You can officially say that horrors and thrillers have finally returned to their former glory, and that the age of bad remakes and poorly executed originals is pretty much over. While there is obviously still bad spots, this genre has come back to mainstream success like a Cobh train: slowly getting there eventually after a few years. As ‘It’ hits our cinemas around the world (and we have to deal with a load of terrifying clowns come Halloween), it leaves at a point of possible reflection for the genre, and where horror is now compared to where it was years ago.
The 80s and 90s brought us what are still remembered as unforgettable classics from directors such as the recently deceased George Romero, a slope appeared for the genre and over time slowly descended into a mess of sickening quality and poor box office results in the mid-2000s. If a franchise was given enough room to breathe during this time it flourished, and quickly ran to roll in the filth of cash, as the likes of Paranormal Activity, or Saw, became the definition of saturation. The whole horror thriller side of the industry became run down, fatigued, and generally forgotten about.
This decade, we’ve seen the machine come back alive again (like Frankenstein’s monster if I want to fit the topic here) – it’s these smaller projects that have pumped life blood into the genre. The likes of Cabin in the Woods, It Follows, and The Babadook brought this revolution where it seemed that there was enjoyment to be had again in a horror cinema experience. A resurgence in horror thriller was complemented by what seemed to be an over-saturation of other genres such as comic book movies, as viewers wanted new experiences.
When we reached this year, no one would have predicted where the genre would be, with Get Out proving that horror thriller was back and booming. It tore up the box office, making over $250 million on a budget of $4 million, breaking predictions and breaking records. Jordan Peele’s film managed to break open the market, and leave horror thrillers as a genuine consideration for those who just happen to be in the cinema on a Tuesday night. Now we reach a point in the year where It is on the verge of coming out, and there is no other competitor, and it will again prove that the genre is peaking this year. Mother! is another example of a movie coming out soon which looks like it’ll reinforce the genre. Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and directed by Darren Aronofsky (the director behind Black Swan and The Wrestler) – it looks like a spine-tingling thriller that could leave you shook.
Horror is in a sweet spot that you could only imagine years ago. How long will it last? Who knows? The genre has had a trek over the last two decades and has peaked again, but like all things something will likely replace it as a genre gets injected with originality. The future is exciting for horror thriller, and who even knows? Award season could become more interesting than we thought come January 2018.