Having been a longtime horror fan, I am thoroughly disappointed with the majority of recent horror films. Of all the genres of film, horror gets the least amount of respect and seems to receive the most contempt from pretentious cinephiles. Perhaps this is for good reason, considering many horror films are produced with limited budgets and have high expectations from viewers.
However exploitative or not, I have always had a place in my heart for the horror film. From the traditional classics like F.W. Murnau’s “Nosferatu,” Todd Browning’s “Dracula” and “Freaks,” to the more experimental, politically charged horrors of the ’70s, like Toby Hooper’s “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and Wes Craven’s “The Hills Have Eyes,” horror has been a means of expressing repressed social tensions in a blunt terrifying manner.
For me, watching horror is cathartic. An effective horror film fleshes out my nightmares and forces me to face my fears head on with visual bombardment. On occasion, indulging in the “bad but good” horror film can also be fun.
Unfortunately, I have not recently seen a horror film that provides me with that relaxing experience. The fact that “Doom” was the highest grossing film its opening weekend is rather sad.
The film, based on the video game, features “The Rock” as the leading actor who is chosen to embody the ultimate dissipation of the horror genre. It uses a gimmicky technique – incorporating first person perspective – trying to simulate an actual game being played. I feel like “Doom” doesn’t deserve my rage since I expect nothing more from a film that allows “The Rock” to have a speaking role.
I’ve also been irked by the current Hollywood trend of remaking Asian horror films that were perfectly fine on their own – “The Grudge,” “Dark Water” and “The Ring,” known as “Ju-on,” “Honogurai mizu no soko kara” and “Ringu,” respectively, are just a few.
It seems as though in order to be successful in the United States, films have to be in English and feature popular actors like Naomi Watts or Sarah Michelle-Gellar. It seems as though it would be easier to just re-release the originals.
Well, it seems that the majority of horror films today are awful, but it can be rewarding when a hidden gem is found while searching and sifting through the vast amount of garbage out there.
For those of you who feel the same and need a good scare, check out Takashi Miike’s “Audition” and Ji-Woon Kim’s “A Tale of Two Sisters.”
Oleska can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.