The horror genre is one that catches a lot of negativity for it’s inherently evil subject matter and it’s necessity to adhere to traditions that are often written off as clichés, but I’m here to discuss why horror movies are on the rise and how It (2017) may just reinvent the entire genre… From the year 2000 until now, many horror films have been released but their box office success and critical reception have been all over the board. Under-produced b-movies littered the screens as studios didn’t attempt to put as much heart and effort into making these like they would make a drama or action film; they thought the small horror audience would see any horror film no matter how good or bad.
2016 was really the year that changed all of this as The Witch, Lights Out, Don’t Breathe, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Hush, Ouija: Origin of Evil, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, The Shallows, Raw AND The Conjuring 2 all impressed audiences with their originality, style, ingenuity and emphasis on story over spooks.
The movie-loving community used to say that prequels and sequels to horror movies are cursed to always be terrible but three of the aforementioned films broke this streak and now studios are putting an
emphasis on making good horror films, after seeing how much money they can actually make. So far this year, we’ve gotten It Comes at Night, Life, 47 Meters Down, mother!, Alien: Covenant, Annabelle: Creation, Get Out, and of course: It. Granted, a lot of bad horror movies come out every year but the gradient is becoming quite skewed as more and more genuinely great scary movies are produced. It is a great example of what all a horror movie can be because it is so much more than just a “horror” movie. It plays off of horror tropes and traditions but doesn’t drown itself in clichés and customs; it becomes it’s own monster and excels in doing so.
In the film, we follow a group of kids that struggle with their everyday lives. They suffer from bullies, past regrets, overprotective parents and fears that plague us all. The monster in the film is a representation of the fear that we all have: the fear of the unknown, the fear that keeps us from going into the dark and doing things that we aren’t certain about. The concept of the monster in the film transcends the monsters that one would find in other films, even the amazing ones I listed earlier. Freddy, Jason, Leatherface, Jigsaw, ghosts, demons, and even clowns are all scary because they’re potentially dangerous but what makes Pennywise so terrifying is that he gets under your skin, attacking his victims psychologically as well as physically to make them suffer more than a typical monster could.
Having a scary monster isn’t all a good horror movie needs, however… it also needs a good story. In It, we follow a group of outcasts that are all relatable in some way—the audience members can easily attach to them and feel for them as they go through situations that everybody has found themselves in at one point or another. The characters are strong individually but the story thrives when they’re all together. The movie plays up the coming-of-age element to the story, which also allows the story to capitalize on drama, romance and comedy as well. There really isn’t much that this film doesn’t have to offer: it’s The Princess Bride of horror films because it plays around with so many genres and does it all perfectly. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll think, feel, and of course: scream. It is the movie to watch, but make sure you give all of the other films I’ve listed a try as well! Thanks for reading and we’ll see you down in Media Services for more great content! -KG