This is a serious question. Does anyone know the answer? I’m assuming the answer is no, because they’re all idiots. All of them. But we all know this by now. This has somehow become an accepted trope of horror movies: characters that are seemingly not stupid until they start making some of the dumbest decisions that no one in their right mind would ever make. Actually, this trait makes me hate almost every character in every horror movie. It makes me hate them so much that I really don’t care if they suffer a horrible death. Not to mention that if there is a character that has some tiny bit of a brain, they get killed off very early in the movie.
“I just saw a creepy ghost-child that told me to follow it into the attic that is currently raining blood. Better do what it says!”
“I know I’m home alone, but I just heard someone scream from the basement. I think they said they want to kill me and feed my soul to the God of Gingers. You bet your ass I wanna check that out!”
“Is that graffiti painted with blood? It says I should definitely not hop on one foot and spin in a circle while saying prayers in Latin. Pssht, stupid omniscient bloody writing. I do what I want and I’m going to do exactly what you told me not to do! You’re not my real dad!”
“Uh, guys. We should literally do none of those thi—” FWAPAM! Hatchet to the face!
Seriously, why? Why does this happen all the time in horror films? I can only assume that horror movie characters have a terrifying lack of common sense and/or haven’t seen a scary movie in their entire lives. That’s the only answer. So are we to assume that all scary movies are supposed to take place in a time before scary movies exist? That can’t be it, because so many scary movies have references to modern times and technology. Then I guess that means that all scary movies take place in an alternate universe without scary movies? That doesn’t seem logical either. For real, what gives?
Now, I know the real reason. I’m just being sarcastic and facetious (My name is Daniel, nice to meet you). The real reason is that most horror film writers are lazy. Scripts would be hard to write and stories would be difficult to progress if these characters acted like normal people with half a brain. Also, killing off the character that is the voice of reason allows the stupid characters to move the story forward.
Let me be clear, not all horror movies are like this, but the glaring majority of them are. I love the horror genre, but I’m also tired of it for this reason. But I guess this reason makes me love good, well-written films even more, so it kind of serves as a nice contrast. But still, it’s just ridiculous. Something needs to change, writers. Please. I love scary movies, so stop making me hate them. Just give your character a brain. That’s all I ask.
With that, here is my version of a script for a horror film in which the characters have common sense…
INT. LIVING ROOM. CHARACTERS 1 & 2 ON COUCH. POWER GOES OUT.
CHARACTER 1: “Did you just hear a demonic scream come from the basement?”
CHARACTER 2: “Yeah. Maybe we should get out of the house.”
CHARACTER 1: “Yeah, and I’ll call the police to have them come check it out.”