Calling something terrifying often means that it’s scary and horrible to sit through, that it’s painful and difficult to watch. Perfect Blue isn’t like this, the ideas and events that happen are terrifying to think about without making you actually feel bad or paranoid for watching. It’s about mental illness and the horrible side effects that can occur from being a public persona.
This will contain spoilers and will not be a review; if you find what I’ve said in the previous paragraph promising then I’d say give the film a go and then come back.
A weird thing about Japan is the way they treat their pop idols. Mima, the main character who starts as a pop idol, is treated as pure and innocent by her fans, like somewhat of a special object which is righteous and untainted by the rest of the outside world. Any idol who wants to keep her fan base makes sure to protect their image of innocence and doesn’t enter any relationships or similar, this makes their fans hold them very dearly, often to the point of obsession.
In the film people go so far as to stalk and harass Mima because they cannot possibly fathom that she’s not the avatar she used to portray herself as. This then leads to the utter destruction of her image, servery cutting her ties from her past self. The acted rape scene. This traumatised her and others enough to completely destroy two people and their perception of Mima who’s idolic self is now gone. The speed at which she became destroyed was terrifying and the split was even worse.
Two people get the mental illness folie à deux (Madness of two) where symptoms of delusional disbelief and hallucinations are passed from one individual too another. Then throughout the film we see the consequences of this from the perspective of a sufferer and the nightmare it induces. The consequences spiral and increase until the very end where she recovers and becomes normal, as most people do when separated at hospital.
But the trippy ride through that makes you relate to not keeping a grasp of reality and having no knowledge of what’s going on. She murders a person only to find she’s being filmed and the body’s gone, just to go back later and find the same guy dead. What happened? We can speculate a lot (e.g. she wouldn’t be able to be successful if she murdered someone, she’d be in prison) but never know for certain.
And similarities to perfect blue can be brought back to real life where theirs a much bigger relevance than there was at that time. With more and more people being able to become popular, using social media more people have an audience where more things like this could potentially happen. And that’s pretty terrifying.