The Most Challenging Films You Will Ever See

by finncallan | created - 8 months ago | updated - 8 months ago | Public

Movies where your stance as an audience member will be tried, worked over and more often than not tired out. Whether it be because of prolonged silence, excessive length, confusing plots that enrage the brain or good old fashioned graphic violence and sex, these movies will surely test you to the limits of your squeamishness... either that or your attention span.

No particular order.

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1. Paint Drying (2016)

607 min | Documentary

10 hours of paint drying on a wall.

Director: Charlie Lyne | Star: Charlie Lyne

Votes: 185

2. Aaaaaaaah! (2015)

79 min | Comedy, Thriller

Ever imagined what life would be like if humans were apes in modern life? That is the portrayal in this deeply thought provoking mind boggle.

Director: Steve Oram | Stars: Jade Alexander, Julian Barratt, Missa Blue, Holli Dempsey

Votes: 703

3. Shoah (1985)

Not Rated | 566 min | Documentary, History, War

99 Metascore

Claude Lanzmann's epic documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses - perpetrators as well as survivors.

Director: Claude Lanzmann | Stars: Simon Srebnik, Michael Podchlebnik, Motke Zaïdl, Hanna Zaïdl

Votes: 6,952 | Gross: $0.02M

4. Happiness (1998)

Unrated | 134 min | Comedy, Drama

81 Metascore

The lives of several individuals intertwine as they go about their lives in their own unique ways, engaging in acts society as a whole might find disturbing in a desperate search for human connection.

Director: Todd Solondz | Stars: Jane Adams, Jon Lovitz, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Dylan Baker

Votes: 59,911 | Gross: $2.81M

5. Irreversible (2002)

Not Rated | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

51 Metascore

Events over the course of one traumatic night in Paris unfold in reverse-chronological order as the beautiful Alex is brutally raped and beaten by a stranger in the underpass.

Director: Gaspar Noé | Stars: Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel, Jo Prestia

Votes: 98,374 | Gross: $0.75M

6. The Garden (I) (2017)

55 min | Animation, Drama, Fantasy

After a silent, masked individual encounters a man with a television for an arm; horror, euphoria and madness ensue.

Director: Finn Callan | Stars: Hector O'Donnell, Sam Wilkes, Finn Callan, Jaime Haslip

Votes: 20

7. Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

Not Rated | 117 min | Drama, Horror, War

In World War II Italy, four fascist libertines round up nine adolescent boys and girls and subject them to one hundred and twenty days of physical, mental and sexual torture.

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini | Stars: Paolo Bonacelli, Laura Betti, Giorgio Cataldi, Umberto Paolo Quintavalle

Votes: 44,474

8. The Room (2003)

R | 99 min | Drama

9 Metascore

Johnny is a successful banker who lives happily in a San Francisco townhouse with his fiancée, Lisa. One day, inexplicably, she gets bored with him and decides to seduce his best friend, Mark. From there, nothing will be the same again.

Director: Tommy Wiseau | Stars: Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, Juliette Danielle, Philip Haldiman

Votes: 61,300

9. Inland Empire (2006)

R | 180 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

72 Metascore

As an actress starts to adopt the persona of her character in a film, her world starts to become nightmarish and surreal.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Laura Dern, Jeremy Irons, Justin Theroux, Karolina Gruszka

Votes: 47,021 | Gross: $0.75M

10. The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978)

Not Rated | 186 min | Drama, History

The life inside a farm in Italy at the beginning of the century. Many poor country families live there, and the owner pays them by their productivity. One of the families has a very clever ... See full summary »

Director: Ermanno Olmi | Stars: Luigi Ornaghi, Francesca Moriggi, Omar Brignoli, Antonio Ferrari

Votes: 4,192

11. Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)

Not Rated | 201 min | Drama

A lonely widowed housewife does her daily chores, takes care of her apartment where she lives with her teenage son, and turns the occasional trick to make ends meet. However, something happens that changes her safe routine.

Director: Chantal Akerman | Stars: Delphine Seyrig, Jan Decorte, Henri Storck, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze

Votes: 4,732 | Gross: $0.02M

12. Elephant (2003)

R | 81 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

70 Metascore

Several ordinary high school students go through their daily routine as two others prepare for something more malevolent.

