For many, many years now, horror movies have become monotonous and annoying to watch. For about 20-30 minutes straight, you’re bored to death by trivial setup until you become annoyed by the anticipation of an obvious jump scare – a formula that seems to not have changed since its inception – and then you go back to being bored and so on, so forth until either the movie decides to end or you decide to turn it off. A second scenario is given to viewers in the form of a slasher film (or just a plain gore fest) where a bunch of people get killed because… reasons and the plot just never matters. 95% of this stuff should be relegated to direct-to-DVD status, yet here we are. Thankfully, this dumpster fire actually can be put out after all these years.
Cut The Obvious Jump-Scares
Seriously. Enough is enough. No more turning camera angles to reveal something in a place where nothing was before. No more tense soundtracks in anticipation for nothing before something shows up in silence. It’s not scary anymore. It just insults the viewers’ intelligence at this point. These tactics worked that one time in AD 1022 so some writers think they’d still work now because… reasons… but no.
Jump-Scare Option 2: Make Them Less Obvious
It’s not that difficult – it shouldn’t be at least – to take that timing element away from jump-scares. Think of the difference it would make if the entire scene was in silence, if the formula was ever-so-slightly shaken up to actually take an audience off guard instead of recycling generic moments and having it look like a parody of itself. The smallest of details truly matter in this genre.
Write Smarter Protagonists
No one will ever be able to get this point across to Hollywood writers loud enough or in a way they’ll properly understand. Characters with any semblance of intelligence wouldn’t walk towards their death. A character with a healthy number of brain cells sure as hell wouldn’t call attention to themselves. Not to mention how contradictory it is to have a character this stupid, yet capable of eventually dispatching the antagonist. Because… reasons, right? All this does is makes the world think about why these writers were given such responsibility in that workplace to begin with.
Have An Engaging Plot
Very few horrors are left with one of these in the modern era. It’s safe to say not a single high-budget one does! I don’t think this point needs much explanation. Horror movies don’t engage like they used to because of the level of recycling and laziness that goes on in the writers’ room. New stories, new scares and even just a little bit of rationality. That’s not too much to get a hold of.
Never say never. There’s always a chance things will begin to improve in this area of writing. Midsommar is a good example of stepping in the right direction. Then again, a version of that Momo epidemic is in development because… reasons…