Get this out of the way immediately: today, we talk about some very traumatizing movies, so let’s put a nice ban on minors right away.
Turn on parental control, lock your keyboard locks or cover your children’s eyes, saving them a lot of violence and blood.
These are the kinds of movies that have no half measures, widely discouraged for the faint of heart or stomach.
Immensely simply, you either love them or hate them. When the tension becomes unbearable, you hope it lasts as long as possible.
However, there are many different ways to tremble with fear, even in the common thread of an excellent blood-juice horror/thriller.
For example, the most clueless resort to nastiness for its own sake has nothing to say, and nothing leaves you at the end credits.
Instead, others may dare with one of the film genres that most offer the opportunity to show visually.
However, before we get blood and horror, terror and tension preceding it must rise with the right amount of time.
Maybe we horror fans are sick. Who knows, perhaps we like to suffer.
So let’s all hurt together and have fun.
1- Martyrs (2008)
Martyrs begin with a young girl kidnapped and tortured by a cult of religious psychopaths but unexpectedly managed to escape.
However, in the hospital, she absolutely will not discuss what happened with the doctors who are treating her many injuries.
After growing up, memories (and more) will come back to haunt her. Unable to live normally, she eventually decides to search for her former tormentors.
When she was a prisoner, she was not alone, and along with her were other victims. So the guilt and remorse for not being able (or willing?) to help them continue to agonize her.
With the help of another girl she met in the hospital after the incident, she investigates the few clues she can remember.
Initially groping in the dark, they find a soul cult where a group of madmen seeks the absolute truth about life beyond death.
Despite the grave danger, the girl is desperate to and must make them pay for her unspeakable childhood suffering.
Yet these madmen are far more patient and cunning than she suspected and have waited for her.
Beware of the deceptive aspect of evilness
Martyrs is one of the most violent horrors I have ever seen; an hour and forty minutes of the emotionally traumatizing movie.
We have already seen stories of torture and revenge, but that is not why it stands out from the crowd.
At first glance, it is easy to mistake it for the familiar characters torn apart by the usual psychopaths, but its plot is much deeper than the genre canons.
Therefore, one must always be careful about trivializing such a visually blood-red horror film.
Morjana Alaoui and her friend Mylène Jampanoï are two innocent girls in a relentless search for the truth.
Although helpless to the sadistic evil of their tormentors, they are far from the usual stereotype of the screaming victim.
Simply frightening is Catherine Bégin as ruthless Mademoiselle, head and spiritual leader of the religious madmen.
This sect kidnaps and tortures almost to death with the hope of discovering what lies beyond life.
Sublime sublimation of horror
Director Pascal Laugier combines a taut and fascinating film in the horror genre with violent classical and modern impulses.
This work mixes the aesthetics of old cult films such as the Italian Dario Argento or the fantastic, irrational, and imaginative Hellraiser.
Its purpose is to stop and start again, turning terror into horror without distorting it, telling a story more with spectacle than words.
Indeed, we can say that mainly Laugier wants to profoundly disturb the viewer without ruffling him, always leaving him uncomfortable and disheartening.
Almost entirely removing the usual unhealthy fun of pornographic torture, his philosophical exploration of pain is nothing short of lacerating.
He confirms the sublimation of the genre and its evolution with his subsequent traumatizing movies.
Great stories like The Tall Man and Incident in a Ghostland are so different that they almost seem directed by another person.
But at the same time, the auteur’s hand weighs and shows, as does his ongoing transformation and mutation in the horror genre from more violent films to more thoughtful and cerebral ones.
I also invite audiences to expand upon research: don’t stop at the safety of one type of film you liked, but always try new things.
You may be disappointed by some titles that will not be for you, but it is undoubtedly never time wasted.
2- The House That Jack Built (2018)
A man becomes a serial killer after a long life full of small atrocious cruelties since childhood.
He may have been the victim of emotional trauma, but his past will always remain mysterious apart from a few flashbacks.
Following an almost accidental and unplanned first murder, his bloodlust becomes increasingly apparent and irresistible.
Dialoguing with a nonexistent interlocutor, he confesses to the daily slaughter of his madness.
However, he rigorously tries to unite his murders with his love of art and architecture.
Following his style and aesthetic taste, he transforms an old freezer into his museum of horrors.
For twelve long years, the madman always manages to get away with it, sometimes by ingenuity and sometimes by luck.
A period in which the man reaps countless victims in the spasmodic aesthetic quest for his criminal perfection.
