5 slasher movies that deconstruct the genre
A simple slasher will always be a fun ride. Let fans watch a classic like Friday 13 (1980) or a more recent film like X (2022), these stories are gripping and move at a fast pace, always bringing memorable death scenes, big reveals, and occasional nods and references to other films in the genre’s history.
Horror fans have a thing for slasher films that are meta or deconstruct the genre, as these films tend to be the most interesting and creative ever made. There are several from the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s that have a lot to say about this type of film.
The Nightmare on Elm Street the franchise veers into meta-territory with the 1994s New nightmare, which sees Heather Langenkamp playing herself: an actress known for playing the last daughter Nancy Thompson and raising a family. Heather thinks again about starring in a new movie as Nancy, and Freddy Krueger starts targeting her again.
The film deconstructs some rules of the slasher genre, including how the last girl is the character who can defeat the villain/killer and how they are left standing. Heather soon realizes she’s the one who can stop Freddy, which is fun for horror fans to watch. New nightmare is not only an excellent film in its own right, but also one of the best in the franchise, which has a few hiccups.
Scream is certainly the most famous horror film that deconstructs the slasher genre. When fans want a good meta movie and one that talks about how people behave in slashers, this is absolutely the best choice.
One of the best quotes from Scream It’s when Randy Meeks (Jamie Kennedy) goes over the rules people have to follow if they’re going to make it through the whole horror movie. Randy talks about not having sex, not drinking or doing drugs, and not saying “I’ll be right back”. With this famous scene, Scream shows he’s smart and talks about the bad decisions characters usually make in horror movies. This scene is also a great example of meta-narrative, as Randy is literally in a horror movie…talking about the rules of survival in a horror movie. Scream also includes several references to classic horror movies, from freddie (1984) at Halloween (1978) as Randy puts this movie in the famous house party scene.
funny games breaks the fourth wall by having Paul (Michael Pitt) literally rewind the movie so he can stop Ann Farber (Naomi Watts) from picking up a gun and shooting Peter (Brady Corbet). This is a deconstruction of the violence that often takes place in horror and thriller movies because sometimes the characters often wish they could stop time and go back and do something different.
funny games could be considered one of the best horror movie remakes as the story comments on cinematic violence. As Paul and Peter take a family hostage, the film has a different conclusion than moviegoers would expect, proving that not all slasher movies have to end like every other. It’s also a smart movie as the young men manage to carry out their plan against the Farber family and kill them. This movie changes the idea of a slasher movie where the last girl and other characters win and survive the killer. This time around they don’t make it, and Peter and Paul have been the masterminds the entire time.
The cabin in the woods is considered one of the best horror movies of the 2010s and it also deconstructs slasher movies with its stereotypical main characters. Marty Melinski (Fran Kranz) is “The Fool”, Curt Vaughan (Chris Hemsworth) is “The Athlete”, Dana Polk (Kristen Connolly) is “The Virgin”, Jules Louden (Anna Hutchinson) is “The Whore” and Holden McCrea (Jesse Williams) is “the scholar”. While fans won’t learn much about these characters beyond what personality traits they have, that’s certainly the whole point and it’s brilliantly done.
Once the characters advance through the simulation and are killed off one by one, they act just like horror movie characters tend to behave. They’re scared and try their best to investigate what’s wrong and come up with a game plan, but they ultimately fail as they’re destined to die in this horrific and creative game.
street of fear has a great love story between Sam Fraser (Olivia Scott Welch) and Deena Johnson (Kiana Madeira).
The opening scene of Fear Street: Part One: 1994 also pays tribute to the death of Casey Becker (Drew Barrymore) in Scream (1996), which allows the film to destroy the slasher genre. Heather (Maya Hawke) works at a mall and closes a shop when a killer chases her and ends up murdering her. The way Heather runs away and does her best to survive is reminiscent of Casey’s own struggle, and horror fans appreciate the ’90s setting and vibe of this film. street of fear also shows how the characters attempt to investigate and figure out the story behind the murders, as Sam and Deena and their friends team up. The killer wearing a black and white mask also reminds Ghostface fans of Screama nice nod to a familiar villain from this period.
NEXT: Fear Street Should Have Been A TV Show, Not A Trilogy