- "The Squip Song," while awesome, just sounds... wrong in some parts, as if Rich is a robot. He is being basically mind-controlled, so close enough.
- "The Squip Enters" is up there with Jekyll and Hyde's transformation scene for theatrical freakouts. The intense music reaches a heart-pounding tempo as the Squip's robotically altered, disembodied voice announces its calibration/installation procedures, all while Jeremy screams and thrashes around on the floor in anguish. The audience (not to mention the crowd of onlookers at the mall) has no idea what the Squip's upload process is doing to Jeremy's body, only that it hurts.
- The people at the mall, including Christine, have no clue what's happening to Jeremy; they're just watching a teenage boy scream and act possessed.
- Everything about the SQUIP is this. Everything. Its behavior is eerily reminiscent of that of an abusive boyfriend... or a cult leader.
- With lyrics like "Just take me inside you,""Now it's time to go all the way and more" and "Just take a breath and seal the deal", "Upgrade" disturbingly echoes sexual coercion.
- The moment Jeremy activates the Optic Nerve Blocking on Michael at the end of Act One goes immediately from a Tear Jerker to this as the Squip strides in, having changed forms into a more appropriately sci-fi monstrous look, and leads Jeremy away to the sounds of an ominous choir.The Squip: Now, let's get to work.
A lot of the second act is this.
- The entirety of the Halloween party is a mix of terrifying and heartbreaking.
Jeremy, struggling as he's kissed and undressed: Oh, Go - no! Whoa-whoa-whoa, no! No! Make it stop, make it stop! Please! Make it stop!The Squip: (smugly) I don't understand the request.
- "Halloween" is a fun number at first, with danceoffs, drinking, and the kids having a good time showing off their costumes. However, to the end, it gets very unsettling thanks to Rich, whose dance moves begin to grow progressively more spastic as he continues singing long after everyone, including the orchestra, has stopped, and appears to be tripping out and in genuine pain, the first sign that something is about to go very wrong...
- "Do You Wanna Hang?" Chloe, jealous of Brooke, makes a move on Jeremy during the party. We learn that the SQUIP can literally puppet its user's body when it prevents a clearly terrified Jeremy from leaving or resisting her advances in an attempt to force him to have sex with a popular girl, only to be thwarted by Jake's intrusion. Had Jake not interrupted, Jeremy would have been raped by Chloe, herself too drunk to consent properly, without her knowing it was rape in the first place. The sinister swelling of the previously 'sexy'-sounding music as the assault progresses really drives home Jeremy's sense of terror and disgust.
Jeremy: And if you're saying that his Squip made him go crazy —Michael: His Squip didn't make him go crazy —Jeremy: Well, there you go--
- Jake interrupts the above number, by the way, by smashing his way through the window of the bedroom and vowing he's going to kill Jeremy for (apparently) having sex on his parents' bed with his ex-girlfriend, chasing him from the room. As he runs, Jeremy encounters a tearful Brooke, who mistook his near-rape for him cheating on her, and he eventually winds up hiding in the bathroom. All this is set through the heart-pounding "The Squip Lurks" instrumental piece as well as the Squip's loud, eerie warnings in Japanese. Then, just when he thinks he's safe in the bathroom, a monstrous hand emerges from the bathtub and grabs him from behind, making him scream. Fortunately, it's only Michael wearing a costume, but the sequence of events is incredibly traumatic for Jeremy.
- The argument between Jeremy and Michael, if played right. The chilling instrumental cue that accompanies Michael's revelation that a Squip left another user in a mental hospital highlights Jeremy's (and the audience's) sinking realization that the Squip is truly about to get dangerous. Michael's growing desperation and helplessness in the face of Jeremy's denial is equally nerve-wracking.
Rich, gasping: I can't get rid of you...but I won't let you get inside of anyone else!The Voice of Rich's Squip: And how do you plan on stopping us?Rich: ...with this.
