What’s more scary than the truth?
Shutter Island, produced in 2010 and directed by Martin Scorsese, is a psychological thriller film that portrays psychological treatments in the 1950’s. Martin Scorsese’s alteration of the Dennis Lehane novel, Shutter Island, is in fact a horror movie, but it will not come across as your average present-day horror film. Typically directors take ghosts, monsters, vampires, or possessed people and develop a film to scare its viewers, and it more than likely always does. The average horror film filled with a group of “hills have eyes looking” creatures is always scary, but there’s a sense of comfort knowing that it’s just a movie. We thrive off of being scared and the idea of watching these movies knowing they aren’t real, but is that really what we fear? Although these movies are filled with blood and gore, there’s something more realistic and psychological when it comes to tapping into what we Americans are truly afraid of. Rather than using these unrealistic and supernatural beings to scare the audience, the horror of this film is portrayed through psychological distress and internal damages: “a new vision of fear.” In this essay, I will explain how the horror in Shutter Island comes from the perceptions of psychological treatment in the 1950‘s and how it relates to the present-day fear we Americans face from the horrific memories of September 11, 2001. The film is set in 1954 as World War II veteran and current federal marshal Teddy Daniels, and his new partner, Chuck, set out to Shutter Island to investigate the disappearance of a patient from Boston’s Ashecliffe Hospital for the criminally insane. Teddy Daniels explores the asylum in hope to unfold the mysteries of Shutter Island, while his past terrors and hallucinations from guilt interfere with his mindset but actually turn out to help him with the investigation in the end. Scorsese did a great job keeping the audience on edge and just a little bit confused during Teddy’s hallucinations, as intense and fascinating dream-like visions attack him and cause him to question what is real and what is not. Towards the movies end, Teddy makes a journey to the lighthouse where he strongly believes psychosurgery experiments are being done. When Teddy arrives in the lighthouse he notices Dr. Cawley, the head psychiatrist, waiting there for him. It is during this scene that Dr. Cawley finally explains to Teddy that he is really Andrew Laeddis who murdered his wife after she drowned their three children. Dr. Cawley continues to tell Andrew that he had created a fake life to escape the traumatic reality of his past, and that the entire hospital crew was involved in the role-play in hopes that Andrew might face his reality. As stated in multiple articles throughout the internet, Andrew Laeddis is facing Dissociative Identity Disorder/Delusional Disorder while going through the role-play experiment. After the attacks on September 11th 2001, millions of people were faced with trauma and a strong amount of fear, which caused some of them to develop delusions and create an unrealistic life for themselves. After something horrific happens to a person, their mind becomes insane and they are sometimes left with no other choice but to imagine a new, normal, and sane life for themselves. Dr. Cawley is trying to cure Andrew so that he could be sane again, but even after Dr. Cawley explains to Andrew what is really going on and gets Andrew to believe him, the reality only lasts a short amount of time. During the scene when Andrea and Dr. Cawley are in the lighthouse, Dr. Cawley explains to Andrew, “You were committed here by court order twenty four months ago. Your crime is terrible. One you can't forgive yourself for, so you invented another self. You created a story in which you're not a murderer, you're a hero. Still a U.S. Marshal. Only her at Ashecliffe because of the case and you've uncovered a conspiracy so that anything we tell you about who you are,...
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