“The Life Zone:” Anti-Choice Horror Movie Is An Insult to Young People

Crossposted on Amplify
We know politicians regularly use fear tactics to advance their agendas, but what about Hollywood? A new blatantly anti-choice horror film, The Life Zone, is emerging as the summer’s worst movie. This film engages young people in a disrespectful way. Rather than appealing to our intelligence or capacity for nuanced ethical thinking, it uses blind fear to scare young people into being anti-choice:

Here is the trailer for the film, which is premiering at film festivals now and will be released conveniently around the 2012 Presidential elections.

In the movie, an old white man presides over three young girls who have been kidnapped for committing a great sin: choosing to have an abortion. They are then kept in a dungeon for the remaining seven months and forced to give birth.

The movie is essentially a campaign piece, trying to scare young people into adopting an anti-choice political view. The filmmaker, Kenneth Del Vecchio, just so happens to be a Republican candidate for the New Jersey State Senate, and the film will be released some time in the next year in the heat of the presidential campaign season.

The condescending nature of this film really bothers me. Of course filmmakers should be allowed to put their personal beliefs into the movies they create, but here Vechio is engaging young people at a very low level. It also gives us a new understanding of the term anti-choice. While this film was made by a Republican in order to enroll young people in a socially conservative moral agenda, the film can almost be used as a perfect example of just what is wrong with anti-choice abortion policy. The teens being jailed and forced against their will to give birth to their children is exactly what being anti-choice is about: not trusting the judgment of women or young people. Unfortunately, the fictional plot line of young people being jailed and forced against their will has all too real meaning to actual people who live in countries where abortion is outlawed., Being put in jail or even being killed for seeking an abortion is not just the stuff of a ridiculous horror movie – for some, it is reality.

I hope that this film is a failure not only because it has an anti-choice message, but because it spreads this message in a crude and insulting way, has such obvious political motivations, and engages young people on a low level. Many young people, both those who fall on the anti-choice side and pro-choice side of the debate, are capable of thinking deeply about complex ethical issues, and deserve entertainment that reflects this fact. This movie doesn’t leave any room for the viewer to make up his or her mind, and instead holds the concept of abortion as sin as absolute truth — as something to never be questioned.

I want to see a film that enrolls youth in a certain political agenda by appealing to our intelligence and ability to think past incomplete conceptions of right and wrong. Through using manipulative horror movie scenes and overt fear tactics, The Life Zone does just the opposite.

For more coverage by the ever sharp and hilarious Stephen Colbert, check out this segment from his show:

Dan Jubelirer is a Netroots Youth Fellow at Amplify, a youth-driven community dedicated to promoting sexual health and reproductive justice.

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

Dan Jubelirer is a 2010 Netroots Fellow at Amplify, a youth-driven community dedicated to promoting sexual health and reproductive justice. He is a 17-year-old youth activist, advocating and lobbying for sexual reproductive health and rights

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