Director: Gus Van Sant | Stars: Elias McConnell, Alex Frost, Eric Deulen, John Robinson

Votes: 76,880 | Gross: $1.23M

13. The Mirror (1975)

G | 107 min | Biography, Drama

A dying man in his forties remembers his past. His childhood, his mother, the war, personal moments and things that tell of the recent history of all the Russian nation.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky | Stars: Margarita Terekhova, Filipp Yankovskiy, Ignat Daniltsev, Oleg Yankovskiy

Votes: 28,124

14. Pink Flamingos (1972)

NC-17 | 93 min | Comedy, Crime

Notorious Baltimore criminal and underground figure Divine goes up against a sleazy married couple who make a passionate attempt to humiliate her and seize her tabloid-given title as "The Filthiest Person Alive".

Director: John Waters | Stars: Divine, David Lochary, Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole

Votes: 18,832 | Gross: $0.18M

15. Antichrist (2009)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama, Horror

49 Metascore

A grieving couple retreat to their cabin in the woods, hoping to repair their broken hearts and troubled marriage. But nature takes its course and things go from bad to worse.

Director: Lars von Trier | Stars: Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm

Votes: 99,576 | Gross: $0.40M

16. Cannibal Holocaust (1980)

Unrated | 95 min | Adventure, Horror

22 Metascore

During a rescue mission into the Amazon rainforest, a professor stumbles across lost film shot by a missing documentary crew.

Director: Ruggero Deodato | Stars: Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi, Perry Pirkanen, Luca Barbareschi

Votes: 43,590

17. Loong Boonmee raleuk chat (2010)

Not Rated | 114 min | Drama, Fantasy

87 Metascore

Dying of kidney disease, a man spends his last, somber days with family, including the ghost of his wife and a forest spirit who used to be his son, on a rural northern Thailand farm.

Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul | Stars: Thanapat Saisaymar, Jenjira Pongpas, Sakda Kaewbuadee, Natthakarn Aphaiwonk

Votes: 10,815 | Gross: $0.18M

18. Earthlings (2005)

95 min | Documentary, Horror

Using hidden cameras and never-before-seen footage, Earthlings chronicles the day-to-day practices of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit.

Director: Shaun Monson | Star: Joaquin Phoenix

Votes: 14,982

19. Song to Song (2017)

R | 129 min | Drama, Music, Romance

54 Metascore

Two intersecting love triangles. Obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Natalie Portman

Votes: 12,422 | Gross: $0.44M

20. The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989)

NC-17 | 124 min | Crime, Drama

62 Metascore

The wife of an abusive criminal finds solace in the arms of a kind regular guest in her husband's restaurant.

Director: Peter Greenaway | Stars: Richard Bohringer, Michael Gambon, Helen Mirren, Alan Howard

Votes: 29,856 | Gross: $7.72M

21. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

G | 149 min | Adventure, Sci-Fi

82 Metascore

Humanity finds a mysterious, obviously artificial object buried beneath the Lunar surface and, with the intelligent computer H.A.L. 9000, sets off on a quest.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester, Daniel Richter

Votes: 498,573 | Gross: $56.95M

22. Grave (II) (2016)

R | 99 min | Drama, Horror

81 Metascore

When a young vegetarian undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, an unbidden taste for meat begins to grow in her.

Director: Julia Ducournau | Stars: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Nait Oufella, Laurent Lucas

Votes: 37,874 | Gross: $0.51M

23. Only God Forgives (2013)

R | 90 min | Crime, Drama

37 Metascore

Julian, a drug-smuggler thriving in Bangkok's criminal underworld, sees his life get even more complicated when his mother compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother's recent death.

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn | Stars: Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Vithaya Pansringarm, Gordon Brown

Votes: 94,884 | Gross: $0.78M

24. Koroshiya 1 (2001)

R | 129 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

55 Metascore

As sadomasochistic yakuza enforcer Kakihara searches for his missing boss he comes across Ichi, a repressed and psychotic killer who may be able to inflict levels of pain that Kakihara has only dreamed of.

Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Tadanobu Asano, Nao Ohmori, Shin'ya Tsukamoto, Paulyn Sun

Votes: 46,351 | Gross: $0.02M

25. Martyrs (2008)

R | 99 min | Horror

A young woman's quest for revenge against the people who kidnapped and tormented her as a child leads her and a friend, who is also a victim of child abuse, on a terrifying journey into a living hell of depravity.

