Horror films omit sensory information to captivate audiences

Madison Thompson

Horror films aim to scare audiences through the use of sensory information. Creators also influence audiences through the deprivation of senses. 

In both Bird Box and The Invisible Man directors emphasize how the deprivation of a sight can altar how frightening something is. 

In the movie Bird Box, people have to constantly shield their eyes from something they can’t see to avoid being driven insane. Not being able to see something is more scary than being able to see it because of the overwhelming anxiety and fear that people experience since they feel like they are constantly in danger from something they can’t prepare themselves for. 

I enjoyed this aspect of the movie because of the innovative ways the protagonists came up with to get themselves in and out of places, house to house, while having their vision blocked.

The Invisible Man flips the tables and uses the idea of making the antagonist invisible. Not being able to see the person and protect yourself from any incoming attacks is truly terrifying to think about. 

Knowing something is out there, but not being able to see where it is plays on the emotions of the audience as many times we get the feeling that something is there when we can’t see anything.

I enjoyed the premise of The Invisible Man because of the unknown – how will the protagonist convince others that there is someone chasing them and attacking them when no one can see the attacker?

On the other hand, in the movie A Quiet Place, people have to somehow continue with everyday behaviors such as cooking, cleaning, and driving while staying silent. 

Within the plot of the movie, not being able to stay quiet can end up deadly because alien-like creatures use their hearing to hunt down and kill people. 

This has a strong impact on the audience by making them question what other everyday things they do could end up impacting them in a harmful way. Taking something simple and making it scary makes it relatable in a way slasher style horror movies could never be.

I enjoyed the premise of A Quiet Place because of seeing how the protagonists adapt to their situation and watching them create new, inventive ways to do what they used to do daily.

In the movie Hush the protagonist is a deaf writer who lives out in the woods with only a few neighbours nearby. The killer taunts her throughout the movie by lurking around her house and sneaking inside and standing behind or near her. 

Again, this movie emphasizes the fear that can be created by removing one of the primary senses people consistently rely on each day. 

I enjoyed the premise of Hush because of the scenes where the protagonist thinks of multiple ways to escape while considering all possible outcomes. I think this shows how the protagonist uses their other senses and their own knowledge to try and escape.

The deprivation of senses can greatly affect us and it can make us struggle if we were in dangerous situations. I feel like all these movies are good examples of how people overcome challenges while still providing a fear factor elevated by the lack of sensory information.