Why Modern Horror Movies Are So Terrible

Hi everyone :)

Given that Halloween is in just under 5 days now, I figured I'd take an opportunity to analyze the modern horror movies, and think about just why they don't seem to work anymore. Below are some points to consider in this argument.

Why Modern Horror Movies Are So Terrible

Predictability

In movies that are suspenseful or have a great deal of mystery, the main storyline is often not predictable, or there will be intertwined twists that make viewers think "what just happened?". In many horror movies, there is often one main antagonist and several protagonists, many of whom die throughout the movie, typically leaving only one survivor at the very end (or none for that matter). And the predictability is in the fact that most horror movies follow the same old blueprint: you have this hacker/slasher antagonist going after victims until there is no one else left. Because of this predictability, it is often difficult to get as excited, or as scared, as the directors were hoping to achieve.

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Stupid Character Decisions

In many horror movies, it is often very difficult to form emotional connections to the characters, often because they're poorly written, or you never even know their name (or care about their name) to begin with. A character will go missing because they decided to wander out alone (i.e. to take a leak, or do something equally crazy), and then a few scenes later we have one or two characters deciding to go out alone and search for said missing character while the remainder hang back or chill out. I always ask over and over again, if there's 6 or 7 of you, why not all just go out together rather than have one or two of you go look. And alas, those one or two brave enough to venture out usually disappear as well, or get separated. Just think about the scene from Cabin in the Woods when the two characters go out and have sex in the woods, like it makes absolutely no sense. But, the main problem usually stems from poor, terrible writing decisions (see below).

Why Modern Horror Movies Are So Terrible

Terrible Writing

I'm going to go out on a limb here, and say that the vast majority of horror movies have very poor writing and dialogue, such that characters are lead to make stupid decisions (see above) that no thinking human would make in such a situation. Because of the poor writing, it's hard to invest in the characters such that when they die or disappear, it's just a sort of a "whatever" moment. Perhaps it could also be that we're so desensitized to the gore and torture moments, that we just don't care to begin with. That last point I'm not so sure of, I just can't put my finger on what exactly it is. Often times, the dialogue is so laughably bad, that you're only really watching to see what ill fate befalls these idiots. But what I do know is that movies that are well written with intriguing character drama, mystery, plot, and dialogue, are usually the movies that do quite well and entrance audiences.

Cheap Jump Scares and Gore/Torture Porn

A combination of bad writing and cheap jump scares and/or gore often creates a "deadly" combination. The Saw franchise has lived off this principle for years. Saw combines bad writing, with very gory torture porn scenarios, putting people into impossible situations you know they are unlikely to get out of. And really you can add in the predictability of the whole situation. The reason viewers continue to watch Saw I argue is to see what new and creative ways there are to kill someone; that, or the subtle mystery and drama that lies within the plot, but even then you have a good sense of who is constructing the traps. On the flip side, A Quiet Place really makes use of the silence in the movie and creates a very tense suspense that gets viewers on the edge of their seat throughout the movie, and doesn't really on cheap jump scares. Is it any wonder that such a movie was able to gather a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes where all other horror movies average in the 20-40% range?

Why Modern Horror Movies Are So Terrible

Conclusions

These are just 4 points I was able to come up with why horror movies just aren't very good if you really break them down. From a lack of characters we can invest in, to terrible writing decisions, predictable plots/outcomes, and stupid character decisions, horror movies just lack the overall suspense and tension necessary to create a compelling movie. There are obviously exceptions to this, but the vast majority just don't stack up to exceptional film standards. Feel free to weigh in on this

Thanks for reading,

~JC

3 1

Most Helpful Guys

  • I think another thing that hurts movies in general these days, not just horror, is that back in the day movies were the go to form of storytelling. Nowadays, tv shows have gotten so good that we have grown accustomed to building characters through many episodes. Even the short season ones like Stranger Things. You're looking at about 14 hours for 2 seasons if you skip the openings and endings. That's about 6-7 movies right there. Because of this, I think it can make it hard for a movie to tell a story that isn't a part of a larger picture. A one-off. So, character and plot development loses while the shitty scare tactics go up. The main way to stop this is for people to stop going to these kinds of movies. Even if it is just for kicks. If they can make a movie that makes money and it lacks character development and plot then what reason do they need to add it in. I agree with pretty much all that you said, but I also think that TV shows being the prime way of storytelling these days is also why movies aren't as good as they used to be.

