Occasionally I’m asked what exactly I mean when I say the “New Horror.” Here is a brief explanation from the introduction to The New Horror Handbook:
Though disturbed minds can disagree…the New Horror is a film released in the last several years that delivers on one or more of the following:
1. Aesthetic appeal. No matter how vicious the on-screen carnage, even its most disturbing scenes are rendered in a stunning, and unexpectedly appealing, way. The French sensation Inside (above) is a good recent example of that.
2. An underlying message. And no, “stay the hell out of the woods” does not count. Rather, the movie uses an extreme style or story to underscore issues that affect a great many of us today.
3. Hidden depths. The film’s multilayered approach to its story and/or execution rewards repeat viewings with a greater understanding of the tale and its message.