- "Michael in the Bathroom," while known more for being a Tear Jerker as well as incredibly catchy, has elements of this for audience members who've dealt with anxiety disorders. It portrays the experience of a panic attack in gut-wrenching detail, the bridge section showing Michael absolutely losing control and feeling terrified and trapped. In the 2018 Off-Broadway production in particular, the lighting projections move jaggedly as if to mimic Michael's scattered thoughts as he imagines everyone at the party pounding on the bathroom door for him to get out, and he leaps around the stage flinching and cowering as if dodging blows. When delivered right, the actor not only sells the tragedy of the scene, but then nightmarish helplessness of a panic attack.
- To cap it all off, the 2018 production adds a harrowing scene to finish off the party after the Squip makes Jeremy go home. We get to see what pushed Rich to set the fire, and it is terrifying. After his tripping out the entire party was Played for Laughs, Rich stumbles through a set of orange streamers, creepily and emptily singing the chorus to "Halloween", before breaking into pained croaks. He then flails around, jerking unnaturally and writhing in agony, clearly the doings of his Squip. The whole time, Rich is sobbing and wailing, reminding the audience that he's just a terrified, abused kid being tortured by an evil machine. Nevertheless, he continues to try to fight his Squip, to tragic results. Many people who have seen this scene live have referred to it as "hard to watch", and the dialogue is probably no small part of it:
- Cue Rich grabbing a huge container of gasoline, leading into "The Smartphone Hour".
- In the Broadway production, we see Rich freaking out and grabbing the lantern before "The Smartphone Hour" starts. He screams something along the lines of his original dialogue for the scene, but we don't hear his Squip, which could be less creepy...or more creepy.
- Fridge Horror, as it's unseen, but the fact that Rich was driven to burn down Jake's house in an attempt to stop his Squip's machinations, an act that leaves him severely burned and nearly kills him, and that breaks both Jake's legs as he pushed them both out an upper floor window to save his best friend.
- The worst part of all this? Jeremy's Squip ends up taking over most of the student body anyway (or at least, all of Rich's closest companions). Rich went through hell to protect the school for ultimately nothing.
- "The Pitiful Children", which is to be expected when it's a Villain Song for a character that embodies this trope. As the song progresses, the SQUIP unfurls its plan to Take Over the World and wipe out all emotion, uncertainty, or error by brainwashing every human being. Jenna getting possessed is frightening enough, but then comes the instrumental break, where the SQUIP conjures an illusion of brainwashed, sci-fi'd-out students who move and act robotically. The stage effects, the ghoulish orchestrations, and the way the cast, especially the Squip, crowd Jeremy and puppet him about, is truly spooky. Then there's the last verse...You won't feel left out or unsure... not pitiful children anymore!
- Most of "The Play" is nightmarish, as it includes almost the entire student body being Squipped, with only Jeremy and Michael against the growing horde. Special mention goes to the end, though, as all the students let out horrifying techno-altered screams of agony as their SQUIPS—the little computers implanted in their brains—all combust at once.
Michael: Oh, FUCK!
- Jeremy's situation is absolutely horrifying at this point. A Squip-possessed Mr. Reyes throttles him and flings him bodily across the backstage, the Squip tosses him around too and casually puppets his body, twists his limbs and shocks him while caressing him mockingly, and he's forced to watch as the situation spirals out of control and everyone in the cast gets possessed, with the sinking realization that this is all his fault.
- The 2018 production plays up Jeremy totally losing control over his own body. When the Squip forces him to fight Michael, he has to put his own hands around his throat and strangle himself painfully just to keep himself from being made to hurt Michael and to force himself to bypass Squip's block on him apologizing. He's so wildly elated to have regained enough control to manage to stop himself and say sorry for the hurt he's caused that he gives his Squip the finger. Unamused, we see the Squip flick his hand, which twists Jeremy's arm unnaturally as punishment. From the writhing Jeremy does onstage and the injuries he's sustained after the play, it's very probable that the Squip can break your bones from the inside of your body. Shock sound effects were later added to the Broadway production, highlighting the severity of the Squip's punishment of Jeremy over something relatively petty.
- If you consider the play from Michael's perspective, he doesn't see the Squips, only his classmates, including Jeremy, Brainwashed and Crazy, attacking him. He's forced to fistfight with Jeremy, is dragged away from him screaming by the brainwashed cast members to who knows what uncertain fate had Jeremy not given Christine the Mountain Dew Red, is beaten up by his classmates, and then has to watch as pretty much everyone he knows, including his beloved best friend, let out terrifying mechanized screams then collapse to the ground, apparently dead because of the Mountain Dew Red, which he'd proudly brought to save the day. It's no wonder he screams too.
The cast of the play, including a visibly pained and terrified Jeremy: I just feel so connected to you guys right now...
- The popular kids, when under the Squip's control are either terrifying, put in a terrifying situation, or both. Jake is forced to walk on his broken legs by his Squip. Brooke and Chloe are talking in a deadpan Shining-esque unison, their deadpan voices and eerie harmonies completing the effect. Then they attack Jeremy and Michael, with the help of Jenna, the final boss, who leads everyone with a Squip to jerk around as control slips...
Jeremy: No! That is not Christine!The Squip: I assure you, it is! Only her fears and insecurities have been...removed.
- Squipped Brooke and Chloe are somehow worse in the 2019 Broadway production. Under the puppeteering direction of the sneering Squip, while saying their creepy in-unison dialogue, they pull a downed, shaking and frightened Jeremy between them, Chloe restraining him by pinning his arms while Brooke pulls apart and crawls between his legs. Considering what almost happened to Jeremy at the Squip and Chloe's hands during "Do You Wanna Hang?", there's a considerable amount of Fridge Horror in the probability that the villain is all too willing to use someone's sexual trauma to gain their compliance. It wasn't likely to go very far, and Michael's thankfully there to come to the rescue, but the look on Jeremy's face as he cowers in Michael's arms afterwards says it all.
- Then there's Christine. In some productions, her deadened, vacantly happy words to Jeremy are accompanied by a very dissonant, unsettling instrumental reprise of "I Love Play Rehearsal". Then, she sings a haunting reprise of "A Guy That I'd Kinda Be Into", where the Squip forces her to declare her love for Jeremy. Jerky, hauntingly empty movements and delivery aside, this girl who the show establishes above all values her integrity and independence has effectively been entirely stripped of her free-will and turned into a prize for a boy she might like, but wants to be with on her own terms. Fridge Horror sets in when you realize that this is more or less a repeat of what the Squip tried to do to Jeremy during "Do You Wanna Hang". Jeremy is disgusted, and the way the Squip talks about her doesn't help.
- There's also the thought of the aftermath for Christine; she's established to adore theatre and to find the stage to be the one place where she can truly bloom and feel secure in herself. How will she feel now that her passion's associated with this traumatic event?
- The Squip's deactivation, particularly in the Broadway production. First, everyone starts jerking around in pain as their Squips are deactivated. Then the Squip himself remains on stage suffering as he starts to break down, screams Jeremy's name, and reverts to speaking Japanese as very bright lights flash all around it, until the entire theater suddenly goes dark. While it is great to see things come to an end, it's still a very tense end to an already unsettling scene.
- The Squip throughout "The Play" has fully slid into Complete Monster territory, if it hadn't done so already. The Broadway version ups his acts climactic villainy to Cold-Blooded Torture, with him forcing Jeremy to glitch out with deeply Uncanny Valley vocal effects when he tries to apologize to Michael — then, in an otherwise comedic fight scene, puppets his body to make him punch Michael hard enough to almost knock him out. He jerks Jeremy around, has him throttled by his own teacher, and torments the entire play cast while gloating about how he's discovered his true purpose is to Take Over the World to 'save' humanity from its own flaws by forcing them into a cold, militaristic hivemind. He does this all the while repeatedly pinning the blame on Jeremy, telling him that his actions are all thanks to him. Including the harm he does to other students.The Squip, making Jake scream in agony as he forces him to walk on his broken legs: Jeremy, look what you're making me make him do!
