Six Non-Horror Films That Are Far More Disturbing Than Most Horror Films

127 Hours

eek a mouse

” God why? I can’t reach my weed now. NOOOOOOOOOooooooooo!!!!!”

Here is another example of the film being great, but taking a serious turn. You wouldn’t think a movie of James Franco stuck under a rock would be that enjoyable, but his performance is staggering, and the growing sense of dread, that we know what he is going to do before even he does, is palpable through the whole film. But can we talk about that arm severing part for a bit?

I realize it was a short moment in a long film, and perhaps shouldn’t be focused on, but holy SHIT! The way he had to shatter the bones, and snap the nerves and tendons? Again, much like Passion of the Christ, you do not get horror that pronounced and clearly shot, even in horror films. And while I know it was the apex (and point) of the whole story, tell me one other movie where a guy severs his own arm with a  pocket knife, and yet your whole family has seen it? It was okay because Danny Boyle is a magnificent director, and people knew the story was worth experiencing, but let me reiterate this again for anyone just skimming this article. HE CUTS OFF HIS OWN ARMS WITH A POCKET KNIFE. Then he Instagrams the rock, before walking off. Seriously, that is what I think when he takes the pic of the rock, just to make myself laugh a little after that scenes. Posts it with some funny “This very rock totes just tore off my arm while hiking. WTF!” and that shit would get a ton of “likes.” Hipsters are ironic like that.

Right At Your Door


You can tell by the poster that this is a family film, through and through.

How did I miss this when it came out? Somehow, I finally discovered this movie this year, and was truly floored by it. While it definitely had the grounds to fit into my “horror movies that are more like plays” article from a few weeks ago, it’s a horrifying movie, but by its own terms, it is a Thriller, and not a horror. But goodness me, try NOT to be horrified as the events unfold in this film.

Right at your door is about a dirty bomb that goes off in LA, and the quarantine that comes after. Thing is, for the movie, we follow Brad and Lexi, who are separated by a door to their home. You see, Lexi was on her way to work when the (unspecified) dirty bomb went off, and Brad was home. Well, the news and radio told all people who are home to quarantine themselves inside, and not let ANYONE in. And though he is tortured by it, he finally seals the house up, only to have Lexi come home ten minutes later, with Brad refusing her entry under the pretenses that she has become infected by whatever this is.  That is but one aspect to the story, and as much as I have told you, you have no idea where this is going, but when it finally reaches its climax, you just feel shocked and beat down, much in the same way you would after a brutal horror film. While the closest to being a horror film as any on the list, it is also the most likely to come true at some point, which just makes it that much more terrifying.

A Few More Worth Noting

River’s Edge: A young Keanu Reeves’s best work, and a true story about a homicide among friends. Also, Crispin Glover as, well, Crispin Glover.

8MM: Hey, Nicolas Cage, are snuff films real? Yes, in some cases, they are. Introduced me to world I would have been better off never knowing about.

Straw Dogs: Inferring the female lead gets off during the rape scene in this film pretty much forever ruined me. Also, bear trap. I would say “bear trap for the win” but in that film, there were no winners.


Still a better love story than Warm Bodies. See what I did there?

Pi: You know how I solve math problems when they get stuck in my head? Spoiler Alert:


Yup, that usually does the trick.

Speaking of disturbing….


  • Steve2

    I would mention “A Serbian Film” for this list (though I haven’t seen it), but I think it’s been mentioned on this site before.

  • joseph

    A Serbian Film isn’t very disturbing when you actually watch it, it’s so over the top that it’s just slapstick.

  • KJD

    Don’t be ridiculous. No where does it say that it’s OK to rape. Now Lot did choose to give up his daughters over his guests(guests in that day and age were treated like family and honored more so), but no one will ever condone that decision. Just read the rest of it.

    Abraham was being tested by God. He did not kill his son.

    This movie is about “The Moment.” When God’s plan of redemption for mankind was brought to fruition. Jesus is the only man to live a perfect and sinless life. Thereby making him qualified to redeem the entire world for all time. It is through this bloody and gruesome sacrifice that we are able to entire into a right relationship with God. The relationship that he intended from the beginning. Without it, we are separated from God. With no way to ever get to him.

