The suggestion of a horror film is enough to plunge at least a quarter of the nation into a petrified state of terror with images of psychotic clowns and demonic apparitions rearing their heads. However, the reality of the infamous nightmare stirrers is far less sinister in the world of today than they used to be.
The fatal flaw in modern horror movies is that they simply lack creativity –This lack of originality means that audiences can predict the product of the storyline prior to it happening. Yet there is more than the storyline that can be so easily predicted. The music, the setting, the resolution to the plot. These are just a few of the ways that the audience is robbed of an opportunity to be petrified.
It’s a stormy night. An innocent teenage girl sits alone. She is using her phone or entertains herself with some other monotonous activity. She hears a banging from outside her room even though she knows nobody else is home that prompts her to call out to see if anyone is there. She hears another bang and decides to do the logical thing at that stage and phone the police goes to track down the source of the noise. After the intense buildup of her erratic breathing and the eerie music, she opens the door to find…nothing.
This is the basic setup for the majority of the horror genre. Yes, there are variations and deviations but overall you can expect the same thing for almost any horror film.
Frequent horror viewers have become so attuned to such repetition that they can pinpoint the exact moment when the music starts to build up, there’s a fake scare coming their way – oh look, it wasn’t a mutilated monster stalking the protagonist, after all, it was just a cat.
These jump scares do not even deserve to be called scary. They startle. Perhaps a viewer may witness a short sense of bewilderment but this usually fades within the next 30 seconds. For a film to be considered scary it needs to feature a sustaining uncomfortable sensation to the audience.
A further flaw in the horror industry is the mismarketing of its films. Watch any horror film’s trailer and a series of repeated flashes, jumps, silences and chaotic scenes will pass before you…and that is exactly what you will be greeted with in the film. Excluding, of course, the irrelevant context filling the rest of the 120 minutes. However, this faux implication of constant and reoccurring fear inducing horror is what causes such a disappointment when audiences watch the film. Their high expectations are crushed by predictability and the abhorrence at the lack of creativeness.
The whole horror film genre needs to witness a renaissance of sorts or it is simply not going to sustain itself – hopefully sooner rather than later.