We all have movies we swear by, whether you're a Disney fanatic, a mystery fiend, a lover of romance, or a sucker for comedy. There are millions upon millions of movies to choose from (there's actually an approximation of 500,000 movies currently in existence (or, narrative fiction feature-length, theatrical-cinema films, according to quora.com who quotes Vogel 2011, 107), but let's be honest...after watching your favorites over and over, you tend to get a craving for something a little more interesting.
Say no more—in steps the thrilling, chilling, fulfilling mindbender to warp your brain and give you a new sense of perspective. Hold onto your seats and try not to trip out as we venture to a post-apocalyptic world, Area 51, the beloved Marvel universe, and many other twisted realities.
#1: 'The Shape of Water' (2018)
The name of this movie is vague and intriguing enough, but incredibly talented director Guillermo del Toro has so much in store for you, you won't be able to peel your eyes away. It's also got an Academy Award for Best Picture in its back pocket, so it goes to show it's pretty rad.
A gentle, mute cleaning lady employed by a high-security government research facility called Elisa is just trying to make a living. The movie is set in 1962 Baltimore, and an undiscovered, mysterious, and violent creature is introduced into her workplace. An unexpected and inseparable bond forms between them, and Elisa realizes that the survival of the creature lies in the hands of an egregious military official and a suspicious marine biologist. Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster and impeccable CGI.
*Warning: This movie contains some racy moments and full nudity. Don't get bent with kids around!
#2: 'Doctor Strange' (2016)
Long time Marvel fan and avid participants in the battle between the Marvel and DC fandoms, gather 'round. This film blew my mind. The CGI, directing and acting (who doesn't adore Benedict Cumberbatch?) put this exciting, trippy, and mystical thriller over the top.
Well-renowned narcissistic neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Dreamybatch) suffers a life-changing accident and is broken when he has to give up the career he's spent his whole life building. After expending all his resources trying to fix himself, he happens upon a mysterious and mystical art that might be his salvation. Dr. Strange would soon find out he's in for much more than he anticipated, and it could cost not only his life, but the fate of our whole world.
#3: '10 Cloverfield Lane' (2016)—A Stellar Reboot
Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) wakes up to find herself in an underground bunker with two men after being rendered unconscious in a car accident. Howard (John Goodman) tells her that a massive chemical attack has rendered the air unbreathable, and their only hope of survival is to remain inside. After escaping from the bunker, she isn't prepared for what she finds when she gets outside. Don't be sure about anything if you sit down to watch this film. There are surprises around every corner.
#4: 'Life of Pi' (2012)—Based on the Novel by Yann Martel
Breathtaking graphics and a heartbreaking story directed by Ang Lee made for a flawless interpretation of a young shipwreck survivor's journey back to civilization. Along the way, get a new perspective on the trifecta of the world's great religions, and a look into the bright and colorful cultures behind each one. Pi (played by Suraj Sharma) is trapped on a lifeboat with an unexpected companion. He makes many physical and internal discoveries while deserted. Try not to cry and pay close attention to catch all the highbrow references.
#5: 'The Giver' (2014)—Based On The Novel by Lois Lowry
In a futuristic Utopian society Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is blindly accepting of his community's conformist rules, until he begins spending time with the Giver, the sole keeper of their memories of the world before. After discovering the dark secrets kept by the leaders of his community, Jonas realizes he must escape to protect himself and the ones he loves—a task never successfully achieved before. Director Phillip Noyce projects the alien concept of uniformity and total control of the Utopian society perfectly, and it will make you think twice about how our government is run today.
#6 'Waterworld' (1995)—Oldie but a Goodie
While this movie was released significantly earlier than all of our other films, it's a classic mindbender that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Starring Kevin Costner as the Mariner, survivors in a post-apocalyptic world covered completely by water are struggling to stay alive. The Mariner has evolved, and possesses gills which help him to survive. After obtaining some unlikely companions and escaping from a violent group of pirates, he discovers one of his passengers may have the key to the phantom Dryland, fueling a deadly nautical pursuit.
#7: 'In Time' (2011)
In a futuristic world where time is money and the wealthy can live forever, a poor man gifted with a century of time after barely being able to stay alive from day to day is accused of murder. Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) and Sylvia Weis (Amanda Seyfried) are on the run from the authorities, and they're running out of time (literally).
With a mind-blowing concept and a fast-paced, exciting, and hair's-breadth escape, director Andrew Niccol delivers a plot that will have you holding your breath.
#8: 'Mad Max: Fury Road' (2015)
Years after the collapse of civilization, apocalyptic survivors are enslaved inside a desert fortress by a ruthless tyrant. When the warrior Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) leads a daring escape, she forges an unexpected alliance with Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy), a loner and former captive. Together, they try to outrun the Immortan Joe, hellbent to retrieve his wives and wreak revenge in a deadly high-speed chase through the Wasteland.
Director George Miller delivers a snap-neck film that will get your blood racing as fast as the intricate and weapon-equipped armored vehicles.