The horror of biological limits

Emily Richardson, Editorial Board

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There is an entire new breed of horror movies hitting the mainstream in recent years— those that test the biological limits of humans—movies like Hush, A Quiet Place, and Bird Box serving as prime examples. These sorts of films don’t spend two and a half hours trying to jump out and scare you, instead letting the terror build inside of the viewer. Viewers of any of these movies cannot doubt that seeing humans pushed to their physical limits is endlessly frightening thanks to a simple psychological concept known as projection. When consuming media, there is a certain level of self-projection involved.

Think of your favorite characters in movies or TV. They might draw certain similarities to you, or someone close to you, which is why you fall in love with them in the first place. They’re familiar and you can relate to them, so you attach yourself. This concept is less of a science and more of an assumption of media consumers. Inadvertently, we are at the forefront of our own minds at all times, and we want to associate ourselves with people who match our energies. Similar to the way friendships work— it’s hardly rocket science.

That’s why imagining ourselves having to fight off a home intruder that we can’t hear, or hiding from monsters that hear every sound we make, or perhaps not being able to look at the world around us is scary. It can only be assumed that our projections are put into hyperdrive watching these kinds of situations play out. Such mundane and everyday things as our senses being ripped from our grasp leaves you with a feeling of pure helplessness. This concept might be easier to process looking at any other type of horror movie. Take The Conjuring for example. Not everyone in the world has been terrorized by a demon nun, so the projection is a little more distant— but almost everyone can hear. And talk. And see.

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