Tuesday, March 3, 2009

WHAT I HATE TODAY: Your daily dose of negative energy

Today I hate horror movies that, instead of going to all the hard work of creating an atmosphere of genuine suspense and creepiness, rely on the lazy technique of showing something semi-scary and then jolting the viewer with a piercing shriek on the soundtrack. This happens in too many bad horror movies to name (and a few good ones, like The Ring) but it came to mind last night as I was watching a trailer for The Haunting in Connecticut, which looks like a garden-variety haunted house movie. Watch the trailer and ask yourself: is what you’re seeing actually scary, or just startling? Admittedly, Haunting does look like it has some creepy scenes -- they’re the ones that are still scary with the sound off. This is part of my general gripe that music and sound design get wielded like a sledgehammer in too many movies. The Blair Witch Project was one of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen, and it only used natural sound.

On a related note, why don’t the people in haunted house movies just move? If you moved into a house and found that the walls were leaking deadly gases, you would move, wouldn’t you? But when movie characters move into a house built on an ancient Indian burial ground and filled with malevolent spirits bent on dragging them into Hell… meh, let's stick it out, we don't want to lose our down payment, after all...

1 comment:

  1. Oh, they don't need to move. They just need a good exorcist, but it takes the whole damn movie to figure that out.