MSMS: My scary movie syndrome
Understand. I have a slight tremor anyway. It’s a side effect of the medication I take for my bipolar syndrome. And, I suppose, a natural consequence of getting older. But it doesn’t come close to preventing me from spending inordinate amounts of time poking this keyboard trying to turn out something that might grab your attention.
And, understand further, that I’m a coward when it comes to spooky movies. On the first date with the woman who became my wife of what is now nearly 40 years, I, for some crazy reason suggested we see Hitchcock’s Psycho. Before the credits rolled, I was reduced to a whimpering mess, eyes closed, my head cowering behind her back. Why she consented to marry me after that display remains, to this day, a mystery.
And then there’s the night before last. As is my wont when watching DVD’s, I was grinding away on the downstairs elliptical. Marleen was in the mountains, skiing with my sister who was visiting from Albuquerque. So it was just me and Disorder. In a quiet house with nightfall rapidly coming down outside. But by the time it was over, I was palsied like a leaf in a hurricane, barely able to get the disc back in its Netflix sleeve and rush it back to the outer darkness from whence it came.
But . . . I watched it again a few nights later.
I got to it, of all places, from one of my favorites, Far From The Madding Crowd.
Matthias Schoenaerts is the common denominator: the strong, silent type. But in Disorder he’s a veteran- and victim-of one of our endless wars: the conflict in Afghanistan. His unsettling portrayal of the mood swings of a now body guard for hire suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was more than enough to keep me on the edge of my figurative seat while on the elliptical. And keep me glued to the couch when I otherwise would have climbed down from the elliptical and started doing sit-ups.
But it wasn’t because I needed to see the subtitles in this French language film-the dialog doesn’t carry the show. It was far more that the long silences and the eerie sound track were punctuated by jump-out-your-skin sneak attacks as Schoenaerts defends co-star Diane Kruger’s creepy mansion from invasion. Even the last scene, which turned out to be perfectly benign, made my skin crawl the first time around.
But as I said . . .
I’m a coward when it comes to scary movies. But I liked this one anyway. How Kruger slowly, grudgingly allows Schoenaert to earn her trust and respect. In part, because, he, a hardened soldier with plenty of issues of his own, unobtrusively shows her how to be a better mother to her young son. Over a bowl of cereal.
But if fingernails-on-the-blackboard suspense isn’t your cup of tea, Disorder might not be for you. But I’ll give it this much: it made me come back for a second helping.