30 Films That Always Stress Us Out

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We know movies are meant to be entertaining and all, but sometimes you just can't resist switching on something that sets our nerves on fire, reduces our fingernails to chewed-up nubs, and ties our stomach in knots. You're chewing on antacids, not popcorn. There's no question of a bathroom break or anything else that might interrupt the action. You need to take a yoga class as soon as the final credits roll.

But hey, if we didn't love all the stress, we wouldn't be obsessed with Stranger Things or The Night Of. Life would be calmer, sure, but certainly more boring. There'd be no sweaty palms, clenched fists, or hysterical shrieks when something jumps out on screen. There'd be nothing keeping you on your toes.

Just bear that in mind as you dive into these nerve-racking films. Prepare to lose your chill, folks.
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Money Monster (2016)
It's hard to keep your chill when George Clooney (as financial TV host Lee Gates) is taken hostage and forced to wear a bomb vest by a disgruntled, gun-wielding viewer. The film's race to figure out a stock market mystery will also take its toll on your nerves.

Pictured: Julia Roberts and George Clooney
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The Gift (2015)
Is Gordo (the riveting Joel Edgerton) really stalking his former classmate and his wife (Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall), or are they just being paranoid? The tension builds as details about the men's school days emerge. And yes, you'll scream from fright at least once.

Pictured: Rebecca Hall, Jason Bateman, and Joel Edgerton
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Eye in the Sky (2016)
This military drama transforms into an ethical thriller of sorts when a sudden complication threatens a mission to take out a terrorist. The characters (played by leads Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Barkhad Adbi, and the late Alan Rickman) and their actions will have you feeling torn and anguished.

Pictured: Helen Mirren as Col. Katherine Powell
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Jurassic World (2015)
There are way too many pissed-off dinosaurs in this film for us to sit back and relax. Anyone else nearly choke on their popcorn?

Pictured: Chris Pratt as Owen Grady
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Shame (2011)
Brandon's sexual compulsion is like a ticking time bomb.

Pictured: Michael Fassbender as Brandon
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Gravity (2013)
Sandra Bullock's lost-in-space moment makes Matt Damon's Martian excursion look like glamping.

Pictured: Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone
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Captain Phillips (2013)
Based on a true story, this nail-baiting drama has Capt. Phillips (Tom Hanks) squaring off against a gang of Somali pirates lead by Barkhad Abdi. The action doesn't let up for one second, causing many a nerve to fray.

Pictured: Tom Hanks confronts Barkhad Abdi
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8 of 31
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Fruitvale Station (2014)
Knowing that this true story about shooting victim Oscar Grant has a tragic ending increases the tension. It's impossible to watch without a heavy heart.

Pictured: Michael B. Jordan and Melonie Diaz
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Signs (2002)
M. Night Shyamalan's tale of a farmer (Mel Gibson) and his family confronting the threat of an alien invasion is packed with "gotcha!" moments that might trigger incontinence. Be advised.

Pictured: Mel Gibson and Rory Culkin
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Buried (2010)
Is there anything more anxiety-triggering than the thought of being trapped alive in a coffin? This Ryan Reynolds drama is pure agony.

Pictured: Ryan Reynolds as Paul
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The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
As with Fruitvale Station, this drama is full of foreboding. It's both heartbreaking and terrifying to watch the Franks and their neighbors hide from the Nazis and certain death.

Pictured: Millie Perkins and Joseph Schildkraut as Anne and Otto Frank
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The Birds (1963)
The most haunting scene in this Hitchcock thriller? When Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) smokes a cigarette without realizing that dozens of black birds are perched on the playground set behind her, ready to attack.

Pictured: Tippi Hedren
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Black Swan (2010)
This psychological thriller starring Natalie Portman will have you glued to your seat and holding your breath. WHAT. IS. GOING. ON?

