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Twelve horror films that could have been better were it not for one major misstep

How many times have you eagerly headed to the theater to see the latest horror movie, full of expectations, only to be let down at some point? It doesn’t make sense. The previews make the movie look awesome. You know the odds of a horror movie being knock down good from start to finish are slim to none, and your buddy advises you against buying that ticket. But you still feel hopeful.

The movie starts off awesome, and you begin to think to yourself, “I knew this one would be different.” Suddenly, the movie takes that abrupt left hand turn, and you start saying, “No, no…why?!”

It’s a frustration all horror fans have felt on many occasions. But why does this continue to occur? One would assume that the people that write and direct horror movies are also horror movie fans…so there should be a clear set of do and don’t rules for making a successful horror movie.

Over and over again, however, most horror movies continue to disappoint because they just cannot seal the deal. It’s usually not the entire movie that fails, but just a piece: a bad actor, an uninspired reveal, a scene that’s badly executed or a disappointing/lackluster ending.

There are many movies that are one fix (or reboot) away from having the audience praise it — or at least not come away feeling disappointed. The following are some examples of films that, while I do enjoy them quite a bit, could have been taken up a notch by getting one or two more things right. 

Oh yeah, spoiler alert, there are some horror movies plots covered that span from 1999-2016…so proceed with caution.

1. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

Blair Witch Project

The movie is genius from a production standpoint because it is very effective at telling a story, scaring the viewer, and keeping a low budget. They had a small cast. The set has low profile locations—most of the filming taking place in the forests of Maryland. The ghost is not seen so you do not have to pay for those special effects, puppeteer, or actor. They were the ones that put the “found footage” movies on the map.

The movie does a great job of roping the viewer in by appearing to be a documentary, then having things begin happening to the “film students” Heather, Michael, and Josh while they were camping and trying to cover the Blair Witch legend. The view follows intently, but by the end of the movie, the viewer may begin to feel seasick because the camera is all over the place.

It is assumed that the crew is attacked by the witch, but we do not see the final attack — only the bodies being thrown and the camera falling over. Keeping the characters straight at the end became a little confusing, and this probably would not have happened had the camera done a few more shots that were pulled back and not just first person.

2. American Psycho (2000)

One of Christian Bale’s true gems. He plays an egotistical serial killer banker that can fake and function in everyday life. There is one moment in the movie that challenges horror movie rules, even for the most seasoned fans. Horror movie fans can accept that Bale’s character Patrick Bateman can kill and get away with it. They can accept his use and analysis of 80’s music hits while killing. But accepting that he could perfectly stick the landing of a chainsaw from about 5 floors up into a fleeing victim? Maybe not.

This one scene makes the viewer question whether or not this is Patrick Bateman’s dream or whether this was a playing out in his real life. Eliminate this scene, and the viewers would know that it is reality. Alternately, they could have added another farfetched scene so we would know for sure it is fake.

3. House of Wax (2005)

So this is a double hurdle movie. One of those hurdles can be accepted, but one cannot. A town built completely from wax equipped with wax figures hidden away from outsiders? Acceptable. Being able to escape as the town melts? Not acceptable. Change the escape, and we would have a winner.

4. Paranormal Activity (2007)

Another genius production movie. It had a minimal cast, limited locations, and jumpy scares; the formula worked. The movie insisted on not only scaring the tenants of the new house, but also allowing the main character (Katie Featherston) to become possessed by the devil. As a result, Paranormal Activity suddenly goes from a paranormal to a possession film. It could have easily stood without that twist.

5. Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 (2009)

Where to begin? Let’s first give credit where credit is due. There is an appreciation for Zombie’s vision for showing the viewer how Michael Myers survived and what he did in between the main story.

With that being said, this one has so many holes for “true” Halloween fans. Although Michael Myers’ mother may have been a vision he often saw, it probably is not something he would see every ten minutes. Michael’s mother probably also would not be walking around with a white horse. Just eliminating the repeated appearance of Michael’s mother would have improved the movie.