open/close all folders
- Even the trailers for the show are EXTREMELY unnerving and creepy, featuring surreal or disturbing imagery as well as warping electronic music.
- The trailer for the first series begins with a couple kissing, before zooming out, showing them on a screen within a screen within a screen, etc. Several of the scenarios that appear are somewhat unsettling- what looks like a porn film setup, a dark figure swiping through endless screens, a screaming woman gagged and tied to a chair... The list of wrong goes on.
- The second series trailer is arguably much worse- beginning as a riff on Apple and gadget adverts, it has a 'wrong' vibe from early on, thanks to a digital voiceover not dissimilar to that in the Radiohead song "Fitter, Happier". However, it soon gets plain disturbing...
- Some of the imagery in that trailer includes: a strange symbol carved into someone's back; a wild-eyed man staring DIRECTLY at the camera; a man beating a tramp to death for a filming crowd; cracked and distorted faces; a bus and assembly line populated with masked, hooded people; a man either lacking eyes or with skin-colored eyeballs; and a crowd of people passively filming a huge cloud flooding the street in front of them, before ending with a small girl vanishing into the cloud...
- The voiceover doesn't help: the computerised tone is very Uncanny Valley, and then it starts to break down entirely, finishing with the chilling "BE. YOURSELF. NO. MORE."
- The fake smiley-happy people in the 'nice' bits don't help either. At one point, we see a woman and a baby talking with a man through a FaceTime-like app on a tablet computer. It's all very shiny and happy and nice. Then later in the trailer, we see another shot of the woman and the baby. The baby is crying, obviously upset or frightened at something. The woman? She's still smiling... but it's a very glassy and frozen fake smile.
- The most terrifying trailer would arguably be the Netflix Vista trailer. In this promotional advert, the viewer is treated to a world where the eye-camera technology is used to stream Netflix. Random citizens are seen watching various episodes of Black Mirror through their eyes, while riding the train, waiting at the airport, standing by the sea, talking to a parent on their-death bed, all the while bearing vacant smiles and vacant white eyes. At the end of the trailer, when one man turns off the stream and comes to the dinner table with his wife, she is watching... so he just turns his stream back on. Nothing out of the ordinary happens, and that's what makes this trailer so scary.
- The National Anthem contains the Prime Minister being forced into having sex with a pig, which may sound silly but it goes sour quickly. Even those watching in-universe are horribly disgusted and wind up feeling sorry for him.
- 15 Million Merits is an emotionally shaking experience throughout, but one of the worst moments comes when the protagonist Bing is forced to watch his love, Abi, now a porn star, essentially being raped in an advert. He can't skip the advert due to lack of 'merits', and when he closes his eyes, the room he's in emits a piercing tone till he opens them. Just imagine yourself in his position...
- Then there's the unsettling slow shot as he looks at a broken, nasty-looking shard of glass after he broke his room screen, listening to a distorted, warped version of Abi being raped and select notes of her song on a continuous loop. He picks up the shard, aims for the tattoo on his wrist, and makes a deep incision.
- Just the idea of being perpetually surrounded by obnoxious adverts that you cannot escape even by closing your eyes is pretty nightmarish in and of itself.
- The Entire History of You ends with Liam apparently wiping his memories, which he does by messily removing his Memory Grain from his neck with a razor blade. And there's not a Gory Discretion Shot in sight.
- It's easy to miss, but the "gashed" party guest mentions suffering very little after effects, saying she retained her sight. One might wonder what other horrible effects Liam is risking, and what the black screen at the end means for him.
- The Memory Grain seems innocent enough but seeing Liam clinging on every memory he has to support his claims or even the more humorous character who simply whines about the carpet shows how resentful people can be when they can review perceived slights over and over.
- Adding onto that, Liam's obsessive and abusive boyfriend vibes serve as creepily realistic Nightmare Fuel.
- While calling the police during Liam's assault of Jonas, the woman calling can be heard telling the operator that she hasn't got a feed of the crime to show because she hasn't got a Grain. Then we hear her repeatedly calling out: "Hello? Hello? Are you still there?" And then cursing. Emergency services hung up on her because she doesn't have a Grain.
- The idea in Be Right Back, that one could reconstruct the dead from their social media, is pretty sinister even before it Goes Horribly Wrong. Even though the synthetic Ash tries to please and be a nice guy, it's still creepy as all hell.
- White Bear. Oh god, White Bear.
- Imagine waking up with complete amnesia in a strange house. You don't even know who you really are. You see things though - photos of you, a symbol on the TV, a calendar with every day crossed off- things that aren't right. And then you leave the house, only to find people who don't respond, who only watch. And then, the masked people show up...
