Film writing at it’s best
Today I am writing to talk (let’s be honest I’m going to gush) to you about some of the best-written horror films, in my humble opinion.
Horror films can be great for a multitude of reasons, such as great characters, great effects, great jump scares (lol kidding), great lore, the list goes on. There’s so much to like and enjoy in this genre and medium.
But one of my favourite things is when I encounter a film that’s been beautifully written.
There’s real thought and nuance behind the dialogue and storytelling, so much so that you get sucked in and its not till the story is over that you realise the craft involved in keeping you that engrossed. I especially enjoy it when I find a film that’s premise is utterly ridiculous, for example the killer grass field by Stephen King. This is literally a film about scary grass. But the writing has taken what is a ridiculous concept and turned it into something, that while not flawless, certainly held my attention and kept me guessing.
So, with that in mind, today I want to talk to you about my top 3 well written horror films.
‘The Wicker Man‘
(the film, not the Alton Towers ride, though that’s fun as well)
An oldie but a goodie in my opinion.
Sergeant Neil Howie (Edward Woodward) investigates the disappearance of a young girl on an isolated Scottish island. His search is made difficult by the local populace, who worship ancient Celtic gods and engage in Pagan rituals. While I’m trying to keep this spoiler free as I want you to go watch these films yourself, this is an old film and many of you will already know the twist at the end. While knowing how it all pans out may be disappointing, I still encourage you to watch the film again and pay close attention to the dialogue and the way the story is told. Watch this film the way a writer would, and you’ll see what I mean, this is a professionally written film.
I know I’ve talked about this before, but please allow me to indulge again, this is an amazing film. The atmosphere, the cinematography, the soundtrack and yes, the writing, it’s all bloody fantastic.
A slow burn, that gets right under your skin, with ghosties galore, you wont regret watching this film. The seamless blend of paranormal and psychological make this a must see for any horror fan. Unsettling to the last moment this film will leave you an emotional wreck and shivering in your seat. It’s impossible not to appreciate the level of craft that has gone into this.
“When something terrible happens, sometimes it leaves a trace, a wound that acts as a knot between two timelines. It’s like an echo, repeated over and over, waiting to be heard…Like a scar or a pinch that begs for a caress to relieve it.”
It’s like silk, don’t you think?
Another oldie but goodie I’m afraid.
The fact that this film has left such a loud cultural footprint should be enough to encourage you to think about why. Why did this film effect so many people so deeply, is it because of its adorable actors? Or it’s memorable characters? It’s close-to-home setting? Or is it because of its unforgettable dialogue? I can walk into any room and announce, “they’re here,” and 99% of people in that room will instantly not only know what I am talking about but remember how they felt when they first heard that line.
Honestly, this film is so impressive because of all I mentioned above and more. But that should not demount from the fact that this is one of the best written horror films of the 80’s. The symbolism laced throughout this film is chilling, telling a story within a story. The skill involved in crafting this film, knowing when to raise and how to lower tension, knowing just what direction to take he story, the actors and the music, it all speaks of master craftsmen at work.