Whether you're looking at a slasher, a found-footage doc, or a creature feature, most horror films follow the same rules. Savage kills. Blood-splattering gore. A mind-blowing twist. And of course, they have to finish with one last scare.
But another crucial aspect for any well-executed frightfest is the opening. Before we are introduced to the main characters in Jaws, A Quiet Place, or Scream, we get a snippet of the terrors to come. Nailing the first few minutes is imperative, since viewers can switch off if they're not invested from the get-go.
Amazingly, there are horror flicks that managed to redeem themselves, even after a dreadful prelude. While suffering through these boring pre-title sequences, you might assume the rest of the film is going to suck. Fortunately, some horrors course-correct immediately after, giving you the haunting experience you were hoping for.
Although it's a relief to see a horror movie recover so quickly, it's a shame these preambles weren't done better. If stinkers like Ghost Ship and The Happening can pull off a powerfully unsettling opening, there's no reason why these great horror films failed to do so.
10. Suspiria (2018)
Like the 1977 original, the remake of Suspiria centres around an ambitious dancer that joins a revered dancing company, unaware of the matrons' nefarious intentions.
Although horror fans debate which version is superior, the remake loses points for its opening. The movie begins with a scene of a dancing student, Patricia, bursting into her therapist's office, claiming the founders are witches.
Although this scene is well-structured (and Chloe Grace Moretz does a phenomenal job with her minor role), it robs the story of a lot of tension.
Even though every frame of the original Suspiria oozed perpetual tension due to Dario Argento's mesmerising direction and kaleidoscopically haunting visuals, it was the mystery that kept us enraptured. Only in the third act do we discover the school is a coven for malevolent witches. Because this detail isn't revealed until near the end, we never know what's going to happen next.
Although the remake has its fair share of horrifying moments ( you know the scene I'm talking about ), they would've left a bigger impact if everything wasn't spelt out for us straight out of the gate.