The word “disturbing” can mean a lot of things. It can mean horrific violence, ultimate danger, or simply upsetting material be it from politics or elsewhere. We’re covering all those definitions today. These are five movies that flew under-the-radar last year, but you should not miss them. Especially if you enjoy being disturbed.
1. Wind River (2017)
Starring: Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Jon Bernthal
Taylor Sheridan (Sicario, Hell or High Water) has quickly made a name for himself in Hollywood after years writing for Sons of Anarchy. His stories are hard-boiled, violent portraits of America you won’t see on the Disney Channel. Wind River, Sheridan’s directorial debut, is a cold thriller set on an Indian reservation in Nowheresville, Wyoming. After a girl is found dead in the woods, an FBI agent (Olsen) enlists the local Fish and Game hunter (Renner) to help her find a human predator. What they discover is a brutal secret set to explode when it’s brought into the light.
2. The Ritual (2017)
Starring: Rafe Spall, Arsher Ali, Robert James-Collier, Sam Troughton
Blair Witch fans should run to see this one, easily the best original horror movie Netflix has produced thus far. The Ritual follows a group of old buddies reuniting for a camping excursion on the anniversary of a friend’s death. Of course, things go wrong. One friend gets hurt and a shortcut leads them into the darkness where horrific events stall their journey. The night, the woods, the unknown, The Ritual is a recipe for nightmares.
3. The Transfiguration (2017)
Starring: Eric Ruffin, Chloe Levine
Like the opening bathroom scene that involves a lot of slurping and sucking, The Transfiguration is not what you might expect. Subverting all notions of past vampire films, the movie presents our hero, Milo, a young, African-American vampire living in the Brooklyn projects. Bullied around the way, he meets another loner named Sophie, and the two form a close bond. Milo wants to eat her throat, but he restrains himself, trying to find the answers to his innermost questions.
4. XX (2017)
Starring: Natalie Brown, Melanie Lynskey, Breeda Wool, Christina Kirk
This female-directed anthology features four different short films directed by four different ladies. Running 80 minutes total, it’s a quick thrill ride made even quicker by its short film format. Each story is worthwhile, scary, and often very funny.
5. Icarus (2017)
Directed by Bryan Fogel
The lone documentary on this list is disturbing for different reasons than the other movies we’ve chosen. Winner of the 2018 Best Documentary Oscar, Icarus is an in-depth investigation of doping in sports that eventually zeroes in on Russia as the biggest cheaters in the world. Fogel uncovers a state-sponsored steroid ring meant to bolster Russian chances at the Olympics for decades. You won’t believe what’s uncovered here.
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