  • The other problem is that they no longer let the audience use their imaginations. We have CGI, so directors feel (or ARE) compelled to show every detail on screen.

    What makes many classic horror movies work so well is that most of the gruesome stuff happened just off-screen, so the audience would be imagining what happened - and imagination beats CGI almost every time.

    • I think the biggest problem honestly is the fact that these days anyone can make a movie when before if someone put out a movie and you saw it in the theatre or on cable more than likely it was good now some guy can use an iphone to film a movie and it will end up on Netflix lol

    • @ItalianGuy777 Actually, a lot of the best stuff is being made by indies, with minimal budgets, who know they have to use writing and cinematography to tell their story, because they don't have the money or means to use anything else. But, yeah, there can be crap too.

    • Yea I have seen great independent movies it is just I see b horror movies on showtime and netflix all the time these are pay services yet they are airing b movies lol

Most Helpful Girls

  • Great Mytake but I think every this era actually had one of the best horror movies ever : The conjuring.
    And I was surprised to like it because I like the classics like The Shining, Psycho, The Blair witch project... but there are good movies in every era !

  • All good points. However, there are still numerous modern horror films done exceptionally well.

    Why Modern Horror Movies Are So Terrible



    Advanced Happy Halloween to everyone! :)

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What Girls & Guys Said

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  • I completely disagree. Although you've got your shinings and exorcists, horror movies of the past as a rule weren't very good. The majority were pulpy b-movie type films that weren't very good or very scary. There's been a bit of a resurgence in very good horror films lately though. Get Out, Hereditary, The Conjuring, The Witch, It Follows, Cabin in the Woods, Mandy, A Quiet Place to name a few

  • All of what you stated is true. If horror movies are to be better, make them realistic and maybe go from the killer's point of view instead. I've never seen a movie like that so it would be something new to me.

    Could also do it in a first person pov like Hardcore Henry. I really loved that style.

  • Bad decision making is a bullet point here like that's a new phenomenon ("hey we're 80s teens let's have sex in the woods at the abandoned summer camp where someone died then split up when we hear a noise")

    The only real issue with most horror movies is they're too jumpscare heavy or rely too much on goresploitation

  • I never liked slasher/gore movies (except of the old Nightmare on the Elm Street ones) and I seriously love how the "paranormal" horror get more and more in the cinemas. Insidious, Sinister, Conjuring... THAT is what I think off when I'm talking about horror. Not Saw/Hostel/Hills have eyes etc.

  • Nice take. I hate modern horror movies

  • The same reason movies in every genre can be terrible. People don't care, Hollywood cranks out a formula and people watch them. $$$

    But, there are also amazing films in every genre, you just have to be selective.

  • There are great modern horror movies. Two examples: It Follows (2014) and The VVitch (2015).

    • It Follows is amazing.

  • This makes a lot of sense but I think that some movies are good, you just have to look for them, independent horror films are good and blumhouse had been doing some great stuff too, happy death day, the final girls, and antisocial, zombeavers are recent but are some of the best movies I've seen in years

  • Because people have no more ideas for good movies.

  • Nice mytake

  • There are some really good current horror movies though, you just have to search a little.

  • Ya, I bet I could write a better plot than most of those bother having, to be honest.. and I don't even write stories.

  • Horror movies are very weak these days and have been for a long time now. The golden era for horror films ended back in the 80's really and has been going downhill ever since.

  • We are Venom

  • Nice

  • Eventually they run out of all the fiction they can come up with.

  • Good take

  • I'd like to make a horror movie someday :)

  • theyre not. get out, a quiet place, haven't seen Halloween yet, but it seems good

    • I said there's exceptions lol if you actually get a good writing crew and director

  • Problem is that modern movie makers rely too much on FX and technology.
    In the past, they didn't have so many technologies and had to actually build an atmosphere.
    A good horror movie should be able to scare you without actually showing you anything, or at least not much. Just by suggesting that there is something.
    That is scary.

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