People Break Down The Most Disturbing Documentaries They've Ever Seen

Movies are meant to make us feel things.

What those things are is intimate to each individual.

Art shines a light on the here and now.

And no art or film is better at that than documentaries.

Thanks to the golden age of television we are inundated with documentaries.

They give us a glimpse into real life.

And real life... is horrible.

Some documentaries leave more nighrtmares than Michale Myers.

Redditor CoatedTrout4 wanted to discuss the documentaries that have made us feel uneasy, so they asked:

"What Are Some Disturbing Documentaries?"

I've been SHOOK by far too many documentaries.

But they are so important.


"The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez :( heartbreaking and so upsetting as the audience learns about how many opportunities this boy’s life could have been saved."


"Sixty complaints were filed against the abusers between 2005 and 2012. Sixty. F**king. Complaints. Teachers called social services. A family called social services. Police officers reported it to their Sheriffs, risking their jobs in the process. And yet nothing was done. It's unbelievable. I can't wrap my head around it."


Two of a Kind

"Tell Me Who I Am. It’s about two twins, one of whom lost his memory after an accident at 18. They unravel a dark secret that only one remembers. Worth a watch but really dark."


"It's crazy how you can look at both of them. The one with the memories looks so tired and worn in the eyes, the other doesn't have that same look. Then there's that moment you realize you were so wrong with your assumptions of the story."


"I know, it's really sad. It was nice to see that they otherwise seemed to have a great relationship. I can see how having those memories while your brother did not make you bitter."



"Abducted in Plain Sight is strange. Man is obsessed with a friend's young daughter, kidnaps and 'marries' her twice, somewhat with the parent's consent."

"I heard about it in a similar Reddit thread a few years ago. Available on Netflix."


"When the parents went to press charges and the ole boy said 'Press charges and I'll tell the press how I had sexual relations with both of you' so the parents DROPPED THE CHARGES because apparently - their reputation was more important than the well being of their daughter. What a bunch of bulls**t. That girl deserved so much better."


In the Wilderness

"Grizzly Man by Werner Herzog. It's about bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell who went to live with Alaskan brown bears during the salmon spawning season. It's only slightly disturbing, but it is fascinating.


"I remember getting increasingly frustrated with this guy the more I watched this - especially when he would treat the other animals like pets, change the water flow after the rains, and basically give the middle finger to the park officials when they told him he had to move after so many days to you know... avoid potentially getting attacked/eaten."

"What was really interesting was how this guy's friends/family thought he was doing so much good, and everyone else who was interviewed said he was doing the opposite."


This is why I only sleep in at home and in real buildings.


"The Act of Killing is pretty wild."


"The Look of Silence. Family of the victims watching The Act of Killing and decide to meet the killers."


"I was a therapist for survivors of war trauma for years. This movie was fascinating and horrifying. I hadn’t spent a lot of time thinking about the torturers, just the tortured. But most humans are not equipped for hurting others. This knowledge is reassuring and mortifying."

Sad Best Friends GIF by Lisa VertudachesGiphy

"There isn’t a lot of free will to be exercised in a war. War is a meat grinder, it’s just disgusting every time. There is no justification good enough, no glory, there’s just the propaganda machine of war. We’re not meant to kill each other. How dare we ask others to kill for us, then bring home the survivors, call them heroes, but shame and silence them when they tell us how they suffered following the orders they were given."


Return to Sender

"Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father is a devastatingly disquieting documentary."


"It's just so disturbing because the woman was so obviously unhinged, and she was continually allowed access to the child."


"Yep and as soon as I said this guy has a great friend, I hope his son appreciates what his friend is doing for him. I wonder where his son is now, then you get the bombshell, and I was pure seething rage at that moment."


No one knew...

"There’s Something Wrong with Aunt Diane."


"While I'm fairly certain that her husband and sister-in-law are mostly pushing the she had a medical issue, no one could have seen this coming narrative to reduce liability in the subsequent lawsuits, my major takeaway from this doc was just how many people have no idea that their loved one is an alcoholic."

"I'm an alcoholic, and for the majority of my active addiction, no one knew. I drank mugs of red wine first thing in the morning from the 4L box I kept by my bed. I did shots of whiskey before major presentations to keep myself loose. I can tell you with 100% certainty that if you met me during that decade, there was no way I was sober. I worked in finance and did client meetings/presentations eight hours a day, five days a week."

"And I was so incredibly drunk the whole time. No one knew, and I know this because when I got sober two years ago, multiple people who had spent significant amounts of time with me during my drunk years were shocked that I thought I had a problem - 'You only drink on weekends!' No, you only saw me drink on weekends."

"Alcoholics don't all wander the earth falling over, slurring, and pissing their pants. For some of us, we just get what we need to survive the day and make sure nothing can stop that from happening. Like letting pesky family members who could cut us off in on the secret."

"ETA: If you need support in figuring out your relationship with alcohol, r/stopdrinking is a great place to start asking questions."



"Tickled was pretty f**ked up."


"Cannot believe I had to scroll this far down to see this. This documentary is insane. It has such a simple premise, then it gets weird, then it gets weirder, then it gets downright scary, and by the end, you are made painfully aware of how easy it is to manipulate other people’s lives and their public perception if you have enough money."


Hell on Earth

"'Killing Fields,' the movie documenting the slaughter of millions of Cambodians at the hands of Pol Pot's people. Skulls, pelvises, and spines lying everywhere in the blood-filled ditches. The purest form of Hell on Earth."


"Late to the party here, but if you can find a copy of A Cambodian Odyssey by Dr. Haing Ngor, grab it with both hands and don’t let go."

"Dr. Ngor played Dan Prith in the movie, but he himself has the most amazing and tragic story of surviving the Khmer Rouge. Made it to America, won an Oscar… and was gunned down in LA. I treasure my copy of the book."



"The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia. Follows the White family who just completely neglects their kids, the parents, rampant drug and alcohol abuse, and attempted murder. It’s a sad look at the daily life of severely impoverished folks in stereotypical Appalachia."



Oh No Wow GIF by The Great British Bake OffGiphy

"Evil genius, is a true crime story of a pizza man who robs a bank with a bomb around his neck. He is a victim of some very disturbed people."


"I was shook by this one. I love documentaries and am rarely really affected by them, but this one did it. Just knowing that you are going to die and no one can help you. And we see it unfold in front of us… chilling."


Documentaries are too much.

I need fiction.

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