I don’t know why writers and filmmakers so often miss the point.
The genre is the haunted house movie, and it exists for a very good reason. The most primitive fears are not of things or people but of situations. Of situations, and the ones we remember are fears of places. It isn’t the dark — it is dark rooms, passages, stairways.
That’s great for movies too, because one of the most cinematic things you can do is turn a building into something between what you see on the screen and what you live in, or sit in while watching. Good filmmakers know this. Go back to “The Shining” and recognise the building as the main character.
Bad filmmakers think scary things are always associated with beings, so they’ll give us bloody corpses and hands in bathtubs and mournful ghosts. These will be in haunted houses for sure, but the evil comes not from the house. The house is just a place in the second-rate projects, a place where ghouls are concentrated.
So, sure, they jump out, always accompanied by that sound effect of a metal door scraping shut. And sure, by fits and other fits they slowly grab control of the ordinary humans among them, humans whose only job is to convince us that they are just like us.
But unless the house is evil and shown so, you just cannot have a scary movie.
Here’s the simple test. Are you are spooked at night after seeing this, or were you just startled a bit while watching it?
Posted in 2005
Ted’s Evaluation — 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.