A quest with an unsuspected conclusion, finally succeeding in combining blood, art, and architecture in his last incredible act of aberration.
Inhuman humor and blood art.
The House That Jack Built is a lucid and gruesome portrait of the everyday madness of an atypical serial killer.
Over the years, we have admired other relentless killing machines played by great actors also directed by extraordinary filmmakers.
Such violent murders include, for example, the cannibal Hannibal Lecter or the more ordinary Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.
But we go even higher for a movie that has no desire to entertain, ever, traumatizing us to the end.
In the best performance of his entire career, Matt Dillon is simply chilling in his indifferent and evil artistic passion.
His murderous intentions come with building a house to have at least a semblance of a normal life.
A project that, however, eternally unsatisfied, he ends up continually building and tearing down.
His house will never see the light of day, endlessly seeking that unattainable perfection and his brutal, senseless murders.
In this divine horror-comedy, Bruno Ganz has equally biting, sharp, and inhuman humor as Virgil.
He is a judge and mentor of his actions, mocking and debasing the efforts that drive him to the ultimate slaughter.
A major horror by Lars von Trier was unnecessarily ruined by censorship, which foolishly cut several violent contents.
It was a disproportionate reaction to an unfortunate joke about a Jewish colleague of the director (who is also Jewish), which drew the usual following of social responses.
Finally, speaking of something else, I would like to mention the small but essential role of a great Uma Thurman in a sarcastic and almost nonsensical horror scene.
The woman with the broken-down car kicks off the gruesome spectacle, becoming the first in the long line of victims in the long trail of blood until the credits roll.
She is a character with whom one does not sympathize: haughty, arrogant, and unpleasant; she makes both the protagonist and the viewer uncomfortable.
It is a cold, aseptic incipit that does not seek effective solutions, in which the victim/ executioner roles of the usual serial killer plot seem almost reversed.
A 10-minute movie, almost unrelated to the rest, is a perfect response to the banal and ridiculous respectability that hides the traumatizing monsters of our society.
3- High Tension (2003)
A girl goes to a friend’s house to spend the weekend with her and her family.
The place is secluded and quiet, and everything portends a couple of days of relaxation and peace.
But in the middle of the night, a violent maniac suddenly bursts through the front door.
While the two friends are sleeping peacefully in their beds, he slaughters the entire family and kidnaps them.
Although they are locked in the back of his rundown van, one of them breaks free and manages to escape.
Alone in the dark of night and unable to contact anyone, she is the only hope for her friend.
This is just the beginning of a long night of madness in a desperate attempt to save her friend.
Following the trail of the homicidal maniac, the girl witnesses his brutal and unpunished blood orgies.
The ultimate truth will be even more disturbing and unbearable when they encounter the inevitable face-to-face.
Uncomplicated but efficiently crafted horror movie
We now turn to a simple and excellent old-fashioned slasher after two titles with an atypical visual and narrative quest.
A traumatizing movie playing a massacre game between the lousy wolf and two lost red riding hoods.
The (high) tension scenes are built with the appropriate timing for hard-hitting violence that is gory, concise, and effective.
The murders are brutal even for the great Giannetto De Rossi, master of cinematic makeup.
While the story is poor in plot and dialogue, it also reserves a couple of remarkably effective plot twists.
Ultimately, the story will not win the Oscar for imagination or originality; let’s face it.
But it is nonetheless a grimy and traumatizing film, with violent murders brought to the stage without much filter or compliment.
French-style Blood Juice
Luc Besson produced it. The historic golden (perhaps, lately, more silver and bronze) director of some good European blockbusters in recent years.
In this case, we are talking about a small production. But it went viral for a short time, earning good worldwide for its brutality and a bit of luck.
In particular, this traumatizing movie was mainly about the luck and conviction of director Alexandre Aja.
The young man, class of ’78, has since landed in Hollywood in search of glory, but it’s only a couple of minor (though entertaining in their way) films like Reflections of Fear and Piranha 3D.
The unfortunate friends/victims are actresses Cécile De France and Maïwenn Le Besco, two credible beautiful but not gorgeous leading ladies.
Finally, Philippe Nahon is perfect as the grim psychopathic killer with inscrutable motives (at least until the end).
Although it is made as a long night chase, the film perfectly achieves its simple but clear objectives.
The scenes thrive on perfectly constructed anxiety in anticipation of the next senseless outburst of violence, working great on both fronts before and after moments of horror.
It is probably the clearest title in this small catalog. Still, it is nonetheless a delightful little cult of evil to be watched strictly alone at night for maximum traumatic effect.