9 Lives


My review of 9, the Tim Burton-produced animated apocalypse, is now up on the main Plugged In site. The film is more haunting parable than anything else, bolstered by an important cautionary question: With all our techno-gizmos and mechanized whodats, are we getting too smart for our own good?

I talk pretty extensively about the spiritual elements in my review(and there are many). But here, I’d like to address something else that I’ve been puzzling over: The film’s creep factor, and why it impacted me as it did.

I saw 9 on the heels of Halloween II, a gory, violent, hard-R horror movie. It was a feature-length study in brutality, where humanity is bludgeoned to the point of unrecognizability–a vicious and loathesome way to spend two hours. But here’s the thing: Bloody horror films like Halloween don’t scare me. I didn’t jump. I didn’t scream. The movie–has horrible as it was–didn’t linger. I am frightened of a great many things, but Michael Myers is not among them.

But the evil, soulless machines in 9 … man, those are just flat-out creepy. If I was 12 and had seen the film, I’m pretty sure the snake-like machine topped by an eyeless doll head would’ve given me nightmares for weeks. And let me make a confession: 9, at one point, made me jump.

None of this is to say that Halloween II is somehow more benign than 9: It’s not. But it is interesting … and it perhaps illustrates that blood and guts aren’t nearly as frightening as imagery that taps, somehow, into our Boschian-like imaginations. Ask the man-or-woman on the street about the creepiest films they’ve seen, and chances are good that, somewhere in the conversation, The Wizard of Oz will pop up because of those scary flying monkeys.

So, all that said, tell me: What movies scare you? And why?

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Elvenstar:

What frightens me is the unknown. I love suspenseful movies, like The Village and Signs. I enjoy being afraid for the characters, for some reason.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  RonJon1991:

It takes alot to scare me. the Saw movies made me sick but didn't scare me. The dark knight didnt scare me either. I just dont get scared, I might jump in suprise but thats about it. What some people find as scary and entertaining I find gross and a waste of my time. Although 9 looks like a good movie I'll have to watch by my self since I have younger siblings that will get scared. I have yet to be scared on a movie. The only thing that does scare me about these movies is that people LIKE them. For example the movie adaption of Frank Peretti's The Visitation, the book was about redemption and a man going back to God after a difficult time in his life. The movie was a demonic excorcism fest, I hated it. Then I talked to my Mom about this and she agreed with me. She told me this was the reason why we dont have horror movies in the house cause it is her way of protecting us from what the world offers. One last thing, I want to thank Pluggedin.com for all their work they have done on reviewing movies and putting up a christian world view review up for all to read. It takes guts to say some of the stuff they say even though alot of people say they are wrong. Keep up the good work and dont let anyone phase you in your work.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  Superheroine:

I haven't seen 9 yet, but one of the scariest movies I've ever seen is The Dark Knight. What makes it so terrifying is the Joker. He's insane. He's mysterious. He wears makeup. And he doesn't seem human.

Throughout the movie, the Joker is a force of raw, unfiltered evil, attacking Gotham simply because he wants to. He has no understandable goals (money, power, revenge, etc.) and that makes him all the more terrifying. You get the feeling that if you met him in a dark alley, he might knife you to death, he might let you go and hunt you down tomorrow, and he might hunt you down and kill your family instead. The only recognizable human trait he has is a sense of humor, and even that is warped and twisted by sadism. When we see him briefly without his makeup, he still doesn't look human. And when he succeeds in tearing down Harvey Dent and we see Harvey with his half-burned face, he doesn't look human either. He's become like the Joker.

So I guess that's what makes The Dark Knight so scary: Everyone is falliable, except the Joker. Harvey Dent falls. Stanley Gordon makes mistakes.  Batman doesn't fall, but Gotham sees him as the villain, and his borderline unethical means for defeating the Joker make us wonder if they're right. In this movie, evil is on the loose, and not even death can stop it. 

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  blondepianist:

I totally agree with you.

I thought about this, and 9's terror comes from the sense of fragility about the stitchpunks' world. Anything they lose is truly lost, and it's only by a hair that they hold on. Often, the only thing separating one of them from death is a few feet of ground from an encroaching monster. After scenes like (SPOILER) 2's sudden and random death after rescue and the return of B.R.A.I.N. during their celebration, it feels as if no victory is certain, that loss of everything is a possibility.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

Comment by  yodipug:

I am creeped out by the Labyrinth - the old film with David Bowie. Everything in the maze is creepy in itself - the tunnel of hands, for example! But it is also creepy to think that a random bitter wish could cause you to lose part of your family forever.