An arachnophobe walks into a cinema...
January 25, 2015 3:39 AM   Subscribe

I'm supposed to be going to see Enemy with some friends today. Is this something that somebody with really crippling arachnophobia can actually do, and is the film worth the risk? I'm already pretty comprehensively spoiled (and spoilers follow).

So, having read the Wikipedia recap and a couple of reviews, I'm aware that the film is book-ended by two scenes with tarantulas. I might manage to sit through these with my eyes screwed tightly shut, since I've got advance warning, but if the whole film is going to feature repeated unexpected cuts to triggering visuals, then I'm probably going to have to go with the alternative plan of drinking craft beer in the cinema bar for 90 minutes instead.

Massive spiders aside, the film seems really intriguing and I'd like to experience it for myself. Is there any way I can do so or is it foolish of me to try?
posted by Zeinab Badawi's Twenty Hotels to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's been a while since I saw it but apart from the opening and closing ones, it doesn't feature too many scenes with real-looking spiders as far as I can remember. A giant one, towering over the city is shown once or twice, which you can already see in the movie poster if you care to look, and that's pretty much it.

[mild spoilers ahead]
However, that's *real-looking* spiders. There are visual allusions to spiders everywhere in the film. Some of it are fairly abstract, like a shot of city electrical lines or a broken car glass resembling spiderwebs... though some not so abstract, like a woman with a spider's head passing by one of the character in a dark corridor, etc. Coupled with the film's tense, ominous atmosphere, even though these scenes are few and far between, they could add up and give you a hard time, I think. And that last scene... I don't have a phobia of anything, but that last scene can scare the * out of any unsuspecting person, let alone someone with arachnophobia.

As for the film, for me, it was clever, thoughtful, and full of ideas poured into a high-concept construct... yet lackluster in execution, acting and themes I care about; like a lesser Mulholland Drive. I don't know anything about phobias and how troublesome they can be, but if it's a really crippling condition for you, I'd advise you to err on the side of caution.
posted by procrastinator at 5:29 AM on January 25, 2015

The final scene is on Youtube, if you want to expose yourself to it. Even just by itself, it's spooky. But the giant spider, while shocking, is scared and pitiful. It even makes a frightened little piggy sound. So I don't know, in a funny way, that might be GOOD for you to see. It's a big monster spider, but it's not evil or destructive.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:47 AM on January 25, 2015

I don't know this particular film, but speaking as someone who has had to sit trying to console more than one total stranger who'd stumbled terrified out of a movie (I've worked in theaters for decades) while their spouse/date/friends refused to leave their seats, I vote for you sticking to the craft-beer-in-the-cinema-bar-plan. Who knows, you might meet some other congenial arachnophobic types who also appreciate a good beer.
posted by easily confused at 7:03 AM on January 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Going to this movie sounds like a seriously awful idea.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:18 AM on January 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

Sit near the door?
posted by dhartung at 9:40 AM on January 25, 2015

I have a very mild arachnophobia, and saw this movie. The things that I can't unsee have haunted me since! If I could do it again, I'd drink beer and eat m+ms in the lobby. It was a good movie! Just not worth the ongoing torment, imho. Even just reading this question and the responses have given me gag-like feelings as I remember parts of it.

Good luck, whatever you decide!!!
posted by crawfo at 9:50 AM on January 25, 2015

This review, from someone with arachnophobia, makes it sound like you shouldn't:

"So now...the weird stuff. I suffer from arachnophobia, aka I'm deathly afraid of, well you know. So much so that I'm getting all squirmy just thinking about em'. With that in mind, any discussion of Enemy must mention it's weird and totally disgusting obsession with spiders (barf). From the opening scene to the film's now infamous final shot, this film is completely engulfed in spider imagery and metaphors. "
posted by O9scar at 2:21 PM on January 25, 2015 [2 favorites]

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