Review: Horror vs Cheap Scares

We went to see Annabelle and some of the creepiest scenes involved a dark figure looming eerily in the darkness. Just seeing some fucked up thing in the darkness stalking you is a great way to scare the shit out of someone. The build up of something about to happen is worse than the actual happening. Scenes that are emotional are powerful. When a character does something, and then you realize the horror of what really happened… that’s horror.

What I don’t like, are the cheap scares. A lot of horror movies employ the sudden BOO tactic. A loud noise and a scary face jumps out at you. Meh. Those are cheap scares. I was caught by two of those in Annabelle, but the majority of those were seen coming a mile away and I didn’t jump at all. When I do jump, I don’t like it and I feel grumpy. It just reminds me of when someone yells BOO at you to startle you when you don’t notice them. It’s not fun for me. It’s a fleeting moment of fear that’s gone shortly after… versus lingering fear through out a well done movie.

However, I absolutely love horror movies and I fully believe that if you do it well, you don’t need those cheap scare tactics. Now, don’t get me wrong! You can use those tactics in moderation. If the movie is filled with cheap scares, then it’s a cheap movie. That’s not horror to me. It’s just a kids movie with cheap thrills. I want true horror movies!

Annabelle had some great horror in it, but it did employ too many cheap scares. I do think it’s a good movie and it’s recommended, but consider yourself warned. Another great horror movie is Ju-on (a Japanese horror film). I don’t remember a single cheap scare being used in this film.

Another great movie is American Mary. It employs a lot of bodily gore. This is also easy to abuse in horror films. The first Saw movie was great and it used graphic bodily harm as it’s primary fear factor. However, I think the franchise is overdoing it now. I think American Mary did a far better job of instilling fear by showing you the after affects, rather than the graphic bodily harm. IE, seeing a man without his limbs and knowing what Mary has done to him, rather than actually seeing her remove them. Sure, we saw some graphic scenes in the movie, but not that many. I can imagine for myself how horrific it was for the victim. There were scenes with characters talking about what they wanted and why, and it instilled a sickening feeling deep down inside. It’s a very well done movie. I highly recommend it, but not if you have a weak stomach.

So, I guess those cheap scares are really for those who can’t handle real horror films. I can understand and respect that. Not everyone can handle deep rooted fears. I have an anxiety disorder, yet, I seem to enjoy the truly dark and twisted movies. If I’m going to subject myself to a scary movie, I want it to be well worth it and actually be scary. It’s true that even cheap scares are a type of fear, but it’s more of an annoyance to some. Keep making those cheap movies for the weak at heart, but please, make horror movies that don’t employ an overabundance of cheap scares for those of us who truly enjoy dark movies!

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