Wednesday, September 2, 2015

To Grandmother's House We Go

I've recently taken an interest in the Horror genre, even more so now with my involvement in our class project, Fallen Angel. I have watched a lot of horror/thriller films and one thing that really sticks out to me about this genre is just how easy it is to make a terrible film. Horror can be a tricky beast. I would argue that horror is the most emotionally/psychologically involved of any genre in contemporary cinema. Striking fear and evoking a physiological reaction from the viewer is no easy task, as evidence by some of the horror 'flops' we have seen in the past. 

Some notable flops are: 

While these titles range from the bizarre to the down right ridiculous, they are but a small piece of the mountain of failed horror movies out there. 

A recent film coming to theaters soon that has caught my horror eye (and made me groan) is M. Night Shyamalan's The Visit, a horror (comedy?) centered around two children's first visit to their grandma's house. The grandparents are typical, sweet old people, until 9:30pm, when they become some mysterious, cult-driven type of insane. Yeah, that's right. M. Night Shyamalan is making a horror film about visiting your grandmother. At first, I thought this had to be a joke-until I saw good ol' M. Night's name in bold letters at the end of the trailer. Then I knew this was for real. The film comes out next week, and I am very tempted to go see it. 

As a horror fan, I'm not going to lie: my expectations are very low. With the kind of creepy tagline "Don't worry, its only Nana" I don't see this film getting my heart racing or getting me engaged in the narrative in any way. The best horror movies are the ones that not only scare you with jumps and make you squirm through intense long-take shots, but also (like any great film narrative) make you forget you are even watching a film- you become absorbed in the helpless world of the main characters. 

This film made me think long and hard about my own venture into horror with our project Fallen Angel. There is a tasteful way to produce a heart-pounding horror flick, and I hope that we as a group think long and hard about our limitations and capabilities both as students and filmmakers. To avoid this project becoming "hoaky" or missing its mark, careful attention to detail is needed. I think an intense focus on sound design will help push this project in the right direction, as well as stellar casting and editing to put it all together.

 Horror films are meant to mess with your minds and make you feel uncomfortable, a feat that isn't easy to accomplish on a two dimensional screen. We all know examples of horror movies that just simply missed the mark. The Visit may soon be added to that list- hopefully I am pleasantly horrified when I go see it in theaters. I may not have the recipe for the perfect horror movie, (yet-stay tuned) but I just hope that Fallen Angel can live up to expectation in this challenging genre of film.

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