Haunted House Horror Movies All Share One Infuriating Trope That Needs To Die

By Robert Scucci | Published

I’ve watched my fair share of haunted house movies over the years, and I’m absolutely exhausted by the “creepy old house” premise that has been repeatedly forced upon us. I’m not entirely cynical about it because a great haunted house movie will evoke a satisfactory amount of scares regardless of its setting, but I feel like the writing is a bit lazy.

We get it; this creepy house was built on top of an ancient Indian burial ground, and there’s something hidden in the basement that will torment whatever new family moves in because they found an Ouija board that just so happened to be there.

Haunted Houses Aren’t Scary Anymore

What I’d really love to see is a haunted house movie that is set in a modern development because even Evil Dead Rise is set in a run-down apartment complex even though it doesn’t necessarily need to be. I understand that bumps in the night are easier for filmmakers to come up with when the pipes rattle, and the floorboards creak, but let’s apply the same kind of scare to a newer building and see what happens.

I’d honestly be more terrified if a disembodied spirit tried to sneak up on me, and I couldn’t hear it because the carpeting was fresh and the central air was humming quietly in the background.

New Construction Is Home To Evil As Well

Growing up in a small Connecticut town, new developments went up all the time, and it didn’t take long for some seriously messed up things to happen after a neighborhood was constructed.

There are even true crime specials that have roots in my hometown, as well as neighboring towns, because, statistically speaking, people are capable of doing terrible things, and we all have to live with the fact that they sometimes happen so close to home. That is to say, modern suburban homes have just as many skeletons hiding in their closets as their Queen Anne style and Victorian counterparts.

One Movie Does It Right

The only haunted house movie that I can think of that’s set in a modern home is 2006’s The House Next Door, which is based on the 1978 Anne Rivers Siddons novel of the same name.

In the novel, a contemporary home is constructed next door to the novel’s protagonists, and the house ruins the lives of its many inhabitants over a very short period of time due to its evil nature. The film adaptation, while ambitious, was a disaster that garnered a 25 percent score (no critical score) on Rotten Tomatoes, and seriously needs to be revisited.

Paranormal Activity Did Away With The Trope

If there’s one horror movie trope that needs to be laid to rest, it’s the old haunted house trope because there are already so many movies that explore this concept. Paranormal Activity almost pulled it off, but you have to remember that the demon in this movie followed its protagonist, Katie, to her new house. In other words, the house wasn’t haunted; Katie was haunted.

Hollywood Needs Creative Hauntings

My parents, on the other hand, just moved into a brand new development after retiring. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say that a lot of wildlife was displaced while the neighborhood was being built. I’m just waiting for the phone call about the mysterious deer hoof prints that showed up on their ceiling in the middle of the night because that’s a haunted house movie plot that I’d love to see come to life.