I know that I often get annoyed about thrillers being marketed as horror movies, because it seems to happen so often these days, but that does not mean that I don't appreciate the art of a well made, edge of your seat, thriller. And there have been so many of these gems over the years that have been sadly overlooked by people that claim to "not be a fan of horror." Just because you don't want to see someone getting disemboweled or decapitated by a chainsaw in a movie, that does not mean that you don't like all horror, especially today with so many movies being incorrectly marketed.
In my opinion there are actually a large number of horror genres, not just one, and it all usually just get tossed (quite incorrectly) into the one 'horror' basket, which is really disappointing and drives away hordes of non-horror fans who think that it is all the same.
I am here to help you out, because in my opinion, there are at least 10 horror sub-cateogories that range from face meltingly scary to pre-teen safe, and I have listed them all below.
Intense Graphic Horror (always rated R 18+)
You wouldn't take your nanna or your kids to these movies, they are gory AF and even some seasoned horror fans struggle with the intensely gross and disturbing footage in them. These are most definitely not for the people that say that they do like horror. Examples: Wyrmwood, Hellraiser, Raw, Dawn of the Dead, Evil Dead, Silent Hill and 28 Days Later.
Can be gory as well, but doesn't have to be. This genre is not taking itself seriously at all and is extremely good fun, as many laughs as scares. Examples: Ghostbusters, What We Do in the Shadows, Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead and Beetlejuice.
Creature type action here, some malformed or completely unnatural abomination stalking about with generally ill intent. All of your classic horror icons like vampires, Frankenstein and werewolves would fit in here. Examples: Dracula, IT, American Werewolf in London, Let the Right One In and It Follows.
Ghosts, ghouls, spirits, ouija boards and things that go bump in the night, sometimes the ratings can be as low as PG and there isn't usually much blood because ghosts don't bleed. Examples: Paranormal Activity, The Others, Insidious, The Shining, The Orphanage and The Exorcist.
Axe wielding, chainsaw carrying or knife totting (sometimes inbred) sicko on a rampage. Thin on the ground storyline, tonnes of blood. Examples: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Hush, You're Next, Scream and Sweeney Todd.
Torture Porn Horror (always rated R 18+)
Slasher gone wild or weird arse experiments and long torture scenes with lots of bits getting sliced off people in the name of experimental surgery. Not for the faint hearted and generally my least favourite type of horror, often banned in certain countries. Examples: The Human Centipede, Martyrs, Saw and Hostel.
Science Fiction Horror
Usually set in space or on another planet, generally has aliens in it but not always and often has an R rating because it can sometimes be quite graphic in content. Examples: Alien, A Quiet Place, Event Horizon, The Thing, Annihilation, Cloverfield and Under the Skin.
Just about always incorrectly marketed as horror and is often rated M or MA 15+, generally uses more subtle and atmospheric forms of fear to scare and can be crime based. Examples: Get Out, Don't Breathe, The Visit, The Silence of the Lambs, Rosemary's Baby and Psycho.
Art House Horror
What the fuck is going on here? Weird, sometimes violent and more often than not utterly indescribable. A lot of unfulfilling endings, creepiness out the wazoo and confusing interludes. Examples: Kill List, Creep, Suspiria, A Field in England, The Skin I Live In and The Wailing.
Intense Slow Burner Horror
Increasing states of paranoia and dread, not a lot actually happens on screen and the horror is usually implied. Can be PG rated and is generally very subtle and left open ended. Examples: It Comes At Night, Here Alone, The Jacket and Monsters.
So, in light of all that, you can now see that dread does come in many, many forms. Horror is most certainly not just one category, but comes in many subtle variations, and that there is more than likely some horror movies that would appeal to just about everyone's taste. You don't have to be a hardcore slasher or gorefest fan to get something out of a gripping and engaging thriller that won't necessarily keep you up at night. Don't be put off by the horror label, it is so often very misleading.
Release Date: 2017
Rating: MA 15+
Running Time: 91 mins
Written and directed by Trey Edward Shults, It Comes At Night is another movie that was heavily marketed as a horror film, but clearly falls into the realms of a psychological thriller. However, that being said, it more than delivers when it comes to horrific interludes and disturbing behaviours, in fact I found this movie so upsetting that I almost put it onto my gritty list.
Set in a post-apocalyptic future that has been ravaged by a highly contagious and fatal outbreak, Paul (Joel Edgerton) his wife Sarah (Carmen Ejogo) and their teenage son Travis (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) have secluded themselves from civilisation and possible infection by making a home deep in the woods. In the middle of the night they capture an intruder (Christopher Abbott) that is attempting to break into their home and after proving that he is uninfected, he attempts to trade resources with them in exchange for refuge for his young wife and infant.
The opening scene of this film establishes the tone right off the mark and it is grim to say the least. With a slow burn and claustrophobic sense of suspicion and fear It Comes At Night stands alone in its ability to build genuine dread out of pure atmospheric tension.
FINAL SAY: You can't trust anyone but family.
3.5 Chilli Peppers