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My Gripe With Horror Movies

Updated on July 15, 2020
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My Gripe With Horror Movies

I Love Horror Movies

This statement may well contradict the title of this article but it is important that I let you know from the get-go that I am a huge fan of the horror genre. As a rule, I’m not the biggest movie fan and haven’t visited the cinema for at least 15 years, but my Amazon Prime, Netflix and Sky subscriptions often see a lot of horror movie action.

My real claim to fame where movies are concerned is that I proudly, and maybe quite nerdily, counted how many times I watched my all-time favourite film - Titanic, 143 at the time of writing this.

But other than that, it’s horror or nothing. Yet here I am, mulling over all the things that irk me when kicking back to watch someone get their throat slashed or chased by some dark demon from the depths of the underworld.

It may come as little surprise to my fellow scare-fest fans that there are many aspects of horror movies that are unrealistic and frankly, annoying. I’d like to delve a little deeper into these but before I do, let me share with you some of the movies that have impressed this critical viewer.

Good Horror Movies

On average, I will seek out a new scary film two or three times a week, so I like to think I’m doing pretty well on keeping up with the latest releases. But, I have noticed, that often times, the low-budget and lesser-known films are the ones that tend to have a thicker plot, more relatable characters and realistic action scenes.

I can’t deny that I am partial to the hugely successful Saw, Conjuring and Insidious series but let’s talk about some movies that I have viewed that I’d never heard of until I performed a late-night search out of boredom.

  • 13 sins details the story of a guy desperate for financial help who finds it in the form of a sick game that sees him committing everything from petty crime through to maiming and murder. It kept me guessing from beginning to end and the acting was pretty substantial.
  • 9 dead starring one of my childhood heroines, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, more commonly referred to as Melissa Joan Hart is a movie about a group of people who are kidnapped and locked in a room. They are asked to work out why they are there or face death and the intricacies of the story give viewers a mystery to solve along with the tension of not knowing who is next.
  • The Furies is an Aussie flick that pits Beauty against the Beast in a high tension, gore fest with some incredible special effects. It features characters that you care about from the beginning and keeps you wondering what on earth is going on.
  • Haunt tells the story of a group of friends who enter a haunted house that is more horrific than they could have ever imagined. I’ve seen a lot of similar movies, especially around Halloween but this one really stood out.
  • Bait was another film from the land down-under and whilst not strictly horror, was unlike anything else I have ever seen. Essentially, a freak tsunami lands our group in hot water as they become locked in a flooded supermarket with a bunch of sharks. I won’t spoil the ending!

Horror Movies Have The Worst Characters

If you’ve ever watched a horror movie, you will know exactly what I am referring to when I say the characters are the worst!

If a movie is based around a group of people, there are usually some stereotypical characters - the geek, the hot girl, the black guy, the jock and the level-headed, often

previously traumatised girl who you know will have some kind of epiphany before the end credits roll.

Quite often we are exposed to really shallow characters that you cannot form any sort of connection to and who, upon being killed, you don’t miss at all. I like to think about the TV series, The Walking Dead, of which I have been an avid viewer from day one. To begin with, when a character was killed off, it was devastating. I remember the death of Dale, Herschel and Merle - I genuinely felt as though I had lost a loved one. But as the show went on, more and more disposable characters were added taking away any care when they were popped off. The only character I now care for in that show is Negan, and I’m pretty sure my infatuation with him is a little over the top.

But in a horror movie, you don’t even have the luxury of bonding with one character. Very often, there is no back-story and if one is present, it is paper-thin leaving viewers extremely blasé in their reactions to these characters.

A recent example of this was a film called The Maze, which looked, at first glance as though it was going to be an excellent watch. I won’t lie, the premise for the story was good and I wouldn’t have said I was bored watching it. But, the introduction to the characters was so vague that I wasn’t even sure of their names or relationships to one another when the killings began.

You’re Doing What?

What I find even more irritating about the people in horror flicks, is that they simply don’t react in anywhere near a realistic manner. How often have you been chased by a masked madman, locked yourself in the cupboard under the stairs and sat inside panting and saying ‘oh my god.’? Ok, probably never, but if any of us found ourselves in such a terrifying situation, I’m confident that we would make smarter choices.

The number of times that I have been pained by the ridiculous decisions made by horror

movie characters exceeds how many times I’ve eaten hot dinners, I’m sure. Why they do some of the things they do is unfathomable - leaving their hide-out after the killer has literally just walked past, not ensuring that a defensive kill is fully executed or keeping your back turned to a possible entrance for a threat.

I mentioned the panting. Oh, the panting! I sometimes have to mute. Firstly, it’s plain irritating but more importantly - are they looking to get caught? The sheer amount of noise created by their high-decibel breath is sure to attract the attention of whoever they are running away from. Just. Be. Quiet!

You Look Like You’re In Pain

What baffles me enormously when watching a scary movie is that the characters appear to be invincible. In no other genre will you see someone stabbed in the chest, lit on fire and falling off the back of a truck and surviving but this is what we see in The Strangers Prey At Night. Again, much like The Maze, it’s a good film and full of action but come on - people don’t just get up and move on like that.

You see it in almost every horror movie, the characters are brutally injured and they seem to be able to just brush it off and in some cases, continue to fight or run. I understand that adrenaline would set in but a gun wound to the head would render even the toughest of us, useless.

Do something!

Why do people in horror movies freeze? They’re like a deer in the headlights, laying themselves out like lambs to the slaughter. Don’t they want to get away?

Now, I am completely understanding of this because I have personal experience. When I was much younger, I took a ride with my ex-husband and we stopped in the layby of an un-lit lane. I turned to look out the back window of the car and I kid you not, there was a guy

squatting on the ground behind our car, creeping ever closer. I have genuinely never felt more frightened.

My guy was telling me to move back into my seat and put my seatbelt on, but I couldn’t move. However, after a quick self-check, I realised that I needed to move and we needed to go. My life was potentially at risk, I wasn’t hanging around. So, I don’t understand why these people don’t do anything to protect themselves.

Nothing Happens In A Horror Movie

OK, that statement isn’t completely fair, I can’t tar them all with the same brush. There are some horror films that have been action-packed from beginning to end but I have seen far too many that are so lacking in action that I’m led to believe I’m watching nothing more than a documentary of the character’s daily life.

I am the pretty little thing that lives in the house wasn’t just boring, it was lifeless, I promise you that nothing happened. I spent two hours watching that movie and I will never get that time back. Some movies are dull but there’s at least one juicy scene before they cut to black, but I spent the entire movie waiting for action that never came.

In It comes at night, nothing came at night - nothing even came during the day, apart from a guy who appeared to be lost and even he left. I’m still uncertain as to what was ever meant to come at night. Maybe I’ll watch the movie again - maybe I’ll watch paint dry

I’m Still Here

I can sit here and tell you how much I hate horror movies, how annoying the characters are and how bad the plots tend to be yet I will still keep watching them. I’ll likely keep complaining about them too but I kind of like the thrill of wondering whether this will be the one. Who knows, maybe one day there will be one I watch as many times as Titanic.

© 2020 Karen Bradshaw

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