Who doesn't love a good horror movie? We love the thrill of being frightened and we intentionally seek out the experience of being disturbed by gory slasher films. Though we're repulsed by documentaries and authentic footage of violent and horrifying events, we choose to seek out horror films with the same (sometimes worse and more graphic) imagery. Psychologists theorize that we love horror movies so much because it puts a fictional rift between these terrifying events and our lives; they give us a sense of control and safety in a world where horrific events are actually possible. This is actually the reason why certain horror movies with more realistic premises, like The Last House On the Left, are more terrifying, more criticized, and less watched. Because the premise is more plausible and possible in our personal lives, the fictional rift is smaller, which increases our personal discomfort with the film.
That's why some of the more outlandish, supernatural, and paranormal horror movies are the most popular. Movies like The Conjuring, Sinister, and The Exorcist, which are about ghostly hauntings and possessions, are popular because there's little scientific evidence that horrific events like these could occur in real life. We rely on their outlandish premises and formulaic performances to leave the theater satisfied and entertained.
That said, the formulaic performances have gotten a little too predictable. At some point, the fictional rift is defined only by the ridiculously stupid decisions that characters make in horror movies. Even if the rest of the plot is plausible and the killer is believable, we know that at least we would not make the fatally dumb decisions that the lead characters in horror films make. Here are fifteen of the stupidest decisions ever made in horror movies.
15 House At The End Of The Street: "I Don't Think I Need To Bring Extra Batteries."
Most of us that saw this movie really only cared about it because Jennifer Lawrence was in it towards the beginning of her career. While it was a decent horror movie, we could all see the "twist ending" from a mile and a half away. It took forever to reach the climax and, when it did, we all just wanted to yell at Jennifer because damn it, she should know better than this.
14 Scream: "I'll Escape Through The Doggy Door!"
It's still hilarious that someone thought this death up. With all the tools one could use to battle a killer with only a melee weapon in a garage, this chick decides to try to escape through a doggy door. This is the essence of poor decision making.
13 Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D: "I'm Too Impatient To Get Away Safely."
First off, this movie did not need to be remade just for the 3D format and it was doomed to fail from the start.
12 When A Stranger Calls: "This Stalker Is Calling Me Again! I Guess I Should Answer."
JUST DON'T ANSWER THE PHONE!!! How many times do we see movies that are based on killers frequently calling their victims with terrorizing messages before actually coming and killing them? Ever wonder what would happen if the victim just stopped answering the phone? They'd probably keep calling, but if the victim just kept neglecting to answer, they'd either chose a different course of attack or probably pick a different victim that would be more willing to play along with their preferred mode of serial murder! When a creepy stalker insists on calling you and won't stop calling you, just stop answering. Unplug the phone, if you have to. Since most killers in horror movies are serial killers, anyway, if you refuse to match their M.O. (modus operandi, that is), they probably won't kill you!
11 The Strangers: "It Looks Like They're Leaving Us Alone. Glad We Didn't Do Anything Rash, Like Call The Police!"
10 Prom Night: "My Murderous Stalker Is Still On The Loose; I'll Just Go Home, Sleep, And Hope The Cops Catch Him By Morning."
9 The Skeleton Key: "I'll hide In The Closet; She'll Never Find Me Here!"
8 Friday The 13th Part 2: "Crazy Stuff Is Happening, But We Should Still Totally Have Intercourse."
If there's one thing Jason hates more than negligent camp counselors, it's camp counselors that get laid.
7 Oculus: "I Could Just Destroy This Haunted Object, But I Want People To Understand Why First."
It would be understandable if you felt you had to justify killing a possessed person before you did it; it would even be understandable if you had to justify killing a demonic animal! But destroying a haunted object? Who cares? Just destroy it! No one is going to come around and interrogate you on why you destroyed a mirror. No one will imprison you for shattering an elaborately framed piece of glass.
6 The Ring: "OOOH A Haunted Videotape! Wanna Watch It?"
5 Case 39: "Demons Are Breaking Into My Bedroom. Let's Hide Under The Bed."
It was ridiculous enough in Taken when Maggie Grace hid under her bed when her kidnappers definitely knew she was hiding in her room. Hiding under your bed when a demon knows you're hiding in your room? Do you really think that's an effective strategy? You truly believe that the demon might not find you under your Crate & Barrel bed? Come on, Renee Zellwegger, you're smarter than that. You should just know that you're screwed. Might as well put on pajamas and get comfy under the covers, at this point.
4 The Babadook: "My Kid Isn't Being Haunted, He's Just Poorly Behaved."
Oh, we forgot to mention: never read a horrible haunted book either. Shouldn't have had to single that one out, but here we are. The Babadook is actually lauded as one of the best horror movies of the past five years, and it is very well made; the audience frequently questions throughout the whole movie if there truly is a monster, if the mother is the monster, the absent father is somehow the monster, or if the looming threat of insanity is the monster. We won't spoil it, but it's worth a watch.
3 Amityville Horror: "I Know This House Is Haunted, But I'm Sure It'll Be Fine."
No. It won't be fine. Do you want to know why? Because it's haunted. Really haunted.
2 Cabin In The Woods: "We Should Split Up."
Perhaps using Cabin in the Woods isn't the best example, since the movie is half horror and half a spoof of the genre, but it so hilariously and pointedly follows the horror movie formula that it's perfect. The only easier example would be Scooby Doo: "Let's split up, gang!"
1 Every Horror Movie Ever: "I Need A Better Cell Phone Plan."
From Buried and Friday the 13th (the remake) and When a Stranger Calls to The Mist and The Hills Have Eyes and Saw V, cell phone reception is everyone's downfall. What, does everyone in horror movies have T-Mobile? How does everyone always have a terrible signal? Almost every modern horror movie could be ended with a quick cell phone call or even a text, so the simple solution for writers is that the character either has no signal or the battery is dead. In reality, the simple truth is that you can get a signal pretty much everywhere; maybe it won't be the best signal, but you should at least be able to complete a call and the police should be able to get a run on your location. If you're ever in a horrific situation with someone and they say they can't call for help because they "don't have a signal," they're probably the killer and you should probably get out of there.
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