Monday, January 21, 2008


A recent late night conversation sparked an interest in a genre of film I usually avoid.  Thriller films are so unappetizing to me, but they remain ever so popular to those who enjoy suspense.  A friend of mine from Germany recommended an old movie called The Hole, and preceded to summarize the scary story.  My friends and I laughed at her description of the film; it did not sound scary at all.  The story was so stupid and confusing; all the thrills of the movie were lost in her storytelling.  It sounded like a movie that I would never want to see, but she thought it was such a great film.  I realized the reason I did not normally sit down to watch a thriller was the actual story.  Aside from the fact that I hate to be scared, the storyline in a traditional thriller is simple and often do not even make sense.  The plot can stay so simple because the suspense drives the story.  There is so little meaning to a typical thriller; it doesn't need an interesting plot for it has the scare factor.  These films are usually short-lasting in popularity, but they remain on the shelves namely for Halloween night movie rentals.

  The thrillers that I find myself willing to watch have more story than scary scenes.  Films such as The Village and Disturbia have an ending that ties all the knots and leaves the audience satisfied.  I think a movie like The Hole is only popular because it is a good scare.  I do not expect much from new thrillers.  I see movie after movie released as "the best scare ever," but I still see no interesting plot.  Sometimes though, I am pleasantly surprised to find a complicated thriller-- one that I can follow to the finish, maybe with a few frightening moments.  

Check out the trailer for The Hole.  Do you think it's as shallow as I do?

It is an early Keira Knightley film, which brings up another interesting aspect of thrillers.  Knightley is considered an Oscar-worthy actress today, so it is hard to believe she began her career in a quickly forgotten horror film.  Many talented actors and actresses get their start in unsuccessful thrillers.  Main characters are easy to cast because they are so undeveloped and exist only to give the horror a victim.  This is another reason I consider thrillers to be so unappealing.  

The undeveloped plot and expendable characters have subjected horror films to sarcasm and parody.  A recent trend is to produce a comic amalgamation of current horror films.  Scream and Scary Movie series are excellent examples.  They portray the idiocy of typical characters and suspenseful scenes.  

Yes, people will continue to pay to see thriller films.  Why?  I think they are just in the mood for a good scare.  I do not expect thrillers to change any, so  I will just wait for the one or two thought provoking and suspenseful films to come out.

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