What makes a horror film horrifying is that it amplifies reality and distorts it into impossible shapes and sizes that would make us wet our pants if ever we find ourselves in it. We take comfort in the fact that whatever horrors we may find on the screen, such things will stay there. We are made brave by the fact that we are on this side of reality and those monsters and nightmares cannot possibly cross over to wreck havoc in our world. We feel safe in knowing that we control the horror, that after an hour or so, we step out of the Case Study Room, back into our real world and we can begin pulling ourselves back into our sanity.
But what if we realize that our reality is worse? That the horror film we just watched makes a mockery of what really happens in our world? That the horrors in the film are caricatures of the nightmares that haunt our reality?
If we think about it, sex slaves, sadomasochism and rape (even gang rape) are things that we can find in our own real world. Such horrors are not limited to imagination and fantasies. We can read about them in newspapers, blogs and history books even. These are things that we do not have to conjure up in our minds. They are very much real, as real as the laptop on which you are viewing this.
In history, we hear about the stories of comfort women who during the Second World War were raped and tortured in ways that were more horrifying than the way that JT raped the Dead Girl. In the many war stories in our history books, it is not uncommon for us to read about the stories of how invaders would violate the women and even the children and the elderly in their subdued societies in ways that even JT, in all his animalism, would find disgusting.
I would even go as far as to say that this horror film is horrifying not because it portrays a distorted reality but rather it dials down reality. Sure, it was horrifying to see the Dead Girl being raped over and over again, but honestly, we’ve heard and seen worse.
Sure, one would say that this story’s different because the girl is incapable of dying. I wouldn’t say she was immortal because immortality is symbolic of never ending life. I wouldn’t call her situation living. In her case, her immortality was more of a form of never ending death, one she couldn’t escape from even if she died. But this aspect of the Dead Girl sort of pacifies the horror of her situation. When we see her being raped, we think that hey, she’s not a fully functional rational being. She was depicted as a failed experiment that was abandoned in a deserted hospital. Her lifelessness and animalistic characteristic further dehumanizes her and in some way that makes the image of her rape more acceptable.
Because imagine replacing the dead girl with sane, innocent and rational women. Imagine the same situation but this time to a woman who is fully aware of the horrors that are being done to her. Imagine the women pleading and crying for mercy to men who would not have any of it. Imagine the image of this kind of torture and rape being done to young girls and helpless elderly women. Imagine this kind of profanity being done to women who could actually die from all the physical abuse.
This movie was indeed horrifying. But isn’t it more disturbing to realize that our reality is worse? How disturbing would it be if we realize that JT was but juvenile excuse to the real barbarism humanity is capable of?
Offensive was how sir described this movie. I realize now just how huge an understatement that was.