Horror is a long running genre, that through the years has seen many highs and lows. It’s a delicate balance to make a movie that manages to hit all the right aspect of terror. A few simple mistakes can really shift the overall feel of a movie. Here are some of the biggest horror movie “sins” that many movies make the mistake of making.
Having a Climax that is Less Intense Than the Rest of the Movie
Notable Sinners: The Veil
A good climax can really solidify a horror movie. The right climax can take what seems to be an average film and push it over. The wrong climax though? If you are going to build to one certain moment (or series of moments) make sure that it’s worth it. Films like The Veil manage to build a lot of tension and suspense, then fail to deliver where it matters the most. The last few moments of The Veil are rather stale and unimaginative in comparison to what we already witnessed. It leaves the viewer with a slightly dissatisfied feeling, and prevents this movie from achieving something more.
Having a Fake Final Girl
Notable Sinners: I Know What You Did Last Summer
Now let me explain, I don’t think that all slasher movies need to be final girl movies, in fact there is plenty of room for other types of slasher films. That being said if you are going to build up your movie to be a final girl movie, then it better be a final girl movie. I Know What You Did Last Summer really wants Julie James to be the final girl. They force her into the role in many awkward and unbelievable ways. The problem is they don’t want to actually kill off the rest of the cast to achieve this. What’s left is a movie that feels a bit confused.
Having Endless Sequels
Notable Sinners: Hellraiser
In fairness you can actually take your pick with this category, there are a lot of movies that have way too many sequels. I chose Hellraiser because I can’t actually honestly say I believe it has any good ones. Hellraiser 2 could be considered passable, but after that the series desperately needed to stop. In fact at one point the studio made a sequel that they KNEW was bad just to keep the rights over the movies. Sometimes when you love something you have to let it go.
Making Sequels that Miss the Point
Notable Sinners: Friday the 13th
I actually like the Friday the 13th series, they are the kind of dumb but fun horror movies I enjoy on occasion. The problem is they just miss the point completely. Friday the 13th stands out for a slasher flick because of the choice of killer. It’s unexpected, unique, and more than a little sad. Jason is a victim completely, so much so that even though we THINK he’s getting his revenge the truth is of course not, he’s just dead. Friday the 13th 2 (and on) lost that when they made Jason the killer. It’s no longer unexpected, and it loses a lot of what made the first movie shine. Maybe the first didn’t allow for endless sequels, but it did bring something a little more to the genre.
Being to Afraid to Stand on Your Own
Notable Sinners: Halloween 3: Season of the Witch
This movie is frankly underrated. It’s underrated because it shouldn’t have been a Halloween movie to begin with. The movie was set to release around Halloween, and the studio was afraid that after doing two movies, if they didn’t put “Halloween” in the title that it wouldn’t fly. The problem is this movie has nothing to do with the rest of the series, and it set expectations that the movie would never be able to live up to. The movie is doomed not because it’s so bad, but because of a really bad choice.
Remaking a Movie with Gore and No Substance
Notable Sinners: House of Wax, Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street
The problem with a lot of remakes is that they seem to start from the stand point that the movie it’s based on has no real value. In truth you could make arguments against the horror genre, but I feel it’s a bit unfair. I digress, my point is, so many remakes just throw buckets of fake blood at the basic plot and completely miss any real substance that the original had. Friday the 13th doesn’t even bother with Jason not being the killer, House of Wax is gore porn with no suspense, Nightmare on Elm Street lost it’s balance between comedy and horror. How much the original movies actually offer is debatable, but they did offer more than shallow, forgettable, blood spattered remakes.
Being a Found Footage Film When Not Needed
Notable Sinners: The Visit
Found footage films have become the big thing. In fact even though people are largely starting to complain about the subgenre the movies keep getting cranked out. The reality is there are some horror movies with a base line plot doesn’t seem that bad, but they are then shoe horned into a found footage film. The Visit is about kids go to visit their grandparents, who start exhibit strange behavior. The resulting movie is strangely put together because of the need to make it “found footage”. It’s not a bad movie when you look at the basics, but there was no call to make it found footage. So the resulting movie is odd and simply doesn’t work.