EJ Moreno looks at six overhated recent horror movies…
Horror is often the genre that gets this most unfair shake of things. Often, mainstream critics and audiencegoers don’t “get” what the genre film is going for and will write it off as ‘bad’ instead of ‘not for them.’
So, we’ve compiled a list of modern horror movies unfairly maligned by critical or audience scores. The list includes six films from 2018 to 2023 that have been overlooked or overhated.
Join us as we look at these films, and share your favorite with us…
- The Last Voyage of the Demeter
Blumhouse has a pretty solid track record when it comes to warm receptions. While there have been some duds, most films are received well. This fact would confuse anyone who has seen Ma and then saw the Rotten Tomatoes score for the film.
Sitting at 55%, the score is enough to drive anyone crazy if you’ve seen Ma. It’s a deliciously campy horror treat, led by one of our great working actors and topped off with some stellar marketing. It was a perfect storm for a smash hit, but Ma never hit the success its fans expected. Still, $60 million on a $5 million budget isn’t bad.
It feels like this was a case of the right movie, wrong audiences. Sold to a younger fanbase, as in many Blumhouse films, the exploitation and camp fans embraced Ma more than Gen-Z did.
This list sometimes contains spoilers, but Underwater is a film that deserves to be viewed without any pretense. Sadly, the reviews were so poor, and it came out in early 2020, so no one really saw it. If you haven’t, change that now and join this aquatic nightmare.
William Eubank directs the hell out of this tense and claustrophobic thriller, which later evolves into a surprisingly excellent creature feature. Led by Kristen Stewart in top form, you are gripped by the human drama so much that by the time the insane ending rolls around, you’re even more impacted by it all. And what an incredible finish this has…
But Underwater is more than its explosive ending; it’s a solid and unique ocean-themed horror that doesn’t need sharks to work. Going the Ridley Scott Alien route doesn’t always work, but it did here.
Movies based on traps and puzzles seemed tiresome after most of the Saw franchise. It makes sense why audiences and critics didn’t embrace Escape Room initially, but the film grew a cult fanbase over time that slowly tried to rectify its Rotten score.
Taylor Russell is an incredible leading lady here, giving the overall film more weight than it needs. Escape Room is pretty basic on the surface, but in the era of prestigious horror or high-concept outings, it was nice to get something smaller scale to kick off 2019. The start of the year has become a small warm spot for horror, and movies like this are why.
You get strong acting, an intriguing premise used to its fullest, and some above-average PG-13 thrillers; Escape Room more than earned its sequel and could quickly become a trilogy.
Adam Wingard quickly rebounded from this, and the franchise seemingly moved on, but somehow, I’m still lost in the woods that are 2016’s Blair Witch. Critics unfairly trashed it, and the fandom was dormant for too long to prop it up, but the film deserved more love.
Many horror sub-genres desperately need new life and one of those found footage films. With The Blair Witch Project, you essentially have to find a way to go back to basics but keep it fresh with what we can in the modern era. Wingard’s take on the franchise did just that and found a way to expand the lore established perfectly.
Yes, Blair Witch has more of a backstory than you’d expect, and I never expected Wingard to take such an in-depth attempt at it. When fans actually saw the film, many rejoiced in what it pulled off.
The Strangers: Prey at Night
Capturing the magic of an old-school slasher is not easy. The original Strangers film had to strip everything back with its mumblecore stylings to get people into it. Thankfully, The Strangers: Prey at Night found the right mix and made something classic yet so fresh.
You get everything you want from a throwback slasher; good chase scenes are filled with fantastic music and characters to latch onto, something crucial for this sub-genre. But the film also has a new-wave attitude, filled with bleakness and surprising kills. The hybrid style makes for quite the repeat viewing as well.
Will Strangers ever be Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes? As The Strangers sees an upcoming reboot, we’ll also have Prey at Night as another solid entry in a vastly underrated horror franchise.
In the modern era, no horror film seems to rile folks up more than Halloween Ends. Usually, it’s just Twitter or Reddit causing a stir, but everyone had an opinion on this finale of the Blumhouse era of Halloween. And I’m here to say a majority of those opinions were wrong.
The new set of Halloween films barely holds a candle to the original or even the reimaginings by Rob Zombie. However, they are still solid entries in an uneven film series overall. What Halloween Ends does the best is give the whole brand a fresh new take, which scared people off. Newness is offputting, but this will grow over time.
I’ll still take this over any of the “Evil Dies Tonight” nonsense. Halloween Ends doesn’t fall back on old tricks or sidelines Jamie Lee Curtis for no reason; it just gives us the wild Corey Cunningham.
What horror movies do you feel are vastly over-hated? Let us know on our socials @FlickeringMyth…