The horror genre hath many doors to let an audience explore what frightens them. Ghouls, ghosts, monsters, masked killers and possessed dolls are merely the tip of the iceberg of what can go bump in the night, but the world of the psychological horror plays a different game with its prey. This is not to say that such a genre can’t utilise the justifiably scary visage of an eerie apparition or blade-wielding maniac, but this is not where psychological horror makes its mark. As the name would suggest, it relies on a greater sense of trickery, of foreboding, of an atmosphere of unending dread that worms its way into the minds of the characters onscreen and, if successful, those watching, too. The human psyche knows the best ways to scare people.
Isolation is often a key ingredient to such a genre, and has been well utilised in the past. The idea of being held against one’s will, isolated with perhaps only one or two others in a single confined space, is one that so easily sets people on edge that it is perfectly fertile ground for the type of stories that are littered throughout the psychological horror genre. Look at the likes of Misery, Bug and The Shining for examples of how such fare can create tension and emotional anguish.
Perhaps that last film mentioned has something of a key influence over The Snare (as it should). Kubrick’s 1980 masterpiece of horror cinema is imbued with such an oppressive air thanks in no small part to the director’s notoriously tyrannical ways onset, tormenting actors and crew to reach his vision of terror. It would seem, as some stories would go, that Cooper employed a similar manner of achieving a sense of verisimilitude through control and domination. If true, are these the methods cruel and unusual? Certainly. However, these are the kinds of tricks Kubrick used in The Shining, and Friedkin employed in The Exorcist. And did they get results? You’re damn right they did.
The Snare was made in only four weeks, with a skeleton crew of actors and technicians, and a very small budget of only £4,000, with all of that effort going towards trying to create something that Cooper et al hope will be an effectively chilling and nerve-shredding work. Will it be a success? Only time will tell, and we hopefully won’t have to wait very long to find out.
The suspense is terrible… I hope it’ll last.
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