OPINION: why recent films in the horror genre are terrifying

Hint: it’s for all the wrong reasons. 

I’ve spent the last couple of days sick in bed, and that’s meant watching a LOT of trailers. I’ve caught up on almost everything, and I have to say I’ve seen the amazing, the good, the bad, and the funny (when they weren’t supposed to be funny).

In the last category, I’ve seen two films that weren’t supposed to be funny. Let’s cut to the chase.

The Visit is supposedly a movie about two kids that go to visit grandma and grandpa for a few days. The kids realize their grandparents are weird. Plot happens.

I should preface this by saying I am a huge horror movie fan. I have seen all sorts of horror flicks. I find horror to be quite the art. There has to be the right amount of psychology and gore (supernatural optional) for things to work. The most recent film I can think of that genuinely scared me is Ringu, and that goes way back. Let’s – for fun – also put The Blair Witch Project (one of the pioneers of the ‘found footage’ genre) on this list.

As I watched the trailer for The Visit, I laughed the entire way through. It wasn’t supposed to be funny, but it’s because this trailer has everything I’ve seen before. You know it’s going to be riddled with bad writing. The acting is terrible; the people who are supposed to be scary are unconvincing. I was hoping this would be *something* in this genre, but I am not holding my breath.

Even more laughable, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension. I was actually a huge fan of the initial movie in the series; it took us back to a time where people could make a movie – for cheap – and knock it out of the park. (The actors in the first Paranormal Activity were actually paid just $500 to take part in the film.)

My point is this: I am terrified for the horror genre. It is incredibly disturbing just how low we’ve sunk. Cheap scares, zero thrills, horror film after horror film is just a carbon copy of the other. Things like Sinister 2, The Cabin in the Woods, Chernobyl Diaries, The Devil Inside, The Last Exorcist – these are all movies that have so many (terrible) overlapping elements; I could name two or three.

Can someone please start making horror films that actually do the genre some justice? The word horror movie is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as:

A painful emotion compounded of loathing and fear; a shuddering with terror and repugnance; strong aversion mingled with dread; the feeling excited by something shocking or frightful. Also in weaker sense, intense dislike or repugnance.

Do you see anything involving humour in there? I don’t. We need a fresh eye; a fresh thinker who can give us the right kind of shock/thrill we’re looking for. It would also be neat to see someone take some of things we’re terrified of in today’s day and age and write a story out of that.

Anyway – someone please save this genre. For the love of Pete.

Also, if you’re wanting to judge the two movies upcoming movies I just mentioned, you can check out the trailers for The Visit and Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension below.

 

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