Last week I had some time off and I decided to read an actual book. It turns out this book became one of my favorite stories to read. The book in question I am referring to is Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. As I read this book there were a lot of moments where I remember seeing a similar moment in a horror film. This book made me realize that there is something missing in many modern horror films, the art of confusion.
And There Was None is a murder mystery without a happy ending. Throughout the book, you are constantly changing who you think the killer is. By the time you find out who is the killer they already won. A horror movie is designed to make sure the villain wins or the hero wins at a grave cost. The problem I have with modern horror is you either figure out who the bad guy is or you only have one suspect the entire film.
The book requires you to constantly change your opinion based on the information you are given. If more horror films did this we would see more horror films succeed in the theater. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of horror films that do this or manage another way to tell a great story. However, a great horror film seems to be the exception rather than anywhere close to the norm. If you are writing a horror film I highly recommend you read And Then There Were None.
Matthew J. Croutch