- The ending. Basically, the events of the episode have been repeated for a long, long time; weeks, maybe even months. Victoria has been having her memories erased over and over again, going through the same tortures.
- The tone throughout the overarching narrative, with main characters Joe and Matt sitting in a cabin just talking, is constantly unsettling, due to the lack of almost any sound apart from their voices.
- Fridge Horror: the Zed-Eyes (technological contact lenses) are worn by everyone and cannot be removed. But what if somebody hacked into them? They could see everything. And you'd never even know.
- The first segment: a young man tries to romance an attractive outsider, only to discover she's an undiagnosed schizophrenic, and believing she has found a kindred spirit, forces him to drink poison before killing herself with it as well.
- The second segment features a woman getting a 'cookie'. It's an implant that learns how a person thinks, in order to perform tasks exactly as the owner does. However, the problem is that the cookie believes they ARE that person. This results in the cookie refusing to work. Solution? Their perception of time is sped up. They believe they have spent days, weeks, months even, alone with nothing to do. And this is a digital copy, so they can't age or die. By the end, they are left a broken shell of their former self, condemned to an endless 'life' of slavery.
- Matt's complete nonchalance about the whole ordeal suggests he did this multiple times.
- It's also pretty scary from the perspective of users who don't know what they're really getting into. If your "cookie" finally snaps, what sort of revenge could they get on you? Could they lock you in your house? Scald you in your shower? Blow out the pilot light and gas you? How much power are they trusted with? And you probably already have devices/applications which learn your habits and preferences. As smarter versions are developed, will we in the real world eventually be condemning intelligent consciousnesses to predicting when we'll want our toilet seats warmed up for us?
- It's also stated that "Cookies" that go irreparably insane are used as NPCs and enemy characters in video games. Ouch...
- Another Fridge Horror thought here is that plenty of these cookies have to be made from parents. Heck, aside from schedule freaks like Greta, parents are the number one candidate. Imagine a cookie, who thinks it IS the person, never being able to really talk to their kid or kids again...
- The third segment introduces the idea of blocking people in real life using Zed-Eyes where all that either of you see is an inaudible shadow. It can be left on indefinitely, until death. It also covers offspring AND all media of the subject (such as photos). Just imagine never being able to see or hear a loved one till they're dead and gone...
- It's also legal to "block" someone indefinitely, even when they believe you have a child with them, denying all custody and visitation rights unilaterally.
- Also, congrats to White Christmas on being the first Christmas special to feature a man accidentally murdering his ex-partner's father in a fit of rage. Good job!
- The ending especially gets dark very quickly...
- To clarify Joe's cookie confesses the murder of his ex-girlfriend's father and directly causing her daughter's death and is left there, completely alone. To add insult to injury, one of the cops speeds up his perception of time, making one minute in the real world correspond to 1000 years for the cookie! And leaves him like that all of Christmas Day with one annoying song with the volume turned way up! That's right: he has to suffer more than one million years alone, with the full knowledge of what he has done and also knowing he's not real, with the most ironic soundtrack in the history of ever. It's safe to say this could be the most accurate depiction of Hell ever portrayed without any supernatural element.
- To put that into perspective, in the 26 seconds it took for the officers to exchange that information, 430 years have gone by in the cookie, and Roy Wood has wished it would be Christmas every day 47 million times.
- Ordinarily he would likely be driven to suicide, but since he's a digital being that's probably not even possible. Instead he's stuck there with no escape. Poor guy can't even stop the music from playing...
- Don't forget Matt. He is blocked by all of humanity. Everyone else sees him as a red static blurb and it's evident that someone might want to make him pay...
- The first episode, Nosedive, is set in a dystopian Crapsaccharine World filled with Stepford Smilers who wear pastel colors. In this world, a person's score on social media denotes their social status, to the point that there are certain places people aren't allowed to go if their popularity rating drops below a certain level. It also reduces all social relations to a numbers game. It's strongly implied that popularity points are actually a type of currency. Imagine if every time you lost your cool or even if someone just didn't consider an encounter with you meaningful, your bank account started hemorrhaging dollars in the hundreds and thousands?
- The main character of the episode, Lacie, is first introduced to us as a "low four", that is, a person with a rating of 4.0-4.4. She's just a little bit too proud for her own good, undertaking superficial tasks in order to advance her own social status. However, through a series of misadventures she finds herself gradually losing points after making a cab driver wait for her, yelling at an airport stewardess, and asking a guy for help while he's busy watching porn on his phone. By the end of the episode she is a Laughing Mad 1.1 Princess in Rags who has a complete breakdown at her Alpha Bitch fake best friend's wedding, which results in her becoming a 0.0.
