31 Days of Streaming Horror: 'Terrified' Lives Up to Its Name
Welcome to 31 Days of Streaming Horror. Every day this October we’ll be highlighting a different streaming horror movie to help you get into the Halloween spirit. Today’s entry: Terrified (2018).
Now Streaming on Shudder
Sub-Genre: Horror Anthology Movie in Disguise
Best Setting to Watch It In: While sitting at the kitchen table with a corpse
How Scary Is It?: Folks, just look at the title
What I love most about Demian Rugna‘s Terrified is that it’s a horror anthology movie in disguise. It never comes right out and admits this fact, but the film tells several scary-as-hell stories all centered around the same neighborhood. A man wakes up late at night and hears a strange thumping sound he assumes is coming from his neighbors, but is actually coming from inside his bathroom. The stiff, lifeless corpse of a young boy hit by a bus suddenly returns home, propped up at the kitchen table, and anytime anyone takes their eyes off the body, it moves…ever so slightly. Even the hoariest of horror cliches – the “monster in the closet” – gets a sequence here, and guess what – it’s genuinely scary.
You won’t fight tight plotting in Terrified. And at times the actions many of the characters take are so silly and so abnormal that it’s almost funny. But Rugna never eases the tension on the terror, and keeps the dread-soaked atmosphere cranked up to 11 from beginning to end. The sequence with the dead child at the table is almost unbearably scary in its staging. A lesser film would have the dead boy twitching around or rushing at the camera for cheap jump scares. Terrified keeps the body perfectly still, a blank expression on the dead face. But whenever the camera cuts away and then cuts back, it’s clear the body has moved…somehow. The movements aren’t pronounced, but they’re there – subtle and chilling.
Terrified is most effective when it keeps its horrors unexplained. When characters show up and start trying to get to the bottom of all this spookiness some of the film’s power is lost. But there’s so much creepy goodness on display throughout the entire movie that even this misstep can’t bog things down. If you want to see something really scary, turn on Terrified, turn off all the lights in your house, and keep your eyes open. You’ll get exactly what you want, and then some.
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