I Watched Zodiac For The First Time, And It’s The Scariest Movie I’ve Ever Seen

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Written By Maya Cantina

While I was a self-proclaimed scaredy-cat for the majority of my life, I’ve learned that I actually have a pretty thick skin, and I can handle a scary movie. However, Zodiac got me. Obviously, I knew what I was getting myself into with this film starring Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr. that’s considered one of David Fincher’s best, but it hit me so hard that I was genuinely haunted by it. 

Why Zodiac Is The Scariest Movie I’ve Ever Seen

After watching Zodiac, three major elements made it truly horrifying: the violence, the fact that this actually happened and its unsatisfying ending. Through these three things, Zodiac cemented itself as not only one of the best mystery movies but one of the most suspenseful films ever. 

Zodiac Is One Of The Best Films Of Its Stars’ Careers, Check Out Their Other Work

Let’s start with one of the first things we see in Zodiac, violence. Immediately, we witness two young people brutally murdered by the serial killer, and Fincher does not hold back in showing their deaths. They were painful and gruesome, and throughout the film, other moments of extreme violence reiterate the brutal tendencies of this killer. You are never allowed to forget just how ruthless the Zodiac is, from the terrifying letters to the killings, you never really know when he’ll strike, and when he does, you see it. 

That mixed with the fact that the Zodiac killer was never actually found in real life – despite reports that he may have been identified decades later  – made me think about this film for hours after the credits rolled. Since Robert Downey Jr.’s journalist Paul Avery, Mark Ruffalo’s inspector David Toschi and Jake Gyllenhaal’s cartoonist and author Robert Graysmith couldn’t definitively prove who the killer was, despite being fairly confident it was Arthur Leigh Allen, Zodiac’s ending is left open-ended. 

After years of investigating, the three men – along with other reporters and detectives – couldn’t conclusively prove who the Zodiac was. The film just kind of fizzles out, the guys try to move on (except for Gyllenhaal’s character), the investigation comes to a halt, and they basically have to give up. Meaning, the killer is still out there. 

Knowing that, and understanding that they weren’t able to find the evidence needed to arrest the killer left me feeling very scared. However, it also was the final blow that helped prove why Zodiac is a great movie. 

Why That Makes Zodiac An Amazing Movie 

Zodiac is one of the best movies of the 2000s, and it’s arguably one of the best mysteries and thrillers of all time. From David Fincher’s relentless pacing that never lets up on the investigation, even when its characters do, to the brutal way these crimes are depicted, you feel what is happening in this movie deeply, even though the events happened decades ago.

Overall, Zodiac provides a terrifying look at the criminal justice system and the difficulties of catching bad people. As I said, what makes this film scary is it’s inspired by a real cold case. It’s hard to fathom that these people were so stumped and the system was so complex that they weren’t able to catch the criminal. 

The way it fizzles out at the end, reiterates that point, and it left me unsettled, which is exactly how I was supposed to feel. 

In the end, I was truly shaken by Zodiac, and it’s a film I’ll be thinking about for a long time because along with it being the scariest movie ever, it’s also one of the best. 

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