Sight and sound are two powerful things when put together. Sometimes, you stumble across a film that manages to combine the two in such a way that you’re left in awe of the sound and foley team. To this end, I’m not only going to recommend Michael Evans’s 2AM: The Smiling Man; I’m going to tell you to throw on a pair of headphones when you watch it. You’re going to want the full effect.
The simplest things got me on this one. Simple maxim: sometimes, the creepiest person around is the guy that inexplicably, unnaturally smiles at you and doesn’t stop. Likewise, the simple sounds got me: minimalist music and, more importantly, the footfalls. Jesus, those footfalls killed me. It’s a subtle reminder that someone else is around in the dead of night, quietly following you. It’s frightening, because it’s the simplicity that builds the dread: you know that something is there, and it’s not teasing you with a catch phrase or the drag of a knife. There’s no audible cocking of a gun. So when we get to the sudden bumrush of a run, it’s fucking terrifying. This smiling nutjob is hauling ass toward our hero, and we have no clue what he wants; just a feeling that he’s going to do harm. In that moment, we’re scared of the unknown person who’s smiling and about to attack. It speaks to a deep fear we have (being harmed without reason). And it’s damn effective.
So look over your shoulder, and happy Saturday.