Why I’m Sick of the Cliche Horror Film

Isabella Sapountzis, Reporter

            I sat alone in my room, lights dimmed and pink-hued, my eyes glued to the screen of my laptop as I watched “Creep 2,” the sequel to one of my favorite horror films, on Netflix. I found myself completely immersed in the plot and the nature of the characters and what could possibly happen next— a rarity for me when it comes to horror movies. 

            I’m someone who isn’t easily scared or impressed when watching a horror movie; I don’t want cheap jump scares, and I certainly don’t want a lazy plot that follows the cliché “family moves into a new house and the house is haunted and everyone is scared.” Things like that cause me to grow bored, and often I just stop watching the movie and take a nap or something. 

            I need a real scare, something that has the potential to give me nightmares, cause me to go into deep thought, or scar my psychological wellbeing for at least a day or two. Maybe that’s a bit too much for some people, but for many, it’s a common standard. 

            Any good horror movie will give you a genuine feeling of suspense, anxiety, or even just a general curiosity of what will happen next. For example, A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), one of the most iconic horror flicks of all time (and for good reason), has a well-constructed plot and, although some may see it cliché, it’s only because it played a major part in paving the way for this specific type of layout. Following the true terrors of Freddy Kreuger, the nightmare man with knives for fingers, it puts you in a place of horror and suspense as you wait to see if the characters will get out alive. It is a true gem, ahead of its time, much like Halloween (1978), which chronicles escaped convicted murderer Michael Myer’s pursuit of his next victims and more specifically, Laurie Strode. 

            Many may say that it’s modernity that has failed us when it comes to horror movies— that all the best ideas have already been done and all we can do now is recycle all the same ideas— but that’s not the case at all. All directors, filmmakers, and producers need to do is put a new spin on those already-used ideas: make them original, add an unexpected psychological twist, make the film more surreal and believable. 

            Take the “Creep” franchise, for example— it’s a found footage style horror film series that follows the bizarre ways of a serial killer who spends quality time with his unsuspecting victims, luring them in through several ways, mostly through Craigslist ads. He goes by a different name in each film, but he is still the same strange man who presents himself very openly and leads his victims to trust him before ultimately killing them. 

            Creep (2014) and Creep 2 (2017) both provide a very intimate viewing experience, drawing the viewer in and making them feel like they are a part of the film. Especially since the movie is filled with such likeable characters, the stakes are high and a feeling of suspense is very prominent through the movie. 

            Many horror movies that have come out in the past 20 years have been absolute gems: Jeepers Creepers (2001), As Above, So Below (2014), The Blair Witch Project (1999), Devil (2010). The list could go on and on and on, and these are just the films that have had mainstream, commercialized big releases. These directors and producers took it upon themselves to make a film they knew would be suspenseful and capable of producing good, quality scares and shock from the audience.