Scared Shitless: Alone or with a Group of Strangers?

So I finally saw the rest of Hardcore Henry. I completely stand by my review of the first 45 Hardcore Henryminutes and am only disappointed in myself that I gave this inexcusably boring failed experiment of an action movie a second chance.

Despite receiving some very generous reviews from some of our Honourary Assholes, Hardcore Henry didn’t quite draw the crowd that I was expecting. In fact, for the first time in my life, I found myself alone in a movie theater for a full 96 minutes.

Having the room to myself had its advantages. I didn’t have to glare at anyone for eating noisy nachos or checking their phone and could even feel comfortable to check my own phone whenever I wanted. I also got up and changed seats twice. I didn’t enjoy the Coming Attractions though.

Have you seen the preview for Lights Out?

It’s fucking scary!!!! Now imagine watching it in a big dark room all by yourself where the speakers are so loud that nobody outside would be able to hear you scream. I couldn’t help but look over my shoulder throughout the previews. They actually make these previews way too scary if you ask me. Here I am sitting down to watch a guilty pleasure action movie and am stuck watching terrifying clips of scary movies that I never would have consented to see.

This trailer didn’t have the same effect when I was forced to sit through it again, this time with twenty or so other people who came to see Green Room. There seems to be a feeling of strength in numbers when dealing with the paranormal. I didn’t know anyone else in the theater but I felt safer knowing that they were there.

That feeling of security didn’t last once Green Room started. If you haven’t heard of this green room small(by my count) third feature from writer-director Jeremy Saulnier (Blue Ruin), it features a young punk band who barricade themselves in their dressing room after a controversial set to protect themselves against neo-Nazis. It’s the kind of movie that makes you fear your fellow man and wondering what the guy sitting behind you is capable of.

Saulnier takes his time at first to give us a chance to start to like this struggling touring band. As the story unfolds and the sense of danger continues to intensify, it becomes harder and harder to guess what’s coming next. Which isn’t to say that there is any real mystery or even any major twists. Saulnier isn’t nearly lazy enough for that. He just presents believable characters in a credible (at least credible for this genre) situation and dares to ask “Now what?”. It’s a violent film with terribly violent things happening to its characters on both sides of the door. Somehow, however, it never feels sadistic or exploitative. Every act of violence in Green Room is presented as a terrible thing and, for once, there isn’t a single character that seemed to want this situation to turn this bloody.

So, to sum up, see Green Room if you don’t mind a tense and occasionally punishing 95 minutes, don’t see Hardcore Henry, and don’t watch the trailer for Lights Out alone.

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19 thoughts on “Scared Shitless: Alone or with a Group of Strangers?

  1. Christopher

    I’m in an office with several other people and the trailer for Lights Out scared me. It brings to mind the time I saw Cabin In The Woods. There were other people in the theater and once the credits rolled they all left. I stuck around to see if there’d be something extra after the credits. And I needed a few minutes to calm down because it was a pretty scary flick with a real shocker of an ending.
    Then I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. Or I thought I did. I couldn’t be sure. By the time the credits finished and the house lights came up I was more freaked out than I had been at any time during the movie.
    A woman who’d left with everyone else came back to see, like me, if there was anything after the credits. She was standing behind the wall between the exit and the seats but moved around just enough that I was seeing her head.
    Kind of a bonus scare.

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    1. Matt Post author

      Oh wow, that would’ve killed me. I like that story. I used to work alone in a building overnight and was so freaked out about coming back to my desk from a bathroom break after watching a scary movie. I broke into a run halfway there and cried out when I felt something brush against my arm. It turns out I was running so fast that the wind from my run had caught a paper hung on the bulletin board.

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  2. Matt Post author

    Oh yes, I actually just read your review. It just didn’t work for me. Part of the problem for me was that the best stuff was usually happening outside Henry’s field of vision. I also never felt like we were running or jumping with him. Maybe it would have made a fun ultra-violent simulator ride like at Universal Studios.

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  3. ninvoid99

    OK, Lights Out looks interesting and I’m sure it would’ve been scarier in the dark. I have seen movies by myself in a theater but it’s never horror nor did it show any horror trailers. Sorry it had to be you.

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  4. Brittani

    I liked Green Room. Great little film. That trailer for Lights Out was pretty fucking creepy. I’m not sure how the movie will go, but that was good.

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  5. The Vern

    I enjoyed Lights Out more when it was just a short film. I enjoyed The Trailer for the full feature but to me it looks like a great comedy. Green Room was good, but i disliked that once the action was getting intense, it slowed down I would watch Hardcore Henry again on an OculousRift system

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