By Daniel Faris.
Hollywood is no stranger when it comes to the obscure and the strange, putting out films that test the limits of our imaginations time and time again. Whether in a chilling horror film or a psychological drama, these movies lead us to question everything that we know.
So, what are some of the best mind-bending movies that will leave you puzzled and intrigued? Let’s take a look.
Fight Club (1999)
This film follows the mundane existence of the narrator and his encounter with his new friend, Tyler Durden. Together they form Fight Club, which eventually turns into the anarchist group Project Mayhem, and things start to get out of hand. While the film as a whole bends the mind, the audience is eventually confronted with difficult questions about the nature of identity and reality.
Donnie Darko (2001)
Dark satire combined with the haunted mind of the title character is a formula for a mind-bending movie in itself. But add in a giant rabbit named Frank, who makes Donnie follow him into a surreal world, and you’ll be sure to question your sanity. Cult classic indeed.
Following the actions of art auctioneer turned thief, the man who is after him, and a hypnotherapist entangled in a love affair with both men, Trance is truly mind melting. A huge plot twist concerning their past leaves you questioning whether you really understood anything that you just saw.
A dream, within a dream, within a dream? Inception focuses on altering the state of reality by controlling your dreams and the dreams of others, to the point where you can implant an idea into their minds. Characters begin to question whether they are indeed awake or still dreaming, creating a tragic storyline that culminates in a happy ending. But was it all real, or is the reality actually a dream? You are left questioning everything with a subtle yet intriguing final scene.
The Others (2001)
A religious mother, her two photosensitive children, and three new servants in a remote home in the country become entangled somewhere between the living and the dead. Once a certain secret is finally revealed, the mother must face horrible realities of her own.
Alfred Hitchcock is synonymous with the mind-bending thriller, but he really outdid himself with Vertigo. A detective follows his old friend’s wife upon his request, who leads the detective on a chase of mystery, infatuation and unfortunately for him, heights. Plus: she believes that she is possessed by an ancestor. Pretty strange.
Mulholland Drive (2001)
A woman with amnesia finds herself entering the home of a stranger after a car accident. But then we find out that the two women actually already knew each other, and the accident could have possibly been a set-up? David Lynch’s strange story, full of surrealism and plot twists, will get you thinking. It may also leave you slightly terrified.
After a heroin addict tries to get clean, we’re put face-to-face with some extremely graphic and discomforting depictions of the mind-altering state of withdrawal. Scenes include a dive into the most disgusting toilet in all of Scotland – a scene so cringe-worthy you won’t want to look away.
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
In this mind-bending film, Nobel Prize winner and schizophrenic John Nash believes that he was enlisted by a government agent to unravel a Soviet plan. After watching, you really feel like you have experienced what it’s like to live with such severe mental illness, proving that the movie does its job of making you question reality.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
An insecure husband goes off into the night after hearing his wife’s deepest desires for another man, where he finds himself following a path of a sexual nature. He then ends up at a secret party in a large mansion where orgies and danger are everywhere. Stanley Kubrick succeeds in leaving you confused and questioning what really happened throughout that night.
Shutter Island (2010)
A U.S. Marshal, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, travels to a high-security facility to investigate the disappearance of one of the patients. It seems straightforward enough initially, but as the film goes on, his tentative grip on reality begins to falter and he stumbles ever deeper down the rabbit hole. By the end of the film, you’ll be questioning just who’s looking back at you from behind those haunted eyes.
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