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Must-Watch Movies That Have a Moody Aesthetic

Between sound, lighting, and scenic staging, the art of film brings to life movies that encapsulate essences. On top of providing you with visual entertainment, films immerse you in specific atmospheres and experiences. If you love gloom, darkness, and gothic art, check out these must-watch movies that have a moody aesthetic.

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1. Taxi Driver By Martin Scorcese

Martin Scorcese is notorious for making dark and harsh films, and Taxi Driver is no exception. You follow the protagonist and former veteran, Travis Bickle, as he slowly detaches from reality in the shadows of the night. After continuous encounters with sleazy city dwellers in his taxi, violence consumes Bickle. As a movie set in New York City during the night, a majority of the film is shot in shadowy and eerie casts of light. Taxi Driver overflows with darkness, from the storyline to the cinematic lighting, producing a gloomy and moody aesthetic throughout the film. 

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  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Mahershala Ali, Naomie Harris, Trevante Rhodes (Actors)

2. Moonlight By Barry Jenkins

Barry Jenkin’s Moonlight also follows a protagonist enduring the harshness of reality under the cover of night. Professional filmmakers light for darkness in many ways, and in Moonlight, they used natural and ambient lighting to accentuate and mimic the glow of the moon and its eerie ambiance.

Like a quiet night filled with unsettling silence, the low-lit scenes and constant shadows in the film project a moody and uneasy atmosphere throughout the course of the movie. Moonlight won Best Picture at the 89th Academy Awards with its story about a young, alienated, Black, queer man named Chiron. The artistry in this film, from the lighting to the acting, emanates Chiron’s sorrows and loneliness onto you as you watch the film.


Mary Reilly
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Julia Roberts, John Malkovich, Glenn Close (Actors)

3. Mary Reilly By Stephen Fears

Mary Reilly by Stephen Fears is a classic American gothic horror film starring the famous and talented Julia Roberts. Many aspects of the film play a part in portraying a moody and gloomy aesthetic. The silent scenes build tension. The low lighting generates harsh shadows that sets an eerie tone. The mystery surrounding the ominous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Every aspect of Mary Reilly exudes a gothic, somber ambiance.

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Appreciate the artistry of film and all that it encompasses, from the storylines to lighting, with these must-watch moody aesthetic movies. Every aspect of these films immerses you in an ambient experience that extends the world of the film into your reality, enhancing your movie-watching.

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