Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Subtlety of Good Horror

It is interesting to note that films which receive mediocre reviews at the time of their release often, at a later date, come to be viewed as classics. I'm thinking of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining in relation to this statement, but there are many other examples. What is it in a film that has received middling reviews at time of release that makes it appeal to subsequent generations of horror fans? One of the elements for me is the subtlety of its horror. I will go out on a limb here and nominate the 1998 film Fallen as a future classic in the horror genre. Only forty percent of the reviews of this film were positive, but I think it is an unpolished gem in the realm of horror movies. I have seen this film at least three times, and it still sends chills up my back. 

The basic premise of the movie is that evil does not die, but instead can be transferred from one carrier to another with the innocent victim's body used as a host. There are no slasher scenes or gore in this film. The horror is conveyed through the senses: the singing of the Stones' “Time Is On My Side” as an indicator of infection, or the chance touch of a stranger on the sidewalk. A passerby or your closest friend is suddenly your enemy.

If you haven't seen this film, give it a look and tell me what you think. . . .

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