Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The 12 Most Disturbing Moments In Significant Other, Ranked

Movies about aliens invading Earth are a staple in the horror genre. From M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs" to Jordan Peele's "Nope," malevolent otherworldly beings have taken on almost every physical description possible. "Significant Other" takes that to a new level, showing an alien that is somehow a mashup of the beings from "The Host" and "Avatar." With blue tentacles and the ability to jump into new bodies, these interlopers give Ruth (Maika Monroe) and Harry (Jake Lacy) the camping trip of their lives.

Harry takes his girlfriend Ruth on a backpacking trip to a wooded area, using the trip to disguise his intention to propose. The movie follows their journey through the forest, from the second their car pulls into the parking lot to Ruth's ultimate return to civilization. While the plot isn't all that original when it comes to horror movies, "Significant Other" is filled with moments that will make you pause the movie and wonder just what you're watching. With an eerie forest setting and an alien menace jumping into different bodies, you may well be waiting eagerly for details to be explained. Here are the most startling and unnerving moments to watch for in "Significant Other."

12. The red star that lands in the forest

A strange, mysterious object coming down from the sky? That's pretty unsettling. When a movie starts with one, that feeling triples. The audience has no clue what the object could be as they watch it land in a wooded area during the opening moments of "Significant Other." Could it be a meteor, a star, or other space debris? It's later revealed in the film that it's an egg-shaped spaceship bringing an otherworldly being to Earth.

The event marks the start of an alien invasion, and very few people will even know it's happening because the aliens blend in by taking on the form of humans. It's disturbing that these beings are planning to assimilate into society and take over, with humans none the wiser. It's even more unsettling when the audience realizes their true goal will never be fully revealed.

Do the aliens simply want to take over as many planets as possible? Are they trying to cause the human race to go extinct? Not knowing adds to the ominous nature of what initially seems like a red star falling from the sky. The moment is even revisited at the end of the film as more spaceships appear, with a shot that mirrors the first, showing that something disturbing is on the horizon.

11. Ruth gets covered in slime

After Ruth is taken to the cave by Alien Harry, she is placed in one of the pods or cocoons that she found Harry in the first time she was in the cave. She's distracted the alien, who has taken on Ruth's appearance, in order to break out. She's covered in dark slime. It isn't dripping from her body — it almost looks like a wetsuit or something of that nature, sticking tightly to her body.

We don't know what the slime is made of or how it could impact Ruth as she runs away. Even when her clothes are back on, the residue can be seen on her neck and hands, almost like a lasting reminder of her experience. She's seemingly made no effort to clean up during the escape, but we're left wondering if the slime will even wash off. Has she inadvertently marked herself for the coming invasion? Does it have a slow-acting poison, meant to kill anything are encased in the cocoons? These unknown factors, combined with the creepy appearance the slime gives Ruth, make the moment unsettling.

10. Ruth pushes Harry off a cliff

After Ruth escapes in the cave, she seems reserved and closed off. The dead stare in her eyes causes Harry to wonder if she's alright, or if something has happened. Ruth stays quiet until the next day, when she decides she's actually ready to marry Harry after all, asking him to propose again at the original location. Everything's going well — she accepts, and they lose themselves in each other's embrace. But suddenly, she knees him in the groin and pushes him over a cliff.

This seemingly comes out of nowhere. While the audience may recognize that there's something different about Ruth after her time in the cave, it still comes as a surprise that she would commit such an act. It's always startling to see someone fall to their death. It's even more so when it comes from someone who's just accepted a marriage proposal and declared their love.

Of course, we're not privy to Ruth's thoughts at that moment, so it seems like she's been taken over by another entity responsible for the act. Being unable to explain her thought process as she's pushing her new fiancé off a cliff remains baffling ... until the reason is eventually revealed.

9. Alien Harry's shark attack

After "Significant Other" reveals that the Harry who's been pushed off the cliff was actually an alien taking his form, Ruth regularly tries to kill him and escape his clutches. She relents once, following him to a beach to see the spaceship that the alien flew in on. Instead of accepting his invitation to join him wherever he's going next, she stabs him and runs into the ocean. As he follows, a shark begins circling, attacking him.

