It’s just because your Parents let you watch The Lovely Bones when you were young
Last fall, I was at my regular therapy session trying to unpack why walking through a cornfield during my family’s seasonal trip to “Parker’s Pumpkins and More” had been bothering me so much. My therapist thought perhaps it might be because I was bit by a large bug there before and had a slight fear of that. I looked at her as if she was crazy and knew it was much deeper than that— much more traumatic. I told her it reminded me of a scary experience I heard about or saw on television. She mentioned how Children of the Corn or a certain Dateline episode might just be engraved in the back of my mind from when I was a child and my parents didn’t check ‘Kids in Mind’ before taking us to the movies. I shook my head as I was now wrapped in the fetal position on the couch. She checked her watch as if to signal she had no idea what to do, and by this point, I was visibly shaking. Then, it hit me! I yelled out, “It’s been The Lovely Bones all along!”
Continue at your own risk.
Scene #1 – Mark Whalberg plays Baseball
Haunting Meter: 6.5/10
The fact that the most graphic scene of the film is not necessarily the most haunting really says something about the trauma endured by this film. Susie’s dad figuring out that Harvey was indeed his daughter’s murderer is pretty harsh in itself, but then when he tries to get his revenge, he ends up getting almost killed himself while Harvey just watches from the sidelines—in the exact cornfield he murdered Susie. It’s hard to blame the kid for being scared when Susie’s dad accidentally jumps on his girlfriend thinking it was Harvey, but the kid did not have to keep hitting him with the bat. At least this scene taught us just how much damage a bat could do. So no, you should not hit your brother with it when he steals your toy.
Final Verdict: It’s funny how we used to think Chicken Little made cornfields seem scary.
Scene #2 – Goodbye Susie
Haunting Meter: 7/10
Can we just take a minute to talk about the ending sequence of the film? Every part just seems to get progressively sadder. When Susie meets the other girls Harvey murdered, the way that they all seem happy is just heartbreaking. Also, Ray deserves an honorable mention. I swear I have never wanted to see a love story play out more than I wanted to see theirs, so I’m very glad that they at least got to have a last kiss. However, the most disappointing part of this sequence was the fact that the safe Susie’s body was in didn’t open because she deserved that justice. We all know there was some amount of justice served with Harvey, but still not enough. Overall, the ending quote, “I was here for a moment and then I was gone. I wish you all a long and happy life” is just unreal. If you didn’t cry at that quote, you are indeed a stone person. At the age of ten, we’re out here trying to live and get our lives started, and then here we are contemplating death. This sequence was practically sadder than real-life events, even the loss of our treasured goldfish we had at that age.
Final Verdict: The pamphlet on how to deal with grief you received from your church will finally come in handy because, without it, you have no chance of recovering.
Scene #3 – Bunker of Death
Haunting Meter: 8.5/10
Of course, this list includes the scene where Susie and Harvey are sitting in the underground bunker. I’m not going to lie, the bunker would’ve made an excellent hangout if Harvey wasn’t a monster and actually built it for the neighborhood kids. Would the kids have walked through a barren cornfield to get to a secluded makeshift clubhouse? Probably not. Anywho, I think the entire scene was turned around the moment Harvey asked Susie, “Do you have a boyfriend?” I think it is safe to assume that any middle-aged man who you don’t know who asks you this exact question is a murderer. There’s just no other explanation for it. But in all seriousness, a situation like this one is what every person fears, and this movie shouldn’t have to teach the lesson of not going into a bunker to young children, but unfortunately, people like Harvey actually think it’s okay to exist.
Final Verdict: There is no way to recover from this scene, but the behind-the-scenes clip from this on YouTube may take the edge off.
Scene #4 – Harvey Bathtime
Haunting Meter: 9/10
Susie runs out of the underground bunker and makes it home, so she must be alive, right? Wrong. When Susie enters Harvey’s bathroom, it’s already bad enough that there is legitimately a naked middle-aged man soaking in dirty bathwater. Also, the blood everywhere in the white bathroom doesn’t help, including the knife also soaked with blood. Like, thank you for spelling out exactly what happened. As if things couldn’t get worse, then, this scene soaks up any last hope you had about Susie making it out alive once she screams and her body begins to disappear, which thankfully isn’t too graphic. Either way, the movie probably could’ve gone without the man in the bathtub.
Final Verdict: Whether I’m ten or twenty or any age for that matter, I really don’t want to see a hairy middle-aged man sitting in a dirty bathtub, please and thank you.
Scene #5 – Murder Montage
Haunting Meter: 10/10
If George Harvey was a serial killer, it’s pretty obvious that there were other victims that came before and most likely after Susie. However, the fact that each victim’s story was told in detail was probably a scene that most people could not have bared to see, especially at a young age. The scene begins with Susie walking through Harvey’s darkly-lit house. The slow music and dark lighting suggest suspense, but most probably weren’t expecting that one second she was in the house, and the next second she was looking at a dead woman’s body in a creek. Of course, each story is tragic, but the fact that he murdered a six-year-old girl is beyond messed up. Also, it doesn’t make things any less frightening when Susie is explaining exactly how he was able to murder the girls who are all around the age of ten, just like most people were when we watched the movie. Good move, Mom.
Final Verdict: Let’s just say this scene and the “Thriller” music video both made us sleep on our parent’s floor.
Final Haunting Meter: 10/10
Ultimate Verdict: We now have an origin story for our anxiety.
As soon as I finished saying all this, my therapist glanced at her watch once again. “Would you look at the time!”
Stephanie Tokasz is a first-year film, photo, and visual arts major who would like to emphasize that their bones are only sub-par. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.