Tossin’ It Out There: What do YOU think of “Dark” Movies?

This week’s MTESS, “Se7en”, drew a great response… but a number of comments touched on how dark a movie it was, and how either they didn’t like the film themselves because of that, or that they’d have trouble recommending the film to others.

Many movies choose to go to the dark side, to varying degrees. Some people love that. Others get put off. It often results in a challenging film… and perhaps, in certain circumstances, hampers the film’s ability to reach a wide audience.

What do you think? When a movie is bleak, like say, “The Road”, or walks on the dark side of humanity,  maybe say, like … “Natural Born Killers”, is it a turn off for you? Do you check out? Maybe you’re drawn to that sort of subject matter…

Whatever it is, let us know! How do you feel about “Dark” Movies?

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87 thoughts on “Tossin’ It Out There: What do YOU think of “Dark” Movies?

  1. There are good dark films and bad ones, of course. I can enjoy a good dark film, though I’ll admit most of the time it’ll be a film I only watch once (dark comedies being an exception). But there’s such a thing as too dark — where a film winds up trying too hard, and becomes impossible to take seriously. That was one of my problems with Sin City — it wasn’t believable on any level because it was just screaming “Look at me, I’m DARK!” all the time.

    • Uhhhhhhhh…. I’ll give you that Sin City wasn’t believable on any level. I mean, it definitely wasnt striving for realism. And yeah, definitely, it was basically trying to be “Super Noir” if you will… and be as dark as it could be (Well, Miller’s comics were, the movie was just being faithful)

      But I dug it. I really like that one. Style carried the day there for me

  2. I always get kidded because darker movies are my go-to when I’m home sick. Temperature’s up over 99? Pass me my copy of THE PIANIST!

    Besides the fact that I’ve always been attracted to stories with weight (and darker films usually qualify as such), I think some strange schadenfreude part of me likes knowing that as crummy as I’m feeling…someone else out there has it worse.

    • LOL. Oh my lord… just thinking about watching the Pianist again makes me squirm. I mean, great great movie, but God, so tough! That and Hotel Rwanda… Geez!

      There is something to the fact that the weighty stories have that darkness in them… maybe its the same function that leads all news to be bad. You know? If its something good that happened, its not news. LOL

  3. I’m a fan of the dark films. But, like you, they have to be believably dark. I had the same problem with you about Sin City. Too forced. Too melodramatically dark. Give me something like Se7en or Zodiac or Gone Baby Gone. Those will tear a hole in your soul.

    (I do believe the Sin City DVDs and blu-rays have written on them “Oooooo Look at me! I’m all dark!!!)

    • I love all the movies you mention above… but I gotta defend Sin City. One of the truest comic book adaptations ever… and that spirit and tone you (and Morgan) are hating on was the primary focus of it. It was all about that hyper-noir super dark bad ass tone.

      I understand if it didnt register with you, but I thought it was great. :)

      • Something about Sin City just didn’t register with me whatsoever. None of the stories, well maybe the final one. But it just felt too forced.

        And that’s what makes the world such an interesting place!

  4. Oh I love dark movies, I find them so much deeper than other ones. The Road was a great film, but it was hard to get through all of that hopelessness. But Natural Born Killers is one of my favorites – it has a fair amount of dark, great characters and also humour in it. I find the movies dealing with dark side of people to be fascinating and they often give actors a lot to work with and really let them show their talent.

  5. Most of my favorites are dark. It’s tricky though, a lot of films aim for dark but only arrive at contrived. Dark plus believable, compelling characters is usually the key. I personally find the deepest stories there. I’d rather keep the light stuff for real life if possible.

    • :D If only life was as happy as a rom com. LOL

      Just like any other movie, they need to be well rounded. Good script, etc… I’ve seen youre write ups I know some of the characters you find compelling :D Good stuff, Brent, good stuff.

  6. I like Dark movies as much as the light fair, but a constant diet of dark I just couldn’t stomach. If every movie had to have a happy ending it would be very bland indeed. I like how darker movies tend to make me hope for a positive resolution, then BAM…no such ending. It’s refreshing and keeps me balanced.

