Love Hurts: 10 More Violent Romantic Movies to Watch After ‘Bones and All’

Being in love can be a brutal thing at times, and the pain of a romantic relationship is often shied away from in your run-of-the-mill romance movie. It can be easier to watch something that’s clearly Hollywood-made and unrealistic, even if it means suspending your disbelief in order to see an idealized version of love.

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Thankfully, for those who want their romance movies a little darker or grittier, there are numerous movies that combine romance with horror or other genres that contain violence/action. The most recent of these is Luca Guadagnino’snewest film, Bones and All, which centers on two young lovers who also happen to be cannibals, making for a film as romantic as it is gruesome. Below are 10 more grisly romance films that combine either horror, crime, or action with relationship-focused narratives, for anyone who enjoyed Guadagnino’s latest movie and find themselves in the mood for something similar.


‘Shaun of the Dead’ (2004)

The main characters from Shaun of the Dead

For anyone who’s ever wondered what a romantic-comedy with zombies would look like, Shaun of the Dead provides the answer. While this wasn’t Edgar Wright’s very first film, it was the one that established him as a director to keep an eye out for, with it being a fast-paced, funny, and surprisingly touching story about a man trying to get his life (and relationship) back on track during a zombie apocalypse.

Shaun of the Dead is a movie that’s mostly a comedy, yet isn’t entirely a spoof of zombie movies. It gently pokes fun at the genre for a good deal of its runtime, but then becomes a surprisingly intense zombie film closer to its conclusion, meaning it gets to have its undead cake and eat it too. That it also does all this while being a solid romantic-comedy makes it all the more of an early 2000s classic.

‘True Romance’ (1993)

One of several films made during the 1990s that were written yet not directed by Quentin Tarantino, True Romance was released between two iconic movies he did write and direct: Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.

It’s perhaps the most romance-heavy screenplay he’s ever written (perhaps closely followed by Natural Born Killers). It follows two young people who get married and then steal drugs from ruthless gangsters, who pursue them throughout Hollywood. Naturally, being a Tarantino film, it gets extremely violent, meaning that those who watch it for the romance will have to handle some bloody shootouts and a handful of brutal on-screen beatings.

‘Love Exposure’ (2008)

Love Exposure (2008)

Love Exposure is not a movie that should be entered into casually. Like most relationships, it’s long, can stop and start at random points, and is often very hard to predict where it’s going to go.

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All that’s to say that this is a four-hour epic that centers on a group of young people, their eccentricities, and their relationships. It’s also far more than just a love story, as it’s filled with bloody action, deals heavily with religious themes, and has a twisted sense of dark humor that it combines with surprisingly tense drama. It won’t be for everyone, but one thing’s for sure: it’s unlike anything else out there.

‘Thirst’ (2009)

Image via Focus Features

For anyone who finds the blend of fantasy/horror and romance in Twilight a little toothless (pun intended), Thirst may be more up your alley. It’s a movie directed by Park Chan-wook that focuses on a priest who dies and comes back to life as a vampire, and finds his new life as a member of the undead to be completely unlike his old one.

While vampire films naturally get a bit bloody, thanks to the fact they concern monsters that literally feed on blood, Thirst takes it to another level entirely. It’s an extremely gory horror movie, but with its large focus on the romance between a once-repressed priest and an adventurous young woman, it does ultimately blend those undead thrills with a narrative about a strange (yet compelling) relationship.

‘War and Peace’ (1965)

War and Peace

While this Russian version of War and Peace isn’t the only film adaptation of the famous novel of the same name, it would have to be the best. Split into four parts that go for about seven hours in total, it manages to capture a great deal of the gigantic 1,200+ page-long book.

It’s a film with gigantic (and brutally intense) scenes of warfare, but naturally, as the “Peace” part of the title would suggest, isn’t just concerned with soldiers and revolution. It finds time for a great deal of romance, too, with large stretches of the film (including most of its second part) focusing on Natasha Rostova and her romantic endeavors.

‘Crimson Peak’ (2015)

Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain in Crimson Peak
Image via Universal Pictures

To call Guillermo Del Toro’s underrated 2015 film Crimson Peak a movie about a love triangle might do it something of a disservice. That is what the main plot may focus on, but the film is also one that dabbles in fantasy, mystery, and even some gothic horror, thanks to its setting and surprisingly high level of violence.

Del Toro isn’t a director who shies away from violence. Pan’s Labyrinth in particular blends war with fantasy to startling effect, and even his Oscar-winning The Shape of Water was no slouch in the blood department. Crimson Peak’s darker moments aren’t for the faint of heart, but those with stronger stomachs who like horror mixed with romance should check it out.

‘Summer of Sam’ (1999)

Summer of Sam - 1999

Spike Lee is a filmmaker whose as unpredictable as he is prolific and seemingly always busy. Summer of Sam demonstrates this unpredictability well, as it’s set up as a crime movie about a real-life serial killer who terrified the New York City population in the summer of 1977, yet doesn’t focus on the killer as a character, nor is it too concerned with the police forces who are trying to track the murderer down.

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Rather, Summer of Sam is more concerned with the lives of a group of young people who are trying their best to overlook the murders, and try to enjoy their lives any way they can, whilst the rest of the city sweats and panics around them. It’s an interesting approach for an (otherwise very violent) crime movie, with just as much time spent on relationship drama as the crime/thriller elements.

‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ (2013)


Only Lovers Left Alive takes an unusual approach to vampire romance. It’s partly a horror movie, but never becomes overwhelmingly scary, and while it naturally gets bloody at times, it’s fairly restrained in the on-screen carnage department, too.

It’s the kind of romance-horror hybrid that’s far more about the romance side of things, looking at what happens to a truly long-term romantic relationship that lasts not decades, but centuries, thanks to the immortality of vampires. It’s a quirky and engaging look at supernatural romance, and does a great job of exploring characters who seem to crave each other as much as they crave human blood.

‘Tromeo & Juliet’ (1996)

Two lovers embraced

Co-written by James Gunn and directed by the main man behind the notorious Troma Entertainment, Lloyd Kaufman, Tromeo & Juliet is exactly what you’d expect, based on the title and Troma’s track record. They take their signature gross-out humor and gratuitous violence and use it whilst retelling the classic tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet.

That means that for all the disgusting sights present in this gratuitously violent movie, it is – at its core – a reinterpretation of a love story, and one of the most famous of all time at that. Troma films are not for everyone, but Tromeo & Juliet is probably the best they’ve ever made, so could be a worthwhile watch for strong-willed viewers who like romantic movies that aren’t afraid to get extreme.

‘The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover’ (1989)

The Cook, The Thief

In The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, a loud and boorish gangster frequents a restaurant every night, menacing all its patrons, testing the patience of its head cook, and persistently being an abusive tyrant to his wife. One day, she decides she’s had enough, and begins an affair with another patron of the restaurant behind her terrible husband’s back. Naturally, things eventually get very messy.

It’s not violent in the way an action or horror movie might be violent, but it doesn’t shy away from showing the horrible things its lead antagonist is capable of doing. While the plot concerns a forbidden romance, it’s definitely not a romantic movie in the traditional sense, but it is a fantastic and impossible-to-forget film. For those willing to deal with some intense and grisly stuff, it’s a must-watch.

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