We are living in the golden age of horror. The output of the genre was always proliferous, but the quality of the films was not always worth mentioning. Now, in the 21st century, the films have become better in creating and maintaining chills, scares, and atmosphere. These films are often psychological and also contain a lot of subtext, which is a delight for sophisticated viewers.
Recently a controversial genre label has been attached to signify these intelligent horror movies: elevated horror. Although this is mostly a transitive cultural trend and will fade with time, the old horror fans have been offended by this distinguishing tag. Needless to say, horror movies are only measured by the fear factor they induce in the viewer’s mind, not by the number of subtext or social allegories they secretly contain.
It doesn’t matter which trope is used: jump scare, gore, found footage – everything is welcomed as long as the film is effective. But sometimes the use of all of these film tropes together doesn’t work, the film suffers from lack of scare, and an unnecessary comedic effect is created. These films are the worst offenders in horror canon; their existence is undesired for the mediocrity they carry with them. Without further ado, here are 10 horror films that weren’t scary.
1. Truth or Dare
“Truth or Dare” packed all of the horror film cliches together to create a film that is equal parts fun and scary. But the result is only half fun and not a bit scary. There is a sadistic pleasure in watching people suffer and die from the comfort of theatre or home.
“Truth or Dare” only succeeds in that part, but the protagonists are so unremarkable and forgetful that it is difficult to invest even in their death. The acting is not even passable and the unleashed demon thing has been done to death. Sadly, the death scenes are hilarious and not frightening, and the jump scares don’t register. It is always difficult to edit a badly directed film and the editor couldn’t bring a good final assembly.
“Truth or Dare” couldn’t scare its audience as a horror film, but what it does best is use Snapchat as a product placement and create unintended laughs for the audiences on a date.
“Unfriended” is better suited as a dystopian cautionary tale of the digital world than a horror film. It is more like a “Black Mirror” episode in the form of a feature-length film. Would you call “Black Mirror” a horror series or a sci-fi anthology? The latter is always a better choice for an introduction to the uninitiated audience.
The techniques used in “Unfriended” are revolutionary for sure, but just like “Rope” was a failed experiment for Hitchcock which the man himself admitted, this film is more gimmicky than effective. It is also incredibly tiring to watch the computer screens over and over; it gives a bad headache like a Facebook addiction, and this boredom destroys any potential of scariness.
The motivation of the character’s suicide was half-baked and unconvincing, and the jump scare end is the result of lazy, uninspired writing and execution. “Unfriended” may go to history for many firsts, but its ineffectiveness as a horror film is very old and natural.
3. The Nun
Everything has a breaking point. The number of spin-offs, sequels, and prequels assured that the day is very near for “The Conjuring” universe and “The Nun” can be the historical case. The writing of “The Nun” was just plain bad, presenting the horror cliches that the fans have witnessed over and over. Initially, it succeeds in creating a chilling atmosphere, but it couldn’t hold the tension because of the cliched logic and inconsistent pace.
Characters in shadow appear frequently without any reason; the world building is majorly missing. The sound design of the film is worse; loud noises of doors cracking is omnipresent and it’s mixed with the pulsating violin noise, making the film experience an irritation. “The Conjuring” films are famous for the jump scares, but this alone can’t create a delightful theatre experience when the film is lacking in direction.
4. Freddy vs. Jason
One can easily imagine film producers and studio executives in a meeting delightfully discussing the economical prospect of bringing together two beloved horror film universes – “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “Friday the 13th.” From the get-go, it was a very greedy decision that was bound for failure, as good films are created out of passion and heart, not avarice; the result is evident in the final film. The filmmakers invested little effort in the film, only to crowd-pull by the marketing gimmick and the movie suffers for that.
It is a film only for the die-hard fans; others will laugh at the histrionics of these two screen icons. Jason gets the most kills out of the Jason and Freddy deal and Freddy is angry about that. The kids in the films are just archetypes solely created for the fun of Freddy and Jason. Viewers will find “Freddy vs. Jason” as an action-comedy, not as a horror film.
Making use of frame narrative, the occasionally-called horror anthology film “V/H/S” presents a story that depends more on gore and body horror and less on the atmosphere. The V/H/S theme of the film creates a narrative necessity to join the independent segments together using found-footage clips and the result is a jumbled and forced effort. The individual segments are varied in quality: from decent to disastrous.
The structure of every story is very algorithmic and indistinct from each other. This feels like the same emotions and flavors are repeating again and again, and the film becomes a tedious watch, although the stories are slightly different. Even if the short portions are terrible, there was a chance for everything to come together when watched as a whole, but the sloppy writing ensures that it doesn’t actually happen. The appropriate emotion to describe the film is boring, not something scary or horrifying.