"Humans aren’t attracted to illumination the way moths are to bulbs, but we do like illuminating what we’re attracted to, making Hollywood “tinseltown” and Paris “the city of light.” Bright light comforts us because of contrast, and high definition helps sort out what’s what in the cosmic slush; focus and periphery act in concert to deliver an image that feels, for the most part, unquestionable. We do not enjoy murk, which breaks our trust with the visible world: When we can’t place a rustling in the dark, the rest of our senses ferry in conflicting information. This is why horror has historically left so much to the imagination, hinging stories on forces that thrive on night’s visual instability, and it’s why nighttime is the perfect medium for predation.
But there’s been a shift in terror — it’s what I can’t not see that disturbs. In a peachy desert, an orange jumpsuit supports a hostage’s shorn head; the washed gray of the sky is cleaved by the glint of a blade that shudders in the stream, borne down by a body all clad in black. Vigilantes on motorcycles, their faces uncovered, lift matte handguns to make ruby red in the green of recent Davao rains. The same red appears on a freshly laundered white cotton T-shirt, its seep horrific under cop hands glimpsed too bright from the car’s dim inside. I don’t look away."