2018 has been a banner year for horror. Some amazing films have been released and enjoyed by many, horror has owned the box office at several different points throughout the year, and we are seeing an immense output of talent and creativity from new voices and established filmmakers alike. In short, we are living a new horror renaissance. And it rules.
At the same time, we are continually seeing reactions to some of these films decrying their status as genre cinema. It’s a phenomenon that began gathering steam in 2017 with Get Out and It, and really seemed to reach full gear this year with masterpieces such as Hereditary, A Quiet Place and even Suspiria.
And no, I’m not going to sit here and debate whether or not these films are horror films. They are. You’re here reading this, so I’m going to assume you feel the same. What I do plan to discuss is the different reasons why this trend seems to be snowballing.
The obvious reasons can be linked to simple snobbery. The assumption that if a film is well-made or contains deeper meanings or subtext, it can’t possibly be a horror movie. If it has those elements, it’s clearly something else. Hereditary is a dramatic family thriller. A Quiet Place is a psychological thriller. Get Out is a socio-political thriller. Thriller – you know, that thing that is almost horror, but not quite.
Then there is the thing that happens where a person assumes that a film can’t fall into a particular genre because it doesn’t fit the framework of how they have come to interact with that genre. “Well I hate horror, so IT can’t possibly be a horror film because I enjoyed it.” Or “The First Purge didn’t scare me. Therefore, it’s not a horror movie.”