It’s very likely that people are going to see the relevance of this movie when thinking of how things are today, though thankfully fiction tends to outpace reality quite often, otherwise the situations that many people find themselves these days might be so much worse. Just in case anyone had to be reminded what a phobia is, without the aid of the extremely biased media sources that would seek to make it worse, a phobia is a disorder that can be defined by a persistent and overriding fear of an object or situation. In other words, something triggers this fear quite often no matter how irrational it might appear to be. This usually results in the individual suffering from a phobia suddenly expressing great fear, and it can be a truly devastating experience for quite a few people that don’t seek help or some way to alleviate the issue. Now that you can recall what a phobia really is, imagine if someone attempted to weaponize what you’re most afraid of in order to control a populace and thereby do, well, whatever they want. You might scoff and think that it’s impossible to weaponize something as intangible as fear, but when a person is kept continually afraid and paranoid to the point of shutting down, that fear is seen to be rather effective since it will keep the person in check and possibly very susceptible if the alternative is something that they aren’t afraid of and will gladly agree to in order to stave off that fear. Do you see how that works? Scare someone enough and they’ll agree to just about anything so long as it keeps them from what they fear the most.
It sounds a little too familiar, doesn’t it? Phobias already looks like a thriller as the idea of anyone using fear against a populace is terrifying enough to think about, but this anthology will be following five patients that are going to be tested to see what it might take to weaponize their own fears in an effort to control them. Imagining what this kind of research could do is kind of unnerving it doesn’t feel like it would be something that might be above those that are seeking to control a population to make people do what they want, think what they want them to think, and in other words control every last aspect of their lives. It’s a work of fiction thankfully, but many people are no doubt going to look at the movie and wonder if such a thing might ever happen. The lack of morality and ethical research is something that many people might think would stop anyone from conducting such experiments, but there will always be questions as to what a government will do to keep control of its people, especially when it comes to getting the people to think what they want them to think.
Looking at this movie from a certain perspective it does feel that it’s going to be a true thriller, and one that’s far more cerebral than visceral in nature since when dealing with fear the most intangible factors are those that tend to scare people the most, largely because they can’t see what’s being done, they can’t measure it, weigh it in their mind, and then make fun of the cheesy effects that might come as a result. Cerebral horror is so much worse since it tends to attack the mind in a way that many people are rarely prepared for as many of the worst threats can be hypothetical and implied. In fact, some people might find cerebral horror boring simply because they don’t get it, either because they don’t have the mental acuity to make it worth their while or they simply don’t want to get into it for whatever reason. Hey, to each their own. But a cerebral horror movie is a nice challenge even if there are some visceral elements. Some might call it psychological horror, which is all well and good since it might make a lot more sense, but the fact is that any horror movie that makes a person think is going to be a challenge since many people are bound to be waiting for that too-expected jump scare while trying to make heads or tails of the movie. The anticipation is another psychological aspect however that is often put there on purpose, and can keep a person on their toes or off-balance just enough for the real thrust of the movie to hit home as it should.
If you didn’t get it yet, this movie has a great deal to do with controlling people through fear, and that’s why it’s bound to be one of the more unnerving horror movies that have been made as of late.