Horror movie

Why Ruby Sparks is actually a horror movie

Ruby Sparks is a beautiful fantasy film directed by Little Miss Sun co-creators Johnathon dayton and Valerie Faris. It is centered on an author (Paul Dano), Calvin Weir-Fields, who finds himself immersed in loneliness and isolation a decade after the release of his first novel. After an extended episode of Writer’s Block, he writes a scene about a woman meeting and loving her dog. The next night, he has an enigmatic dream about the woman. When he wakes up, she is at his house. As events unfold, it becomes evident that he made up this woman, Ruby (Zoe Kazan), using his typewriter.

Ruby Sparks was generally received as a romance, or sometimes, a romantic comedy by audiences and critics. There were certainly some romantic elements like the glamorous shots of the couple galloping through sweaty concert crowds and arcades awash in overwhelming pink and blue lighting, but the film is ultimately pretty dark at its core. Everything Calvin writes about Ruby is an integral part of her personality, demeanor, or appearance. It starts off as a “what if?” Relatively benign, but quickly turns into a tool of coercion and control. The way the couple’s relationship, especially Calvin’s behavior within a relationship, plays out onscreen is heartbreaking. The film captures audiences with a relationship literally too good to be true, before turning into unexpected horrors.


At the start of the movie, Calvin seems flawed, but ultimately you are made to sympathize with his struggles. He is described as battling overwhelmingly the fame and hype generated by his first novel, released at the age of nineteen, and utterly unable to form adult relationships and meaningful bonds with people in this new phase of life. his life. However, instead of reflecting on these issues and developing as a person, the film traces his downward psychological spiral as he deflects his issues onto others and attempts to mold his life narratives to match. his perspective – essentially rewriting his life however he sees fit.


When you first watch the film, it’s easy to miss the contextual clues that foreshadow Calvin’s toxic and abusive behaviors. But, on subsequent viewings, it’s impossible to miss the warning signs scattered throughout the story and the visuals for the film. The honeymoon phase of the relationship is clear, before everything collapses under the weight of Calvin’s controlling actions. Instead of allowing Ruby to exist as a complex human being, he attempts to play the part of God by writing more about her. At first it seems innocuous – he writes to please her – but it quickly becomes clear that Calvin’s actions are rooted in a need to control and micromanage situations, without resolving them head-on. This makes the movie the perfect unhealthy relationship thriller, each twist more uncomfortable to watch than the last.

The cinematography of the film swings between idyllic shots of golden hour romance with an artistic blur and shots of the couple intentionally shaking and filled with tension. When Ruby first appears in Calvin’s house, the scene is shot as a depiction of a home invasion. Ruby startles Calvin by appearing at the top of the stairs, as we watch from a distance at the end of the landing. Once Calvin asserts himself that she’s real, not a hallucination, and that she’s not a house intruder, the film reverts to its honey hues and lighting. However, as the story progresses, the shaking and unsettling scenes of characters lurking in doorways, stairs, and reflections are gradually reintroduced. It really highlights how the dark undertones of the film weave their way under viewers’ noses.

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The film begins to focus on Calvin’s isolation, but the focus shifts to Ruby’s isolation. The isolation in Ruby’s life is mainly caused by the treatment Calvin gave her. At first he keeps his existence very close to his chest, and when he finally presents it to the bigger world, he becomes very possessive and jealous. This change of direction evokes Stanley kubrick‘s The brilliant. The brilliant focuses first on the stability of novelist Jack Torrance (Jack nicholson), before delving into the impact this has on his wife, Wendy (Shelley duvall) and the child, Danny (Danny lloyd). This shift in focus, mirroring the way Calvin shifts his feelings about other people, underscores how the film leans flawlessly into the horror genre.

The narrative structure of Ruby Sparks isn’t the only way the film evokes The brilliant, That is. Calvin types most of his work on a vintage typewriter. Throughout the film, viewers often see close-ups of the typewriter, revealing what Calvin makes Ruby do next. This is reminiscent of the famous pictures of The brilliant, in which we see Jack frantically typing “No job, the whole game makes Jack a boring boy.” It’s hard to watch these scenes without remembering the nerve-wracking sequences they echo, perfectly setting the tone for the horrors to come.


Calvin’s house, a beautiful home in Los Angeles, plays an important role in creating the eerie atmosphere of the film’s darker moments. In a question-and-answer session, as reported by Los Angeles Magazine, the filmmakers called Calvin’s house a full-fledged “character” in the film, as did the co-stars. It is also an idea used in horror relatively often. The Overlook hotel in The brilliant, and 112 Ocean Avenue at Amityville Horror are both as fundamental to the morbid events of each story as any character given throughout the films. This is fully embraced by using the building to enhance the sense of isolation and isolation that the protagonists experience at various points in the story. Separately, benevolent shots, such as depictions of Calvin looking at LA from a second story window on the ground floor of his house, sparks images from classic horror and thriller titles like Alfred hitchcock‘s psychopath, predicting spooky events later in the plot.

There are other narrative devices used throughout the film that are also borrowed from classic horror tropes. When Calvin dictates Ruby’s actions through his typewriter, she loses all autonomy. Not only is the idea of ​​losing that self-control, or having the will to take that independence away from another person, completely scary to begin with, but it’s also reminiscent of the use of possession in horror. During the film’s climax, Calvin reveals to Ruby that he was able to marry her for the duration of their relationship, forcing her to behave in several bizarre ways: crawling on all fours, singing maniacally and being undress, among other behaviors. This scene is distressing to live. It is inspired by films such as The Exorcist, representing a total loss of control. However, in this case, Ruby is not possessed by a ghost or demon, but rather by Calvin’s need for control and domination.

As with many great horror movies, the story ends with a questionable, hopeless cliffhanger. Calvin “frees” Ruby by writing a new passage encouraging her to leave the house, and the relationship, to become “free from the past.” After that, he removes the typewriter Ruby was made from and writes a new book. Her life seems to go on without Ruby in the photo. Then, while walking his dog in a park, he meets a woman who looks exactly like Ruby (also portrayed by Zoe Kazan). It is not clear to the public whether or not this woman is Ruby, as she does not recognize him, and her name is never released. It looks like the two continue to connect and the movie ends with a stint in the park together.

On the one hand, it could be interpreted as much needed character development on behalf of Calvin, as he embarks on a redemption arc and is given a second chance. On the flip side, whether the woman is truly Ruby or not, it’s hard not to view the ending as the frightening potential for the cycle of violence to continue. While Calvin did not have the ability to control this woman with his typewriter, there is nothing to say that he certainly overcame the underlying issues that led to his initial mistreatment of Ruby, and that he would never end. not by finding new ways to exercise control over that person. And so, as new doors open, the horror gets a chance to continue.

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