The Scariest Movie I’ve Ever Watched

downloadA few days ago I watched the scariest movie ever. I held my breath for what felt like half the movie.

I’m not one for horror movies. I saw Arachnophobia when I was way too young, and I couldn’t get past the first 5 minutes of The Ring.

But this movie was different. It wasn’t a horror movie at all. Rather…it was a movie about a musician and his teacher.

The movie is Whiplash.

Whiplash tells the story of a great college-aged drummer (Miles Teller) at a music academy who wants to be the best. While the movie follows him, it’s also just as much about his commanding instructor, played by JK Simmons.

Simmons’ character is intense. Really intense. So intense that it’s scary. It’s scary to see the things he drives the student to do without directly telling him to do anything.

I’ve been trying to figure out exactly why it’s so scary, and I think it’s because we’ve all had teachers who were really intense. Hopefully not as intense as Simmons’ character, but still pretty intense.

As much as I liked many of my teachers, I was also kind of scared of most of them. Scared because I didn’t want to mess up in front of them. Because of their authority. Because I wanted to be great.

So when you add that to a teacher becoming really intense, it creates a scary situation. I’ve had teachers scream at students, knock over desks, or throw things. And that’s nothing compared to what Simmons’ character does.

Whiplash is a terrifying movie that I never want to watch again. But it’s also absolutely brilliant. I would highly, highly recommend it. If you’re anything like me, the last scene will remain etched in your memory for a long time.

3 thoughts on “The Scariest Movie I’ve Ever Watched”

  1. There is definitely a delicate balance when it comes to using fear as a motivator. I had some tough teachers, but few of them ever got aggressively upset. The most I can remember is my 7th grade math teacher throwing a huge chalkboard eraser at a kid who was sleeping during class and then yelling at him to wake up. It was a tense moment that caught us all off guard, but we all knew not to fall asleep after that!

    However, I once worked for a man with an insanely short fuse who took out all of his frustration on me, and it was horrible. When I saw “Whiplash” I immediately thought of him. I had no idea that was his “management style” during the interview process, and I was shocked the first few times it happened. If he was out of the office and calling to check in, he would hang up on the phone on me if he thought I wasn’t going through things fast enough (as he did on my 3rd day on the job). He would scream and curse at me multiple times a day for the slightest error (even when I was brand new). Once he thought I wasn’t walking fast enough and he clapped his hands in my face and screamed at me to “HUSTLE!” Have you ever heard that there’s no way you can say the word “bubble” in an angry voice? Well, he disproved that theory to me when he yelled at me over bubble wrap. BUBBLE WRAP, JAMEY.

    For a couple of weeks I was determined to do the best I could – I was going to show him that no matter how high his expectations, I could rise up. However, I learned quite quickly that even when I did everything perfectly, I would then be punished for things completely beyond my control, including things that HE did wrong (i.e., the aforementioned bubble wrap incident).

    It didn’t take long for me to become completely defeated and wonder what the point was of trying at all when my accomplishments were barely acknowledged but I was berated for every small error. I also learned that he had been churning through employees, a lot of whom quit because of the stress. Needless to say, I got out of there as quickly as I could.

    I’ve worked for tough bosses before and always risen up to the challenge, but this man had some deep-seated issues that even I couldn’t handle. It was kind of traumatizing, but I will say that I feel like I learned a lot about what I need from a manager and what motivates me. I definitely think there is a tipping point when the fear motivator produces the opposite of its intended effect, and I’ve experienced it firsthand!

    • Katie: I was cringing throughout your comment because your ex-boss sounds absolutely terrible. And yet he probably still has a job somewhere, doesn’t he? How dare he clap in your face as you walked? That makes me mad.

      It’s interesting how people who use their power in that way actually create the temporary reaction that you had (which I think is completely normal): To try to do the best you can. But it doesn’t last. It can’t last. It’s just a terrible form of management.

    • Katie: What a horrible experience 🙁 glad you got out of there quickly! I was in the air cadets when I was a teenager and we had two officers who had completely different command styles. One was based entirely on fear and intimidation, the other was based on rules and respect (he knew he had to earn it rather than expect it for nothing). Needless to say we all worked a lot harder for the guy that earned our respect (and therefore we wanted to earn his). I can understand the fear/intimidation thing working in the real military, but we were kids. Similarly, I’ve seen employers try the intimidation route in the office but it’s not right, doesn’t work and shouldn’t be done at all.


Leave a Reply

Discover more from

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading