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22 Disturbing, Brutal Movies Based on Real-Life Atrocities

Updated July 26, 2021 61.8k votes 18.6k voters 3.5m views22 items

List RulesVote based on which true stories are the most terrifying.

"Based on a true story"—we see it all the time. It's a marketing tool, a cloying device used to engender empathy for the characters, to bring the audience closer to the story. More often than not, these films are sentimental, inspiring, or heroic. Yet from time to time, we get a film based on a true story that isn't happy, but terrifying. Call it "based on a true atrocity."In many cases, these films aren't afraid to go all the way—to take the audience on a spirit-crushing journey through disturbing truths about the dark side of human nature.