Pearl and Speak No Evil are two horror movies currently trending and represent the very opposite of each other. On one hand, Pearl is a great example of a movie about an ordinary person fully breaking bad, and the snowballing events that motivate the young woman to turn into a vengeful killer. On the other hand, Speak No Evil shows the limits of politeness when one doesn’t realize the right moment to draw a line in someone’s harmful behavior.
However, this trope isn’t exclusive to horror films. Many dramas and comedies delivered great stories about seemingly normal people going wild due to the revolting state of society.
10/10 Nightmare Alley (2021)
Nightmare Alley is a fairly recent remake of the 1947’s noir film of the same name, following the ambitious, but unemployed Stan looking for shelter in a traveling carnival. Discovering a natural talent with words and deception, he sets to carry out his own business, engaging in illicit acts seeking great fortune through manipulative and misleading means.
Halfway through the movie, Stan has already become a completely different person. Far from being a perfectly humble man, he starts to give in to his greedy impulses, getting rid of his friends, lovers, and morals in favor of getting rich, unaware of the dangerous consequences that his actions might bring about.
9/10 The American Friend (1977)
The American Friend might be one of the most unconventional hitman movies out there. A slow-burn thriller on the surface, the film ends up being specifically about the friendship of two men as they support each other in a deceiving crime journey.
Dennis Hopper plays the iconic Tom Ripley, a popular anti-hero that also appeared in several other film adaptations. When he meets a quiet picture framer who may or may not be dying from a mysterious illness, he ignites in the ordinary man a thrill for the danger, suggesting that he would make a good hitman.
8/10 Eden Lake (2008)
Eden Lake has the potential to be considered one of the most revolting movies ever made. As the film goes on, every single character in it starts off as ordinary and slowly become terrible monsters. A young couple has their romantic getaway weekend ruined by a group of aggressive teenagers, igniting a series of events with deadly consequences.
While the horrific acts committed by the terrifying teenagers don’t really come as a surprise, considering they’re introduced as antagonists from the get-go, the moment the main characters begin to break bad, in particular the woman, represents a turning point in Eden Lake. And the gut-wrenching final moments speak for themselves…
7/10 Timecrimes (2007)
Timecrimes focuses on a protagonist who goes to extremes in order to clean the mess he made, only to snowball it into an even worse one. One of the most innovative indie time travel movies out there, the movie mixes dark comedy and sci-fi as the ordinary main character gradually breaks bad with every attempt to fix the time loop he creates.
The protagonist accidentally travels back in time an hour, and finding himself is the first of many disastrous events he takes part in. Resorting to violence at first as an impulsive solution, it then quickly becomes the only option to save everyone who gets caught up in the middle, and the consequences are devastating.
6/10 Parasite (2019)
It’s difficult to imagine what Parasite would escalate into taking into account only its initial hour, filled with quirky humor and a strong social commentary. The social commentary prevails until the end, but the narrative quickly gives way to thrilling twists and ultimately reaches a boiling point where characters go wild after learning they have nothing to lose.
Parasite tells the story of a socially struggling family slowly inserting themselves into the wealthy livelihood of a successful couple. After an unexpected incident threatens to expose their ploy, things begin to spiral out of control.
5/10 The Witch (2015)
The Witch offers a new take on witchcraft without rejecting traditional elements of the lore. In fact, most of the narrative unravels through mysterious symbolism and suggestive horror elements, but in an unsettling way never seen before.
Anya Taylor-Joy plays the young peasant who breaks bad in the film, abused and oppressed by her family’s religious fanaticism and their unfounded suspicion that she might have something to do with the curse that falls upon them. In her case, all she needed was a little push from evil to be introduced to a brand-new world, where she can live free of judgment.
4/10 Bottle Rocket (1996)
A must-watch for any Wes Anderson fan, Bottle Rocket was the director’s debut film and established in many ways his distinctive style. With characters typically peculiar and a plot that meanders through unexpected directions, always in an engaging and unsuspecting way, the film follows three friends planning to pull off a robbery and hit the road on the run.
The three characters are extremely different from each other which causes a lot of conflicts among them, but their crime spree goal ends up being put into practice, after all, ensuring that at least of them breaks bad.
3/10 Fargo (1996)
Fargo is an outrageously funny satire on how ordinary people resort to violent measures to make up for the daily frustrations of a decaying society. The protagonist, Jerry, is an unhappy salesman who decides to orchestrate a plot to kidnap his own wife and demand money from her father in exchange.
What starts as a casual crime without complications escalates way too quickly into a bloody mess and a pile of corpses, with the insistent police posing a constant threat.
2/10 Midsommar (2019)
Midsommar is a great slow-burn horror that takes its time to develop the main character’s psyche and what truly motivates her to break bad in the end, leaving a taste of “good for her” in the viewer’s mouth.
Blending folk horror conventions with an inventive structure, such as the bold idea of building up tension and suspense in plain daylight, Midsommar follows a vulnerable young woman trying to cope with a traumatizing incident, taken by her boyfriend to the peaceful Swedish countryside only to witness a bizarre pagan ritual taking place.
1/10 Falling Down (1993)
Falling Down addresses all the violent thoughts that pop up in the minds of any ordinary worker every once in a while, the difference is that the movie puts all of these thoughts into practice. On the day of his daughter’s birthday, every small thing seems to contribute so D-Fens won’t make it home in time.
Frustrated with all the various flaws he sees in society, from the morning traffic jam to fake hamburger ads, D-Fens breaks bad and spirals out of control, venting his rage on the decaying world around him in a way everyone has fantasized at least once in their lives.