Scary movies work because of two things:
- An AMAZINGLY gut-wrenching plot.
- Freakishly terrifying characters, physically speaking; because that’s what sticks with audiences the most.
That second point is essential. I mean, I remember watching Insidious (BOTH movies, because I felt brave) and praying that the evil spirit lady doesn’t reveal herself to me when I look out my kitchen window. I’D DIE. Monsters, demons, vamps, and all the other supernatural entities we know of are scary, because of the obvious fact that they look the part. We immediately associate them with evil, make up stories in our minds as to why they ended up that way, and judge their character because of what we are used to.
Cronin takes us into the Virals’ minds to debunk that “evil” association we place upon vampires. Members of the First Colony fear Virals. Children are not to know of the world before the spread of the virus or what is outside the walls. The Lights remain on so the Colony will never have to fall prey to Viral attacks. These creatures, with their claws and glowing teeth, send shivers up one’s spine whenever there is an encounter. They are “soul-less,” violent, blood thirsty vamps after all. Yet, because we are taken into their minds, Cronin reveals a forgotten truth. These Virals were human once too. Even in their new bodies and abilities, that small part of human nature still remains.
When Amy uses her telepathy to help Peter escape, we see how Cronin restores humanity back into the perceived realm of evil. The association of malice and monster takes a whole different turn. I honestly thought Peter was done for! But this girl, who we know to be infected, saved him.
Humans and Virals are similar in the sense that they still have the capability to be rational. Virals are strategic creatures that don’t “attack” without a plan. They also travel in packs, which is human-like because we cannot survive on our own. Instinct is also similar between humans and Virals because they protect their own. Whenever threatened, they react. We all have that “animal instinct,” I guess. What separates ourselves from these creatures is the fact that we don’t crave blood. Actually, now that I really think about it, we aren’t that much different. We think, act, and remember all the same. Fear is what makes us believe they are vicious. But did we forget who started all of this? HUMANS.
The Passage is no Twilight (and I am glad it isn’t), but I do see a connection to the movie Dracula Untold. Vlad’s kingdom is threatened by the Turks and in order to save his people, he makes a deal with a mysterious vampire in the mountains. In drinking the blood of the vampire, he turns into one and becomes a monster that the people are scared of. What his people don’t understand is that Vlad did this for them. They remember all the horror stories of how vicious and dangerous the undead are, in turn, they fear their own prince. The people forget all the good he’s done for them and the great sacrifice he made. Instead, they fall into the trap of stories and automatically see Vlad as evil.
What the movie does is similar to Cronin’s strategy. The “untold” story of the “monster” is revealed and the script is flipped. Cronin uses memories and the way Virals think to challenge the idea of them being purely evil. The movie raises the same question: “so, can one be a monster but still be good?” Both the movie and Cronin show their audience that we simply don’t know everything and are quick to make associations because of preconceived ideas of a whole different situation. Our immediate association of monsters to evil blurs the possibility of them being good, even in the smallest sense of the word.