This horror movie essay felt like a movie in itself, with the beginning creating suspense using visuals and voiceover just like the beginning of most horror movie beginning teasers. Then the title “Fear Itself” appearing in white font camouflaged under a mass of black, smoky nothingness really amplified the horror element and makes the video essay more like a movie itself by following the classic movie sequence. You don’t ever get to read the full title out because of the black covering the words, but you know what it says anyway and this is powerful and keeps the viewer paying attention. I had never thought to structure a video essay like this before. It is intriguing, suspenseful, and very fitting for its subject matter.
Everyone says it is super important to strike the right tone and personality with voiceover – I think this essay does a great job at that. The voice is female and sounds frail, as if she is about to burst out crying, and her serious, slow tone makes me hold on to every word she says. She talks about the feeling of watching a horror movie, feeling fear, and not knowing where it comes from or when it will set in. Everyone knows horror movies are just constructed sequences to make us cringe or jump out of our seats, but despite this knowledge, we feel fear all the same. The shots in the beginning are of women and men in different horror movies who look afraid, and we align them with the speaker in the voiceover as well as with ourselves and our experience with fear. We don’t hear much in terms of the source film’s audio – except when we need to. For example, the voiceover says “They [horror movies] make you wonder what else is out there, just beyond your grasp, by giving you just enough sound to hear the silence…” as a man shuts a door and then the volume goes up and we hear it creak in a scary way. The visuals connect to the voiceover too, as if they are working together. In the same sequence, the voiceover continues, “… And giving you just enough light to realize how dark it really is,” as the black and white visuals show a bright light appearing in the distance of a dark sky. The essay also does a superb job in actually scaring the viewer just by showing all these clips where scary moments are about to happen, and juxtaposing that with the voiceover’s explanation of how we define fear and what it feels like.