- The cherry on top of this despair cake is that the episode has No Ending, it just ends with Lacie screaming insults at another 0.0 man in a jail cell across from hers - though some might consider this an Esoteric Happy Ending as in an earlier scene she meets a former 4.6 who is now a 1.4, who lost it all by simply telling all her Alpha Bitch friends to fuck off. It's implied therefore that Lacie finally has the freedom to do or say as she pleases without fear of retribution, and given that her motivation was simply to find contentment, it can be inferred she has found Happiness in Slavery. Probably only a "happy" ending if you're Albert Camus, though.
- However, the guy being nearly identical to the one using in advertising for the condo she desires makes it come across as she actually got what she wanted.
- ...But those two guys looked nothing alike, outside of being the same race....
- The second episode, Playtest. If dying abruptly during a test because you left your phone on wasn't paranoia-inducing enough, look at the situation from an Adult Fear perspective. The main character's mother loses her husband to early onset Alzheimer's after watching him deteriorate, and a year later, her son disappears to travel the world, seldom or never returning her calls, and not letting her know he's okay. Then his mother accidentally causes his death by trying to call him again, causing interference that kills him less than a second before the test begins.
- On another note, the tech spotlighted in this episode is virtual gaming technology, with the spotlight being on Survival Horror. While the things coming at you are holograms, and thus can't actually hurt you, it's still pretty scary, especially for people who are just very jumpy and skittish by nature.
- The third episode "Shut Up and Dance" is pretty terrifying when Kenny's dark secret is leaked to the tune of Exit Music (for a film) by Radiohead, enough to make one physically sick after rooting for the supposedly innocent blackmail victim. Especially because that soundtrack is perfect "YOU HAVE BEEN CAUGHT OUT!" music. However the cherry on top is Kenny's mother's Wham Line, "What did you do Kenny?! They're saying it's kids! That you've been looking at kids! And Lindsey saw it. There's a video of you. All of her friends have got it! KIDS, Kenny! Tell me it's not..."
- Plus, Kenny's look of shock and horror as the police close in is haunting. Especially the final shot of the episode where he seems to be looking directly at the camera with that haunting look on his face. The presence of police cars in general the way they suddenly come up in the next shot doesn't help.
- The scene in the restaurant with Kenny's eagerness to talk to the kid is pure Adult Fear in hindsight if you have kids of your own.
- Not to mention the hackers making Kenny fight a man he doesn't know to death in the woods with him stumbling from the woods in shot, Deadly Nosebleed and all.
- The fifth episode, Men Against Fire gives us Roaches, Humanoid Abominations with black eyes and needle thin teeth. Soldiers, gifted with MASS implants (which assist them in virtual display and seeing the Roaches as inhuman) are tasked with slaughtering Roaches. In reality, Roaches are downtrodden civilians, seen as no better than roaches. The whole point of the implants are to form them as inhuman monsters, to take away any moral ambiguity of murdering very much human civilians en masse.
- The gratuitous sequence of Stripe having to relive his stabbing of the Roach, this time without the implant working, thus having him (and us) watch him butcher a terrified young man to death.
- The last episode, Hated in the Nation, has an irresistible (if dreary) premise: those that are targeted by a certain hashtag end up dying the next day. The third victim is implied to have been blissfully unaware of their actions leading up to their death. Imagine you accidentally say or do something that ends up viral in a negative light. Now imagine people calling for your death. Now imagine that happens in the most excruciatingly painful way possible.
- To elaborate on this method, imagine having a tiny, little, robotic bee burrow its way through your ears, eyes, nose, or mouth and into your brain. It decides to keep burrowing up until it nestles in the pain center of your brain, which makes pain so excruciating that you go into what resembles a seizure and are willing to do nothing short of suicide to make the pain stop. The methods of suicide could be anything from putting a bullet through your temple to slicing open your own throat. Have fun with those images.
- The sight of the hundreds of covered corpses in the warehouse, knowing that it's only a small percentage of the hundreds of thousands of victims who used the hashtag, including Nick, who just used it to try to get a reaction out of Scholes.
- The scene in the 'safehouse' where the robotic bees gather up and are able to smash windows down is very effective nightmare fuel due to the tension and camera angles used showing the swarm at its most aggressive. And the team completely fail to protect the hashtag victim from the robotic bees due to them swarming in the vents, the fact that they failed to give her a mask didn't help things, culminating in the usual seizure and a Deadly Nosebleed.