Compiling a list of the Most Overrated Horror Movies and posting them on a horror-centric website is like walking into a lion’s den and tickling the pride with blood soaked ostrich feathers. Fans of the genre are rabid die-hards that froth at the mouth with any suggestion that a familiar film could be dissed and disregarded with a classification such as ‘overrated’.
Yet, here we are with a presented list of 10 of what we consider to be the Most Overrated Horror Films of All-Time. We expect to rattle some cages and ruffle some feathers and will immediately go into the Witness Protection Program at the moment of upload. But that won’t sway our opinion. The list is firm in our views and it’s time genre fans stopped throwing palm leaves in front of their titles and come to grips with the overriding fact that they are merely tolerable diversions in a genre that deserves better representation.
Our list starts here:
10. The Blair Witch Project (1999)
A half decent film that ushered in the era of the found footage technique. When The Blair Witch Project opened in July 1999 it began its reign atop the box office on its path to over $250 million in domestic profits. But taken just as a movie and not as simply a new style of filmmaking, The Blair Witch Project is highly overrated. Even the premise is boring when explained through a synopsis: Three film students go missing in the woods while attempting to make a documentary about the fabled Blair Witch. The film had a few scares, but the shaking camera movements and loud noises in the dark were frustrating split audiences making Blair Witch either a love it or hate it movie. We believe that the efforts by Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sánchez were commendable. Commendable, but overrated.
9. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
We can hear the horror fans in the background sharpening their knives and pitchforks with our presentation of the George Romero classic as an overrated entry. But try and take a step back and, if possible, think of watching the 1968 classic in today’s era of zombie films. Yes, Night of the Living Dead was something of a revelation at the time. And yes, Night of the Living Dead shows up on countless lists as one of the Best Horror movies of all-time. But for us, it was overrated. It was boring and low budget. If we were born in 1968, we probably would have been scared stupid with the impending zombie apocalypse. But instead, we were bored. Bored in black and white. We are not adverse to ‘classic horror’. The Blob, War of the Worlds and Bride of Frankenstein are some of our favorites of all-time. But Night of the Living Dead was just a good film. Barely a good film. And we could never understand why anyone not born before 1968 holds it in such high regard.
8. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Some might consider The Sixth Sense to be more of a thriller than a horror. We do too – to an extent. But if Rosemary’s Baby is considered a horror, then why not M. Night Shyamalan’s feature film starring Bruce Willis and Haley Joel Osment as a boy who can see dead people and the doctor that looks to help him conquer his fear. The Sixth Sense was a box office bonanza for the studio and was just recently squeezed out of the Top 10 grossing films of all-time (it now ranks 42nd). But the film hinged on the ‘I-did-not-see-that-coming’ ending. To be clear, the ending was brilliant. But was it enough to catapult The Sixth Sense into the history books? We don’t think so. In fact, when we break down the movie and take out the surprise reveal in the final frame, we are left with a monotone film that should hardly be regarded as one of the genre’s best.
7. Pet Sematary (1989)
Based on a Stephen King best-seller, Pet Sematary is highly regarded in the horror community. It even sparked a sequel in 1992. But this adaptation about a family’s secret of life after death that is possible thanks to the mysterious cemetery located in the woods behind their home misses more marks than it bullseyes. King himself has stated that Pet Sematary is the only book that actually scared him while writing it, but those scares don’t necessarily translate effectively on screen. Dale Midkiff and Denise Crosby do their best in acting roles, but the story is far more spooky and unsettling than the results shown on screen. Pet Semetary doesn’t even rank in the top 12 of any Stephen King adaptation and should surely be considered as a tad overrated for the results.
6. The Amityville Horror (1979)
When released in the late 1970’s The Amityville Horror took the country by storm. Based on a book by Jay Anson, the story was based on the true story of the Lutz’s family and their encounters with the evil that resided in their new home. The idea that it was based on fact is what propelled audiences to buy tickets, but the film is poorly constructed and has a body count of zero. Many horror historians have The Amityville Horror (which spawned many sequels including a 2005 remake) as essential horror viewing, but there is no horror to be found in the Lutz’s home. Just some flies and a backed up sewage pipe.
5. Open Water (2003)
Two scuba divers are accidentally stranded by their tour boat and spend 80 minutes treading water and fending off the shark population that seems quite interested in their watery presence. The film was promoted as being based on a true story, but since neither of the two lived (Opps, Spoiler Alert!), who is to say for certain. Isolation plays a key role, but the sharks are small and the terror is even less so. Gimmie a lake infested with mutated piranha any day!
4. IT (1990)
Stephen King hits our list for the second time with his made-for-TV mini-series which has a very creepy clown played by the always reliable but hardly recognizable Tim Curry. But the film is a dud. Hardly scary – which can be expected when you have a made-for-TV event on national television – IT centered around seven outcast kids from the 1960’s who are challenged to fight an evil demon (Curry) 30-years later. The gore is just about non-existent (although there is a severed head in the fridge) and the series stretched to almost 200-minutes which is about 100-minutes more than necessary. Everyone remembers Pennywise the Clown. Few can remember anything beyond the clown and Jack Tripper playing a serious role.
3 Candyman (1992)
Based on a story by Clive Barker, Candyman was brought to life by actor Tony Todd who embodied the title role as a murderous soul with a hook for a hand. The idea was that you can summon the Candyman if you said his name in repetition in front of a mirror. Scary stuff (not really). The movie has mood to spare, but it is also a bit of a bore. Todd and fellow co-star Virginia Madsen do their best and the film is one that we gave a favorable review to upon its release in 1992. But it’s on our list as one of the Most Overrated due to the consistent suggestion that this is a movie that every horror film fan MUST see. We don’t think so. If you have an afternoon or evening to spare and want to curl up on the couch and watch a horror film, you could do worse. But a MUST see? No.
2. Suspiria (1977)
Yet another considered classic horror film hits our list and is sure to bring out the distracters. Suspiria was released in the 1970’s courtesy of director Dario Argento and follows an American dancer who travels to Europe to join an elite ballet school only to be troubled by weird and troubling occurrences. A murder or two later, we learn that the school is a front for a cultish organization full of witches – good looking witches – hell bent on destruction. The film itself is beautiful to look at. Colors pop and the visuals are precise. But the script itself is troubled and the film labors towards its concluding chapter. Suspiria is in line with many of the other films on our list – we think it is a good film. We just don’t think it is the essential viewing that others proclaim. And we hardly think the effort to be as important as horror film historians believe. We are going to take some heat for this pick, but we stand by it. Good – yes. Masterpiece – nah.
1. Halloween (2007)
When it was announced that director Rob Zombie (The Devil’s Rejects) was taking the reins behind the camera for an updated version of the John Carpenter/Jamie Lee Curtis classic, horror fans were giving it great reviews before it was even released. But here’s the thing – it isn’t scary. We did like the idea of making our iconic serial killer one big badass motherfucka. But the fast paced editing, the consistent over abuse of close-ups and its attempts to update the original simply by out goring its predecessor resulted in a much inferior film to the original. Yet Zombie’s Halloween has been wholly accepted as a ‘must see’. But whereas Carpenter’s 1978 version is terrifying, the Rob Zombie version is just horrifying and will never be considered a classic some thirty years after its release.