The first ten minutes are make or break in film and usually have one chance to get it right. Engage the audience, set the tone, introduce characters, get through the credits in some new, inventive way, generate some mystery and bang, into the first act. Jaws, Star Wars, The Exorcist - all stunning openings, all mesmerising and meticulous. We're hooked already.
There are those films, however, that have such evocative/lame/offensive/gut wrenching or just plain ridiculous introductions that you're beginning to question your decision. Can your brain handle this film? Is the horror just too on the nose? Is the subject just too emotionally draining? Do you really care? These movies all have one thing in common - the first few scenes made you seriously question whether or not to continue.
There's a real mixed bag here - some turkeys (literally in one case) and some genre defining classics. Art-house psychodrama nightmares, a shamelessly retconned classic movie monster and one of the most vicious artistic statements ever made - and don't think that being under the safety blanket of a beloved franchise will cover ANY sins either. Here are ten films that, for whatever reason, you'll want to switch off fairly quickly...
10. Antichrist (2009)
Where to begin? With Antichrist, a movie as divisive as anything committed to celluloid. If you've never seen a Lars Von Trier movie then don't sweat it. His reputation as a Marmite movie-maker is entirely fair. Antichrist, while being a beautiful, sobering meditation on grief and human suffering, is also staggeringly graphic, even by modern standards. In fact, artistic censorship laws are about as relaxed as they've ever been, yet how some scenes in Antichrist made it through the cut is a mystery.
Willem Defoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg's characters have to suffer the death of their toddler and if that wasn't bad enough, they are wholly responsible for the tragedy. There is no nice way of padding this: they should have watching the kid but no, they were making the beast with two backs, as it were.
The opening scene of Antichrist is as beautiful as it is painful. Shot in sumptuous black and white, slow motion images only help to convey the sense of inevitable; as the parents make (graphic, full-frontal) love, their son edges closer to the open window as the white snow flakes gently drift downward, a foreshadowing of the deep dive both parents will endure.
The fact that this scene is in equal amounts aesthetic triumph as it is off-putting is undoubtedly a courageous way to set the tone. If you can get through that, you have nearly two hours of profound grief, talking animals and the most excruciating 'snip' you will ever see on this side of the dark web. Good luck getting through this.