Horror movies nowadays are so formulaic that I rarely find pleasure in watching them. And I've seen a lot of horror flicks in my life and that is why I believe most of the tricks used in the horror movies of today are as effective as tiger hunting in the ocean - you can see the "surprise" coming miles away. The music, the angle of the shot or the pace with which the camera is being moved, the focus, the zooming in and out, are some of the things you should have learned if you're fan of the horror genre.
In my opinion, horror movies could play more with voyeurism and the thriller genre. Why? While voyeurism is "an enthusiastic observer of sordid or sensational subjects", the thriller "promotes intense excitement, suspense, a high level of nerve-wracking tension". Therefore, the viewer is more inclined to experience the catharsis in a horror film not when the victim is murdered but from the moment that the victim is being pursed (and the obstacles he/she has to sort out to find its way to escape) and lasts until he/she is actually killed. Unfortunately, visuals aren't of any help because we either end up in watching a nonsensical slaughter or a ridiculous massacre. Actually, the last horror film that enjoyed was Saw (the short-film which is based-on is magnificent).
However, this and last year some jaw-dropping horror films premiered and thus renewed my love for horror flicks. If you're tired of Hollywood's recent terrible horror films (did anybody actually feel anything other than pity for Texas Chainsaw 3D?) then you should definitely check the next four movies.
Forget about supernatural forces or hunted beings, what could be scarier than a tenderly mother who wants to protect her son at any cost... to kill him? This deep and dark examination tale of the relationship of a maiden mother and her son is strange, visceral and heartbreaking. If you're the kind who likes monsters and blood, then The Babadook is not for you. On the contrary, if your intention is to explore new possibilities of horror movies (this one fluctuates between drama, thriller and horror genres) then don't look any further. The Babadook won't scare you because of what you've seen but for what's been implied and suggested. This movie requires patience.
Thankfully It Follows happens to exist. For years I was waiting for a horror movie to entertain me the way It Follows did. As I said before, I'm sick and tired of the abominable scary supernatural being or the crazy killer who kills by slaughtering his victims. I daresay that the "omniabsence" of "the" creature in this movie (or whatever thing chasing the girl) is what reinforces the idea of the terrible hidden danger. For a moment I found myself comparing It Follows and Alien this way. Remember the Alien chestburster scene? Well, basically the meaning behind it is that the fear comes within ourselves and may affect the others. Therefore, the premise of It Follows focusses on what the main character believes (or decides to believe) and shares the same fear with her friends. It Follows is a psychological thrilling survival game of life and death that requires your suspension of disbelief.
There was a moment in this movie towards the end where the film stopped being the product that I have liked and became one of those Hostel sequels, meaning that unnecessary and pointless blood started filling the screen. Nevertheless (and fortunately), it stopped and the ending was revealing and surprising. Very much like The Babadook, Goodnight Mommy deals with the relationship between a mother and her sons. Then again, what's scary is the depiction of that relationship, the one that actually terrify us more than the gory or scary scenes. I'll bet you won't be able to anticipate the movie's twist.
How far would you go to make your dreams come true? In Starry Eyes the answer is simple: whatever it takes. Sarah is a waitress who aspires to one day become a famous actress. She has attended several casting calls but unfortunately she's always been rejected. But those that keep trying and trying may finally land an opportunity - and that's the case of Sarah. Starry Eyes is not an easy film to watch. In all honesty, the plot is weak, the characters are unappealing and you'll find towards the end asking yourself: "why is it that I decided to watch this film in the first place?". The ending is satisfactory and makes sense with what has been built up throughout the film. For better or worse, you won't regret watching this movie.
I would also have included The Witch, that premiered at TIFF this year, but since I haven't seen it I cannot say if indeed the final outcome is as good and scary as the trailer. But you can judge it by yourself. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure: we need to see it.