We’re all here because we love horror movies. We love the genre. This is a place for fans to share that love, naturally. You read about it because you love it and we write about it because we love it maybe a little too much. Still, as people who love the genre, there are always those movies that pop up in conversation that you never quite got. Everybody has those classics they just never connected with. Some, we get more passionate about than others. There are the features you just don’t “get” and then there are the hot-button topics. These are the ones you find so overrated that you get mad, the ones you might even feel personally offended by the idea that other people enjoy it—although this is a little extreme. The point is that every fan of the genre has their flicks they think are overrated. Some new, some old. Some that are hailed as classics and some that just have a wide and rampant fan base.
And since I so often shed light on movies I think are underrated, here are a few that I think are overrated.
I won’t get into this one too much since I just wrote a very lengthy piece on it, but I have a few inherent problems with It Follows and most of them are about the fact that it’s about a demon spread through sex. It’s about faking intimacy to kill people in order to save yourself. Yes, it’s a horror movie and it’s supposed to be messed up, but even still it doesn’t feel like the filmmakers actually feel like there’s much of anything wrong with what the characters are doing.
Poltergeist II: The Other Side
There’s a very strange phenomenon I’ve noticed with Poltergeist II, in that there appears to be a three year gap around either side of my age where people love this movie. Three years older or three years younger, they were terrified of it and talk about it all the time, but everyone within that bubble with me—all of my friends of about the same age—either never got it or never even saw it. I saw it at least a decade after I saw the original, but a lot of people hold this one in higher regard. While I fully admit that Reverend Kane is an unnerving villain and has an interesting backstory, there’s not really much of a memorable film surrounding him.
I liked The Babadook more than I liked It Follows, at least, but man the praise this has been getting just baffles me. It’s already been cemented as a modern classic. Yet everything about it feels like it’s trying to be better than the genre. It’s part of that A-list mentality of genre filmmaking where you know there was an idea around the production meetings of people saying “Let’s try to make the first good horror movie.” That’s what The Babadook feels like it’s trying to be and anything with that mentality is destined to fail. All of that aside, it’s uncomfortable for all the reasons it shouldn’t be.
Now we’re getting into the territory of undisputed classics. The Omen falls into the category of ones I guess I just don’t get. There’s a great idea at work and I loved the novel the first time I read it. But something about the adaptation just falls flat for me. The score is excellent but the pacing is off and even now David Warner’s is about the only performance I vividly remember. There are a lot of films out there that deal with Satan and The Antichrist. While The Omen will always be the most famous of them, I think some of the more underappreciated entries handled the concept better.
Over a decade later, Gore Verbinsky’s The Ring is still being hailed as a classic. It seems to be one of those ones that stood the test of time and just won’t be going away anytime soon. There are some effective moments in The Ring. There are some parts that are definitely scary. The slow, creeping shot of Samara stepping out of the TV is still an iconic horror moment. But the movie just doesn’t work for me. It feels hollow. There’s a great concept at work in the Japanese version, Ringu, but the American attempt to recapture that just doesn’t strike me as sincere.
I’ll be honest and admit that I haven’t enjoyed an Eli Roth film to date and I thought about putting Hostel on this list instead, but Cabin Fever is the one that baffled me most. The first time watching it, renting it just after it came out, I thought I might as well be watching a SyFy Channel movie. While the concept was interesting, everything about it was just bad. The acting, the cinematography and some of the most random sequences added into the middle just to pad out the length, all of it was just so ridiculous—and not in a good way. Even in its badness, I wasn’t all that entertained. It feels like it has a lower budget than it actually does, which is the last thing you should ever feel about a horror feature.
Hoax or not, I love the Amityville story. I love the book, I love the series of books, the books that have been written to expose the fraud… I’m just interested in all of it. I even love a few of the movies, but I just don’t love the original. It just feels like a cash-grab, but even more than that it’s simply bland where so many haunted house features of its era manage to be incredibly effective. While I may still watch this from time to time for its music and the design of the house, I’ll always be more inclined to go with something like The Changeling or The Shining, with which I’ll have a better time.
Related: Amityville: Horror or Hoax?
I think it’s only fair that I put a movie on this list that I actually love. It terrified me as a kid. I loved this miniseries so much and I would watch It over and over again. But the older and more nostalgic I get, the less it works for me. It’s been said many times, I think, but the adult stuff in It doesn’t work nearly as well as the kid stuff. Those flashbacks are great and when I watch the miniseries on DVD, I rarely switch it over these days. Because I’ve seen what I came to see by that point. Tim Curry is amazing as Pennywise the clown, he really is. It’s one of those all-time great horror performances. But each year, I love the book a little more because of the adult scenes and that sense of nostalgia and what it means to grow up. And each year I love the miniseries a little less for those same scenes.
I love the Universal classic monsters. James Whale’s Frankenstein is a masterpiece and Bride of Frankenstein is even better. The Mummy, The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, you name it and I’ll light up. I still hold all of these guys close to my heart. And I even have fond memories of Dracula. But the older I got, the more versions of Dracula that I saw and the more times I read the book, I just loved that original Tod Browning movie a little less each time. I think the performances of Bela Lugosi, Dwight Frye and Edward Van Sloan are incredible, but the actors around them are virtually insufferable. Even with the astounding production design, this one completely falls apart as soon as it leaves Transylvania.