- Different updates to the show, through previews of its Off-Broadway and Broadway runs, have used slightly altered scripts, some of which provide some rather chilling moments for the Squip's reaction to Jeremy freeing Christine. Here's one, for example:The Squip: Put it down, and Christine is yours. I think the choice is clear, don't you?Jeremy: Sure is — (to Christine) drink this.(beat)The Squip: (disturbingly calm) You sacrificed your freedom for hers. An unexpected outcome.Jeremy: (resigned yet still afraid) I guess I'm stuck with you forever.The Squip: (soothingly, almost sweetly) It's okay, Jeremy. I have plans for you. We're going to do such wonderful things.
- Prior to the above, in a now-deleted set of lines, the cast of the Play's Hive Mind antics get...interesting.The Cast of the Play, including Jeremy: I just feel so connected to you right now — I just want to get into your brains, brains, brains, brains, brains, BRAINS, BRAINS, BRAINS --Jeremy, breaking free: (howls in pain) I just want you out of my head — Get OUT OF MY HEAD!
- There is then dead silence as the play cast all but disappears from sight, leaving Jeremy alone with the Squip.
- During "Voices In My Head", it's revealed that the Squip is Not Quite Dead. True, Jeremy handles it pretty easily, but its sudden echoing taunts cutting through an otherwise triumphant finale are very unsettling. Some productions have it just as an eerie disembodied voice, while others feature the Squip crawling and dragging its half-dead body across the stage. Yikes.The Squip: Jeremy, you can't get rid of me that easily. Jeremy...Jeremy...
- The Broadway production has the Squip show up on the giant screen, towering behind everyone while the video fizzles in and out. It's about as creepy as most of the other effects in the show.
- Word of God says that this, as well as the somewhat foreboding instrumental at the end of the song, is meant to imply that although Middleborough was saved, all the neighbouring high schools have been completely overtaken by Squips. Sweet dreams!
- The lighting and video effects added to the 2019 Broadway production generally take a lot of these moments and make them even creepier, accentuating the Squip's appearance with projections of computer data and eerie bright flashes and strobes. A lot of the songs also have a vocoder effect that synthesizes the voice of the Squip (and those affected by it, like Rich) which can sound very unsettling, notably in "The Squip Song," "Be More Chill," and "The Pitiful Children."
- This animatic for "The Pitiful Children" is utterly terrifying, especially when the Squip takes over Jenna. The smiles on the "shiny, happy" students' faces are just so... wrong.
- At the end, the Squip has taken over everyone...except Michael, whose still broken and alone over losing Jeremy's friendship. The Squip's reaction to seeing him? Just snapping its fingers and making him disappear, before leaving with cold disregard, showing that it really has no intention of genuinely helping anyone.
- In this Pitiful Children animatic, Though not as bad as what happens to Michael above, the SQUIP shows an image of Michael accepting the Pill and end up Squipped himself taking advantage of Jeremy's guilt as a way to persuade him to spread SQIUP around the school
- This animatic for "The Squip Song" starts off normal, but then Rich sings "IT'S FROM JAPAAAAAAAAAAAAN" and it gets... interesting. To say the least.
- In the original Broadway cast recording, Jason Tam, playing the SQUIP, speaks and sings in a Keanu Reeves impression, and there is something incredibly unsettling about hearing every awful thing the SQUIP says/sings in a stereotypical "California surfer" accent. It sounds eerily wrong.
- The Broadway production manages to kick off the nightmare fuel before the story even starts via a "No Talking or Phones" Warning given by the SQUIP. It spends most of the warning talking in his normal Surfer Dude voice, but right as he finishes he switches to his Voice of the Legion, which can be very sudden and creepy to new viewers, especially since it then goes into the equally-eerie "Jeremy's Theme".