What is horror? I know to most people that will sound like a stupid question. Of course your Michael Myers or your Freddy Kreuger are, but what about Gremlins or even Jack Skellington?
I have thought about this a lot after watching a movie that is not considered a horror movie. I watched Guns Akimbo with none other than Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe. If you haven't seen this movie before, it is like a combination of GTA5 and John Wick. Basically, Daniel's character is an internet troll and he is trolling a live event where people hunt and kill each other. In a twist of fate, he ends up with guns bolted to his hands and enters the live stream event.
The movie is set out very much like an action style movie, but I would argue that this is more horror centric than any actual horror movie I have seen this year. Hear me out before you stop reading!
He is stalked online first, then beaten, subjected to torture, and has guns bolted through his hands. He is then stalked and hunted for people's entertainment. The kills across the whole movie are great and gory, and it has a super dark undertone. This is the case for lots of other non-horror movies too, so where do we draw the line?
For most people it is a quick google search to see what one of the big news sites or even the production company has classified the movie as, but, who are they to tell us what is horrifying and what we should be scared of?
I feel that the genre a movie sits in, is 100% at the discretion of the viewer and determined by how that movie makes you feel. There is a huge grey area in film that is not addressed by the current system, and this quite often leads to heated online debates. It is these debates that I have had myself many times, that made me want to write this article in the first place.
If you find a movie scary or it is horrifying to you, then that is a horror movie. If a movie does not evoke these feelings for you, then it is not. For me, I think it really is that simple. A movie should not, and in my opinion, does not, have to reach certain criteria to be classified as horror or any other sub genre for that matter.
So my point is, do not let people tell you what to think! If you watch the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and have a fear of turtles, and that scares you, that movie for you can be classified as horror. I would also say if this movie does scare you, therapy for the turtle phobia may be required, but... you get my point.
Horror is personally governed by fears, phobias, and life experience, and we all experience every movie differently. I for one, think it is time we respect people's opinions on what they consider horror and stop the arguments online.
I would love to know what you think!