If you don’t feel triggered by graphic depictions of vomiting and are planning to watch the new movie, “Knives Out,” stop reading now — the following post contains spoilers.
But if you live with emetophobia, an intense fear of all things related to vomiting, you might want to skip this movie entirely, as vomiting is an important plot point in the film.
“Knives Out” is murder mystery created by Rian Johnson. The story follows detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) as he investigates the death of crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), who died mysteriously at a family gathering.
The film has been well-received (it has a 93% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes), but some social media users have taken to Twitter to warn people with emetophobia about the vomiting plot point. In the movie, Thrombey’s caregiver Marta Cabrera (Ana de Armas) has a condition that causes her to throw up anytime she considers lying.
Knives Out is an absolute delight of a film. Highly recommend, unless you have emetophobia. In that case, give it a hard pass.
— Cyprinid (@OctopusGallery) December 2, 2019
"Knives Out" is great fun, and all the actors are obviously enjoying themselves. Daniel Craig stays about 1/2 inch shy of Tim Curry.
Warning if you have emetophobia; it's an important plot point.
— Madame Hardy (@mme_hardy) November 30, 2019
— ????????????ᴅᴀᴍᴏɴ (@Nowhxreboy) November 29, 2019
Knives Out was SO GOOD but I sure wish someone had warned me that a major reoccurring part of it would not be kind to my emetophobia ????
— Lisa (@zaphodthebb) December 1, 2019
Okay so KNIVES OUT was really good but I know I've got some friends with emetophobia/bad reactions to seeing other people toss cookies. Major warning to y'all: it comes up repeatedly in the film at pivotal moments and can't really be avoided. #KnivesOut
— Annalee (@LeeFlower) November 28, 2019
While most of us are grossed out by the idea of vomit, people with emetophobia experience anxiety and fear so intense it can actually disrupt daily functioning. To deal with the anxiety surrounding vomiting, people with emetophobia often engage in “safety behaviors” like triple-checking expiration dates on food, avoiding social gatherings where they might get sick and overcooking food to kill potential pathogens — all in the hopes of eliminating the chances of throwing up or seeing someone else throw up.
If you have (or think you have) emetophobia, you’re not alone. The good news is, like most phobias, emetophobia is very treatable. The “gold-standard” treatment for phobias is exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy, which involves gradually exposing yourself to your fear and learning to tolerate it without avoidance or engaging in safety behaviors. A trained ERP specialist will very slowly lead you through a series of “exposures” designed to gradually acclimate you to your fear so it becomes less anxiety-inducing over time.
To find a therapist who specializes in ERP, we encourage you to use this therapist finder tool from the International OCD Foundation.
For more on emetophobia from our community, check out the following stories: