It’s time to lock your doors and close your windows! It’s Halloween! And here at Short of the Week we’d like to start our scare week with Jack Michel’s riveting and suspenseful film Intrusion. There are countless things that scare us. We often associate horror films with dark, macabre imagery, and most often blood and guts. Often we think of monsters and ghouls, inventing creatures that are beyond our practical understanding. But Intrusion reminds us that sometimes what scares us most is not necessarily creatures of another realm, but rather ourselves.
One of the things that makes the horror genre so compelling is how easy it is to relate it to psychological, sociological and often political states. Intrusion asks us to question not only what it is we are afraid of but also who we are afraid of. Michel puts us in a situation where we are not confronted by imaginary beings, but rather we are confronted with reality. Intrusion posits is the real that we should be afraid of most. We are afraid of the dark. We are afraid of the other. And we are mostly afraid of ourselves as the other.
Technology plays an interesting role in Intrusion in that it serves as a vehicle for so many things. It acts as a friend and companion when we are frightened and most alone. It provides us with the comfort and security of documentation and proof that we are not completely mad. And at its most practical level it can act as a means to navigate in the dark. And it’s not just a simple matter of shining light to let us see, it’s that it allows us to see what it is we would be afraid of without it, and the dark represents one of our other fears: the unknown.
The most interesting and perhaps the most frightening aspect of this film has to do with perspective. Intrusion takes great care in considering the cultural dynamics of fear. On the one hand we are often afraid of the unknown. Sometimes what we really fear has to do with the violation of our personal sanctuaries, and in essence, our homes. We consider our homes to be the one place where we can feel safe by ourselves or safe with our families and the idea of an intruder entering into our own homes is truly and deeply horrifying. But what scares us most is discovering that we are on the wrong side. Many of us spend our lives convinced that we are on the right side of things. We have spent so much time fearing the other that it’s prevented us from taking a good look at ourselves and really examining our own position in the grander scheme of things. What is most frightening is not the enemy, but discovering that we ourselves are the enemy.