Fear in Films

Emotions are the signals of consciousness and unconsciousness of the changes in one’s inner and outer worlds. Fear is a basic, universal emotion that is a mechanism of survival. It arouses the sense of self-preservation and wish to protect someone intimate from harm. Everything that is unknown, visibly threatening or interpreted by brain as dangerous activates the emotion.

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Among other emotions (e.g. anger, joy, sadness, surprise) it is fear that brings a person to a point where there are two ways of development of the situation:

1. Fear passes into dread that turns into a panic attack. Emotional behavior may be depicted through the following scheme: Fear-Fright-Energy-Anxiety-A stoppage of mind functioning. When a person is scared a dose of adrenalin is produced. This makes a heart beats faster, muscle potential and temperature increases, facial expression changes (widely opened eyes and mouth). Fear prepares one for a fight or a run. This distinguishes fear from other emotions.

2. The processes that fear activates in a body help a person to concentrate on collecting the energy, make brain think faster and find a decision on how to survive.

Fear has certain effects on a body and mind and in case of permanent state of being afraid of something the emotion leads to psychological disorders and exhaustion of the organism.

I am afraid of my family or friends being in a situation when I can do nothing to help them. This helplessness frightens me. The origin of this fear is hidden somewhere in my childhood. The memories of a terrible dream or a story that was once told might have no effect earlier but now they have developed into this fear. The film Taken is an example of my fear that is shown from a different angle. The scenario is about a girl who is captured by assailants whose business is women trafficking. Father, who is ready to do anything for his daughter to be happy, is under the circumstances of letting her go on tour to Europe. He gives permission for her to leave the country.

He calls her and they talk about casual things when her voice rises to scream. She says that someone is there; they have taken her friend and are coming for her. The father is in shock and cannot understand what is happening. He starts asking questions, and finally he realizes that he has lost his daughter, which is the greatest fear a father may experience. The distance between them is thousands of miles, and there is no way to save her. She says that she is scared, and he tries to stop her panic: “I know you are. Stay focused. You have to hold it together”.

Fear is a dominant emotion in this episode. My palms sweat and heart pulses in the rhythm of intense music that is playing. She is under the bed breathing unevenly and her father must prepare her for the next part: “They are going to take you”. He swallows, holds his breath, because the words are hard to say. His face reflected sheer terror. I feel the tension and fear. The daughter is paralyzed with fear. There is a moment when I expect that everything wil be fine with her, because those people go. She is left alone in the room. She is safe. But these expectations bring frustration and more fear, because she drops the phone and screams loudly while someone takes her away. Father’s face is pale, he is not breathing. I can see her being kidnapped through his eyes. It is scary. The fear turns into pain.

The scene is 3 minute long. All the time my eyes are on the screen and body is frozen with fear. My senses of perception are utilized – I see his dread, I hear the scream and I physically respond to it, just as the main heroes – shuddering and hardly breathing. My fear is real for these three minutes.

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