Director: Pascal Laugier | Stars: Morjana Alaoui, Mylène Jampanoï, Catherine Bégin, Robert Toupin

Votes: 68,543

26. Funny Games (2007)

R | 111 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

44 Metascore

Two psychopathic young men take a family hostage in their cabin.

Director: Michael Haneke | Stars: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, Brady Corbet

Votes: 78,737 | Gross: $1.29M

27. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

R | 136 min | Crime, Drama, Sci-Fi

78 Metascore

In the future, a sadistic gang leader is imprisoned and volunteers for a conduct-aversion experiment, but it doesn't go as planned.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke

Votes: 642,130

28. Man Bites Dog (1992)

NC-17 | 95 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A film crew follows a ruthless thief and heartless killer as he goes about his daily routine. But complications set in when the film crew lose their objectivity and begin lending a hand.

Directors: Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde | Stars: Benoît Poelvoorde, Jacqueline Poelvoorde-Pappaert, Nelly Pappaert, Hector Pappaert

Votes: 31,590 | Gross: $0.21M

29. I Stand Alone (1998)

Not Rated | 93 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A horse meat butcher's life and mind begins to breakdown as he lashes out against various factions of society while attempting to reconnect with his estranged daughter.

Director: Gaspar Noé | Stars: Philippe Nahon, Blandine Lenoir, Frankie Pain, Martine Audrain

Votes: 16,102 | Gross: $0.05M

30. The Last House on the Left (1972)

R | 84 min | Horror, Thriller

Two teenage girls head to a rock concert for one's birthday. While trying to score marijuana in the city, they are kidnapped and brutalized by a gang of psychotic convicts.

Director: Wes Craven | Stars: Sandra Peabody, Lucy Grantham, David Hess, Fred J. Lincoln

Votes: 27,858 | Gross: $3.10M

31. Titicut Follies (1967)

Unrated | 84 min | Documentary

Documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman takes us inside the Massachusetts Correctional Institution Bridgewater where people stay trapped in their madness.

Director: Frederick Wiseman

Votes: 3,241

32. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

R | 83 min | Horror

75 Metascore

Two siblings and three of their friends en route to visit their grandfather's grave in Texas end up falling victim to a family of cannibalistic psychopaths.

Director: Tobe Hooper | Stars: Marilyn Burns, Edwin Neal, Allen Danziger, Paul A. Partain

Votes: 111,800 | Gross: $30.86M

33. Srpski film (2010)

NC-17 | 104 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller

An aging porn star agrees to participate in an "art film" in order to make a clean break from the business, only to discover that he has been drafted into making a pedophilia and necrophilia themed snuff film.

Director: Srdjan Spasojevic | Stars: Srdjan 'Zika' Todorovic, Sergej Trifunovic, Jelena Gavrilovic, Slobodan Bestic

Votes: 47,083

34. Last Tango in Paris (1972)

NC-17 | 129 min | Drama, Romance

77 Metascore

A young Parisian woman meets a middle-aged American businessman who demands their clandestine relationship be based only on sex.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci | Stars: Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider, Maria Michi, Giovanna Galletti

Votes: 41,679 | Gross: $36.14M

35. Breathless (1960)

Not Rated | 90 min | Crime, Drama

A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard | Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger, Henri-Jacques Huet

Votes: 59,884 | Gross: $0.34M

36. Under the Skin (I) (2013)

R | 108 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller

78 Metascore

A mysterious young woman seduces lonely men in the evening hours in Scotland. However, events lead her to begin a process of self-discovery.

Director: Jonathan Glazer | Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay, Dougie McConnell

Votes: 102,974 | Gross: $2.61M

37. The Tree of Life (2011)

PG-13 | 139 min | Drama, Fantasy

85 Metascore

The story of a family in Waco, Texas in 1956. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence and struggles with his parents' conflicting teachings.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken

Votes: 149,904 | Gross: $13.30M

38. The Sky Trembles and the Earth Is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (2015)

95 min | Drama

At the heart of the film's multiple narratives is an adaptation of A Distant Episode, the savage short story set in Morocco by American author Paul Bowles, first published in 1947. Moving ... See full summary »

Director: Ben Rivers | Star: Oliver Laxe

Votes: 180

39. Eraserhead (1977)

Not Rated | 89 min | Horror

Henry Spencer tries to survive his industrial environment, his angry girlfriend, and the unbearable screams of his newly born mutant child.

Director: David Lynch | Stars: Jack Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph, Jeanne Bates

Votes: 83,098 | Gross: $7.00M