Silence is one of the go-to tricks of many a horror film. It’s a classic way to lead up to a jump scare or build suspense. It naturally draws the viewer in, puts them on edge, because there’s something unnerving about silence in a world where we’ve become so used to the noise.
If you distilled horror to its core idea, it would be the idea of fear. And while fear is a core concept of the genre, one could argue that even more than fear it is a genre about trauma. The best horror stories often come with traumatic pasts attached; whether it be the story told around the campfire of the boy who drowned in Crystal Lake or what horrible event casted a shadow over the haunted mansion. The Boy is intriguing in that it deals with the trauma of the past but positions itself as a story where the line between what is true and what is “pub talk” isn’t always clear.
Dontnod’s Life is Strange is a rare delight in video games: one built around a cast of relatable characters that come across as human and strong as the best stories in any medium. While the medium lacks the realism and nuance of a human performance, it’s a reminder of how far games have strived when a video game story can be as bold, moving and gripping as primetime TV or award-winning movies.
The original Star Wars trilogy is in many ways the textbook example of the hero’s journey, the battle between good and evil where the hero overcomes challenges and sets things right. And while there are certainly merits to this structure, there’s something else that made Star Wars interesting, it wasn’t simply the structure, it was a sense of world in place where everything was run down and falling apart and the glory days were long gone.
Wakanda is the true star of Black Panther. The afro-futuristic country comprised of five tribes lead by the titular warrior king provides a rich tapestry that does more than contextualize the film, but stands at the forefront of what makes this film such a unique and interesting blockbuster. It is a film rooted in the ideas of how the land shapes a people.