Horror movies have come a long way from their early beginnings, but many modern horror films seem to lack the excitement and suspense that made classic horror so impactful. As a long-time horror movie expert and enthusiast, I have some thoughts on what’s missing in today’s horror directors that prevent them from crafting a genuinely thrilling and terrifying viewing experience.
Over-Reliance on Gore and Jump Scares
Many current horror directors seem to use excessive gore and jump scares as a crutch rather than an enhancement. While these elements have their place, many modern horror films employ them non-stop to desperately try eliciting scares. The best horror movies build tension through mood, atmospherics, and relatable characters, using selective moments of violence or surprises to punctuate the dread. Desensitizing audiences with constant blood and mayhem or fake-out jump scares means the moments that should pack a terrifying punch lack impact. Master horror directors understand that less is often more when crafting seat-gripping suspense.
Lack of Attention to Plot and Character
Too many scary movies today seem to trot out bland stock characters simply to kill them off in new ways. Great horror needs characters and scenarios the audience relates to and cares about in order to make the fear resonate emotionally. Iconic horror films feature lead characters with depth and backstories that draw viewers in even as they face the sinister threats. And the best scary movie storylines take time to establish mysteries, emotional stakes, and a consistent internal logic rather than rushing from one bloody slaying to another. Thoughtless characters and random events may shock for a moment but are soon forgotten.
Over-Reliance on CGI Effects
Modern horror directors often spoil otherwise chilling films by relying too heavily on computer-generated imagery (CGI) for monsters and gore at the expense of tangible atmosphere and real human emotions. While a judicious use of CGI can elevate practical effects, too much green screen fakery removes the visceral impact that solid acting, emotive direction, and believable physical effects can achieve. The most memorable and blood-curdling horror movie moments use convincing practical make-up, prosthetics, stop-motion, animatronics, and sound design that filmgoers can almost reach out and touch…whether they want to or not.
By focusing more on crafting an unsettling mood, deep characterizations, an intriguing plot, and strategic startles augmented by quality tangible effects rather than non-stop phony CGI gore assaults, I believe the next generation of horror filmmakers could produce far scarier films. Leaning on real human psychological terror rather than superficial shock value is the best way to reinvigorate the genre and produce horror that leaves a lasting impression. Have modern scary movie directors lost their understanding of what made horror classics so richly thrilling and honestly terrifying? By studying what worked in the past, I think horror still holds immense untapped potential for delivering far more than just cheap thrills.