    • Keeps you on your toes, right? I mean, if every movie had a happy ending we would never wonder how a movie ended! We’d know!

      But youre right, you cant possibly just have a movie diet of nothing but depressing fare…. no way. :)

  7. I love dark movies. Hell, Requiem for a Dream is one of my absolute favorites. I have seen it multiple times when everyone else struggles to make it through even once. I’ll take that over forced happiness any day.

    • LOL. I can picture popping that one in on a date. It’s my favorite movie! :D

      Awww, man. Funny. I’m with you though. Great flick. I dont know that I prefer light stuff over dark or vice versa… I think the “Forced” element is the key bad element.

  8. I do love a good dark movie, provided it has real substance to it and isn’t just trying too hard, but something that toys with your mind and you can’t shake it for days after. I remember going to see Se7en when it was released, and even though I’d been spoiled for the ending beforehand (punishment for going to see an 18-rated movie when I was only 17? Pfft!), it didn’t detract from the experience, which was one of great discomfort throughout, but an oddly welcome discomfort if you know what I mean.

    As for dark movies that didn’t quite work for me, Hard Candy comes to mind. I was entertained by it, and it was technically dark in subject matter, but I found the lack of believability to undo whatever real darkness it was aiming to achieve. It certainly didn’t have the kind of effect a film like Se7en had.

    • Haven’t seen “Hard Candy”, but pretty sure everything Ive heard about it so far was good. First negative review I’ve come across so to speak. Not that its in my watch queue anyways, LOL.

      That sucks about having Se7en spoiled for you :( Someone spoiled Fight Club for me. I’m still bitter!

      I would have liked the chance to have figured it out on my own!

      • Hard Candy was actually a good film, so definitely no negative review from me, but it just didn’t hit that true darkness for me. Putting that aside, it’s entertaining and the performances from the two leads make for a captivating 90 or so minutes, so I’d recommend it :)

        But how dare someone spoil Fight Club for you :o I’d be bitter at that too. Did they not know the first rule of Fight Club?

        (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one. I’ll get my coat now…)

  9. I love movies that are all sweetness and light. i am a textbook chick flick lover….. However, life is not all rainbows and ponies…. a glimpse into the under belly of Hell is good every once in a while. And if it is a smart movie,( like se7en) I’m all over it being dark!

  10. Bit of a weird question, I like all kinds of films but I also understand why some people don’t like darker films. But yes I do like dark films, but I would go nuts if that’s all I watched :D

  11. It depends on the content for me. I don’t mind them and sometimes they can be enjoyably thrilling. But I have to chime in on the believability thread mentioned. It ceases to be dark once it crosses the threshold of not seeming real. The idea of the reality of a situation so dark really existing is what makes it truly dark and twisted.

  12. I think Morgan basically closed the book on this one. There are good dark movies and bad ones. Period. I don’t think believability has anything to do with whether films of a darker bent are successful or not, either; a dark film only ceases to be dark when it ceases to be dark. I mean, let’s be serious here– Taxi Driver is ridiculously dark, and yet even that film crosses a threshold of realism. It’s still a dark film, though, but that’s because of what it’s exploring and not because it’s shooting for realism.

    Look at it this way– how many horror movies in the last five years can you name that claim to be “based on a true story”, and out of those, how many are actually all that scary? Even the Marble Hornets web series, which purports to be 100% real, gets insanely dull after a time and that’s largely because of the rules it sets for itself. Filmmakers and stories– good ones anyhow– don’t need to directly and overtly impress upon their audiences that what they’re seeing is “real”; if the filmmaker has any talent and if the story is any good, it won’t matter how “real” the subject matter actually is.

    Here’s another example: The Dark Knight. Grim as hell. Totally phony and unrealistic. Yet it’s still a great dark film.

  13. Absolutely drawn to them! I may not want to re-watch a dark film endlessly but five star films are more often than not dark and disturbing and leave you drained. Like Fincher, I like movies that scar!

    • LOL. Fincher is pretty much the poster boy for sick movies that’ll mess you up, isn’t he? LOL

      I think the fact that so many great films are dark is that you really can’t have drama without risk, or danger, and so the movies that are absolutely seeped in that wind up being… disturbing, like you said.

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