The Horror Movie Genre That Needs To Go Away

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

Horror is a wide-ranging genre encompassing wildly different films such as Midsommar, Evil Dead, Nope, and The Ruins, so to understand the genre, we have to drill down a bit deeper to specific sub-genres. Exorcisms, serial killers, alien abductions, slashers, all of these are popular horror sub-genres, but in the last decade, one sub-genre has become incredibly popular, to the point that it’s been burnt out.

The “Wine & Die” genre, epitomized by movies like The Menu and Ready or Not, needs to go away for a very long time.

Wine & Die

Horror movies of this genre, which can be found all over streaming services, tend to follow the same once-exciting formula: there’s an invitation to a fancy location, a creepy gathering of different characters, a sudden turn that makes it clear everyone is in danger, and then a twist at the end.

I know all movies can be broken down like this to sound reductive, but after watching The Menu, Would You Rather, The Invitation, The Feast, The Invitation (2015), and R.S.V.P. in short order, among many others that my brain has refused to hold on to, they all blend together.

Perfected By Alfred Hitchcock

This particular horror movie genre can be traced back to the Alfred Hitchcock classic Rope, which involves a psychology student inviting friends and family of his murdered friend over while keeping the body hidden in the middle of the dinner party. R.S.V.P., released in 2002, modernized the story, and while the original is still a great, intense thriller today, the remake and the films that followed mostly failed to realize what makes the first one a classic.

The Saw-ification Of Horror

A few of the horror movies in this genre combine the dinner party setting with the deadly games of the Saw franchise, particularly Would You Rather, which is a series of escalating torture scenes culminating in an ending that’s meant to be thought-provoking but rings hollow after the meaningless violence of the film. I enjoy films with blood and gore, but I prefer violence to have more meaning and weight behind it, concepts that are seemingly lost as studios churn out low-budget fare.

The Menu Is One Of The Best Of Modern Horror

The Menu is such a great movie, that constantly subverts expectations while not insulting the intelligence of the viewer, which is a rare combination to find in any film, never mind a horror movie of the “Wine & Die” genre. Ralph Fiennes as the Chef is terrifying but captivating, while Anya Taylor-Joy as Margot is smart and resourceful, which helps ground the film in its heightened reality as the disturbing meal unfolds.

Ready Or Not Is A Delightfully Insane Twist

ready or not 2

Ready Or Not, which was released in 2019, is another great example of this horror movie genre, thanks to Samara Weaving as Grace and leaning hard into the inherent craziness of a cursed family that plays a deadly children’s game. While not a “Wine & Die” in the strictest sense, it still counts and is vastly superior to the similar vampire family horror of The Invitation. Once you start looking for them, there’s a lot in this genre, and that’s before diving into the depths of Tubi.

Time For Another Genre

Typically confined to one setting, the “Wine & Die” horror movie genre is cheap to shoot, and as horror is always en vogue, it’s usually profitable. That doesn’t mean they’re good or worth your time to watch, and in fact, in this case, less is more. There was a decade between Would You Rather and The Menu, but since, like the Kajiu incursions in Pacific Rim, the time between new entries is getting shorter and shorter, flooding streaming services.

Just as there was a rush of Saw knock-offs, the 80s was filled with generic slashers, and Exorcism movies are on their way back, so too has the “Wine & Die” horror movie genre run its course. It’s time for something different, like “tourists trigger an ancient curse,” let’s bring those back.