Well, it’s officially been a complete year that we’ve all been encompassed in the COVID-19 pandemic (knowingly at least). Though the pandemic itself seems like its own series of horror films, Teresa can’t help but wonder could it be worse?
Zombies: Yes, I know zombies are not a real thing (some conspiracy theorists might oppose) but that does not make them any less terrifying to think about. Even the video game Left for Dead leaves me traumatized for a day. But that’s beside the point. Zombies, whether fictitious or true, would be *much* worse than this. Don’t believe me? Well, you tell me if you’d want to be the main character in any of these movies:
Train to Busan (2016)
Starring Korean actor Gong Yoo, a workaholic who’s feeling disconnected from his wife and daughter, he plans a trip to Busan for his daughter’s (Kim Soo-Ahn) birthday to spend time with her and her mother. What is meant to be an easy and simple trip, turns into a nightmare when a virus outbreak transforms people into zombies. In hopes of survival, we see some passengers turn on one another, others work together, and a lucky few find a safe haven.
***I must also mention that the film is entirely in Korean. However, that shouldn’t shy you away from enjoying this movie. If anything, it will keep you focused and attentive as the action unfolds. Like Parasite director Bong Joon-Ho said at the Golden Globes, “once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films”
A lighter, comedic twist on a zombie outbreak can be found in Zombieland. Star-studded with La La Land’s Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin (oh and we can’t forget the appearance of Bill Murray as himself), Columbus (Eisenberg) serves as our protagonist/survival guide as his world is turned upside-down when everyone around him becomes a zombie. Along the way, he meets three other survivors, who soon make him break some of his own rules as they try to forge a life in this post-apocalyptic comedy.
Nonetheless, the film doesn’t shy faraway from the grotesque–with the zombies as gruesome as you’ll see in any traditional zombie thriller. And hey, if we ever do come to a zombie apocalypse, Columbus does give some pretty decent tips on what and what not to do in order to stay alive.
Grindhouse Presents: Planet Terror (2007)
More than likely, this is the most disturbing zombie depiction in the movies mentioned here (but can you really expect anything less from a film that includes Tarantino in the lineup of producers?). With pus-filled faces and oozing explosions of blood, Planet Terror might just ruin your appetite (so eat before you watch).
Centered around Cherry (played by Rose McGowan), an (eventually) one-legged go-go dancer, and her ex, El Wray (played by Freddy Rodriguez), the former lovers must band together after DC2–a gas causing the mutation of most of the residents in Texas city they reside–is released. As they push forward, they cross paths with other survivors. In hopes of finding a safe place they can rid themselves of the horrors that lie ahead, they find themselves trying to escape yet another antagonist, possibly worse than the previous.
Sharks: Contrary to our previous more than likely fictitious counterparts, sharks are real. I once heard someone say, “sharks don’t attack you unless you attack them.” Well if you’re like me, sharks are something you have no intention of one day getting close to. For everyone else, you guys can enjoy your surfing, deep-sea diving, and cage diving on your own.
Jaws is responsible for the shark-infested frenzie of movies that rose years and even decades after. It is also the first shark movie I ever experienced (and easily one of my favorite movies of all-time). From the very realistic mechanics that went behind the star great white shark that is actually seen only a handful of times, to the brilliant musical score and suspense that the first Jaws installment created, this movie is truly a diamond.
When a skinny dipper goes missing, Martin (played by Roy Schnieder), a police chief, wants to close the beach until he gets to the bottom of it. With certain people in power opposing his choice, others soon go missing with only one suspect in Roy’s eyes: a great white.
The Shallows (2016)
Going down as the first movie I ever got the pleasure of watching in a theater on my own, I must say I enjoyed every minute of it. Nancy (played by Blake Lively) is a medical student who goes on a trip to Brazil with her friends. Wanting to find the secret beach that her mom went to in previous years, Nancy ventures out. Once she finally arrives at her destination, she makes the horrible choice of surfing alone. Attacked by a great white and stranded on a rock with high tide coming in, figuring out how to get to safety proves difficult, if not impossible.
Deep Blue Sea (1999)
What’s worse than a regular shark? Maybe one with a numerous amount of heads? Maybe ones that fly around in a tornado? Maybe even ones that appear whenever there’s water? Ok, all solid variations, but nothing can top sharks that are actually just as, if not smarter than you.
It’s bad enough that sharks have the advantage of being better swimmers, but when they can strategize, communicate, and maneuver better than humans…uh oh. In this late 90s shark classic, once a group of scientists trying to find a cure for Alzheimer’s unknowingly increases a group of sharks brain abilities, they are in for a rude awakening–or at least Samuel L. Jackson was during his uplifting speech. With modified sharks being the only thing standing between life and death, the scientists must outsmart them and escape their sinking laboratory.
Aliens/Space: Last but not least, is the presence of foreign beings from space. That’s right! I’m talking about aliens. Similar to zombies, these beings aren’t proven to be nonfiction. However, there are different findings that support their plausibility. You’ve got crop circles, possible UFO sightings, and the infamous Area 51. Nonetheless, we can only imagine what an actual alien might be like, allowing each martian movie to provide its own answer to the celestial question.
Being one of the first films to effortlessly have an original plotline, as well as a sequel that lived up to the prequel, Alien set the precedence for most space-horror films that followed. Alien follows a commercial space vessel and its crew on their way back to Earth. Along the way, they stop to reassess the stability of the ship. After landing, a few crew members go and explore another ship they discover. One crew member is attacked by an unknown creature in the process. Initially seeming okay, the crew thinks nothing more of the encounter, that is until an unexpected guest arrives at dinner.
Years later, and after many obstacles, Aliens was released in 1986. Still featuring Alien star Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley, returning from space after escaping the alien-like creature that attacked her and her crew members on Nostromo, Ripley finds herself trying to convince others that she’s telling the truth. In hopes of returning to the scene and rid space of her findings on the previous journey, Ellen finds herself discovering that she may have another problem on her hands: an unsuspecting plot that betrays her own wellbeing.
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Jack Gyllenhaal, and Rebecca Ferguson, this claustrophobic film is solely focused on one area: a space station that discovered extraterrestrial life (much like that of Alien). Like many of Reynold’s past characters, he plays Roy, a cocky type, ready for anything. Gyllenhaal plays the initially hesitant David, and Ferguson plays Miranda, the somewhat level-headed disciplined mother of the men. After the extraterrestrial life that they found transforms into something they could never predict, it leaves them trying to prevent their own deaths the best (but opposite) way they know how: ignoring their training.
Now on a serious note. This is in no way shape or form to say that this past pandemic has been easy. It’s left some without jobs or even inspiration. Some of you may have lost friends and family. Some of you may be going through the downsides of staying home or even from experiencing the paranoia that comes with attempting to stay safe. Whatever your negative connotations may be at this time, I hope you can find the time to see the good things that have happened. And hey, although things seem like they couldn’t be worse, in the case of horror films, they could. I mean would you rather be chased by a zombie?