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Mind-Altering Cinema: 15 Films that Take You on a Trip Down the Rabbit Hole

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When talking about films, specifically surreal thrillers, “fever dream” gets thrown around quite a bit in reference to psychological dramas because of how they make people feel- disturbed.

Recently, one Movie lover asked for fever-dream-like psychological horror recommendations, and fellow critics pitched in to offer their favorite movie suggestions. These suggestions will make you think twice about reality.

1 – Under the Silver Lake

Image Credit: A24.

Perhaps the most grounded film among the ten selected, Under the Silver Lake, was mentioned.

As someone who personally loves this movie, I couldn’t pass up the chance to recommend it. The film follows an unemployed young man in Los Angeles who becomes obsessed with a potential conspiracy surrounding the disappearance of a beautiful neighbor. But that conspiracy includes so many strands that it's impossible to know what’s connected and meaningful and what’s utter nonsense.

2 – Skinamarink

Image Credit: IFC Midnight.

The newest horror movie isn’t controversial for any extreme violence or offensiveness but because it’s so abstract.

Throughout the film, we see images of bare walls, old cartoons, and Legos strewn about a carpeted floor while a haunted house story plays out in audio.

Wealth of Geeks' own Andrea Thompson was negative on the film, and even the person who suggested it said, “I'm [sic] still not sure if I liked it or not lol. But it definitely [sic] fits the request.”

3 – Videodrome

Image Credit: Universal.

Both Crimes of the Future and Videodrome were recommended, which isn’t surprising given that the original post included David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch as an example. They’re my two favorites in the director’s filmography.

As one commenter said, “Videodrome capture[s] the fever-like feeling pretty good” in its story about a man whose world begins to change after he sees the titular mind-altering TV program.

4 – Jacob’s Ladder

Image Credit: TriStar Pictures.

Few films introduce what might be a twist as early as Jacob’s Ladder, which many users recommended.

The movie follows a Vietnam War veteran more than a decade after the end of the war but suggests that perhaps his world is not real and that he’s actually dead. It’s not a twist so much as an existential quandary that the rest of the movie then toys with to unnerving effect. 

5 – The Cell

Image Credit: New Line Cinema.

One user recommended the stunningly beautiful film The Cell, which literally deals with dreams, or at least the interior psychological worlds in that dreams are born.

The movie follows a woman who journeys into the mind of a serial killer to discover where he has hidden his last victim so she can be saved. The scenes in the real world are thrilling and evoke The Silence of the Lambs, but the sequences in the characters’ minds are breathtakingly unreal.

6 – The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Image Credit: Curzon Artificial Eye.

Several respondents recommended Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer. The movie retells Euripides’s Iphigenia in Aulis in a modern setting. But that setting isn’t quite our world; the people in the film speak in clipped, overly direct sentences that are almost robotic.

That style of dialogue only makes the already disturbing film, about a man who must kill one of his two children to ensure the safety of the rest of his family, more horrifying.

7 – Don’t Look Now

Image Credit: British Lion Films.

Another personal favorite of mine, Don’t Look Now, was suggested fitting the fever dream request perfectly.

The film, based on a short story by Daphne Du Maurier, centers on a couple who move to Venice after the accidental death of their daughter and the different ways they respond to the tragedy.

The father begins to see a small figure in a red coat like the one the young girl wore when she died, and the mother befriends two sisters who claim to be able to communicate with the dead.

It’s a hazy, gorgeously atmospheric film that feels like a dark fairy tale.

8 – Mandy

Image Credit: RLJE Films.

Many respondents recommended Mandy, which follows a man as he seeks revenge on the strange cult that kidnapped his girlfriend. It’s a highly stylized movie that’s full of psychedelic images. It is also one of the best movies of Nicolas Cage’s storied career

9 – Melancholia

Image Credit: Magnolia Pictures.

Several Lars von Trier projects were recommended, including Antichrist and the TV show The Kingdom. But Melancholia seems to fit the bill for a fever dream best. The movie is split into two halves that literalize the mental states of depression and anxiety.

The first half centers on Justine (Kirsten Dunst) as she self-destructs on her wedding night. The latter focuses on Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) as she suffers more and more debilitating anxiety in the face of a possible planetary collision.

Like The Killing of a Sacred Deer, the plot takes place in a world almost like ours but removed enough to make all the difference.

10 – Meshes of the Afternoon

Image Credit: Maya Deren.

The one mention of Meshes of the Afternoon offers me the first opportunity to write thread curation to highlight a short. Directed by legendary avant-garde filmmaker Maya Deren, Meshes of the Afternoon clocks in at just over twenty minutes but manages to make every second count.

As little as there is, its narrative follows a woman who repeatedly attempts and fails to catch a mysterious figure. Still, the atmosphere and imagery make Meshes of the Afternoon a fever dream classic.

11 – Cure (1997)

Image Credit: Daiei Film.

People are committing crimes they have no recollection of doing in Cure. One detective is on a mission to figure out what is happening in this gruesome storyline. This crime drama part psychological thriller will leave you questioning how bizarre things are.

12 – Beyond the Black Rainbow (2010)

Image Credit: Mongrel Media.

In Beyond the Black Rainbow, a scientist decides to study a girl he finds out is psychic. He's determined to figure out the connection between science and the spiritual realm. This science fiction horror film will leave you on edge as the woman tries to figure out how to escape the futuristic-obsessed institution.

13 – Mother! (2017)

Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Mother! is a thriller movie that has left a lot of viewers pondering what the movie means. Our main characters don't have proper names, and as the sinister events unfold, the craziness continues to grow. The entire world this film is set in feels off in many ways, putting everyone on edge as they watch the film from beginning to end.  

14 – Crimes of the Future (2022)

Image Credit: Vertigo Films.

In a futuristic, dystopian society, humans are forced to adapt to a completely synthetic environment. The metamorphic transformations of the different humans in the movie result in a very strange viewing experience for everyone. 

This film stars Viggo Mortensen, Kristen Stewart, and many other actors from around the world.

15 – I'm Thinking of Ending Things (2020)

Image Credit: Netflix.

This surrealist movie is about a simple premise: a young woman meets her boyfriend's family for the first time. As they spend more time on the secluded farm, everything she knew before arriving has changed and time and life are not what she knew.

Source: Reddit.

This post first appeared on The Financial Pupil, please read the originial post: here

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Mind-Altering Cinema: 15 Films that Take You on a Trip Down the Rabbit Hole


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