Alien Harry is brutally attacked, the shark taking him out mid-monologue. The pool of red in the water continues to grow as Ruth makes it out of the ocean, running back into the forest again. After an overhead shot of the water, the movie reveals that Alien Harry is still alive. His leg, clearly bitten by a shark, begins healing itself as he stands on the beach. Seeing this sinister doppelganger recover almost instantly from such a severe injury drives up the tension, to say the least.

Not only has the alien version of Harry survived the encounter, he's also killed the shark. As the camera continues to show his healing leg, the head of the shark startlingly drops onto the beach from Harry's hands. Whatever this alien species' aim is, we now know it can take out one of the predators at the top of Earth's food chain. What chance does Ruth have?

8. Alien Harry and his tentacle

After he survives the shark attack, the alien finds Ruth in the forest. Instead of trying to communicate with her the way he had before, which was not as threatening, he uses his tentacle to pull her towards him. This isn't the first time audiences have seen the appendage, but it's the first time we've seen it used against our main character. The tentacle was earlier used on the deer in one of the first scenes of the movie, illustrating how the alien managed to take on the form of a deer after the ship landed.

Ruth's agency is taken away in this moment. Alien Harry uses the tentacle to ensure that she can't run anymore, forcing her to stay there and listen to him asking why she doesn't want to be saved. Under his control, her body is relaxed and her eyes turn glassy the moment the tentacle latches on. 

It's always unsettling when someone (or something) takes control over someone, no matter the method. There's something even more unnerving when it's an alien using a mysterious appendage as part of a plan to invade Earth. The audience doesn't know what's going to happen to Ruth in this situation, which only adds to how disturbing it is.

7. The mutilated deer

After Ruth has a panic attack during Harry's proposal, she tries calling her therapist. Though she gets through, she doesn't end up speaking to them. She's walking around, trying to find a signal, when she comes upon a deer that's suffered a horrific death. Its head has been cut in half vertically, and its body is covered in a strange dark substance. After Harry consults a field book they brought, the two determine it was probably papillomavirus. But that doesn't explain what happened to its head.

Of course, it's not papillomavirus. The deer, recognizable from its single antler, was the original body the alien had taken over earlier in the film. The animal was probably in one of the cocoons until the alien swapped into Harry, which is why it looks like it's been covered in black mold. Not only is the image of the dead deer startling, it hints at what could happen to Ruth if she isn't able to wash the slime off, making the whole situation even more sinister. 

6. Real Ruth bashes Alien Ruth's head in

As the real Ruth tries to survive the ordeal, she ends up face to face with herself, literally. After the alien takes on her form, she uses her own triggers and insecurities against the otherworldly lifeform, causing it to have a panic attack. While she pretends to walk the alternate version of herself through it, she actually has it lie down so she can bash its head in with a rock. 

Watching someone hurt themselves in that way is startling. Sure, it's not actually Ruth experiencing that physical trauma, but it looks like her, sounds like her, and has all of her memories and feelings. The scene is an important metaphor for how anxiety and trauma can function, in that even when you fight back and seemingly defeat it, it can still raise its head again. This relatability only adds to how unnerving it is to watch play out on screen.

Not even a shark could kill the alien, so the audience knows in that moment that Ruth's efforts are in vain. The being looks dead, but it isn't long before the double's head begins to heal. The only question left is whether the entity will continue to come after Ruth, and if it will do so in another form, which adds a new dimension to the disturbing moment.

5. Alien Harry's finger blade

Like many movies that feature life from other planets, the alien in "Significant Other" has an interesting weapon that it uses to eliminate humans or animals that aren't useful to it. When Harry reappears after his fall over a cliff and the alien's nature has been revealed, it uses a several-foot-long blade that grows from the tip of its finger to hurt the couple who helped Ruth.

Watching a thin blade suddenly emerge from someone's finger is startling. To then watch it used to cut someone else's head in half from forehead to chin is outright disturbing. The weapon looks like a skinny sword, and it takes nothing more than a simple flick of his wrist for Alien Harry to hurt Ray (Matthew Yang King). Not only does the alien cut off Ray's hand, it leaves his head in much the same condition as the mutilated deer's.

