Director: Gus Van Sant
Stars: John Robinson, Alex Frost, Eric Deulen, Carrie Finklea, Nathan Tyson, Brittany Mountain
Lesson Learned: Even the most mundane of days can erupt in violence.

Films don't get much more haunting than Gus Van Sant's Elephant, an uninterrupted take on a routine high school afternoon that descends into minimalist horror. And, in the director's bravest move of all, there are no answers, just a bunch of nondescript students, doing nondescript things, and casually walking right into a Columbine-like shooting spree. It's harrowing times ten.

With a quiet, dreamlike feel, Elephant spends its first two, milquetoast acts simply watching students going about their business; the unexciting movements, chats, and interactions are so bland that witnessing them feels like hypnosis. It's all intercut with two boys inside a house, playing violent shoot-'em-up video games and brandishing their new firearms.

As Elephant methodically heads into its nightmarish final act, the everlasting dread amplifies; you know something bad will happen, but when? Once it does, it doesn't stop until the film's last chilling shot. “Eenie-meenie-miney-mo” has never sounded so horrific.