Two-plus months of staying at home is a long time. No one is arguing otherwise. But a pandemic is still a pandemic, folks. Just because things are seemingly starting to get a little better—and we’re starting to get a lot more antsy—doesn’t mean that going out into the world all willy-nilly is a good idea. Thankfully, there are plenty of movies ready to scare us straight and remind everyone how great sitting tight on your couch really is.
And while it’s true that sometimes the phone call is coming from inside the house, a lot more often the true terror only starts once you step outside the front door. From atomic mutants to suicide demons to, you know, other people, there are untold cinematic reasons to stay right where you are. And maybe leave the lights on, too.
A Quiet Place
When A Quiet Place debuted way back in the stone ages of 2018, a family living in self-sustained seclusion to save themselves seemed like one of those far-fetched sci-fi ideas. It was like something only an extraterrestrial invasion could bring. Now, though, it feels eerily prescient. (See: John Krasinski’s magnificent isolation beard.) And while most of us now definitively know that we would have pulled out that problematic nail on the staircase out of sheer boredom, the film’s larger message nonetheless remains resoundingly apt. Gathering in large groups is a bad idea.
Sure, in the movie it’s because large groups inevitably lead to noise which inevitably leads to someone getting eaten by a murder-alien with superpowered hearing, but you get it.
Covering up your face every time you go outside and avoiding other people because they can’t be trusted reads a lot differently now than it did when Bird Box debuted. So too does the notion of a malevolent entity you can’t see hibernating inside of your friends only to do you harm well after you think the danger is gone.
Despite its supernatural elements, the film is a potent reminder that just because you can’t see what’s going on doesn’t mean it’s not there. Or that it can’t hurt you and your loved ones. And, also, that there’s really no downside to adopting animals in need.
The Hills Have Eyes
Think a road trip is a safe way to get outside? Guess again. Or maybe you think it’s okay to spare a moment to talk with that harmless old man on the side of the road? Wrong. What if you live in a cave and only leave occasionally, just to go to the nearby service station to murder people and mutilate dogs? That’s also a bad idea, though, admittedly, for much different reasons.
Honestly, if everyone in this movie had just stayed in their own homes and minded their own business, The Hills Have Eyes could have just been ten minutes of stock footage of the Mojave desert for Nevada’s tourism board.
New Line Cinema
The thesis statement of Final Destination is that a person simply cannot cheat death. No matter what you do, once you’re marked, Death will find you and hunt you down. It will kill you in increasingly convoluted and nonsensical ways. It’s … not the most optimistic of franchises, even by horror movie standards.
But here’s the thing: the first movie’s cascading body count only occurs because a bunch of rowdy teenagers tried to get on a plane to go on vacation. Afterwards, they kept doing all kinds of unsafe things, like not having bath mats. And then, when they think they’re in the clear and feel like they’ve finally earned that trip to Paris—nope. Death is there waiting.
Don’t travel, guys. Problem solved.
French philosopher and playwright Jean-Paul Sartre once famously wrote “Hell is other people.” He probably didn’t mean that crime would be legal one day a year and everyone would go murder-crazy, but, honestly, maybe he did. We’re not mind readers.
Anyway, The Purge is proof that all it takes is one nutcase with a complete disregard for human life to bring it all crashing down, and that letting strangers—or even neighbors—into your house is probably ill-advised. Most of them are wearing masks, though, so that’s good.
A brief summary of The Mist goes like this: there are monsters outside, living in the very (blue) air. Going outside leads to a gruesome end. Most folks are content to stay inside. But then some faux-religious nutcase decides to capitalize on everyone’s fear and starts willingly sacrificing others to save herself. A few people try to run away. Everything ends badly for everyone.
So, what can we learn from that? Stay inside. Don’t give up hope. Trust in scientists. And when you’re this close to salvation, don’t act rashly and cost a bunch of innocent people their lives.
Featured Image: MGM