Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Best Of PG-13 Horror, A Short But Powerful List

The Best of PG-13 Horror
By Nate Hensley

Hardcore horror fans – people like me, for example – always have the same reaction to a horror film being rated PG-13. We shrug our shoulders and say “never mind.” Whereas in some genres, the rating isn’t as important, with horror in particular it is: this is a genre that pushes the envelop, that seeks to terrify and unnerve the viewers. Having the restrictions of a PG-13 means that the very nature of the horror film is reigned in. This isn’t to say that its impossible to make a good PG-13 horror film, simply that it is very difficult, and extremely rare.
Pulse, Prom Night, Darkness Falls – these are the kind of rancid, awful movies that represent PG-13 horror… usually. But in tribute of Insidious, easily the scariest PG-13 movie I have ever seen, here’s a list of the best that rating has to offer.

Honorable mentions: Good, solid fright flicks that deliver the good without coming across as too wimpy or watered down. Monster Squad, The Unborn, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, Tremors, andArachnaphobia.

Insidious – The creators of the Saw franchise prove that they can bring the scary without relying on the excessive blood and guts that made them such horror legends. It takes its time, it builds slowly, but it delivers every step of the way, and is easily the best example of PG-13 horror I’ve ever seen. (for the full review check here

1408 – John Cusack is perfect as a sympathetic skeptic who checks into a haunted hotel room just to prove it isn’t haunted. You know its legit haunted, because Samuel L Jackson is standing downstairs saying “don’t do it, man” and if you’re in movies it’s always best to follow the advice of Mr. Jackson. The movie does an amazing job of keeping the action focused in one room, and yet staying intense and unpredictable throughout.

Poltergeist – OK, this one is a bit of a cheat. It’s actually rated PG, but it feels like a PG-13 movie. Regardless, it packs great horror atmosphere and scares into a relatively bloodless story. A true horror classic, as creepy and effective now as it was back then

The Ring – This was the movie that started the trend; it kicked off a flurry of both PG-13 horror flicks, and remakes of Japanese horror flicks. And although it has a lot of flaws (its stupid, it doesn’t make any real sense, etc) it does its job in delivering creepy moments, jumps, and a few visuals that will haunt you at bedtime.

Drag Me to Hell – After slaving away in the Spider Man salt mines for a decades, director Sam Raimi got back to his horror roots. His love for the genre is apparent, bringing such energy, enthusiasm, and humor to the material that it sends this movie into an orbit all its own. Half slapstick comedy, half scary, this movie is a true horror gem, and never once seems like it is taking it easy for the sake of a rating.

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