It’s the Booze Talkin’; Not every horror film has to be the scariest ever!

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

It happens all the time. As horror fans, we hear about the next big thing and suddenly we are prepared to be terrified by a movie like never before. And it’s very easy to get overexcited for a film that we have lofty expectations for. After all, when you see an early trailer for a film calling it “a masterpiece” or “the scariest movie [specific critic] has ever seen,” it’s almost impossible to go in without high hopes. The problem with going in like that is there is a very good chance that it isn’t the scariest film every made, in fact, maybe it’s just a good film that people may enjoy, but nothing more.

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The hype machine has been a huge part of the movie business for obvious reasons. You have a film coming out and you want people to see it, so how they hell do you you do that? For most genres, word of mouth is obviously a huge help. One way studios try and build interest is by allowing critics – as well as test audiences – early access to view a film. When this happens, and they get a group of people who are excited about an upcoming feature, you’ve got a good quote or solid buzz to add to any commercial or marketing you’d like to do. Unfortunately for some audiences, the pull quote or that early excitement doesn’t always reward the viewer with a movie going experience they had hoped.

the babadook jennifer kent essie davis noah wiseman horror 2014

When it comes to the current state of genre, we happen to be in a good place. We’ve seen a number of critically acclaimed features over the past few years, but I’m only going to go back to 2014 to start. One of the best examples of a critical favorite suffering backlash was the smartly crafted thriller THE BABADOOK. While many fans dug this creepy little tale written and directed by Jennifer Kent, many found issue with the movie that was supposed to “redefine” horror. The high praise also led to straight up disappointment for some. After all, William Friedkin famously called this “the scariest movie I’ve ever seen” so when the director of THE EXORCIST makes that claim, people are going to have high expectations.

it follows maika monroe keir gilchrist david robert mitchell horror 2014

Since then, we’ve seen a number of very popular genre efforts that have fallen under some scrutiny, even with the rave reviews. IT FOLLOWS suffered a similar fate. The low budget feature earned a ton of fans – including me – but some audiences felt let down. The same can be said for the slow burn frights of THE WITCH. For many, this period horror feature had a dark undercurrent which I found to be incredibly creepy. Others however wanted a little less of the proper dialect from the era and a little more on-screen horror. IT COMES AT NIGHT also found a lot of early praise, but once it arrived in theatres quite a few fans complained that it wasn’t even remotely scary.

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And now we have a film coming that is getting excellent word of mouth. HEREDITARY already has the trappings of a great movie that not every one will find amazing. Part of that may simply be that we as an audience aren’t frightened by the same things. Hell, as much as I love and respect THE EXORCIST – easily one of the best horror films ever made – I still don’t find it scary. However, I did feel that the recent adaptation of Stephen King’s IT was far creepier than others who didn’t. In fact, there are a number of great horror movies that I love, but I don’t find necessarily all that spooky. Sometimes they just offer a terrific story and a cool concept, one that I can appreciate without it being the most frightening film every made!!

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Maybe it’s the booze talkin’, but not every horror movie has to be the scariest ever made. Look, it’s easy to fall for the marketing and think that the next big release will change the face or horror, but it probably won’t. You go in with that thought process and it is most likely going to disappoint. Yet it might just entertain you if you keep your expectations in check. Horror movies can be many things, they can feel like a roller coaster, they can make you squeamish or they can make you afraid to go home to a dark house. The best thing we can do as an audience is go in to each movie with an open mind, and just a reminder that one person’s version of scary may not be yours.

Source: AITH

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JimmyO is one of’s longest-tenured writers, with him reviewing movies and interviewing celebrities since 2007 as the site’s Los Angeles correspondent.