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Opinion

Opinion on scary movies has changed from fear to appreciation

Lauren A. Simenson

April 11, 2018

It may just be me, but I think that scary or horror movies these days are some of the best movies being shown in theatres right now.

One of the most memorable scary movies that I vividly remember sitting through was the classic, “Silence of the Lambs.” I watched this movie during a middle school birthday sleepover. Nothing says, “Happy birthday” and “Welcome to another year of being a pre-teen!” quite like watching a terrifying movie with your best friends.

I remember that even with my friends all laying on either side of me, shoulder-to-shoulder, the movie was barely bearable. I can remember so clearly how bright and big the screen was and how dark and unfamiliar my friend’s basement was as we all stayed up late to watch Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins play Clarice Starling and Dr. Hannibal Lecter.

Back then, I am pretty sure one of the reasons that these types of scary movies caused me so much fear was because it did not seem so unrealistic to me. While I knew I was watching a movie, the scenario portrayed on film was not far-fetched enough. I have this same problem with “Law and Order: SVU” but tenfold, because the cases shown on each episode of that show are actually taken from real cases in the real world.

Still, today I experience so much second-hand empathy that my breathing aligns itself with the actors on screen, and I will cry when they cry. I even blush and squirm uncomfortably when the characters in the scene make a fool of themselves or do literally anything embarrassing.

When “Silence of the Lambs” was thankfully over, I doubt I was capable of articulating to my friends just how scared I was; I remember laying awake for hours in the dark. My friends did not seem to have this problem and soon, on either side of me, I began to feel less and less movie as everyone else drifted off to what seemed to me like peaceful sleep. The next morning my mom came to pick me up, and I do not remember driving out of my friend’s driveway before my body finally succumbed to sleep now that I was in the safety of daylight and my mom’s car.

Because of my intense and unpleasant history with scary movies, no one is more surprised than I am when I say how excited I am about the kinds of horror movies I have been seeing in theaters lately. I would like to say my burgeoning ability to sit through and like a scary movie finally is a sign I am really growing up or evolving into a real, adult human being. Or maybe it is just a sign that horror movies have also matured from being movies that were simply just gory and cheaply produced into masterful works of film that reel audiences in with a thought-provoking plots and incredible acting.

Either way, I am finally ready to embrace this new era of scary movies and so should you. If you are one of the few people who has not yet seen “A Quiet Place,” what are you waiting for? I predictably cried and white-knuckled my way through this incredible movie. “A Quiet Place” made me feel like I would see one of the crazy monsters from the film at every dark turn on my drive home, and it was intense and distressing and surprisingly tender. It is a must see, but most importantly though, “A Quiet Place” will not keep me from sleeping tonight.

Lauren Simenson is a student at UW-River Falls.

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