Here at Zimbio, we've been talking controversial Netflix movies for a long time. They're the black sheep of the streaming service's menu and pitfalls if you are to enter into one ignorantly. We're here to help you steer through the many films on Netflix and peruse (or avoid) the most salacious titles. So read on, if you dare, and see why these are the most controversial movies on Netflix.
Hard Candy (2005)
Directed by David Slade
Starring: Ellen Page, Patrick Wilson, Sandra Oh, Odessa Rae
The film that shocked Sundance audiences in 2005 still packs quite a wallop. It begins with a flirtatious chat exchange between Hayley (Page, 18-years-old at the time) and Jeff (Wilson). Soon, they meet at a coffee shop and we're shocked to see Hayley is only 14-years-old. Jeff is a pedophile and Hayley is in serious danger, but then, something unexpected happens. Hayley drugs Jeff and ties him up while he's unconscious. The tables turn and it's revealed Hayley's not only aware of Jeff's intentions, she's got a plan: She's going to castrate him. If the plot of Hard Candy isn't enough to get you talking, consider some critics in 2005 called it "Sick, sick, sick" and "reprehensible."
Directed by Gaspar Noé
Starring: Karl Glusman, Klara Kristin, Aomi Muyock
Noé, a director known to push a button or three (Irreversible), certainly brought attention to his 2015 film, Love. After filming a real sex scene in his previous movie, Enter the Void, from inside a vagina, Noé decided to be less ambitious and just film the sex in Love. It begins with actual intercourse between actors Aomi Muyock and Karl Glusman, complete with an explosive finish. It's basically porn, of course, but Noé is no filmmaking slouch and he raises the material beyond the PornHub bar. Obviously, the sex scenes are hair-raising, but the movie was also controversial because it was shot in 3D! Even the poster had people up in arms.
Nymphomaniac - Volumes I & II - Director's Cuts (2013)
Directed by Lars Von Trier
Starring: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stacy Martin, Stellan Skarsgård, Shia LaBeouf
Christian Slater, Jamie Bell, Uma Thurman, Willem Dafoe, Mia Goth, Udo Kier
Covering five and a half hours, the complete director's cut of Nymphomaniac is quite an experience. On one level, it's a brilliant script about a woman's sexual journey over decades as she opens up to a stranger who finds her beaten near his home. On the other hand, the film is explicit in its detailing of Joe's (Gainsbourg, Adams) sex life, with scenes of actual sex and others of public sex acts, BDSM torture, and plenty more. Fans of Von Trier knew what to expect with this one, but plenty of audiences were shocked by what they were seeing.
White Girl (2016)
Directed by Elizabeth Wood
Starring: Morgan Saylor, Brian Marc, India Menuez, Adrian Martinez, Anthony Ramos, Ralph Rodriguez, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Chris Noth, Justin Bartha
Compared in some circles upon its release to Larry Clark and Harmony Korine's seminal Kids, White Girl is certainly one of the most explicit films about teen sex in recent years. Set in New York City, the movie follows Leah (Homeland's Saylor) and her best friend as they start college in their first apartment. The girls quickly become enamored with a few of the neighborhood tough guys and are soon having wild sex and blowing coke every night with them. Leah, meanwhile, performs fellatio on her boss during her first week at a new job and carries on sexual relationships with multiple partners throughout the film.
The Paperboy (2012)
Directed by Lee Daniels
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, David Oyelowo, Macy Gray, John Cusack, Scott Glenn
The Paperboy caused major waves when it was released in 2012 thanks to a scene that depicts Kidman urinating on Efron (in point of view) after the latter is stung by jellyfish at the beach. Director Lee Daniels (Precious) has never shied from controversy and his sweaty, lurid tale of a reporter, a killer, and the people surrounding them feels like something you shouldn't be watching. There's also a scene where Cusack's incarcerated scumbag meets his pen pal lover (Kidman) and they masturbate in front of each other while the lawyers watch.
Directed by Antonio Campos
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Maria Dizzia, J. Smith-Cameron, John Cullum, Timothy Simons
The true story of local Sarasota television personality Christine Chubbock, who committed suicide live on the air in 1974, was initially dismissed by her lone living relative as "sensational" and too focused on the negative aspects of Christine's life. However, watching the movie, it's clear the focus is trying to understand why Christine, a lovelorn workaholic who was frustrated on the job, would go to such lengths to prove a point. Before she pulled out a gun and shot herself, she told the camera, "In keeping with Channel 40's policy of bringing you the latest in blood and guts, and in living color, you are going to see another first — attempted suicide."
Gerald's Game (2017)
Directed by Mike Flanagan
Starring: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood
Stephen King's 1992 suspense novel is a claustrophobic nightmare of small scope. Set inside a bedroom where a husband and wife's night of bondage sex goes wrong, Gerald's Game focuses on Jessie (Gugino) as she lies handcuffed and stranded after her husband suffers a sudden heart attack. What ensues is a psychological thriller as a stray dog arrives and starts eating the corpse, and Jessie hallucinates a deformed ghost, or does she? What makes the Netflix Original Film so talked-about, however, is how Jessie escapes the handcuffs.