Opinion

The Darkest Genre of Cinema: Uncomfortable, but Intriguing

April 22, 2015
4 min read

“Violence is one of the most fun things to watch.” – Quentin Tarantino

Like every other organization in the world, cinema also has a dark side. Or so, the unexplored human minds seeking optimism would say. Others, like me, would say that the dark side of cinema is what makes it even more intriguing and truthful to the real world. Cinema without its viewers, admirers or even critics would cease to exist and for the same reason it is very important for the creative minds throughout the world to explore each and every genre there is, and keep creating what the critics call as “Masterpiece”. But I’m not here to talk about all genres but one: The Dark and the Disturbing.


To all the fans of this genre out there, films like ‘Oldboy‘, ‘Dogtooth’, ‘Salo’ and ‘Requiem for a Dream‘ would probably end up in the favorites list. Just like Heavy Metal in the world of music, films belonging to this genre are downgraded and trivialized very frequently. Censors and parents lose their composure at the sight of blood and do not hesitate before slamming the film with an A or R certification. Every frame in a film is a piece of art coming straight from the heart of its creator and the films belonging to this genre are no exceptions. Sure, there could be a lot of violence or gore or elements like the Oedipus Complex that would certainly make sections of the audience get up from their seats and leave. But in the end, parts of these films , ethical or not, expose you to the truth in the world. These films are a window of knowledge and any sane mind would not indulge in the activities shown in the film. Mind you, there is a difference between being intrigued and being inspired.

It’s only when the mind is twisted, the film becomes demented and deranged to an endless degree. Take ‘Oldboy’ for instance. Not only is this film one of the best revenge flicks of all time but it brings together all the elements a fan of the dark genre would want in a film in the first place. Combining the elements of incest, graphic violence and a never-dying thirst for vengeance, this Korean film came out in 2003 and instantly became the flagship of the genre. Every scene in the film is strangely vivid and intriguing as the characters are very unique and the environment is brutally suffocating. What makes the film gripping is the lethal violence and bloodshed, which is inevitable in every successful revenge sage and this is without a doubt, the grandest one. Speaking of revenge based Korean films, ‘I Saw the Devil’ doesn’t fall back far behind. In fact, Min-Sik Choi ends up giving a whole new cool persona to the character of a heartless stone cold serial killer.

Apart from Park Chan Wook’s ‘Vengeance Trilogy’ and Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill Saga’, there are quite a few films like ‘I Spit on Your Grave’, ‘The Last Circus’ (Spanish), ‘The Horseman’ (Australian) and ‘The Skin I Live in’ (Spanish) that do not shy away and stay true to the world of pain and grotesque. They are a proof to the notion that Revenge is the strongest emotion in a human being and it holds the capability of driving both men and women to take extreme actions to satisfy their thirst for blood and vengeance. Enough of that can make one go berserk.

Moving on, even though revenge sagas are the most popular films of this genre, films such as ‘Dogtooth’ (Greek) ,‘Salo : 120 Days of Sodom’ (Italian) and ‘A Clockwork Orange’ find leisure in bizarre and eccentric setups in which there are no moral grounds whatsoever. These films will make you feel like falling into an endless abyss. Some viewers would call it meaningless violence but I’d call it art, just like all the other films which required a lot of heart, soul and courage to be put on paper and the screen. But isn’t that the whole point of making a film? To express your ideas and experiment your creativity on the screen? To take a risk and become vulnerable to being judged by half the world? Without the courage to take that risk, we won’t have masterpieces and we won’t have legends.

Read More: The 10 Very Violent But Enjoyable Movies

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