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Films

The 5 best psychologically disturbing films on Netflix

If you are tired of watching horror flicks and their innumerable jumpscares and are looking for films that would stir your sense of reason and make you question reality, worry not. Maybe, a psychologically disturbing flick could help your brain achieve that level of serotonin.  

How would one define ‘psychologically disturbing’? Is it the dread that seeps into our stomach when fear grapples our hearts, numbing our senses? Or is the idea of being surrounded by a sense of terrifying claustrophobia that threatens to expose our darkest vulnerabilities? More often than not, psychological thrillers and horrors appeal to our minds as it rings in the sense of suspense and appeal to the darkest parts of our psyche. 

Netflix has a fantastic collection of horror films and psychological thrillers across its shelves. From themes that deal with sexual harassment cases to mothers avenging their children’s deaths, the movies are extremely engaging and addictive. 

However, there are certain ‘psychologically disturbing’ films that adorn the Netflix shelves that are not really for the faint-hearted. These films are unsettling in their truest sense, from masked serial killers to murderous grandmothers and psychotic captors. 

Here are the five most psychologically disturbing films on Netflix: 

The 5 best psychologically disturbing films on Netflix

5. Unfriended (Levan Gabriadze, 2015)

Although the film does not have a very high rating on IMDB, it is a complicated watch. Six friends are having a fun time chatting with each other via Skype when an unknown user joins the conversation and refuses to leave. Slowly, the user starts messaging them on behalf of a deceased friend who has sinister links with each of the friends. One by one, as the friends start dying, uncomfortable truths begin to surface.  

With its underlying message about the downside of social media, subsequent popularity and cyberbullying being put across quite well, this one-room horror drama is extremely tense. It is shown via screen recordings of the six individual computers, making it more immersive and intimate.  

4. Two (Mar Targarona, 2021)

Towards the end of 2021, Netflix released this Spanish horror thriller that shocked the viewers with its disturbing premise and a shocking and gruesome sex scene with an incestuous twist. Starring Marina Gatell and Pablo Derqui, the film’s overall atmosphere felt like unsettling horror pron that was a combination of the two most disturbing horror films in the history of cinema, namely Saw and The Human Centipede

In the film, a man and a woman, who are seemingly strangers, wake up next to each other to find their abdomens stitched together. Held captive by an unknown kidnapper, the duo engage in disturbing intercourse before discovering the sinister nature of their relationship with each other and the captor. 

3. Creep (Patrick Brice, 2014)

Cleverly shot in a mockumentary style, the film is a sinister tale of how curiosity (and Craigslist) kills the cat! A photographer is handsomely paid to go and record the video messages of a man, apparently on his deathbed, when he discovers the strangely unsettling nature of the latter.

Clad in a mask that he lovingly calls Peachfuzz, Mark Duplass is absolutely horrifying as Brice’s client. He addresses his unborn child as “Buddy”, asks the cameraman to embrace his inner wolf and partakes in a series of unsettling acts that he asks the cameraman to record for his future baby to see. The overall found-footage nature of the film, coupled with Duplass’ terrific acting, makes it extremely disturbing.

2. Hereditary (Ari Aster, 2018)

Annie Graham lives with her husband, teenage son Pete and 13-year-old daughter Charlie. Following her mother’s demise, strange occurrences begin to plague the family. From Charlie dying a gruesome death to sinister entities haunting them, the film is an interesting and harrowing take on grief, trauma and demonic possession. 

The film actually took Aster years to come up with, and he admitted that he does not feel very comfortable talking about the origin of such ideas: “I don’t feel comfortable being explicit about it,” he says. “It’s easier for me not to go into detail. I was more pulling from feelings than experiences.”  

1. Under the Shadow (Babak Anvari, 2016)

In today’s politically charged world, horror permeates through the screens and transcends the socio-political or cultural contexts. The everyday horror rings in more fears as they shed light on contemporary issues, much like Iranian director Babak Anvari’s claustrophobic horror film that blends in the devastation of the war-torn society within the blueprint of horror. The film is an uncomfortable watch as the atmospheric terror results not just from the supernatural entity within the walls of the house but also from the repressive forces from the outside world. 

Set in the 80s, the film is set in a post-revolutionary Tehran, ravaged by wars where a mother and daughter try and struggle for survival, seeking safety within the four walls of their house. However, their home is soon haunted by a mysterious evil force that adds on to their harrowing experiences.