We assume that people are generally trustworthy. When we’re in a bind, you can often rely on the kindness of strangers to help. Car trouble? A stranger might be able to get you back on the road. Injured? Maybe a stranger knows First Aid.
But – as horror fans – we all know that things are not always as they seem. That over-enthusiastic new acquaintance of yours might not actually be all sunshine and rainbows. There’s a moment – like a switch – that flips and you suddenly realize that shit feels weird. Like, really weird.
So lock your doors and screen your calls, because I’ve collected 5 movies that provide an excellent example of that “oh no, they’re definitely crazy” moment that triggers our collective social anxiety.
“An unhinged war veteran (Michael Shannon) holes up with a lonely woman (Ashley Judd) in a spooky Oklahoma motel room. The line between reality and delusion is blurred as they discover a bug infestation.”
Michael Shannon is always convincing. There is something that’s a little unnerving about him, but you wouldn’t dare call him a liar, right? While our hapless leading lady struggles to find meaning beyond her previous relationship with an abusive Harry Connick Jr., she becomes smitten with the mysterious stranger and is increasingly drawn into his deranged obsession.
I want to mention that this was originally a stage play by Tracy Letts (who also wrote the screenplay for the film), also starring Michael Shannon. Now, watch this movie and imagine seeing him perform this role, live, directly in front of you. I would pay so much money to see that.
“When a videographer answers a Craigslist ad for a one-day job in a remote mountain town, he finds his client is not at all what he initially seems”
What did I tell you. Never trust a stranger, especially one that is super enthusiastic about your new friendship. Mark Duplass really shines in this found-footage cautionary tale, delivering a performance that is equal parts sympathetic and extraordinarily creepy. If you’ve ever been uncertain about meeting someone from an online ad, this will not help.
Classic example. The kindness of strangers is a beautiful thing, until it turns into something much more insidious. You would think that it would be an ideal situation – writer gets into car accident, writer is rescued by nurse who happens to be his #1 fan – but this film serves as a perfect example of why you should never trust anyone. They just might be obsessively crazy.
Funny Games (1997/2007)
They seemed like such nice young boys. You’d never suspect a thing, until they’re killing your dog and beating you with you own golf clubs. Even if they’ve been introduced to you by a mutual friend (or so it seemed), this film shows why you should still exercise caution when letting strangers into your home. And always keep your phone in your pocket. You never know when their intentions are sinister.
It’s all fun and games until it’s totally not because that stranger you auditioned to be your potential girlfriend was always crazy and now she’s decided to torture you. I hope that is a lesson learned, because you have flown right into the danger zone, friend.
Looking for another list of situations that you should avoid? Check out our list of 5 Movies You Wouldn’t Want to Survive.