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Horror flagging at North American boxoffice, the nervous Nellies of course yell the "sky is falling"!

Eric Bana joins the list of horror movie leads that haven't nailed opening weekend in 2014, hey some of these movies didn't deserve a cinema release in the first place.
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Eric Bana's Deliver Us From Evil, another exorcism movie mixed in with police procedure, hasn't found favour with North American audiences disappointing with an opening weekend of $9.7 million, far below expectations. The move joins the ranks of Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, Oculus, Devil's Due, and The Quiet Ones that have crashed and burned in 2014. So what! The dark genre has never ever been box office gold, with notable exceptions, people need to get over this preoccupation with the genre matching other more widely accepted genres. Naturally commentators in North America are all doom and gloom rather than pointing out some of these movies never deserved a cinema release in the first place. If the Boxofficemojo forums were still with us we would no doubt have some moron talking the end of the horror genre!

What pundits fail to get is more serious horror flicks that require some thinking generally screw to an older audience who don't hit the cinema to catch the latest releases due to ignorant teens being unable to stop masturbating over their cell phones during a movie. Sorry we don't catch a whole bunch here at the Sminds office due to the unpleasant experience we generally get at our local movie theater. If you can't turn your phone off for 90 minutes then you are clearly way too important to go watch a movie, the U.N could be seeking your advice any moment. In the early 1980s cinema attendance dropped off for horror flicks as well, the explosion of the video market having convinced fans it was a better option to catch the movie at home rather than enduring public screenings.

Downunder we are having a pretty good year for pure horror flicks. Wolf Creek 2 matched expectations, The Marked Ones scored around where we thought it would - there's a hint of racism involved in viewer decision making, and both small release local movies The Babadook and The Rover have left expectations in the dust as they confirmed support for local content. This isn't even taking into account the Big G or the forthcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes which fit into under the wider "dark genre" banner. What we won't get Downunder is 101 movies being pumped into cinemas that have no business being there, they will be straight to DVD, witness Devil's Due.

In short horror has never been the leading box office contender some people seem to think it is, the genre works better in the home market sphere hence why some horror sites are being paid to push non-horror movies to an audience ever on the look out for new visions of terror. From what at start of year appeared a pretty bleak outlook for the dark genre Downunder is turning out to be a gala year. The sky is far from falling, in fact I might be needing sunglasses.

Published on 9 July 2014

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Jeff Ritchie