A short-ish rant on modern horror
This was pulled from my review of ‘The Witch’, it deserved its own post.
The day in which horror films that treat the genre as more than just a shit-storm of jump-scares and cliches become more popular amongst the general audience than ‘Paranormal Activity 72’ will be a day that i hope i live to see. Because it will be the day where the Horror genre gets new, proper public admiration, and becomes more than just the type of film you see just to get scared by a flurry of loud noises and things popping out from off-screen. Right now, apart from a few gems here and there, the horror genre is largely a complete throwaway. We get 52 exorcism/possession films released every year, 31 found footage cash grabs, 71 films that just don’t understand the concept of horror, and none of them bring anything new or original to the genre, and the amount we are seeing is partly the blame of the studios but mainly the blame of the public. Because if Ouija 2 puts butts in seats and makes $100M on a $5M budget then no shit you are going to get a Ouija movie every year. It comes down to business.
It is a crime that films like ‘The Witch’, ‘The Babadook’, and ‘It Follows’ are largely overlooked by audiences in favour of ‘The Lazarus Effect’ or ‘Exorcism Film #82,345’. The films that take you back to the golden age of horror where it was all about originality, and coming up with unique methods of film-making and storytelling to scare the viewer and have them be utterly terrified for an hour and a half no-one seems to give a shit about. And if your stance is that “well, everything has been done before, so you can’t do anything new”, well then you’re wrong and narrow minded as when something *new* does come out you skip it in favour of the fucking ‘Poltergeist’ remake.
And it isn’t just the indie film-makers who are bringing some hope to the survival of the horror genre, directors such as James Wan, James Wan and ah James Wan have nailed it with revolutionising the genre. I mean, look what Furious 7 did for the genre and what Aquaman will bring to it in the future. But seriously it really is about taking risks, it is about pushing the idea that Horror CAN be better, and that character development, compelling dialogue, and an interesting original plot can be focuses of the film without taking away from the overall scariness of the film.