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Nightmare Fuel / Aquaman (2018)

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This is directed by James Wan, so of course this film must have some Nightmare Fuel.

  • The soldiers attacking Atlanna and Thomas' home with a young Arthur inside as well.
  • A young Arthur finds out he can communicate with and command aquatic life... then the color of his eyes changes and he turns at his bullies and other classmates, and so do the animals. One has to wonder what would happen if the aquarium's glass broke, especially with the shark...
    • Also rather disturbing from the fishes' point of view: violent collisions with tank walls are one of the reasons why makos and great whites can't be kept in captivity IRL, because these open-water sharks have no clue how to deal with solid barriers and literally batter themselves to death.
  • The Trench are literally incarnate nightmare fuel; we're told relatively early in the movie that they are one of the seven Atlantean kingdoms, who chose to inhabit the deepest depths of the ocean. There, they devolved into non-sapient, toothy, barely humanoid yet horribly piscine monsters, like a cross between a Deep One and a Xenomorph.
    • Their appearance is horrible enough, but we're told that they've degenerated into complete savagery, to the point that the other Atlanteans execute "traitors" by feeding them to the Trench. This is the fate that befell Atlanna herself.
    • Our first glimpse of the Trench in action comes when Arthur and Mera are sailing through a storm, and then the Trench start clambering out of the sea to attack them. First one, then two, then dozens of them come clawing out of the deep. It's comparable to being attacked by hundreds, even thousands of man-sized piranhas.
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    • Feeling overwhelmed, our heroes opt to try fleeing from the boat through the water, using the Trench's aversion to light to their advantage by using flares to keep them at bay. They dive into the water, and as they plunge down, we're treated to a bird's eye view as the light from their flair illuminates several hundred trench dwellers circling them like a whirlpool. The two heroes struggled to deal with half a dozen of the damn things and the sea is thick with them.
      • They then dive through a hundred more who were dwelling further below the surface, and yet still more rise from the depths to great them. Just when you think there can't possibly be any more, there are.
    • The scene itself is chilling in its execution. There is no music whatsoever, barely enough light to see, and the Trench Dwellers move and attack in an erratic otherworldly motion. It's reminiscent of a nightmare you're desperately trying to wake from.
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    • Perhaps the worst thing about them? We don't know why they devolved like this...
    • While the Trench eventually aid Arthur in helping turn the tide of the war, this does not make them any less horrifying or bloodthirsty, as they quickly tear into any Atlantean soldiers in their path.
    • The Trench is so terrifying, that it's going to get its own spin-off movie.
  • The Brine, home to crustacean crab people, can be rather creepy to some viewers, though not as savage or feral as the Trench have become.
  • Orm's threat to bring down the surface world with Patrick Wilson's chilling delivery:
    Orm: The war is coming to the surface. And I’m bringing the wrath of the Seven Seas with me!
    • And he makes good on such threats by causing a tsunami.
  • The second trailer has Queen Atlanna being attacked in her and Thomas' home. And considering there was an earlier shot in the trailer where she leaves Thomas and Arthur with the most heartbroken expression, it could be that she's leaving to keep them out of danger — either from her enemies, or her subjects.
    • Making it even worse was that a young Arthur was also in the house as well and it’s very possible that the soldiers would not have spared him or Thomas.
  • While Arthur is driving home with his father, a tidal wave sent by Atlantis hits them and nearly kills Thomas. Luckily, he is saved by Mera.
    • It is soon revealed that not only was Arthur and Thomas' hometown hit but numerous locations around the world as well with piles of garbage that humanity has carelessly thrown into the ocean sent right back at them including entire ships with the message being very clear: Atlantis is not happy with the surface world.
  • The movie early on tells us about the horror of the Karathen. Queen Atlanna reminds Arthur later on. They were NOT kidding. Arthur meets it in a dark area of the Earth's core where it is guarding the Trident of Poseidon and the remains of King Atlan. At first all we see are some of its tentacles and even then its size and shape is horrifying. Then Arthur succeeds in obtaining the trident and with it the creature's allegiance. He rides it into battle against Orm and Nereus' alliance and we see the Karathen for what it truly is. The creature is brobdingnagian in size, with equal parts Godzillaesque nightmare and Lovecraftian horror with its many tentacles. It smashes Atlantis' largest warships like they were flies. NOTHING its hit with even slows it down or seems to do more than annoy it. The only reason it stops is because Mera reminds Arthur that too many people are dying because of the fighting.
  • Orm killed a king, and forced his adolescent son to participate in a sea battle. Think of the trauma he had to go through for his age.
  • The Atlanteans execute people by throwing them to the Trench, which is why Arthur constantly insists that his mother is dead. As noted above, the beings of the Trench are Xenomorph-like sea-monsters, so he and Mera barely survive THEMSELVES.
  • Black Manta is not someone you should screw around with. He customises some Atlantean tech to create a suit that gives him an edge against Aquaman and manages to seriously wound him several times. His deep voice, along with the fact that he's the only character who wears black in his major scene adds to his menace.
    Black Manta: YOU OWE ME BLOOD!
  • As awesome as the fight scenes are, they're also heavy on the Primal Fear humans have about deep water and Sea Monsters.
    • It tells you something about the creature design when the Great White-sized sharks are ranked with the normal fish, whales, and sea turtles as the least terrifying-looking things in the ocean.
    • Special mention goes to the seahorses the Xebellians ride. Long a staple in comics (and seen on Superfriends) as a ride for Aquaman, in drawings they were simply sized-up regular looking non-threatening seahorses. In this movie? Clawed, spiky monstrosities with frog-like legs that make them look even more wrong, as well as snapping mouths full of very large teeth.


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