By Andie Mau
Web Content Contributor
Horror is, no doubt, one of the most underrated genres in film, and I would argue it’s the best. While it’s not for everyone, horror presents unique opportunities for storytelling that are yet to be fully explored. Horror isn’t just the genre of today, but the future.
Horror is one of the most well-rounded genres when it comes to representation. While audiences may not necessarily accept a middle-aged widow as the protagonist of a romance or action flick, it is perfectly admissible in horror films like The Babadook, directed by Jennifer Kent.
This is because horror can apply to anyone and although everyone experiences love and action as well, it is not as universally sympathetic in every circumstance.
For example, the love life of an aged mother might not be appealing to everyone based on their standards of beauty, but in horror, the only requirement for a protagonist is to have a life that can be threatened. The entirety of humanity has this in common.
Horror may have its outdated stereotypes in niche subgenres like slasher films, but overall, horror has much more lenient casting due to the universal intrigue of fear. This leniency in casting leads to more interesting plotlines as more diverse and underrepresented groups are given the spotlight.
2. It’s cheap
Horror is the best genre when it comes to spending costs. Films such as The Blair Witch Project, directed by Eduardo Sanchez and Danial Myrick, proved with their found footage style that effective horror can be done on a minimal budget.
Although some horror fans may say this has led to the oversaturation of cheap films and cheap scares, I believe Blair Witch’s perceived handicap only heightened its creativity.
A small budget pushes moviemakers to use their resources more wisely and encourages out-of-the-box thinking. The low production costs also make horror movies more accessible
to both filmmakers and audiences.
Due to the inexpensive cost of this genre, anyone could shoot a horror flick, and with that bigger pool of filmmakers, horror will be growing even more expansive and diverse. The incorporation of these many walks of life will contribute many unique stories and scares in the future.
3. Social awareness
Horror is also a great medium for social awareness. Currently, two of the most critically acclaimed films are Get Out and Us directed by Jordan Peele, which focuses on cultural appropriation and hierarchy.
These films show how successful horror doesn’t just present fictional situations but explores our real-life horrors.
Good horror films should explore the many psychological concepts which are so closely linked to fear. Viewers are not only afraid of monsters, but of becoming monsters themselves. Get Out and Us reveal the potential for horror to create greater change as a tool to commentate on societal phenomena.
Horror cannot be boiled down to something as simple as just scares. This assumption has caused the genre to be dismissed by moviegoers as the least popular, and therefore most irrelevant genre.
We don’t just watch horror to be scared, we watch horror to examine the psychological workings of both ourselves and societal systems. Horror actively encourages us to contemplate and critically examine what we fear, making it one of the most interesting and expansive categories of film.
Featured image by Andrea Mau.