American History X
Photo: New Line Cinema

Some movies are so dark that we spend the rest of the evening sipping our drinks slowly, reflecting on the horror we have just seen, wondering who’s twisted and macabre mind came up with such revolting and despicable madness.

I’m not talking about Eli Roth, Hostel type madness, with blood, gore and violence (though some of these films do include such things), but more the psychological toll inflicted by these movies. They burrow deep into our consciousness, either reflecting something we know happens, and that we’ve read about in the paper, or showing that the decline of humanity is just around the corner.

Whether a fictional film, or those about historical events, these type of dark movies only warrant watching once, lest your sensibility, humility and sanity be stripped from you in an Indiana Jones style meltdown, melting faces and all.

Whilst these may be depressing, heartbreaking and yes, despicably violent, they are also decent, well acted and thrilling films from start to finish. It is simply their nature that they require watching only once and leave you crying, depressed and reaching for the whiskey bottle, either to settle your nerves, or drown your sorrows.

Following is our take on 25 of the darkest films ever to be made. Prepare for some truly miserable synopses…

As usual, spoilers follow.

25. Se7en

Brad Pitt, What's in the Box. Se7en
Photo: Miramax

Se7en, whilst truly a remarkable film, is undeniably dark. The director, David Fincher, had to fight fairly hard for the ending to be included, due to its macabre tone and alarming lack of a happiness, a prerequisite for blockbuster movies. This, in 1995, was truly a remarkable occurrence.

Fincher was apparently mistakenly sent the original script with the current ending in place, instead of the happier ending the writer has re-written. Having read it once he declared he would not do the film without the now famous ‘head-in-a-box’ ending, and how right he was. To imagine it ending any other way would completely diminish the message the film intended to portray.

Having said that, seeing Brad Pitt‘s despair after he realises that Kevin Spacey’s fabulous John Doe has in fact murdered his wife as part of his sadistic ritual is brilliant. Further anguish erupts when he realises that, if he were to take vengeance, he would be playing right into the killer’s hands, and completing the journey he set out to accomplish.

A truly harrowing choice to have to make.

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Malcolm is a hotshot copywriter and journalist with a flair for the written word. If he isn't writing fabulously entertaining articles for The Bloke Diary, he's working as a copywriter and blogger. If you like what you read, you can hire Malcolm for extremely competitive prices.