Just because the idea is good, doesn't mean the film always follows through. Here’s some recent horror movies that had an interesting concept, but were poorly-executed, disappointing or didn't live up to their full potential.
1.) The Forest (2016)
This movie takes advantage of the menacing Aokigahara ‘Suicide’ Forest down in Japan -- a forest at the base of Mount Fuji, notorious for being a popular spot to end one’s life. I think that setting and idea alone is ripe for a terrifying flick, but in my opinion these filmmakers just did not execute it very well. There were some things that turned out well, but overall this movie was a disappointment. The whole ‘twin thing’ was a misfire (having Natalie Dormer play both twins with the only distinguishing feature being their hair just didn’t work) and having our protagonist only visit the forest to find her missing sister did not use the setting of the Suicide Forest to its full potential. Instead, we could have had a hiker or group of tourists accidentally get lost in the forest and keep running into corpses or suicide attempts. With this eerie concept, there was no need to delve into the paranormal at all. This movie could have been done in a much better way than I feel it was.
Bloody Brodie’s Rating: 3.5/10
2.) Ouija (2014)
What was most upsetting about this movie is that the trailer made it look pretty good. I can only speak for myself, but I was personally excited to see this movie. Ouija is about five friends who use a Ouija board to contact their dead friend, who had recently committed suicide under the paranormal influence. Things do not go quite as planned, and instead of talking to their friend, they end up talking to a malevolent imposter spirit. This movie may be full of red herrings and twists, but I found it quite boring and unmemorable. There was one scene in the trailer that was pretty creepy, but they changed it entirely (and entirely for the worst) for the final cut of the movie. With a plot revolving around a Ouija board, you have nearly free reign to follow any interesting plot you'd like, and this movie picked the wrong plot. For example, this movie has a side-plot backstory of a mother using her daughter to channel spirits through the board. I feel that the movie would have been so much better if it were about that --and speak of the demon, there is a prequel to Ouija coming out that is solely about that backstory. Here’s to hoping they don’t ruin that one too, or I’ll have to add one more movie to this list.
Bloody Brodie’s Rating: 2.5/10
3.) The Lazarus Effect (2015)
This movie has a fantastic cast but did not do justice to its concept. This film is about a bunch of college students testing out a serum meant to help coma patients, but that can actually bring the dead back to life. The dean finds out about this and shuts them down -- so of course they go and do it anyway. This accidentally causes the death of one of their friends, which they use this Lazarus Serum to bring back. This not only sucks her out of Hell and slams her back into her body, it grants her the abilities of telekinesis and telepathy with the side-effect of murderous tendencies. I feel like you could go about this idea in so many ways -- but just nothing was scary about the resurrected person. Why not have our young scientists come up with this serum, then have these horrible side-effects show up when presenting their test subject to the class? Or have her come back from Hell, only to be haunted by a demon trying to take back her soul? This movie becomes little more than a ‘pick-’em-off’ massacre, and squanders the talents of its impressive cast.
Bloody Brodie’s Rating: 3/10
4.) V/H/S 3: Viral (2014)
There are two preceding V/H/S movies that show that this concept can be done properly. This movie did not work, because they tried to fix what wasn't broken and change their formula. In the previous two films, we had a set layout: an over-arcing plot where our characters find and watch several VHS tapes in a sketchy abandoned house, interspersed with several loosely-themed found-footage shorts of what these tapes supposedly show. This movie seemed to change up the format and muddy up the over-arcing story. At times it was even hard to see what the tie-ins and themes of the shorts were. To top it off, these shorts were either not very good comparatively, or they started out somewhat decently and went on too long or ended poorly. Next time, stick with what you know.
Bloody Brodie’s Rating:2.5/10
5.) The Purge (2013)
The Purge’s concept was original and new, and had lots of room for a cool, intriguing, and original movie. In this franchise, all crime is legal for a 24-hour span. This is the setup for a ton of ultra-violent mayhem, and the filmmakers do deliver on this… in sequels The Purge: Anarchy and the The Purge: Election Year. However, in its freshman year -- when the concept was still new and unique -- The Purge did not make a very good first impression. The idea may have been original, but the movie was not. This film ended up becoming a generic home-invasion horror, which we have plenty of already. It did not take advantage at all of the only thing that set it apart from other movies in its sub-genre. If you're out looking for bloosh massacre, the second and third installations of The Purge did what we were all expecting the first one to do. This movie was too personal and claustrophobic for its own good.
Bloody Brodie’s Rating: 4.5/10
Just because these movies didn't quite deliver, it doesn't mean they can't or won't redeem themselves in future instalments -- The Purge showed that it is possible. Any future sequels or prequels to films mentioned here might still be worth a watch. (I'm looking at you, Ouija 2.) Don’t give up hope!