Entertainment Earth

Monday, October 22, 2018

Why Jump Scares Killed Modern Horror

Okay, maybe not "killed", but are "jump scares" ruining modern horror films?  Is the use of the jump scare something that many horror films are becoming entirely too reliant upon?

Something that is a bit of a trope of the 70's and 80's horror film is the "jump scare". A situation where something random and unexpected occurs on the screen causing the viewer to become startled. The jump scare, when used correctly, is not really to blame here. It's how filmmakers are using jump scares to fool the audience into thinking the film is scarier than it truly is.

A proper jump scare gets the adrenaline pumping. It gets the viewer excited. Unfortunately, it also makes the viewer dulled to the real shortcomings of the plot, characters, and the story of the film. It fools them into thinking the situation was scarier than what it really was.

A serious problem with the jump scare is filmmakers stopped using it for the monster/villain of the film. Sure, we had falls scares as a trope for quite a LONG time. The problem is that has become the norm. Rarely are we seeing the villain do a proper jump scare. When they do, it is ruined with shaky cameras, terrible lighting (too much, or too little), or too many jump scares in a row. Too many jump scares will condition the viewer into knowing that a jump scare is potentially coming up at any given moment, and they mentally prepare for it.

Modern horror needs to stem away from the all too easy jump scare. The need for a strong plot, good storytelling, and engaging characters...characters that we actually give a damn propel us into a world that we forget is "make believe" and become gripped with a primal fear for not exactly our lives, but the lives of the characters on screen.

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