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Horror is Making a Comeback: Why Everyone Loves to be Scared

I have found myself only going to the movie theater to see horror films. Why? Well, I will go out on a limb and say that the horror genre has the most capability of displaying a story that has not been told before. In the age of remakes, it’s a breath of fresh air to get a film that actually shocks its audience.

I feel that movies over the last 5 years have strayed from taking risks. The current trend of the remake is the perfect example of this, why make a new movie with new storylines when the original crushed it in the box office?

The horror genre has crawled out of the woodwork just like Samara Morgan crawling out of the T.V. in “The Ring”. Once seen as a campy, sometimes foolish, genre, it has now gained its footing by creating some of the most unique storylines in the movie business. And this is mostly thanks to a man named Jordan Peele in his directorial debut with the movie: “Get Out”. 

“Get Out” broke multiple boundaries, with blending horror, comedy, and racial issues so perfectly into a truly entertaining movie. The world agreed, standing as one of the only horror movies to reach a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes during its time in the theater, now holding a 98% two years after its release in 2017. Every aspect of the movie was meticulously planned out to surprise its audience, from casting Allison Williams to fool the audience into seeing her as anything but a threat, to imagery and dialogue representing modern day racism.

Jordan Peele displayed that horror movies did not need to follow the same tropes that many of the movie’s “Get Out” predecessors have shown and followed without fail.

The movie “A Quiet Place” created, directed, and starring “The Office” character John Krasinski, also smashed a horror movie trope to pieces, with the all too familiar scream

“A Quiet Place” created a threat that would attack when the victims made any noise. Thus, this movie could not rely on showing fear by having the characters let out a bloodcurdling scream.

Not only do the characters not speak, but they use American Sign Language to communicate. The addition of the deaf actress, Millicent Simmonds, to the cast gives the movie diversity and adds representation of the deaf community.

The movie’s premise creates an enormous challenge to normal acting, where these actors must use their facial expressions and sign language hand motions to show their emotions. Simmonds observed that her fellow actor used their sign language to reflect their characters’ motivations. John Krasinski had short and brief signs that showed his survival mentality, while Emily Blunt had more expressive signs as part of her wanting her children to experience more than survival. This creates distinctive plotlines and characters.

Netflix’s “Bird Box” also played with the idea of losing senses, by creating a monster that possesses people to then commit suicide upon seeing it.


“Bird Box” adds a unique monster element and shocking imagery that greatly disturbs the audience, with almost all of the characters killing themselves upon seeing the mysterious creature.

The movie sticks out as bringing life into the horror genre provided by the streaming industry. It had the biggest seven-day viewership of all of Netflix’s original movie releases to date — with over 45 million member accounts globally having watched the movie in the first week. Horror is not only claiming popularity in theaters but in online movie viewership as well.

Horror is the only genre where people will say that they don’t want to see it, not because it’s bad, but because it will terrify them so much that they can not bear to watch it. It is the only type of media that can trigger this raw emotion, creating shocking stories and characters you get invested in.


Images: 1 (Amazon), 2 (Amazon), 3 (Netflix)

Larissa Boyack

U Mass Amherst '20

Larissa Boyack is a senior at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, majoring in Hospitality and Tourism Management. She hopes to combine her love of travelling and writing and eventually become a travel writer. As well as writing, she also enjoys acting, photography, and graphic design. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter: @larissaboyack  
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