Horror is an ever-changing genre that started with monsters in make up like Dracula and Frankenstein. It evolved to gruesome stories about spirits and killers. Then CGI came in and played a role in what we saw or what we let our imaginations believe. Scary movies either makes us jump and give us nightmares or bore us half to death. It’s a really person specific type of movie because not everyone has the same fear. But now the new trend is heading down a smarter path, combining horrific scary stories with life lessons, world themes, and 21st century commentary. They are also doing it with minimal budgets, proving you don’t need CGI creatures to give a good scare. So what should you be watching if you’re one of these people who enjoy not sleeping at night? Here are the most recent.
The Babadook is an Australian horror film by Jennifer Kent that was released late last year. It tells the horrific tale of a boy and his Mother who find a mysterious pop up storybook about the legend of the Babadook creature. No surprise it comes alive and tears this family apart. Thing is, it was made on a shoe string budget (2 million) and Exorcist director William Friedkin has called it one of the scariest films of all time. Everyone I’ve talked to seems to agree. It is also very psychological which helps amp up your nerves. When scaled down, it can be taken as a symbol for loss, grief, and death
Recently It Follows, a stylish horror flick by David Robert Mitchell was released, telling the story of a sexually transmitted curse that causes dead people to follow you if you contain this “problem.” Obviously a metaphor for sexually transmitted diseases, it’s been scaring the hell out of people despite its tiny budget. The loud booming music and constant uneasiness is really setting it apart, garnering rave reviews from critics and fans.
Now this week there is Unfriended, an unfiltered look at social media, online bullying, and murders through Skype and Facebook. It looks a lot cheesier and traditional than the last two, but it does make use of Skype and online communication very well, perhaps boasting a few messages on why we should take a step back from technology. Reviews are mixed so far, but people seem to be eager to see it.
So if horror films continue to focus on life, use a mixture of jump scares and psychological pain, and reflect back our culture while giving us a good heart attack, can we say that maybe this genre has hit a new peak in greatness? Don’t get me wrong, classics like The Shining, The Exorcist, and Rosemary’s Baby are my all time favorites and certainly scared me a lot more than these movies did. Looking back, they also all contained some kind of cultural refection too. Perhaps these new ones then are the classics of our time and their commentary is what will make them hold up for years to come.
Do you think they really scary and can hold up in the future? I want to hear from you! What scares you? Did you find any of these ones scary? And do you think adding themes and social reflection make a better story in general? Leave your comments below!