Donnie Darko (2001)
This movie is a wild ride from beginning to end. Though it could hardly be filed under the same category as traditional horror films, this movie is by far the scariest I’ve ever seen (and I promise you all that I have seen my fair share of films). It also should be said that this movie is definitely not for younger audiences, as it is rather graphic and violent (and by rather I mean very).
The plot follows teenager Donnie, as he tackles the enormous task that is navigating high school. A disaster occurs early on in the movie and it isn’t long before things start to take a rapid decent down a spiral of confusion, debauchery and crime. Donnie must deal with a demonic presence in rabbit form that follows him around and ultimately leads him to his demise.
I won’t say much more in regards to the plot for two reasons:
- I am recommending the movie and wouldn’t want to spoil the plot for you all and
- I’m still not confident that I have a good grasp on the movie myself.
The cast is stellar, though, and includes notable actors/actresses such as Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, Patrick Swayze, Holmes Osbourne, and Drew Barrymore.
WHY I AM RECOMMENDING THIS MOVIE
I have a love/hate relationship with movies like this one. This movie plunged me into the inner depths of my mind, which prompted a level of thought and reflection that I was not quite ready to experience. It provokes the most uncomfortable thoughts because it deals with the finitude of life. I watched it for the first time while at the Governor’s School of North Carolina during the summer of 2014. I went with a group of my friends and after the film ended, we returned to our dorm rooms in total silence (it should be said that this particular group of people are not the type to ever stop talking…ever). We were all so incredibly lost in our own thoughts, so much so, that we didn’t even trade “goodnight” sentiments. We literally walked to our respective rooms in total silence.
The first thing I did upon returning to my dorm room was pick up my phone to text my parents. Seriously, at eleven o’clock at night, I texted my parents and said something along the lines of “You are never to allow anything bad to happen to you. You can never get sick. You can never go away. You must promise me that you will live as long as possible.” The movie honestly shook me THAT much. I felt the need to not only tell the people I love that I love them, but desperately shout it at them.
The next morning at breakfast, the group reunited and we all learned that we all ended up doing really similar things the night before. One of my friends called his brothers. My best girlfriend there called her boyfriend back home. Everyone was thrown into an existential crisis and for the first time, we realized that our lives, which we all held so dear and up to that point had taken for granted (because let’s face it: what seventeen year old doesn’t feel unstoppable?), could end in a matter of weeks, days, or seconds.
After getting over the initial discomfort and, for lack of better term, culture-shock, I was able to take my gained-insight from this movie and use it to form a new lease on life. I really took aspects of my life and analyzed them: Where was it that I was excelling? In which areas was I coming up short? What is it that I honestly love to do? Am I living my life according to what is expected of me or am I living my life in the ways based on the prioritizing of my well-being and happiness?
These are great questions that were wrought out of a movie that I did not like at all. That being said, I’m not recommending this movie to you because it is comfortable, or fun, or even remotely enjoyable. I’m recommending this movie to you so that you might not just “step” out of your comfort zone, but be violently pulled out of it into an environment where you question everything. Question everything, and if you don’t like the answers that you are producing, change them.
I hope everyone’s hump day has been fantastic! What are your favorite cult classics?!
Love and light! — EK.