"In space, no one hears you scream"
June 13, 2012 1:39 PM   Subscribe

Should I watch Prometheus? I'm afraid of horror films.

I like science fiction films, and the visuals in the trailer are enticing. But, being sensitive and easily startled, I'm not a fan of horror films. I have seen the origin Alien movie and the scenes was tolerable. More recently, the scenes in Black Swan were okay too. And I found both films overall enjoyable. Will Prometheus be really bad?
posted by polymodus to Media & Arts (23 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Prometheus isn't really scary. There is one scene in particular that is really intense but in general it isn't a "startle" type of movie. Alien is way more intense, with the exception of the previously mentioned scene, which isn't exactly scary, just really intense and pretty explicit.
posted by nathancaswell at 1:42 PM on June 13, 2012

I probably shouldn't even answer this question, considering I think Alien is perhaps the scariest movie ever made, but I think that if you thought Alien was "tolerable," you'll be fine with Prometheus. There's a lot of grossness — OMGWTF — in Prometheus but not much in the way of gotcha shock scenes. There is a big, horrifying set piece that you can see coming from a mile away. Some of the visuals are really ... intense, I guess, but I don't recall it ever going for a cheap scare.
posted by Joey Bagels at 1:43 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had to close my eyes only twice, no three times. I'm pretty squeamish and never watch horror movies. If you can deal with the general atmosphere of dread, you'll be fine.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:48 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am exactly like you. When we left the theater, I said to my husband, "You know, they should sell a DVD version of that movie that's just all scenes of Michael Fassbender (&co) walking around quietly in the space ship. That is a DVD I would buy and watch."

Like others have said, there aren't big startle moments. When a big gross thing was about to happen, the setup was obvious. If you prefer not to see too much grossness, you can close your eyes. I recommend bringing a friend who can tell you when it's safe to look again.

That said, the concept behind one of the big gross-out scenes is so terrifying to me that I'm still thinking about it and shuddering several days later. The very idea is horrifying.
posted by inging at 1:49 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Alien is scarier. The shocks are broadly the same, and it's not really as creepy as the first film.
posted by man down under at 1:50 PM on June 13, 2012

Prometheus doesn't have the discerning use of blood and gore that Alien has for effect. It has more, but for me, to less effect. It's too much, too often, to convince. It has one or two hand-bangs-on-the-window-you're-looking-out kind of jumps like Black Swan, but as a comparison, I would say it is nowhere near as successful as Black Swan in moments of creepy crawly body horror.
posted by dougmoon at 1:51 PM on June 13, 2012

Like you, I don't have a lot of stomach for horror movies, but I found Prometheus eminently watcheable, if a bit tense and squicky at times.
posted by gauche at 2:00 PM on June 13, 2012

Agreed. If Alien was tolerable, you shouldn't have a problem with Prometheus. The scenes that might be cringe-worthy were more tense than scary.
posted by Quincy at 2:09 PM on June 13, 2012

If you saw Alien and liked it enough to be interested in Prometheus you should be alright. Prometheus is a boilerpot of tension and doesn't coast on POP UP ON SCREEN AND SHOCK YOU techniques.
posted by TaconibsPHD at 2:15 PM on June 13, 2012

Umm, spoilers much Brandon Blatcher?

Regardless, Prometheus is about a terrifying situation, but it handles it in a very stomach-able way. The only scene that would give me pause is quite short, and is the best scene in the movie IMO.
posted by Magnakai at 2:18 PM on June 13, 2012

I am not a horror fan, but I saw Alien many years ago and was potentially interested in Prometheus. Friends familiar with my squicks and squeamishness told me I needed not to see it.