The finger blade is one of the movie's most disturbing visuals, hands down. It just grows out, appearing from within what looks like a split-open human finger, and retracting back in when its work is done. It doesn't even grow naturally with the finger; it appears perpendicular to the nail. What other startling anatomical anomalies are present in this species from another planet that can take on a human form?

4. Alien Ruth's communication through the radio

As Ruth attempts to make her final getaway, leaving the forest in the car she and Harry arrived in at the start of the movie, the alien makes it clear that Ruth won't be able to run for long. As she's listening to music on the radio, trying to regain control of the situation, she hears her own voice coming over the airwaves. Alien Ruth discusses the violent act real Ruth committed and taunts her, saying she can't run from the otherworldly beings that are on their way to Earth.

Ruth's response to the message says it all. She's terrified of everything going on, shedding tears and revving the engine to try and drive away from the area faster. It's also unnerving to know yet another power the alien has — even if Ruth manages to evade her double, it can always contact her and get in her head, no matter how far away she is. Alien Ruth could be lurking around any corner, maybe even in a new body, and Ruth would never know. It doesn't get much more unsettling than that.

3. Ruth's dead stare

After her initial experience in the cave, Ruth is not the same. Until the secret is revealed to the audience, they can assume she saw something that emotionally scarred her or that she was attacked by something or someone. Either way, the dead stare in her eyes is one of the most disturbing elements of the movie. 

Before the cave, Ruth is clearly cautious about showing her emotions outwardly, but her smiles reach her eyes. After the cave, nothing reaches her eyes. The stare makes it look like there's no soul left in her body. It's hard to watch her force a smile, telling Harry she wants him to propose again, when that smile only stays on half of her face. 

The start of the stare is a clear shift in the film. It shows the change between Ruth and Harry, beginning to hint that there is something more ominous working in the background. Anytime the camera is on Ruth, with her lifeless eyes, it's unnerving. The audience don't know what's caused it and it only builds to other startling events, easily it making it one of the most disturbing aspects of "Significant Other."

2. Alien Harry's love

When Alien Harry catches up to Ruth and her new friends, some shocking truths are revealed. But the most disturbing aspect is that the alien seems to believe that it's actually in love with Ruth. After taking on Harry's form, it takes on all of his memories, feelings, and emotions, so the alien has access to every detail of Harry and Ruth's relationship.

Based on emotions and memories that are not its own, the doppelganger believes it loves Ruth and can't bring itself to kill her. The being is willing to take her away from Earth in its spaceship, even begging her to come along. It promises to could give her "an incredible life," claiming with apparent sincerity that "a change of scenery would be really good" for her. Alien Harry mentions going to a small isolated planet where they can be alone, suggesting that it's willing to forgo its mission and spend a life with her forever, as Harry, somewhere other than Earth.

What isn't disturbing about this situation? It's clear that the feelings the alien has are because it's absorbed Harry's mind. It wants to take Ruth away from Earth, to a planet where she may not even be able to survive, just because it believes those feelings will always be there. For all she knows, she could end up stranded on an unknown planet with no way back home.

1. The alien survives

When Ruth pushes Harry off the cliff, she expects him to die. At that moment, the audience hasn't been let in on the secret, so they have no choice but to think Ruth is the problem. That is, until Harry reappears. How has he survived falling off a cliff and into a rocky ocean?

It's revealed that the man she pushed wasn't Harry. Ruth wasn't the victim of an attack when she stumbled into that cave; she's now realized that Harry was attacked, and that the man she's with now is not the Harry she knew. She has no way of knowing the double's intentions. She's trapped with it in the middle of an unfamiliar wilderness. Ruth has only done what she thought was right to save herself.

The realization that "Harry" hadn't been the real Harry is like a pin drop. After it sinks in, the true horror of what's happened is revealed. At some point, after the couple arrived in the wilderness, an alien switched places with the man. As the audience, we have no idea when it happened. We can estimate when it may have happened, specifically once we find out that the alien was in the deer the couple eventually found mutilated, but there's no explicit timeline as to when the switch happened. It's truly disturbing to realize that something has gone terribly wrong, without us even realizing it.