Losing one of your five senses – touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste – is a terrifying thought to many people, especially the ability to hear and speak as it is a huge basis of our forms of communications. Well, horror genres like to capitalise on some of our greatest fears, and even something simple like the ability to speak and make noise can be turned into a perfect weapon in the horror movie genre.
Here are some of the best horror movies that make the loss of a sense terrifying.
A Quiet Place
I watched A Quiet Place in the movie theatres, and it was so damn quite that I didn’t want to eat my popcorn for fear of making too much noise! Created by The Office’s very own Jim John Krasinski, and starring both him and his real life wife Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place is about a small family living in a post apocalyptic world. When creatures with ultra-sensitive hearing decimate the human race, the Abbott Family must survive in a silent world, but with a deaf child and a baby on the way, it proves to be quite a difficult task to live life quietly. This horror movie became an instant darling to the horror world, and A Quiet Place 2 is on the way – if we survive our current pandemic of course.
In a similar fashion to A Quiet Place, but without the fanfare, The Silence was Netflix’s attempt at the genre. Starring Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’s Kirenan Shipka and Miranda Otto, and The Devil Wears Prada’s Stanley Tucci, the movie follows a family whose life revolves around sign language as a communication tool, due to their eldest daughter (Shipka) loosing her hearing in a car crash. When a hive of prehistoric bloodthirsty bats are unleashed from a deeply undiscovered cave, the world becomes prey to these blind creatures who can only detect noise. Good thing Shipka and her family have been living in a world of silence already, as they struggle to survive in this new quiet world.
Hush centres around a deaf and mute writer who lives in relative isolation in my dream cabin in the woods. Without her ability to hear and speak, she becomes prey to a deranged serial killer who appears at her window. Watching and preying on her silently, the writer must use her other senses in order to defeat the killer once and for all. I really liked this horror movie, because as it was made in 2016, it was one of the first movies to dive into the genre of being stalked and hunted without the use of some of your senses. If you can’t hear the intruder outside your window, what defences do you really have? The whole thing was well written and executed, and extra props were given for the fact that main character actor Kate Sigel is actually deaf in real life.
Taking on a bit more of a villainous the-hunter-becomes-the-hunted vibe, Don’t Breathe is about a trio of thieves who break into a blind man’s home, looking for a big score. Unfortunately for the thieves, the man is not as helpless as he seems, and the tables are turned as he uses his other senses to hunt the thieves down on his home turf and turn them into the victims of this tale. Starring 13 Reason’s Why’s Dylan Minette, this was an interesting take on sensory deprivation and how even the loss of one sense doesn’t take away your natural abilities and instincts.
Arguably one of the absolute worst movies by super director M. Night Shymalan, The Happening was a 2008 movie starring Marky Mark Walberg and Zooey Deschanel as an estranged couple caught up in a deadly virus that sweeps through and mysteriously causes the human race to commit suicide. As The Happening unfolds, Marky Mark discovers that the cause behind the rash of suicides is actually due to the air that the human race are breathing, which is made up on a neurotoxin that is created by the plants and the algae on Earth. Never have you had to run away from a slight breeze before, and while it was a unique jump on the sensory deprivation horror genre, it really missed the mark.
Bird Box looked silly, but it’s high hopes from Netflix managed to push this Sandra Bullock led movie over the line. The movie is about a mother named Malorie (Bullock), who goes to great lengths to protect herself and her children from an ominous unseen presence that drives most of society to suicide ala M. Night Shaymalan’s The Happening. But whereas The Happening is about the air we breathe, Bird Box follows visions that feel humanity’s mind to the point of suicide. Creating a horror movie about survival against the loss of sight was a big call and a big move to make, but somehow Bird Box managed to do it successfully – even if it looked a bit silly doing it.