The Pitch Black Slaughter in Snowpiercer

The moment the train enters the tunnel, the audience knows death is coming for Curtis and his people. The sequence begins with a series of shots from the first-person perspective of one of the guards’ night-vision goggles as they basically slaughter the blind rebels. I think this is an interesting way to present this part of the battle in the tunnel. The director could have just used an overview night-vision camera to show it from the rebels perspective like the rest of the movie, but instead, the director chose to show this sequence from the perspective of the guards for the first and only time in the movie. Why? The viewer of the movie has to watch from the perspective of the enemy. They have spent the first fifty minutes of the movie connecting with this one group of people and now are forced to watch from the perspective of their enemies. This creates a kind of shallow sadness from the audience. They want to stop the killing so badly, and it’s obscenely one sided at this point with every guard having night-vision goggles and all the rebels being completely blind. The director does this maybe to create a different kind of horror. Not the kind of horror in your typical horror movie, but the kind of horror you feel when you watch news reports of thousands of people being slaughtered by their government, an empathetic horror. At one point in the sequence, the camera focuses on the minister. Which is extremely strange because why would a guard just be fixated on her face as she slightly smiles at the ensuing slaughter of rebels. This shot mentally takes you away from that first-person perspective, and makes you question it.  This is also where the sequence ends which is particularly telling of what the director wants to accomplish with this sequence. It is to dehumanize the enemy. What better way to dehumanize anyone by kind of likening them to Hitler by mercilessly slaughtering other human beings?


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