We always wonder today why “horror movies” just aren’t scary, but do we ever wonder what could be scary? My first guest post ever is an analysis from Mr. Eddie D. Shackleford, who takes a look at how a drama or a thriller could be ten times scarier than an actual “horror movie”:
A new kind of Scary Movie
by Eddie D. Shackleford
The classic scary movies usually follow the same tried and true formula. Combine one villain with a group of unsuspecting people, add a signature weapon and wreak havoc until only one brave victim is still standing. Rinse, repeat. But it seems like more recently, audiences are feeling fearful from a different kind of scary movie – one that feels a lot more real. Gone are the days of a chainsaw bearing vagabond hacking his way through town. The new kind of scary movie is not necessarily horror by genre, but realistic thrillers that leave audiences wondering, “What if that happened to me?”
Why is it scary? Prescription Drugs.
In today’s world, antidepressant medications are common, especially for middle aged Americans. According to a recent study about antidepressants from the National Center for Health, antidepressants are the most common medications prescribed to adults ages 18-44. Perhaps that’s why Side Effects feels eerie to so many viewers. The 2013 movie follows Emily Taylor through her struggle with depression, eventually leading to two botched suicide attempts. After seeking treatment from a new psychiatrist, Emily starts to trial a host of different antidepressant medications. But when she murders her husband, her psychiatrist goes on the chopping block. Could the latest drug trial have produced violent side effects? Although a conspiracy plot eventually unfolds, the movie leaves a question lingering for viewers. How much do we know about the side effects of our medication?
Why is it scary? Kidnapping.
Taken follows the emotional journey of a desperate father searching for his daughter after she is kidnapped during a trip to France. Bryan Mills, played by Liam Neeson, uses his investigative prowess as an ex-CIA agent to follow his daughter’s kidnappers through Europe. He eventually discovers that his daughter has been taken by human sex traffickers. It’s not so much the action of the plot that seems scary. There are only a few action scenes in the film and minimal violence, nothing like the typical mass murder horror films of the past. This time it’s the serious nature of the content that leaves the audience in fear. Kidnapping and human trafficking are real, and after watching Taken you can’t help but be a little anxious about the possibility that the same thing could happen to you or a loved one. Look for the next chapter of the saga in Taken 2, playing On Demand and available to rent.
Why is it scary? Natural Disasters.
There’s nothing quite as terrifying as a natural disaster, especially one that comes without any warning. The Impossible documents the terror of a tourist family separated during the devastation of the 2004 Thailand tsunami. According to National Geographic, the tsunami killed more than 150,000 people in one day and left millions homeless. Perhaps it’s the reality of the actual devastation that makes The Impossible feel so unsettling. From the moment the wave hits, viewers are taken on an emotional ride that hits close to home as two halves of the family search desperately for each other amongst the ruin. There are no wild chase scenes, and no gore. But the thought of losing a family member during a national tragedy leaves viewers uneasy and wondering not if, but when something so terrifying could happen again.
So what’s scarier: watching a world takeover by an army of raging zombies, or a pseudo reality thriller that seems like it could unfold in real life at any minute? You decide.
Eddie D. Shackleford is a Senior Editor, writer and blogger for DirectTVDeal and loves to write about Horror movies, TV and entertainment. You can follow Eddie @Eddie20Ford.