So last week, the family decided to go en mass to see The Conjuring, which after months of ‘will it, won’t it?’, was finally released in cinemas here in the UK. After passing miserable looking staff at cinema no.2, we traipsed in 20 minutes early and, with some minor seating disputes, settled into the back row.
Now, some background information – this wasn’t our original cinema of choice. Peeking into the lobby of the first cinema and backing out slowly was like turning a blind eye to genocide. It was filled with heaving, sweating bodies, groups of families arriving in minivans to take advantage of the pinnacle of cinematic family value that is the Orange Wednesday 2-4-1 cinema ticket. While backing away from the fractious zoo, a gargantuan woman behind us bellowed like a mountain gorilla and shook a box of sweets in the air like a victory salute. A girl by the doors, possibly one of her offspring shouted ‘Did you just shake your Tic-Tacs at me?’
‘Naw! Extras mints!’ cackled the gorilla.
Fast-forward to cinema no.2, an hour and a half later, and the room is beginning to fill up. The ads come and go, making way for the feature presentation. Pre-bought bottles of Coca-Cola are quickly opened so that the fizzing sound doesn’t interrupt the film. We are conscientious viewers.
Halfway through, during a tense and atmospheric moment, two girls in front start giggling. Loudly.
After some guesswork and distracted listening in, it turns out the brunette leant on the blonde and some of her hair ticked her face, so the blonde jumped and both thought this was extremely funny. Except it wasn’t. Then we watched, mystified, as the blonde got her phone out to mindlessly trawl through her Facebook news feed, checking to see if she’d missed anything within the past hour or so. But this was a recurring phenomenon around the room, a low buzzing noise from people who only come out at night, pay on average about £10 each to watch a film (and depending on snack and beverage purchases, that estimate could be much, much higher).
We kept our tongues and watched the rest of the film until everyone piled out of the cinema and into the car (doors locked, obviously). Then, a tirade of inventive cursing and death threats filled the Honda, with a distinct edge brought on by a) watching a jumpy film and b) feeling a bit angry.
And the moral of the story is: people who can’t handle their shit watching a horror film at the cinema should stay at home. Otherwise people might wish very violent deaths on you in the safety of their own cars…