Watching horror movies can be a very visceral experience that is personal and to some even private. It touches a part of our psyche that a lot of society keeps under wrap. It is a unique genre in that it has a gigantic spectrum of sub-genres. Because of that we should all recognize and try to appreciate each others likes and dislikes, understanding that a one star movie for you might be a modern day classic for someone else.
With that said, I recently I had the chance to ask an assortment of horror movie fans what they thought of popular online rating systems and how those sites tend to place some of their favorite flicks. I visited r/horror in order to pose the question to as diverse a crowd as possible and was pleasantly surprised with how thoughtful most of the answers I received were.
I presented the questions as such:
Personally I almost universally disagree with crowd sourced ratings for horror movies and I always thought that was because most people rating them on those sites are not dedicated horror fans. What is everyone else’s opinion on that, do you go by ratings or do your tastes normally go against the consensus?
u/NathanBarley was the first to respond when he stated:
I’ve noticed that horror movies in general seem to get low ratings on Netflix, and I think critics are more inclined to give genre movies lower ratings because they aren’t taken seriously as artistic contributions. Heck, I even mistrust many horror fans’ reviews of movies since their motives for watching horror and what they consider “good” seems to vary so much. The referrals I listen to the most are from people whose judgment in movies I grow to trust.
Most people seemed to agree with his assessment. The first point made about Netflix generally having low rated horror movies is one of the things that spurred me to ask the question to begin with. So many of the horror movies that I love on Netflix have one star. Although as I looked back on my viewing history on Netflix I realized, many of those movies have one star very rightfully so.
Having one star is almost a badge of honor for a certain type of horror movie. Even if the general public dislikes it there is always a unique niche of an audience somewhere that will completely dig it. Troma films are the first example that comes to mind, but we can all come up with a handful of directors and production studios that are similar in their execution to film making.
Highest Ranked Horror Movies on RottenTomatoes.com
Moments after u/NathanBarley contributed his opinion on the matter a couple of users began to discuss whether Netflix ratings were based on an algorithm or user input.
u/AJ-Taylor explained that Netflix ratings are ‘are what other “similar users” have rated it. Which could explain why mine are so off, since my wife and I share a profile and we like very different things. I also found an article that said they have issues with people trying to rate movies objectively on a fixed scale instead of how much they enjoyed watching it. Like, The Godfather would be a 5, and in comparison a low budget horror flick can’t be more than a 2 despite it being fun to watch.‘
This actually cleared up a lot of confusion on my end. I know there were many movies I watched last year that had a one star rating but as I looked them up today for this article were at 2 or 3 stars. I was also sharing a profile with my wife at the time and since then have created a new one specifically for horror movies. I did’t verify u/AJ-Taylor’s information myself but in trusting the community I share it with the rest of you.
Highest Ranked Horror Movies on IMDB.com (thats right Uno: The Movie is the highest ranked horror movies on IMDB)
u/thewhitemoth later contributed an opinion on what the minimum rating is that a movie is still acceptable to watch, stating ‘Netflix ratings are completely worthless for horror movies, at least for my taste. IMDB is more accurate, but generally on the low side. A 5-6 point horror movie on IMDB still has potential, and it’s only sub-5.0 that is probably actually bad.
Expanding on that idea they added ‘The sweet spot for horror ratings, for me, is when there’s a high critic rating from Rotten Tomatoes paired with a low/average viewer rating. It usually means the movie was challenging or more subtle, and it didn’t appeal to the wide release horror audience.’
To wrap things up I think u/regulatorfcs very succinctly laid it all on the table when saying “User ratings on a lot of horror films on IMDb make me want to bang my head against the wall, full of people completely missing the point of the movie and complaining the plot isn’t spoon fed to them or ‘it’s sooooo boring'”
Lowest Ranked Horror Movies on IMDB.com
So there you have it. A few dozen people chimed in but these handful of comments I think portray the general consensus very well. Real horror fans know to look in multiple places for opinions on what movies to watch next and when it comes down to it they give a flick a chance and judge it on their own.
To leave you all with just one more opinion from a true horror fan:
It’s either a 1 or 10 star. Those people don’t understand the word mediocre. Everything is either the worst of the best.