    From a movie lovers perspective, and a Christian, I’ve seen this movie once. It is hard to watch. This isn’t something you pop in to pass the time on Saturday. And honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it to someone who isn’t a Christian.

  • Mutant Turd

    I had to leave the theater before everyone else when I went to go see Passion of the Christ (yup, saw it in the theater) but not for reasons you might think. After watching Jesus get the shit beat out of him for two hours I was feeling pretty drained and emotionally beat, then at the very end right before the credits and it shows the Resurrection the music hits these few notes that totally sounded like the music from The Terminator. “Ba bump, bump, ba bump”. It was so out of place and the similarity to The Terminator’s music at that particular scene just made me laugh out loud. As soon as the very loud guffaw left my mouth, just about the entire theaters audience swiveled around to look at me with hate in their eyes. When the screen went black I quickly told my friend I’d meet him at the car and ran outside before I could get beat down for apparently laughing at the graphic beating of our Lord and Savior, which I totally wasn’t. I was laughing at the way my mind made the insane connection at a moment of emotional exhaustion that Jesus was the Terminator.

  • I kinda like 8mm. It’s one of the few Nicolas Cage films where he doesn’t bore me to death. He actually CAN act; he just rarely does it.

    I’ll look for some of these. I like getting my mind blown now and then. 🙂

  • steve

    How the hell did you leave this one out? that’s the problem with film blogs; everyone thinks the movie camera was invented in 1994. smh

  • Michael O.

    I agree with you about Passion of the Christ – my mom is the exact type of the parent you mention, and I would argue the same thing when she’d get after me about loving zombie movies.

    As a Biblical interpreter, though, you leave something to be desired:

    “Rape is vile, right? But in the Bible, it’s cool to give your daughters to insane townsfolk to rape, so they don’t rape your male guests. And you can stab your kid in the heart, but only if God asks you to.”

    One easy way to tell the moral of a Biblical story is to see if religious people actually do what you think God is asking them to do. But Jews aren’t known, nor were known, for offering their children as rape victims or sacrifices. That’s because it’s clearly not the moral of the stories. I simply don’t understand how so many apparently intelligent people can’t understand the story of Abraham & Isaac particularly. It’s a story AGAINST human sacrifice, not for it. When that story was being passed around, there actually were religions all around Judaism which practiced human sacrifice. The point of the story is to show that God wants the Jews to replace human sacrifice with animal sacrifice (which itself gets eliminated with Christianity). I would think that story would be, like, a good thing, whether you’re Jewish, Christian or atheist. But apparently not.

  • MetFanMac

    Glad to see some other commenters here are calling you out on your Bible-bashing, Remy. In the story of Lot, f’rinstance, what he does is NOT CONDONED by the text. It just says that he DID it. To be fair it was a bad situation all around, but nowhere does it say that this was what he is (or we are) supposed to do.

  • Bryan


  • Sorry God abandoned me and I don’t like watching people get tortured. I read the book and find it silly, sorry if that doesn’t sit well with some of you, but for how much I talk about rape and cannibalism, you kind have should of suspected as much.
    Not bashing so much as giving my viewpoint, though, which is what an article is, ultimately. I apologize if some of you disagree, and I respect it. The only invisible person I talk to is my best friend, Dropdead Fred.
    @ Steve, click my name in blue above this article and you will be whisked away to a magical land full of lists, of which Man Bites Dog is on many. So while I do appreciate your knowledge of good films, spare the self righteousness if you haven’t researched the blog or writer you are talking down to.
    @Bryan, put that on my last “most disturbing non-horror list”.
    Anything by Gaspar Noe, actually. I totally agree on that. That movie is a soul-wrecker.

  • Mike

    Where is Requiem for a Dream on this list?

  • Bianca

    What, no shot-outs to Oldboy or 4 Months, 3 weeks, and 2 Days? Because those two movies scared me way the hell more than Saw ever did. Scarred me for life, they did.