My Supernatural partner Zeroth has an excellent post up examining the horror tropes in the “Hook Man” episode. Check it out!
What I really enjoyed with this episode (check out the summary of it) is how effectively they used horror tropes to build and convey suspense. But at the same time, they subvert expectations and give us multiple red-herrings so everything is kept fresh and interesting.
So the cold-open, let’s look at the elements used in it.
First, we have the car stopped in a remote location, as a clear lead-in to someone dying. Already, horror instincts are twanging, its dangerous, go, run, save yourself!
Over-protective dad calling, and we have these easy little bits of story-telling that come with everything we as a society already attach to them. Here, they’re using dominant, pervasive (toxic) scripts that almost everyone knows to tell us quickly who these people are, what they are like.
And yet another script, the boyfriend pushing boundaries without asking, and the woman having to enforce those boundaries. As he reassures her, we suddenly flip to a shot outside the car, taken from low to the ground and behind an ominous cloaked figure. We see a glint of a hook. There’s two ways this could go, a prank by friends, awkwardly interrupting awkward intimacy, or it can actually be an attacker of some kind.
And the hapless boy pushes past her boundaries yet again, she expresses displeasure and disappointment, and at this point, we get the idea he’s probably going to be dying.