I have not seen Black Swan.
posted by immlass at 2:21 PM on June 13, 2012

[Please attempt to avoid graphically spoilering the movie here. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 2:22 PM on June 13, 2012

My wife refuses to go to any vampire, zombie, slasher flicks with me. She won't watch them at home even. We did see The Grey in theatres and it freaked her out. We saw Prometheus with no issues. I even asked her afterwards and she shrugged it off as not even horror.
posted by M Edward at 2:26 PM on June 13, 2012

Without spoilers, if you watched Alien and "tolerated" it you're doubly prepared for Prometheus: not only is it rather tamer than Alien (except maybe for That One Scene mentioned above) but it mirrors the rhythms of Alien and Aliens pretty much beat-for-beat. You'll know when things are about to happen, and be pretty sure what those things are, because you've seen it before.
posted by gerryblog at 2:26 PM on June 13, 2012

But, being sensitive and easily startled

OP, be aware there are several intense and graphic scenes that will make a huge impression on someone who is "sensitive and easily startled". Alien was much more subtle in terms of provoking an atmosphere with dark shadows and music. Prometheus uses more brightly lights and camerawork that lingers on the horrible things happening to several people.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:28 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have not yet seen the movie, but I have the same concern, and a close friend of mine told me the trailer is much, much scarier than the actual movie is. So there's that?
posted by Andrhia at 2:32 PM on June 13, 2012

I don't like scary movies. When I was little I had to leave the room whenever The Count came on Sesame Street. There was a part where the feeling that something bad is going to happen and I don't know what or when was strong enough to make me think "I hate feeling so intensely uncomfortable. Why did I come watch this??" but that was just one scene.

I did enjoy the rest of the movie a lot. And even if some disturbing imagery can get kind of lodged in your head, it's not the sort of thing that can keep scaring you when you're alone at night (unless you're alone exploring alien ruins on distant planets at night a lot).
posted by aubilenon at 3:12 PM on June 13, 2012 [2 favorites]

I agree with those that say, while there are really gross and squeal-worthy parts, the music swells pretty dramatically, or the scene is set up just so to let you know A THING IS GOING TO HAPPEN, at which point I would cower and put my head down then watch through my fingers so I can see just a sliver of the screen, which some how protects me from the scary thing, and when the gross noises and fast movement ceases I resume watching safely. I only jumped in my seat once, and that was at a quick unexpected camera angle change, not a scary gross thing. (I am really jumpy.)
posted by NikitaNikita at 3:28 PM on June 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Prometheus is weak sauce compared to Alien... If you can watch the latter you can easily survive the former. Whilst there are roughly similar elements to both, Alien is basically a horror film with science fiction overtones whilst Prometheus is a science fiction film with (some) horror bits. Yes, it has a couple of visceral scenes but it does not have anything like the build up of tension or claustrophobia that Alien had so they are not as effective/scary when they do turn up. No real jump-scares either, from what I remember.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 4:18 PM on June 13, 2012

Prometheus embodies a lot of the mythos of Egyptian and Greek iconography, and if you couch the carnal graphics in these concepts, they are more understandable and watchable.

Most of my students in my classes have seen it already, and most of them really enjoyed the film. I don't think any of them found it too disgusting to watch. I was surprised since many of them have been spoon fed computer graphics and green screen for most of their contemporary fare.
posted by effluvia at 4:52 PM on June 13, 2012

I will be the dissenter here - I hate scary movies and I love sci fi movies and I found Prometheus almost unbearable. If I hadn't been in the very middle of a full row, I would have left at several scenes. I felt ill for a while afterwards.

It's a monster movie on another planet - that's about the extent of the science fiction. I'd stay away.

In terms of my sensitivity, I saw Aliens when I was quite young and it very much upset me, and I did not go see Black Swan because of the scary scenes. So YMMV, but I was really surprised by the horror aspect of Prometheus when I felt like it was presented as sci fi.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 5:25 PM on June 13, 2012

I hate "horror" films. I liked Alien. I liked Black Swan but there were a LOT of scenes I had to hide behind my hands. You will be fine with Prometheus. There are maybe 3 jump in your seat moments (but you knew it was about to happen anyway because of the built up tension), and maybe 2 grim scenes where it's rather built up and drawn out so you can decide to look away (I did sort of hide behind my fingers during those scenes).
posted by like_neon at 1:55 AM on June 14, 2012

I'm fairly easily scared by horror movies, and had to shut my eyes several times, but otherwise it didn't bother me. Basically it doesn't set up enough tension to be scary, but it is incredibly gross; with long lingering shots of really yucky things happening to people.

If I were you I wouldn't bother, it's OK but not good enough to be worth disturbing yourself with. I found "The Cabin in the Woods" scarier and thought it had better ideas.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:46 AM on June 14, 2012

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