The lucrative horror movie genre has always been profitable, but the quality is often rotten. Sequel after sequel of storylines that get beaten to death then mutilated to further their descent into utter garbage and bad Rotten Tomatoes scores, the overall quality of most films in the world of everything spooky has gone downhill, especially in the 2000s. In the last couple of years, a shift has taken place where these films are making money and people, both critics, and audiences, enjoy these pieces of entertainment for their value rather than seeing it for the sake of watching something at the theater. With movies from 2018 like A Quiet Place, Halloween, and Hereditary finding success and 2019 having plenty to offer, creating something terrifying never looked so good as it does now.
The amount of tickets sold in horror continually goes up and down. According to The Numbers’ data, a sharp 6.98 percent increase has taken place from 2014 to 2017. The most notable movie during this increase is Andy Muschietti’s IT remake which grossed over $700 million during its run in the theaters, making Pennywise’s return the highest grossing in the horror genre and for R rated movies.
2017 had more to offer than just the excellent adaption from Stephen King’s classic novel. The New York Times reported that the year saw the biggest rise for the genre. The USA alone saw $733 million total from scary movies and worldwide the total came to slightly over a billion. Get Out, Happy Death Day, and Jigsaw all helped the killer clown shapeshifting entity take the horror into new heights. Comparatively the biggest year prior was 2000 which grossed $616 million due to reboots of classic horror films like Rob Zombie’s Halloween and original flicks like Saw. The 2010s have increased due to those same reasons, but more original ideas have been popping up.
Get Out, A Quiet Place, and Don’t Breathe not only score well at the box office but did well on the Tomatometer. While Rotten Tomatoes is not the judge, jury, and executioner in the world of film, it still holds value as a respectable measurement when looking at how audiences and critics view a movie’s quality. John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place scored a 95 percent with experts and an 83 percent with viewers while grossing $340 million on a roughly $17 million budget. Jordan Peele stepped out of the comedy into the darkness to deliver his standout debut with Get Out received a 98 percent from critics and an 86 percent from fans with a slam dunk by earning $255 million on a budget of $4 million. The director of the 2013 remake of Evil Dead, Fede Alvarez made his most successful film with Don’t Breathe got an 88 percent from the professional reviewers while obtaining a respectable 78 percent from the public. No matter whether people die by a blind slasher, a racist family, or aliens, the masses will throw their money and high opinions over who can scare and entertain better than the rest.
Plenty of good ideas go to waste in the past, still happens today, but riskier projects can thrive. As Above So Below received an abysmal 25 percent with a mediocre return in profit, Flatliners got crushed by a 4 percent by squeaking in $45 million, and Chernobyl Diaries got eaten by a 17 percent but making a respectable $37 million off a $1 million budget. Original ideas in the last few years such as the brilliant Get Out, the unique It Follows (a 96 percent on Rotton Tomatoes), the adrenaline pumping Train to Busan (96 percent), and sweat-inducing A Quiet Place takes their new ideas to win over the world.
Films need to have a better objective, a focus on jump scares and high body counts will not do any justice in creating an enjoyable horror flick. According to a survey of 200 movies from the reviewing juggernaut, any film with higher than five deaths will most likely hinder its rating and proceeds. A Quiet Place and Hereditary (89 percent then raking in a modest $79 million while costing $10 million) came out on top as some of 2018’s highest reviewed horror flicks. Both films have a few deaths while their attention centered around suspense, character development, and narrative. Just like an action movie, if you have nothing but explosions with no meat on the story or personalities, then you become a Michael Bay movie.
The future for these grim films looks bright as they dismember and spread nightmares throughout the world. 2019 holds the sequel to the wildly successful IT, Jordan Peele will deliver a terrifying experience that matches Get Out‘s thought-provoking message with his second outing with Us, another Stephen King adaption storms through with John Lithgow (Dexter), John Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), and Amy Seimetz (Alien: Covenant) in Pet Semetary, the long-awaited sequel to zombie-comedy Zombieland arrives this fall, and the insanely popular superhero genre will showcase The New Mutants, and Brightburn will turn the idea of cape-wearing vigilantes upside down. Based on the past few years of the rising numbers of these horrific tales that get brought to life on the big screen, make sure you lock your doors and windows every night because this year will be a dangerous and haunting time with evil Superman, killer clowns, and vicious dead animals.
Header image via Warner Bros. Pictures, RADiUS-TWC, Universal Pictures