That Scene From ‘Zodiac’ (2007)

“Hey, have you seen this movie? What did you think about THAT SCENE?!” We have all used that phrase at one point during our discussions of movies with the other person’s eyebrows raising, “Oh yea, THAT SCENE!” You go on to pick that memorable scene apart by listing what you loved or didn’t like, how it made you feel and the impression it left on you. 

In this series, we will do just that. We will take a scene from a movie and discuss its impact on us. Some of these scenes may be frightening, weird, iconic, controversial, hilarious and everything in between. Let us know your impression of the scene and the impact it left on you the first time you watched it down below in the comments. Enjoy!

 *Warning: May Contain Spoilers*

Movie: Zodiac (2007)

Scene: Napa Valley Picnic


Director: David Fincher

Characters: The Zodiac Killer (John Carroll Lynch), Bryan Hartnell (Patrick Scott Lewis), Cecelia Shepard (Pell James)


On July 4, 1969, an unknown man attacks Darlene Ferrin and Mike Mageau with a handgun at a lovers’ lane in Vallejo, California. Only Mike survives. One month later, the San Francisco Chronicle receives encrypted letters written by the killer calling himself the “Zodiac,” who threatens to kill a dozen people unless his coded message containing his identity is published. Political cartoonist Robert Graysmith, who correctly guesses that his identity is not in the message, is not taken seriously by crime reporter Paul Avery or the editors and is excluded from the initial details about the killings. When the newspaper publishes the letters, a married couple deciphers one. A couple is having a lovely picnic in Napa Valley until they are approached by a man in a mask. This brings us to our scene.



I know the basement scene usually is talked about as the most intense from this film and we will talk about it someday but this scene always stuck inside my brain more than any other from Zodiac. It’s frightening enough to be in or even watch this situation play out. Being robbed at gunpoint is scary enough but once he asks her to tie up her boyfriend, we know things are going to turn out well for this couple. The masked that we pretty much know is the actual Zodiac killer isn’t here to rob the couple as they expect. Bryan remains calm and simply tries talking to the man thinking he will leave once he gets what he wants. We don’t hear any music or score. There isn’t any filtering or anything to take away from the brutality we are witnessing on-screen. We hear the knife slide in and out of Bryan at first multiple times with Cecilia screaming until we hear her agony as he begins stabbing her repeatedly. Fincher is great at giving unflinching looks of brutality and here is one of his best. Close-ups and sounds are all that is needed to twist your stomach in knots. Fincher is a master.

What do you think of this scene? Did you find it intense and well done?

Author: Vincent Kane

I hate things.