5 movies so upsetting you can only watch them once

In a world where we so often suppress our feelings throughout the mundanity of our day-to-day lives, films have become a vital medium that allows us to experience the entire spectrum of emotions — including fear or intense sadness — from the safe space of our own homes.

Even though we crave to have this wide range of experiences, there are some things that we can’t bear to go through twice. These horror films are so disturbing that you’ll only be able to sit through one viewing.

1. We Need to Talk About Kevin

This thriller follows the life of Eva who sacrifices her successful career and bohemian lifestyle in order to have a child with her husband. However, when her son grows up into a sociopathic teenager she is forced to address the consequences of her son’s horrific actions.

The film was released in 2011 and stars A-list actors Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly. Ezra Miller also does a fantastic job of portraying Kevin and has since gone on to great success in films such as Perks of Being a Wallflower, as well as playing the role of The Flash in Justice League.

2. Dancer in the Dark

This musical follows the life of Selma, a Czechoslovakian immigrant with rapidly deteriorating eyesight who travels to the United States with her son and attempts to save up enough money for an operation that would save him from a hereditary degenerative eye disease.

This heartbreaking film was released in 2000 and nominated for an Oscar for best original song. Starring in the movie is Icelandic singer Björk, who is best known for her song Army of Me.

3. Hotel Rwanda

This film is based on the true events that occurred in Rwanda in 1994, when mass genocide was committed against the members of the Tutsi minority ethnic group. It follows hotel manager Paul as he attempts to save thousands of Tutsi lives by housing them within the confines of the hotel walls.

The fact this film was based on a genocide that occurred less than 30 years ago makes it all the more distressing. Don Cheadle starred in the film and was nominated for an Oscar for best actor for his incredible performance.

4. Grave of the Fireflies

This Japanese anime film is set in WW2 and follows the lives of two siblings who struggle to survive when an American firebombing separates them from their parents.

The film was released in 1988 and still boasts a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was produced by Studio Ghibli which has become well renowned for incredible animes such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Howl’s Moving Castle.

5. Irreversible

After a woman is brutally raped by a stranger in an underpass, her boyfriend and ex-boyfriend decide to take matters into their own hands in order to find justice.

What is so incredible about this movie is that it plays in reverse chronological order, starting at the end and finishing at the beginning. The film was nominated for a Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2002 and was so horrifying it divided viewers as shown on Rotten Tomatoes where critics gave it 57% but audiences gave it 80%.

Prepare yourself for a whirlwind of emotions as you watch these traumatic films and see if you feel like you could tackle them more than once.

About the author