Pictured: Natalie Portman as Nina
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The Lives of Others (2006)
This Oscar-winning German drama gets under your skin as a by-the-books Stasi agent spies on a liberal playwright suspected of loyalties to West Germany. Definitely worth the subtitles.

Pictured: Ulrich Mühe as Weisler
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The Tenant (1976)
Part of Roman Polanski's "Apartment Trilogy" (including Repulsion and Rosemary's Baby), this thriller sees Polanski playing a man who moves into a Parisian flat that becomes available when its previous tenant jumps to her death. Are the neighbors to blame? Is he losing his mind? It's anyone's guess.

Pictured: Roman Polanski and Isabelle Adjani
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The Deer Hunter (1978)
Great film, but the frequent rounds of Russian roulette are not for the weak-willed.

Pictured: Robert DeNiro as Michael
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The Hurt Locker (2008)
The tension never eases up in this military drama starring Jeremy Renner and Anthony Mackie as members of a bomb-disposal unit in Baghdad.

Pictured: Jeremy Renner as Staff Sgt. William James
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18 of 31
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The Kingdom (2007)
Oh look! It's another military drama guaranteed to raise your blood pressure. The hostage scene is particularly heart-pounding.

Pictured: Jamie Foxx and Chris Cooper
19 of 31
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Rope (1948)
This Hitchcock thriller taking place in real time is as taut as its title suggests. Farley Granger and John Dall play two young men who strangle a friend to death, then host a dinner party while the body is hiding in a trunk right under everyone's noses.

Pictured: Farley Granger and Jimmy Stewart
20 of 31
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Panic Room (2002)
Panic is right. Jodie Foster and a young Kristen Stewart play a mother and daughter forced to lock themselves in a security chamber when burglars break into their home.

Pictured: Kristen Stewart and Jodie Foster
21 of 31
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Run Lola Run (1998)
Lola (Franka Potente) has just 20 minutes to round up the money to save her boyfriend's life. To add insult to injury, her moped has been stolen.

Pictured: Franka Potente as Lola
22 of 31
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Sleeping with the Enemy (1991)
You'll never look at canned goods or hand towels quite the same after this chilling thriller about a woman who fakes her death to escape her abusive husband.

Pictured: Julia Roberts and Patrick Bergin
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Memento (2001)
Guy Pearce stars in this Christopher Nolan-directed thriller about a man with amnesia forced to leave himself messages via video recordings and tattoos to help him piece together the story of his wife's death.

Pictured: Guy Pearce as Leonard
24 of 31
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Falling Down (1993)
Michael Douglas goes from simmer to full-on boil in this drama about a man whose shitty life situation sparks a meltdown.

Pictured: Michael Douglas as William Foster
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Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
Of all the many, many Die Hard films, this one probably ranks as the most nerve-racking thanks to its series of riddles that must be completed in rapid succession.

Pictured: Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis
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An American Tail (1986)
Just because it's not a thriller doesn't mean you won't get knots in your stomach as sweet little Fievel gets separated from his family.

Pictured: A still from the animated film
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Melancholia (2011)
The world's most stunning wedding segues into a psychological sci-fi nightmare as troubled bride Justine (Kirsten Dunst) becomes obsessed with a planetary collision.

Pictured: Kirsten Dunst, Alexander Skarsgärd, Kiefer Sutherland, and Charlotte Gainsbourg
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The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Maybe it's all the villains, or the bloodshed and bombing, but this Batman film really got us riled up. We'd expect nothing less from Christopher Nolan.

Pictured: Christian Bale as Batman/Bruce Wayne
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Speed (1994)
More than 20 years and multiple viewings later, the bomb-on-the-bus premise still freaks us out.

Pictured: Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock
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Photo: Courtesy of Drafthouse Films.
The Invitation (2015)
Is Will's ex trying to kill him and their closest friends? Is he the dangerous one? Will you ever go to a dinner party again? So many questions.

Pictured: Logan Marshall-Green as Will
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