I am finding myself more drawn to the world of horror movies every day. I seem to be attracted to the idea of scaring myself senseless in a dark room, in order to lose months of sleep, because I swear I heard a shadow whisper “Look, what she made me do!” However, as I am slowly becoming a horror movie veteran, you end up realizing what movie moments work and which ones don’t. Some scares fall so flat, it is tough to see where the writers were even coming from.
3 – WOMAN IN BLACK – SCREAMING GHOST
Woman in Black is one of the finest pieces of horror cinema I have seen. It is made up of clever, interesting scares that seem well-thought out and frightening. For the most part, Woman In Black lived up to all of its expectations, succeeding as a terrifying movie experience. However, one of the final scares of the movie, the full reveal of the Woman in Black, dropped all of this clever building up, for a cheap scare. Daniel Radcliffe crouches in a dark room, whimpering, and the ghost appears in the door. She comes right up to him and screeches. And with that, she is gone. Our hearts are thumping and we are completely thrown for a moment.
Scary, yes, but it makes no sense. Why did she do that? It is the equivalent of one of those Youtube videos that ask you to lean in, turn up the volume and wait. Then a scary face jumps at you and you spend the next few moments laughing to each other. That is what this sequence in Woman In Black feels like. The original stage-show was scary, because of the lack of the full reveal. Even if the writers wanted the reveal, the haunting final shot was so much more lasting and scary. This scare made the film feel a little less special, when it was onto something good.
2 – THE PURGE – KISSING WITH MASKS
The Purge failed as a scary movie on many levels, but one moment that jumped out at me was the kissing mask people. The film hits a point where it introduces the mask people and has them do eerie stuff at an attempt to be scary. To be honest, I lose all connection with the film. DeMonaco has two female masked ladies kiss: this moment is meant to be both dark, disturbing and slightly sexual all at the same time, making the audience uncomfortable. However, I just thought to myself: how can you kiss while wearing a mask?
This moment is a microcosm for the film as a whole. The fear factor wasn’t thought out beyond ‘look, masks and knives’ and a few jumps aside, no one really got spooked. It is a common flaw with most horror movies, but the Purge had so much going for it, the drawbacks are so much worse.
1 – SINISTER – DANCING KIDS
Sinister is a pretty scary movie, which is what makes this one scene stick out like a painfully sore thumb.
Ethan Hawke is creeping around the house at night, expecting something to leap out and get him. We all know the drill by now. We are going to get the living daylights scared out of us. Which is why, when the scares kick in, we are confused at how far the film got the idea ‘scary’ wrong. Spoiler alert: the twist is that the kids get possessed (you would have guessed it by this point in the film). Possessed kids can be creepy, yes, but director Derrickson has a whole sequence of them dancing around the house, just out of Ethan Hawke’s sight. It is more funny than scary. It is this point in the film, where the horror elements go downhill and you realize that you are just waiting for the movie to end, so you can get onto something a little scarier.