10 Movies With Mind-Bending Plots

9. Upstream Color (2013)

stranger than fiction will ferrell

The previous film by director Shane Carruth, 2004's Primer, could just as easily have made this list. That movie took the time travel concept and thoroughly twisted it inside out, charting a captivating and brain-stretching tale of two scientists and the consequences of their experiments. Audiences waited nine years for a follow-up and, when it appeared, Carruth unveiled a film which, if anything, is even more challenging than its predecessor.

The plot of Upstream Color revolves around a bizarre parasite and the effects which it has upon its human hosts. Carruth himself stars alongside Amy Seimetz, who plays Kris, the unwitting recipient of said parasite, after she is kidnapped and forced to imbibe larva by a mysterious and unnamed man. Kris then falls into an extremely suggestible state, and is manipulated by her captor into handing over the contents of her bank account.

She wakes up later with worms visibly wriggling under her skin, unsuccessfully attempts to remove them, loses her job, find her money stolen and is lured by infrasonics to a pig farm. In terms of weirdness, the above is simply the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Like Primer, Upstream Color has a lot to offer those willing to meet the film on its own terms.


Chris Wheatley is a journalist and writer from Oxford, UK. He has too many records, too many guitars and not enough cats.