Skip to content

Compelled to be repelled? Why movies like “Saltburn” may make you cringe and love it

People in this story

If you haven’t felt uncomfortable watching them, you may have felt that way hearing about the bathtub scene, the grave scene and other moments in the movie “Saltburn.” Given the film’s hype, you wouldn’t have experienced that feeling alone. 

But why would moviegoers be compelled to be repelled? Aren’t they somewhat polar reactions? Not necessarily. Northeastern University film and media experts say that films and other artwork that provoke extreme discomfort — some might say that make you cringe — can be a way to safely experience and assert control over such feelings.

“I think it has to do a lot with testing the limits of our own familiars — wanting to be OK with things and doing it through this other lens (of art) is how you can do it,” says Julia Hechtman, associate chair and teaching professor in the department of art and design at Northeastern and an expert on horror films. “It’s like a desensitization.”

Continue reading at Northeastern Global News.

More Stories

Who owns the moon?

Israeli students hold Palestinian and Israeli flags, during a demonstration against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's new hard-right government, in Tel Aviv University's campus, on January 16, 2023. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

A generational divide on views of Israel … in both parties, according to new survey 


Planning next steps for ‘wildly impactful’ youth summer jobs program

All Stories