I keep hearing recommendations for new horror films and at least 9/10 times, I’m totally unimpressed when I check them out. The Witch, The Ritual, Hereditary, Mandy, A Quiet Place, Get Out, It Follows, Kill List, etc — consistent disappointment. Never scary. Silly, stupid, tired old stories. Stories that seem to take themselves too seriously. Stories that are weird for the sake of being weird, without any substance or merit or purpose.
I’m particularly tired of the ‘weird shit is happening and then we learn it’s because everyone is in a cult’ story. Of course this isn’t a new idea, but it’s been especially popular for the last three or tour years, and I’m sick of it. It’s such a convenient, easy, predictable, lazy explanation.
What’s the problem here? Is it me? I certainly seem to be the common denominator since most other people are raving about these flicks. Are my expectations too high? Is it the fact that the films were recommended to me, ie, if I watched them without anyone having told me “you should see this,” would I feel differently? I don’t know. I can’t help but feel that the films I listed above and countless others I’m forgetting now just aren’t that good.
There have been a few good ones, of course — I liked I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives In the House, Beyond the Black Rainbow, The House That Jack Built, Under the Skin, Serbian Film, and a few others. I think those films were all surprising, different, interesting, more challenging and satisfying to watch…but none of those were recommended to me and I hadn’t heard any buzz (or anything at all) about them before I checked them out. Why are the films I like generally so underappreciated?
You know, I think I might be on to something there. I think I like horror movies that are challenging, that make me think, that make me feel things I’m afraid of or uncomfortable with, and I don’t think most movie goers are looking for that stuff — most people just want something fun and easy, something disposable, sort of like ‘horror lite.’ Most people don’t want to feel sick and horrified for weeks after watching a film. Most people don’t want to confront man’s humanity to man alone on a Saturday night. But I do, and I think this is why I can’t dig on the majority of popular horror movies.
Lord, it’s hard to find a flick that a misanthrope can really dig on. There should be a section on Netflix for me and my ilk. Or maybe I should just bite the bullet and start watching snuff films.