience than most others.
7 THE EYES OF MY MOTHER
Filmed in black and white and quietly contemplative at times, The Eyes of My Mother is nonetheless a scary dive into depravity and violence. The film centers around Francisca, a young woman whose mother is killed by an intruder. This event leads to the rest of the film's supremely messed up story.
Though it has the veneer of an arthouse film, anyone planning to watch this film should know that it is just as twisted and violent as any good slasher film. Just because it's filmed in black and white and takes its time in certain stretches doesn't mean that The Eyes of My Mother is any less surprising and chilling than anything else.
6 MOM AND DAD
This is the first film on this list to feature Nicholas Cage in a leading role, which just goes to show that if you want a film that is messed up, it doesn't hurt to look through his filmography. Mom and Dad stars Cage and Selma Blair as parents who, after a strange signal is sent out over the airwaves, become obsessed with killing their family.
In case you're wondering, yes, the movie is as insane as the description makes it sound. Cage dives right into one of the wildest performances of his career, and Blair manages to keep up with him with her own quiet menace that can instantly turn to white-hot rage. It was also directed by Crank co-director Brian Taylor, who imbues the film with the same sense of lunatic immediacy.
5 BLACK SWAN
Psychological horror films do more than just frighten the audience: they leave them unsettled, asking questions about whether anything they saw was real or not. Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, certainly makes an impression and leaves anyone watching wondering what they might have missed.
Black Swan is the kind of film that requires multiple watches to get everything figured out (though, in an early montage, director Darren Aronofsky actually lays out the entire plot of the film). As the audience follows Portman's character deeper into her spiralling madness, they begin to feel the unraveling of reality as well.
Natalie Portman makes it onto the list again in the film Annihilation directed by Alex Garland and based on the book by Jeff VanderMeer. Annihilation is a science fiction story about a group of women who enter a mysterious zone known as the Shimmer, where alien lifeforms have begun mutating and imitating other lifeforms.
There are plenty of movies that offer up easy answers to the questions their plots raise, but Annihilation does no such thing. It relies on the audience's understanding of events to piece together the more thematic relevance of events. It might not make a lot of sense to viewers by the end, but Annihilation delivers on tension and rewards those who watch it closely.
Irreversible is not a film for everybody. It is a challenging watch, to say the least, but those who can stomach Gaspar Noé's most famous film will most likely be left both in admiration and disgust. The film does not pull its punches, allowing every sickening moment to linger.
The film, which is told in reverse chronological order, follows two men as they attempt to find the attacker of one of their girlfriends. There is definitely a lot of ugliness in this film, but it is one of those works that attempt to find meaning in the grotesque. Anyone who can last through some of the more harrowing scenes might get a lot out of this film.
2 BONE TOMAHAWK
It is not often that the genres of western and horror are blended together, but Bone Tomahawk manages to capture the best elements of both in one film. Kurt Russell stars as the sheriff of a small town, who, along with the aid of three other men, venture out into the desert mountains to rescue people from a tribe of cannibals.
Bone Tomahawk, though it contains some truly gut-wrenching moments of violence, is often contemplative and quiet, allowing the tension to slowly build as the men find themselves in more and more danger, before finally having to confront an enemy that they cannot fully comprehend.
For those of you who are looking for a film that truly pushes the boundaries of filmmaking, then Mandy might just be right up your alley. This film stars Nicholas Cage as a man who embarks on a strange journey to rescue his artist girlfriend. The film was directed by Panos Cosmatos, who also helmed the equally psychedelic Into the Void.
Mandy may be a film that features Cage getting into a chainsaw fight with another dude, but its incredibly creative visuals, tone, and performances lend this outwardly crazy film an air of authenticity. Its pastiche of '80s revenge thrillers is given a neon and blacklight veneer, and Cage delivers a standout performance that anchors the entire film.