As with most horror movies, the trailers are generally intriguing, grabbing the attention of the audience and raising expectations. However, all too often disappointment is the only feeling we get after watching the entire movie.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


Producing a horror movie is definitely not the easiest thing to do in the world. As a horror movie lover, I can assure you we are very critical when it comes to rating whether a horror movie is good or bad.

Nowadays, even the best directors are producing average movies without enough scary features to satisfy the audience. In the end, how scary should a horror movie be in order to please everyone in the theater?

First of all, due to the proliferation of bad horror movies produced, in my opinion, the audience, in general, is already skeptical in regards to the quality of scary movies even before going to the cinema. When it is related to watching a horror movie, most audience members do not bring high expectations.

In the case of “Area 51,” released in May of 2015, it’s a film for which I had high expectations but which, ultimately, brought nothing but disappointment.

Mixing science fiction and horror characteristics, “Area 51” appeared to have great promise by the time its trailer was released.

Being directed by one of the current best horror movie producers, Oren Peli, who produced hits like “The Purge” and “Paranormal Activity,” this movie had been polished to be a success. However, when released, the audience classified it as a thorough tragedy.

According to box office tracking website, Box Office Mojo, “Area 51” pulled a whopping $7,556 domestically. That’s seven thousand, not million. For comparison, “The Purge,” released in 2013, has grossed $64.5 million, while “Paranormal Activity,” from 2009, has moved well over $100 million in total gross.

“Area 51” is a found-footage horror film that basically tells the story of three teenagers who plan to infiltrate this secret area in Southern Nevada where the government has restricted access due to suspicion of the presence of extraterrestrial life. No citizens are allowed in this area, however, in this film the three main actors — played by Reid Warner, Darrin Bragg and Ben Rovner — manage to sneak onto the site.

Based on good science fiction movies, the main mistake in this movie, in my opinion, was the lack of special effects, due to the fact it was supposed to have been recorded by the three main characters on camcorders.

In this case, Peli tried to produce a high-quality movie supposedly mixing “Paranormal Activity” features with a poor-quality science fiction movie. That mix was completely unsuccessful, turning into a huge target for critics around the world.

Certainly, footage films are more successful when they talk about spirits or demons, instead of science fiction.

As a huge fan of the horror movie genre, we just expect more creativity by the producers and directors. A good horror movie should have a different mix of special effects than a good comedy because the sensations are deeper and involve harsher elements.

But in the case of “Area 51,” the desired effects were nonexistent and caused the movie to fall right into the typical poor-quality scary movies stereotype, becoming laughable for all the wrong reasons.

By Eduardo Maia

Eduardo Otero Mendes Maia is a staff journalist for MBU Timeline, majoring in journalism. Maia participates in the men’s soccer team at MBU. He is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and has been living in U.S. for three years. Maia enjoys spending time with the other Brazilian teammates, playing soccer because it makes him feel closer to home. After graduating, he looks forward to finding a job in the U.S. at a respected journalism company.