Top 10 Horror Movies That Tried Too Hard



Top 10 Horror Movies That Tried Too Hard

VOICE OVER: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Robert Barnott Palin
Some of them have the power to make you scream in terror, others will make you say “wait, what?” For this list, we're taking a look at movies that stopped at nothing to evoke terror, but went a little overboard in the process. Our countdown includes films like “Blair Witch” (2016), “Don't Be Afraid of the Dark” (2010), “Snakes on a Plane” (2006) and more!
Script written by Robert Barnott Palin

Top 10 Horror Movies That Tried Too Hard to be Scary

Some of them have the power to make you scream in terror, others will make you say “wait, what?” Welcome to WatchMojo and today we'll be counting down our picks for Top 10 Horror Movies That Tried Too Hard to be Scary. For this list, we’re taking a look at movies that stopped at nothing to evoke terror, but went a little overboard in the process.

#10: “Blair Witch” (2016)

The original “Blair Witch Project” had a real original feel to it, with grainy cinematography that made it feel like a nightmare version of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” The much-belated sequel, on the other hand, barely lives up to its predecessor - desperately attempting to follow the same beats. James, brother of Heather from the original, heads to the same forest as his ill-fated sister, but the result is a series of jump scares and nothing particularly fresh. It’s pretty much the first movie with all the soul ripped out and higher quality cameras.

#9: “Jason X” (2001)

He’s been to Hell, he’s been to Manhattan, he’s been to space. Fast-forward to the year 2455 and Jason Voorhees, probably one of the most shot-at villains ever, has been frozen then thawed aboard a spaceship full of unsuspecting students. If the concept alone doesn’t sound bad enough, the movie itself is highly predictable, over-reliant on special effects, and, despite being the 10th in the franchise, there’s nothing new or striking about it except for an updated hockey mask. The whole thing feels like it’s trying too hard whilst, at the same time, feeling quite lazy.

#8: “Shark Attack 3” (2002)

For those of you not up-to-speed with the straight-to-video “Shark Attack” franchise, it’s a 3-part onslaught of over-the-top special effects and strange dialogue, including this now-infamous improvisation from “Doctor Who’s” John Barrowman. Throughout the movie, the shark’s size constantly changes and it manages to eat both an entire yacht full of people and a man on a jet ski with the same amount of ease. Arguably, this falls into the ‘so bad it’s good’ category, but for the sheer amount of carnage and its bizarre overall concept, we think it tries too hard to be scary.

#7: “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” (2010)

Guillermo del Toro usually produces some wonderful cinematic feats, just take a look at “Pan’s Labyrinth” and more recently “The Shape of Water.” This 2010 venture, however, certainly isn’t up there with his best. A remake of a 1970s TV film, it tries hard to play of typical horror film scares – a dark house, whispering walls, and creepy monsters – but with all the ingredients to cook up a real fright-fest, it all ends up a little overbaked. Then there’s the monsters obsessed with stealing teeth who are way more cute than scary. Well, sort of.

#6: “Cabin Fever” (2016)

Based on a movie released just 14 years before, Travis Zariwny gave us this remake that nobody asked for. Eli Roth’s original is an all-out gore-fest that pays homage to rural horror conventions, so a re-imagining of a film that is, in itself, a pastiche, seems pretty pointless. From the very beginning, the audience is surrounded by blood and guts, and things just continue to get bloodier from there. Aiming to shock but instead achieving fake-blood overkill, the only ones to come out of this film with an improved résumé is the make-up department.

#5: “Snakes on a Plane” (2006)

One of those instances in which the entire concept of a movie is summed up in its title, this airborne slither-flick aims to play on our fears, but instead goes full throttle toward pure snake overload. Despite delivering one of the best lines in cinematic history, Samuel L. Jackson can’t save it from all feeling a bit over-the-top, and even though it can be seen as rather tongue in cheek, its ridiculous premise and A-list lead actor show that there were probably some ambitions with this motion picture that never quite came to fruition.

#4: “The Happening” (2008)

M. Night Shyamalan, master of the twist ending, likes to keep audiences on their toes as they await the big reveal at the end of each of his movies. However, many would have left this one feeling disappointed. After a series of mass suicides across the United States, a small group tries to get to the bottom of things – and what was the cause? Spoiler alert - it was the trees! As if that isn’t infuriating enough, the entire film feels way too overconfident, and the acting is stiff and unconvincing throughout, despite the impressive cast.

#3: “The Gallows” (2015)

After a series of relatively successful found-footage horror movies, this forgettable 2015 flick failed to live up to the likes of “Paranormal Activity” and “Cloverfield.” Trying way too hard in all areas to be scary, it exhausts all the genre clichés, as well as having a teen-movie edge to it and, ultimately, has a messy and overdone final appearance. It well and truly scrapes the bottom of the barrel as far as this sort of movie is concerned – from its dizzying handheld camera that is way too shaky, to the sheer predictability of it all.

#2: “Troll 2” (1990)

There’s so much to say about this movie that it’s hard to know where to start. We mean, there’s not even any trolls in it! A family ends up stranded in the town of Nilbog – ‘goblin’ spelt backwards – and so the nightmarish chaos ensues. Another so-bad-it’s-good feature, “Troll 2” is considered to be one of the best worst films ever made, but it still tries too hard to be scary to the point that it just, well, isn’t. None of it particularly makes any sense at all, but this scene will always have a place in dramatic-acting folklore.

#1: “The Wicker Man” (2006)

Not the 1970s classic horror starring Christopher Lee, but the mid-00s remake featuring king of the bizarre, Nicolas Cage. Neil LaBute took something chilling and terror-evoking and somehow managed to turn it into an unintentional comedy with more ham in it than a Subway sandwich shop, thanks to a lot of shouting from its lead actor, including this scene that just can’t go unmentioned. Suitably stinging anyone who’s seen it out of their hard-earned money, not even the Cage in a bear suit could salvage this misogynistic romp.