Horror movies are great, but they can become a little too formulaic. Some horror movie formulas are necessary because they define a genre, like 80s slasher films which always have the same elements. But, there are certain elements in horror movies that have become a little too cliché, and those clichés ruin what could otherwise be great movies.
Here are a few of the worst horror movie clichés that the creators and producers of horror films really need to stop using:
The Blair Witch Project was the original found footage film, and it was really innovative at the time. Audiences and creators were intrigued by the found footage angle, and audiences embraced it in a big way. The Blair Witch Project was one of the most successful horror movies of all time, and it was made on a tiny shoestring budget. The found footage setup gave many small independent filmmakers the vehicle they needed to make films on a small budget. Paranormal Activity is another really great film that was made on a tiny budget using the found footage idea. But now the whole found footage setup has become a cliché that needs to go away. It’s no longer interesting or innovative, and it’s abused by filmmakers who want to crank out films to make money without bothering to develop an actual story. The found footage trope needs to get lost.
People Ignore Obvious Signs of Danger
Some people really are stupid, but most people are smart enough to get out of a house if the walls start bleeding, or head for a hotel if they wake up and find images of something coming into the room at night on their security camera. Horror movies would be a lot scarier if people were put into situations where they actually used some common sense and still got chased by psychos or killed. Instead, the protagonists in horror films routinely do stupid things like stay in a house that that has paranormal activity, or don’t run from suspicious people, or don’t call the police when they are being stalked by a psycho killer. Without fail there will be one person who actually knows what’s up and tries to convince the others that it’s time to get out and that person will be ignored or ridiculed. People walk blindly into a dark forest at night by themselves and put themselves in ridiculously dangerous situations seemingly without a care in the world and then are shocked when bad things happen. Seeing people act like normal people who avoid danger and still get attacked would be a lot scarier.
All Killers are Easy to Identify
Do you know why after a murderer is found all the neighbors say things like, “but he seemed so normal!”? Because most killers go to great lengths to blend in with everyone else. They don’t run around acting weird and drawing attention to themselves. So the super obvious killer in horror movies is a cliché that really needs to go away. It’s not realistic, and realism is a lot scarier than a character that is a cliché.
Ghosts Caught on Film
Using science to try and capture evidence of paranormal activity is a pretty cool thing, but not when it’s used in horror movies. Most people can set up cameras and recorders every night for months and not capture a single thing. So when people in horror movies set up cameras and recorders and suddenly capture tons of evidence of the paranormal activity that is going in their house it doesn’t make sense. If there was that much activity at least some of it would be audible and visible to the naked ear and eye and they wouldn’t need the recorded evidence.
Whenever you see a mirror in a horror movie you can be absolutely sure that you will see a ghost, demon or killer appear in it. The mirror scare is an integral part of many horror movies but really, it’s time to let it go. Get more creative with the special effects and have a monster pop out at time when audiences aren’t expecting it because by now everytime the audience sees a mirror they know what’s coming.