The Movie People

A blog on films and filmmaking

On Horror

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By Quito Washington

I had a chance this week to see Saw IV and The Final Destination
almost back to back. Not being a fan of horror movies, I thought it
would be interesting to go in feet first and see what Hollywood had to
offer to scare me this Halloween. Now, keep in mind that I do not
watch torture porn films (Saw, Hostel, etc.). Any film where the
actual pain is drawn out to be more important than who is in pain or
who is dealing the pain is not for me. This made the company I was
with even more interested in seeing how I would react.
I found the two films to be very different in how they attempted to
encourage a sense of fear and dread. SAW IV was the clear winner in
that it had more moments of “something bad is going to happen” and
even though limited, you did care for the characters in the
situations. The Final Destination lost all of that and left me
thinking “okay, so I know they are going to die, bring it on and hurry
up”. There was just no interest in the film’s characters because there
was no reason for them to live. Which brings to mind the single
compelling reason that people enjoy a film…the hero has a reason to
Even anti-heros give you a reason to care about them and wanting them
to live. Without that, the audience is just spinning its wheels
waiting for the next big action scene. The writer has to know how to
engage the audience with not just what the hero wants, but why they
want it, why it’s so important and why there won’t be any other time
to get it. Once the hero accepts this, he commits to this, there is no
turning back. Now, with The Final Destination there is no reason for
the hero to live and admittedly, he is going to die sometime, right?
So without a reason for us to want him to live, there is no investment
on our part to care if he survives. With SAW IV, I had an investment
because the female cop, well, I liked her. I wanted her to live and
knowing she was on the chopping block brought suspense to the film.
Would she figure out the killer before being killed? That is suspense.
So, if you want to engage people like myself that don’t normally enjoy
horror films for the gore and torture, remember to have a solid back
story that involves a hero that we can identify with and a goal that
we can appreciate.

Quito Washington

Listen to me talk about film on Popcorn Cinema
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Written by Guest

November 2, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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