I seldom watch horror/suspense movies because I don’t get afraid. In fact, I tend to get the opposite reaction–laugh. Horror movies are comedy. Especially those that borders fantasy, like a hairy girl coming out of your TV, or an alien lurking inside a human’s stomach. Please, they are not happening in real life.
The way to make audience enjoy a horror or suspense movie is to make the story based on actual events, or at least loosely or inspired. It makes the audience scared. Think Blair Witch Project (the story looks real and possible), or Open Water (which is also based on true events).
This is the reason why I decided to watch The Strangers, the first film of Bryan Bertino. The premise is simple: strangers knocking on your door at the wee hours of the morning, and looking for someone you don’t know who. And then they slowly gives you the creeps, until they perform the coup de grace.
The movie is so quiet, save for the music played on the phonograph. And every sound you hear from outside or inside the house makes your spine chill because the stranger might be there nearby. Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman were good, and the three killers are just that–fearful.
You will never dare look at mask person after you watch this movie.
PS: Is this schadenfreude? When Liv asks “why are you doing this to us?” the only answer I can think of is “because your beautiful and perfect.”