I’m an avid fan of horror movies. I love the shiver you get down your neck and the uncertainty of the whole situation. i also love the psychological aspect of horror movies and I prefer my horror movies to be, um, interesting and competent, which is probably the reason I’m let down by modern horror. These days horror movies focus too much on quantity (of gore and death) rather than quality (of scenes, effects and plot) and these days, horror movies survive on jump scares and gore. So in this couple of paragraphs, we will discuss why the quality of horror movies have declined.
First off: Jump scares. Jump scares I defined as “is a technique often used in horror films used to scare the audience by surprising them with an abrupt change in image/event, usually co-occurring with a frightening sound” or basically, when the supernatural entity finally tries to kill the family, and when done right, they can scare an audience. Jump scares are one of the cheapest ways to scare an audience without any effort at all. By now your probably thinking “Well if it scares the audience, what’s so bad about Jumps scares?” As I have said before, jump scares are cheap ways to scare an audience. Movies are designed to convey a story and if your movie’s is fulled with a jump scares then it’s not really a movie.
Problem number 2: Found (freaking) footage. Okay, I know I’m not alone when I say that found footage sucks. Because making thousands of sequels that don’t make any sense is very annoying. I’m looking at you paranormal activity franchise. Let’s start with the movie that started this mess: The Blair Witch Project. The BW project did the whole “found footage” right. Why? Because it felt genuine. You could feel the emotion, you could fell their pain, their distress. It felt like you were there. Another reason why it was so scary was because of the realism of the movie, I mean getting lost in the woods is so easy and they never actually showed the witch so your imagination would run wild. Paranormal Activity, for the first movie was pretty good, yes they overused a concept but at that point it was not overused. Then they made a billion sequels… which leads us to the next problem: sequels.
Terrible Sequels are a plague upon modern cinema but horror movies are a particulary affected genre. After all, there’s only a few amount of cheap horror tricks to the drag the audience in until you have to reuse some of the tropes in your sequel. For this particular affliction, I have to blame the audience rather than the film studios. When a movie rakes in the dollars then obviously they will reuse the concept, it’s simple logic. But perhaps sequels in the horror genre isn’t so bad after all. Remember the slasher genre? It was very popular in the 90’s and 80’s but not anymore. Know why? Well I guess people were bored of the same plot over an over again. If you’re willing to watch a million of sequels then perhaps we could survive the supernatural-entity-possesses-young-child craze, since it needs to die out pretty soon.
The supernatural entity is perhaps the cornerstone of horror movies… which is probably why everybody keeps going back to it. One of the most well known horror movie is The Exorcist. The plot follows a family that doesn’t believe in religion have one of the member of the family get possessed by a demon (the power of Christ compels you!) until they’re exorcised by a priest, and the family is forever changed. Sound familiar? Well that’s because it’s basically the plot of The Conjuring! The possession trope is one of the most overdone plots in film history, hell a movie about a board game involves possession (I will not be seeing Ouija 2).
In conclusion, Horror Films really need to step up their game if they want to survive the horror that is modern cinema. Perhaps films should stop the usually incoperation the usual tropes and plot and stop pandering to the audience. That of course is easy to say but fortunately it doesn’t bring in the money.