Top 10 Most Confusing Movies of All Time

Top 10 Most Confusing Movies of All Time

Some movies can be hard to keep up with, while others are point-blank confusing. This is often done on purpose to leave the audience scratching their heads and feeling incredibly uncomfortable.


Movies like Shutter Island and Some other films are so successful at this that they split opinions and remain open for debate for many years. And today we’ll be taking a look at the top ten most confusing movies ever made.


#10. Eraserhead (1977)

Eraserhead (1977)

What is dubbed as an experimental horror film, Eraserhead was written, directed, produced, and edited by esteemed director David Lynch early on in his career.


The film is regarded as one of the most bizarre and confusing films ever made, with aspects included that represent deeper meanings.


The story follows Henry, who lives in a bleak apartment surrounded by an industrial landscape. When he discovers that an earlier fling with a woman named Mary X left her pregnant, he marries her and moves her in with him.


Things take a strange turn when the couple’s baby turns out to be a lizard-like creature that won’t stop crying. Other characters, including a disfigured lady who lives inside a radiator in Henry’s building, adds to his troubles.


#9. Shutter Island (2010)

Shutter Island (2010)

After a murderer manages to escape, two US marshals arrive at the Ashcliffe Hospital, a fortress like insane asylum located on a remote coastal island.


While the two tried to work out how the woman vanished from a locked room, a freak storm prevents them from leaving. Things take a strange turn as one of the marshals begins to lose track of reality.


It is the ending of the film that is extremely confusing, which has led to many people watching the movie multiple times. Even till this day, many leave the ending open for debate.

Before Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio decided to make Shutter Island, they were originally going to make The Wolf of Wall Street. However, because of tight financing, they had to put it on hold.


#8. Pi (1998)

Pi (1998)

Darren Aronofsky won a directing award at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, the Independent Spirit Award for best first screenplay, and the Gotham Open Palm Award for his psychological thriller, Pi.


Said in New York City’s Chinatown, a recluse math genius called Maximillian believes that everything can be understood in terms of numbers. This theory leads him to look for patterns using an advanced computer system.

The film chronicles Max’s descent into madness and is filmed in such a way that allows the audience to experience his mindset.


Pie’s main character, Max, suffers from a rare condition called cluster headaches, which is regarded by many as the most painful condition one can experience.


#7. Inception (2010)

Inception (2010)

Dom Cobb is a master thief with a strange ability to enter people’s dreams and steal their secrets from their subconscious minds. Understandably his skills have made him much sought after, especially within the corporate world.


After losing his whole life through the dangerous work, Cobb gets a chance at redemption when he is offered a seemingly impossible task.


Plant an idea in someone’s mind. The film was hailed for its surreal special effects and its intricate yet extremely confusing plot.

In an effort to combat the confusing aspects of the film. Television broadcasts in Japan include text in the upper left corner of the screen to remind viewers which level of the dream a scene is taking place in.


#6. Memento (2000)

Memento (2000)

This next film scooped up a number of awards, including AFI’s Screenwriter of the Year award, as well as the best original screenplay, best Film editing, and Best Director at the ACCA Awards.


The critics praised its nonlinear storytelling structure as well as its portrayal of perception, grief, memory, and self-deception.

Memento chronicles the story of Leonard, an ex-insurance investigator who can no longer build new memories after sustaining a brain injury.

Despite his condition, he attempts to find the murderer of his wife, which is the last thing he remembers. He keeps track of his investigation by taking a series of Polaroids.


#5. Jacob’s Ladder (1990) 

Jacob's Ladder (1990) 

Adrian Lyne’s Chilling Horror was initially bombed in the US as its story touched upon the murky side of the Vietnam War and America’s involvement. That being said, it later found traction with audiences that gave it a cult following.

Jacob’s Ladder has gone on to influence other works, such as the Silent Hill video game series. The film became so successful in fact, that a remake was made in 2019.


The perplexing plot of the film follows a man mourning his dead child while going through an extreme case of disassociation. Because of this, he must fight to differentiate between reality and his own delusions.


As some scenes in Jacob’s Ladder are truly disturbing, you better not watch this one on an empty stomach.


#4. Primer (2004)

Primer (2004)

When it comes to time travel, things can get confusing, and Primer is a perfect example of this. It is an experimental sci-fi that was made on an exceptionally low budget.


The film collected the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival before having a limited release in the US, which allowed it to gain a cult following.


Much of Primer’s success has been accredited to its detailed explanation of time travel and how the machine was developed.


Ryan Johnson, the director of Looper, mentions in his director’s commentary that not only is Primer the best time travel movie ever made, but that when he sent the script for the film to his friend Shane Carruth. Carruth told him that he should take a look at Primer to get a better understanding of time.


#3. Donnie Darko (2001)

Donnie Darko (2001)


After narrowly escaping a bizarre accident in his neighborhood a troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a large Bunny rabbit that manipulates him to commit a series of crimes.

Director Richard Kelly purposely made the movie as surreal as possible so that the audience would slowly feel as confused and uncertain as the main character, Donnie Darko.


The film was so confusing, in fact, that at the wrap party for the film, Seth Rogen and Jake Gyllenhaal agreed that they had no idea what the movie was actually about.


#2. Mulholland Drive (2001)

Mulholland Drive (2001)

Although Naomi Watts’s performance in Mulholland Drive was praised by critics, she almost lost her health insurance and faced eviction from her apartment shortly after filming was finished.


she was ready to quit acting and leave Los Angeles to pursue a regular job, but her close friend Nicole Kidman talked her into staying until after the film was released. Luckily, it paid off as payment came through and her career began to take off.


The film tells the story of a woman who turns up with amnesiac following a car accident. Teaming up with a Hollywood hopeful, the two look for clues all over Los Angeles that sucks them into a crazy world that audiences could barely keep up with.


#1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)


Our number one pick is 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). After finding a mysterious artifact buried beneath the lunar surface, the human race sets off on a quest to advance their already-intelligent supercomputer H.A.L. 9000.


When on Jupiter, they discover that an alien machine is responsible for human evolution. But the reason why they are manipulating the growth of humans is a mystery the team must solve.


The film was directed by movie legend Stanley Kubrick, and despite being made in 1968, was praised for its accurate portrayal of spaceflight.


This was achieved by months of working with technicians. For example, the scene with a floating pen was done by using the newly invented Double-sided sticky tape to attach the pen to a piece of glass. In fact, in one scene, you can see the shuttle attendant Peel the pan off the glass when she takes hold of it.


The movie was rated an 8.3 on a scale of ten on IMDb and received a meta score of 84 on Metacritic. 

This was our top ten Most Confusing Movies of all-time list. We have been able to compile a great list of the best Confusing Movies ever made. Do you agree with our list? If you have any suggestions or comments please shoot them down in the comments below. 

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