20 years ago this week we got cinema's best jump-scare of all time
There are many, many great jump-scares. But this is the best one.
Released in cinemas on 12 October, 2001, David Lynch's Mulholland Drive has remained near the top of every critic's Best Movies of the 21st Century list ever since.
Fronted by Naomi Watts and Laura Elena Harring, it tells the story of an aspiring actress (Watts) who mets an amnesiac woman (Harring), who has recently survived a terrible car accident. While it sometimes skewers out to tell other people's stories (we'll get to one of those in a moment), most of the film focuses on the women trying to piece together the amnesiac woman's life before the accident.
To give too much more than that away would be to spoil the surprise, but it is fair to say that Lynch - a genius who likes to play in the deep end of the psychological horror pool - pulls the rug out from under us on more than one occasion.
Clip via Studio Canal
And one of those occasions is know as the Diner Scene.
Seemingly unrelated to the events elsewhere within the movie, other than the fact that it is hammering home the text of dreams, nightmares and alternate realities, it simply shows two men sitting in a diner and having a conversation.
One of the men begins to tell the story of a recurring nightmare that he's been having, one that takes place in that very diner. In real life, a conversation about someone's dreams is usually accompanied by a massive eye-roll. But with David Lynch telling it, the tension begins to mount, the screws begin to turn.
As the man tells more and more of his dream, the sense of unease continues to build, until he gets to the point that he wants to act out the events of his nightmare, just to rid himself of "this godawful feeling".
But the second the two men begin to re-enact the events of his subconscious, the fear ratchets up immediately to feverish levels. Even as the man has told us exactly what to expect, even with Lynch directing the scene at a pace so sedate that it feels almost as if it is happening in slow-motion (y'know, like a nightmare might...), you can't help but break out in a sweat.
And even though we see the scare coming from a mile away, right from the top of this five-minute scene, you're still left absolutely jumping out of the skin in terror when his dream eventually comes true.
Watch the Diner Scene in full below, and Mulholland Drive is available to watch on Google Play, Apple TV and Sky Store.
Clip via Gogol