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.

True Horrors


I wasn’t expecting Cabin in the Woods to be what it was. When I first saw the previews of the movie, it showed plenty of blood and gore and I thought it was going to be another one of those slasher films. The difference perhaps was that the slashing and bashing in this particular film was going to happen, well, in a Cabin in the Woods.

Surprisingly though, I was totally not expecting a fruit bowl of monsters to come sprawling out of nowhere. Every kind of nightmare was present in this film. You have your zombies, your creepy Sadako-ish ghosts, ginormous reptiles, eerie mists and every other kind of monster one’s imagination could come up with.

If I were a younger boy, I would have chucked this movie out the window. If one nightmare wasn’t scary enough, what more if you had the Merman working side by side that creepy girl with a mouth for a face to scare you out of your pants? But as I grew older and more… mature (?) I have come to the elusive realizations that truly, there are no monsters in my closet; that the Boogeyman is nothing but a story used to manipulate my juvenile mind. So I guess you could say that after watching this film, yes, I was still very much capable of sleeping peacefully at night.

Looking more closely at this film however, one can come across a thought that could be truly disturbing. Notice how in the movie, there is this company that works like any other office. They have employees that come to work everyday, sipping a cup of coffee, making small talk, cracking green jokes here and there about a foxy new officemate, sharing future vacation plans, sitting in a desk, training interns, worrying about what to have for lunch. At first glance, it would seem like just any other office. But is it really like any other office?

Perhaps at its operational level, it does, but when one looks at the core of the company, what it’s really doing, one would come across a true horror. This office is not like any other office at all. Because unlike your ordinary firm, this one is in the business of killing, or rather, sacrificing people.

Sure, one can argue that they do what they do because they have to; because if they didn’t the world would be devoured by gods a million times our size. Sure, one could say too that what they are doing is justified and perhaps would go so far as to say that it was necessary. Take time however, to observe how they go about their business. They do so every so casually. They do so as if it were animals they were slaughtering. They do so as if they no longer put any mind into considering that it is the lives of people that they are manipulating and putting into their hands.

I don’t know about you, but to me that is a true horror. To find the most basic of human dignities toyed around like that is to me something that creeps me out. To witness just how aloof and indifferent the company workers are towards the work that they do. They bet on peoples lives, for crying out loud! They party with champagne and loud music while on their background is the scene of an innocent young girl being hurled around to her imminent death.

What makes this movie a true horror film is not in the plethora of monsters that it hurls at you. It’s not in the blitzkrieg of man-eating creatures that spew the guts of their pray towards the screen. It really is in the fact that the human mind could be capable of tolerating such inhumanity in the killing of another person. That such a deed could even be legitimized and deemed necessary sends chills up my spine.

Again and Again and Again


It wasn’t my first time to see this movie. I remembered seeing it at a friend’s house and never being able to finish it. Downloading the movie was futile too since I couldn’t remember the title. From then on it passed from memory. During our first session, when I found out we were watching this movie, “Triangle”, I thought it was going to be about shipwrecked sailors, trapped on a deserted island, doomed to be devoured by zombie pirates. As it went on, however, I began to recognize familiar scenes. I could totally empathize with Jess when she said she felt like she’s “been there before” when they first stepped into the eerie ship. Like her, I too felt like it wasn’t my first time being on the Aeolus. It was like meeting an old friend and I was glad to finally have the opportunity to finish the movie and to have my many questions answered.

I guess you could say that at that point, I too was having my own “Triangle” moment. Just like Jess, I too was stepping into familiar rooms, looking at the faces of familiar people, witnessing familiar horrors. I was just really happy to be on this side of the screen and I could not, for the life of me, imagine what it would be like to be in their shoes, especially Jess when she finally realizes that the masked murderer was no other than herself.

And that is truly horrifying isn’t it? I mean, it’s scary enough to find one’s self being chased around by a deranged murderer. What more if one finally discovers that that murderer is himself? Add to that the fact that the cycle seems to go on and on and on. There is also the fact of having to kill one’s friends and to witness them die at one’s hands again and again and again. I cannot possibly imagine such a scenario in my head. The very thought is horrifying to me at so many levels.

With all that being said, we could already conclude that this is indeed a horror story. But I think there is more to the horror that transcends way beyond the murder scenes and the ideas of being murdered by one’s self over and over again. The true horror lies in the loss of real genuine freedom. It is as if Jess was exercising her free will in trying to change her fate and of her friends by trying to, at least in her mind, break free of the cycle. But we, the audience know that all her decisions are futile, that it did not matter what she did. She will always end up at one part of the story wether it be on the yacht, the luxury liner, washed ashore, in her house, in the car about to drive into an accident or on the brink of whacking herself to death.

As human beings, we boast our independence, our reason and our free will as the pillars of our humanity. This is what makes us superior to other creatures, what makes us truly human. Is it not true horror to find all of these things taken away from us? What is more horrifying to a human being than to find himself no longer human?