I was snookered into watching a movie this last week. What I mean is I went to a movie with a ground of friends which was billed as an action adventure movie. It was much more like a horror movie instead.
“I Am Legend” with Will Smith was not what I expected. It truly was a horror film. But there is one thing I have always liked about horror films: there is always a bad guy. Not just bad, but evil.
Horror movies assume some standard of good or right behavior in order to make the villains look bad. From Jason to Freddie Kruger, we always know who the bad guys are when we watch horror.
It was no different in “I Am Legend.” The villains were the “dark ones,” people who had been transformed into rabid, wild beings by a virus. They behaved in terrible ways, showing no regard for those not infected with the virus, the world around them, or even for themselves.
Will Smith’s character makes a telling comment into his tape recorder at one point in the movie (pardon me for an inexact quote; I’m going from memory): “The dark ones have now shown that all aspects of human behavior have left them.”
The character assumes that there is some form of objective standard that can be used to judge what behavior is human vs. what behavior is not. Objective standards of right and wrong are at home only in a Christian view of the world. (See my comments here, and comments by others more qualified here and here.)
Was this an intentional element of the story? Some things in the movie suggest that it might well have been.
Would I recommend the movie? Only if you know exactly what you are going to get when you go to it.