I am not a huge fan of the horror genre. Why? Well, because most of the films in the genre suck. However, there are some classics that I love. The original 1974 Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Exorcist, Halloween, Alien, and my personal favorite, The Shining! All of these films deliver genuine scares and a captivating story. They put you at the edge of your seat filled with suspense and horror in your eyes. They are made with care and you can tell with the final product. There are not "fake" jump scares, and if there are they are preparing you for the buildup of the real scare. Today we see movies FILLED with fake jump scares! More than actual ones. Its almost laughable! "Oh, it was only the cat that ran on the counter and knocked over the milk." "Oh, it was only my Dad scaring me." I mean, come on! Now we see ridiculous $11,000 cash grabs like Paranormal Activity that are just a joke to look at. Sure you can argue that the first was a decent horror film, but what happened? They built a pathetic franchise with no effort put into it. The point is that filmmakers have lost their touch with the horror genre. Or have they?
The last 2 years we have seen what I believe to be 2 of the greatest horror films in the past few decades. 2014's The Babadook and 2015's It Follows. Both of these are incredible films that show what real horror movies can be. Lets start with The Babadook, a film that is just as scary as it is deep and mesmerizing. What director Jennifer Kent accomplished with this film is remarkable. This was a film that was special to her and you can tell with the final product. The acting is remarkable, Essie Davis's performance as Amelia is just as horrifying as it is dramatic. The visual style and the feel of the film is very unique and unsettling. You are sucked into the dark, morbid, lifeless world of Amelia as she deals with her depression and out of control son. The way the film at first makes you hate the son and grow annoyed of his behavior, to at the end making you feel sympathy for him. I just absolutely adored and was captivated by the metaphors used in the film, what the "Babadook" represented, and the almost ambiguous conclusion to the film. I think it really means something if William Friedkin (director of The Exorcist) said, "I've never seen a more terrifying film than THE BABADOOK. It will scare the hell out of you as it did me."
After seeing The Babadook I began to get excited about upcoming horror movies, I started to think that other horror movies could follow in its footsteps. Once I heard of this new indie horror flick made be a new independent director I got curious. Then, it was released and I saw the incredible reviews, the critics awards at film festivals, the fan hype. I knew I was in for something good. Let me say that It Follows is now one of my horror favs. I loved it. The breathtaking one shot opening scene is basically what sold me. You follow a girl as she runs out of her house and onto the street, holding dialogue with neighbors and eventually driving away, running from something. That something is what makes this film have a never ending paranoid feel to it. You're feeling constantly watched and questioning anyone that walks towards the leads in the background, trying to guess when "IT" is coming and where "IT" is. The 80's throwback references and wonderful soundtrack all makes the film have a unique and special feel to it. I love how you are given just enough information about "IT" where you know the basics but it will still keep you questioning and making theories about "IT". You know as much as the leads know, and that's not much, which makes it scarier. It makes sense too, we are genuinely scared of what we don't know. The directing and camerawork of the film is flawless. Acting is top notch, especially by the leads. One thing that makes this film stand out though is its marvelous soundtrack by Disasterpiece. The techno, 80's retro style is almost a character itself in the film. It feels almost unpredictable and adds a whole new level. The creepy ending is also fantastic, making you question if "IT" is following them or if you're just paranoid and questioning anyone who is walking.
All in all, I believe these 2 films show that the horror genre is still alive and can still live up to the classics. I hope to see more horror films like these in the future. What did you think about THE BABADOOK and IT FOLLOWS? Do you think horror movies are getting good again?