What grinds our gears: Jump scares and unnecessary gore in horror movies

Illustration by Irene Lo / The Peak

Written by: Winona Young, Arts Editor

When I tell people I like horror movies, I mean horror movies. I want the horrific, the macabre, and the downright disturbing.

What I don’t want is gore so graphic that it borders on kinky. Too often, the blood and guts seem like they’re there purely for shock value, rather than genuine audience terror.

The same goes for jump scares. They’re a lazy way of scaring the audience that just makes for an unmemorable kind of adrenaline. I want to feel emotionally uncomfortable, not just as if my roommate snuck up on me in the kitchen.

These tired-ass tropes hardly constitute a horror movie. At best, they’re barely bearable, and the movie will only be remembered for odd torture porn. At worst, they make a movie tedious and nauseating to watch. Few horror movies know the right ways to build tension and fear, and the films that fail at this also fail to separate themselves from the cheap scares you could find across the Internet.

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