I have a confession to make, I really don’t like horror movies.
It’s not so much the monsters that you see that scare me the most about them, like the vampires and werewolves and, yes, zombies, though I have to admit that the impressive special effects on The Walking Dead have made me a bit twitchy at creaking doors when I’m home alone and it’s getting dark.
What gets me the most has always been the unseen monsters, the shadows behind closed doors, the stuff that creeps up behind the protagonists and you never see its face.
Fittingly, even though the actual zombies on TWD are pretty scary, the scariest thing about it in my opinion are the moments that you are reminded that this show used to take place in a normal world, our world, and now, most of those people and places are gone. And this new world, the post-apocalyptic landscape of dead bodies and ruined shells of buildings that we see on the television, is all that is left.
Though that’s a bit scary, it’s also a large part of what makes TWD so addictive; the constant juxtaposition between the lives of ordinary people in the ordinary world we know and what is now required from these ordinary people to survive in this new world of, well, the walking dead.
The characters on TWD are constantly making difficult decisions, with no easy answer, and at the point I’m at (only halfway through season 2, so no spoilers!) there doesn’t seem to be an obvious end goal in sight, other than survival. And it’s riveting to watch.
Each character has their own arcs and struggles, and everyone is grey, there’s no simple black and white morality. Even the actions of Rick, the archetypal good man, are called into doubt by the question of whether it is still practical to try and save everyone, although we don’t fully agree with the ruthless survivalist pragmatism of Shane either.
It’s also, and let it be known that I have the darkest sense of humour, quite funny sometimes, heightened by the constant building and releasing of tension.
I’m hoping that the quality will stay consistently good for as long as possible, which doesn’t seem too unlikely given that this is a show that relies on the relationships and chemistry between its characters rather than a snappy plotline, the pace of the show being relatively slow, which is fine as it works. It also doesn’t eliminate the possibility of surprising and interesting plot twists, like at the end of the episode I just watched (the seventh episode of season 2, I must admit that I didn’t expect that to happen).
I’ll certainly be continuing to watch as much as possible over the next five weeks, before I have to go back to uni. I just won’t be watching it at night.