Sunday, January 1, 2012

Words From a Deviant...


Can you predict what's next in the world of horror?


The very first horror film slated for release in 2012 is a supernatural documentary-style story about modern day exorcisms called The Devil Inside. Which is kinda funny because 2011 kicked horror off with The Rite...a supernatural story about modern day exorcisms. Hopefully, The Devil Inside offers better scares than Anthony Hopkins' unintentionally hilarious portrayal of a possessed priest.

So, is this the next level of horror then? Supernatural possession? After all...some of the most anticipated horror films of 2012 include [REC]3 Genesis, The Innkeepers, The Woman in Black and Intruders. All films having to do with supernatural demons and/or possession. I mean...there's actually a film coming out in August (barring any kind of scheduling change) called The Possession. It seems that this is the direction where headed towards with the genre. It even kick-started a remake of the beloved classic...The Evil Dead.


Before we can try to predict What's Next in the genre...we must first go back in time in order to find clues.

The seed was sort of planted all the way back in 2007 with the first Paranormal Activity film. That film pretty much kicked down the door of supernatural possession in a time when we were entering the big vampire resurgence. It was a time when we were smack in the middle of the torture porn era, as well as the zombie craze. Seemingly out of nowhere appeared a film that cost about same price as a mid-level Honda Civic by an unknown director, who incidentally hasn't directed anything since, named Oren Peli. Paranormal Activity made enough money to eventually overtake the once-juggernaut known as the Saw franchise as the new "go to" film for the Halloween season. Three films later and the Paranormal Activity phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down.

2008 will forever be known around these parts as the year of Let the Right One In. A personal favorite of the last decade. However, there was another film that sort of hinted of another possible direction that the genre might be headed towards. Little was known of The Strangers the night it was released into major theaters across the country. I actually went into it thinking it might be an American remake of the almost great French film, Ils (Them). It was a film that introduced the slasher in a fresh new light...or rather, darkness. The concept of the random killer was an intriguing premise that sort of threw all the past conventions out of the window. Soon, every trailer afterwards had a scary entity walking into frame in the background. While a second film was promised but never delivered, there's been films since that show a bit of an influence born from The Strangers. The House of the Devil is a great example of a film that shares many of the same elements that drove The Strangers. Even though The House of the Devil has to do more with Satanic cults, the fact that you can create an entertaining horror film based solely in tension was a huge breakthrough in the slasher film.


While on the subject of The House of the Devil...that film came out in 2009, which was a pretty big year for horror. That year brought us many great things in the world of horror like ZombielandDrag Me to Hell, Orphan and the My Bloody Valentine 3D extravaganza. However, getting back to The House of the Devil, it is important to note the smaller films which came out that year that may influence another direction the genre might be going into. The independent filmmaker. Look at films like The Human Centipede (First Sequence), Pontypool, Laid to Rest, La Horde and Grace. Say what you will about these films...but, one thing is for certain. These smaller films made their way into your living room without any real distribution or marketing. They simply spread through word of mouth. Look at Trick 'r Treat, which also FINALLY came out in 2009. That film was finally dumped to DVD and still went on to become an instant classic. It'll be interesting to see where the genre goes when you take these independent filmmakers into account. Could someone like Ti West become the next John Carpenter? Is Drew Daywalt a film away from attaining horror icon status? Horror has always been a great medium for showcasing the true talents of the filmmaker and these smaller films offer an interesting measure of genuine imagination from a hungry filmmaker's mind.


2010 was certainly the year of Black Swan. However, combined with 2011...supernatural demonic possession came back strong with films like the second and third entry into the Paranormal Activity franchise, as well as the intelligently ambitious [REC]2 and another little film that broke all kinds of box office records. Insidious was released in much the same way that Paranormal Activity was first introduced. James Wan took the viewer on a creepy journey into his world of supernatural demons. Insidious wasn't perfect...but, it did manage to explore fresh new ways to take an established sub genre and inspire new fear.

So...again. What's next?

We've offered three possible directions in which the horror genre may go headfirst into. Could the future hold a possible independent filmmaker takeover? Or will an atmospheric slasher film creep up out of nowhere and possibly take the genre into a new level? Perhaps 2012 will bring us demonic possessions like never before. Whatever path horror films take...zombies are becoming stale (although World War Z will do its best to pump new life into the sub genre). There are no more Saw films (for now, anyway). And torture porn is twitching about like a dead victim from one of Jigsaw's traps.

One thing is for certain. The next big scare is just waiting for us around that next dark corner. It will hit you when you least expect it. And...no...you will not be prepared.



Thanks for reading,

bryan.

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