10 Awful Horror Movies That Threw Away Brilliant Premises

How do you screw up a great idea this badly?

Fantasy Island Movie
Sony Pictures Releasing

There are some film premises that are so enthralling, many moviegoers will feel obligated to check these pictures out as soon as they hear about them.

Thought-provoking ideas are common in horror, since the genre often deals with moral dilemmas, mind-bending hypotheticals, or intriguing What If? scenarios. Even though there are plenty of people who don't necessarily gravitate towards horror, plenty still clamoured to see A Quiet Place and Bird Box simply because they were won over by the creative pitch.

However, a great horror concept doesn't guarantee a great movie. Terrible acting, jarring shots, amateur cinematography, and bad writing can ruin everything, no matter how much potential a story has. Sometimes, a plot sounds great on paper but doesn't translate to the screen for one reason or another. Other times, filmmakers drop the ball, refusing to take full advantage of a jackpot idea.

In the right hands, the horror features on this list could've been crafted into something that would stay with viewers for a lifetime. Instead, each and every entry turned out so poorly that it's hard to believe they ever had a shred of potential.

10. Truth or Dare

Fantasy Island Movie
Universal Pictures

Paranormal thriller Truth or Dare opens with Olivia and her friends playing the titular game, but little does Olivia know she's taking part in a ritual, tethering a demon called Calux to everyone who participated. Calux can take the form of anyone and force Olivia's friends to say or do anything, and if they refuse to play, they die.

With a premise like that, the filmmakers could've concocted a plethora of petrifying scenarios since the players can be forced to confess any unforgivable sin and perform any horrific act. One of the players is even dared to burn a woman alive, showcasing how the game turns innocent people into killers to save their own skin.

Sadly, Truth or Dare was a major misfire. Although it has a few issues, the main problem is the villain's design. In human form, Calux is always depicted with a badly rendered CGI smile. So, when Calux forces the participants to slay each other or themselves, it's impossible to take anything seriously every time the camera cuts to the demon's Joker-like grin.

When the smile isn't as pronounced, Truth or Dare looks quite creepy, indicating director Jeff Wadlow shouldn't have bothered with the special effects at all. Removing the digital mouths wouldn't have made Truth or Dare a masterpiece, but it would've stopped it turning into an unintentional comedy.


James Egan has written 80 books including 1000 Facts about Superheroes Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Horror Movies Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about The Greatest Films Ever Made Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about Video Games Vol. 1-3 1000 Facts about TV Shows Vol. 1-3 Twitter - @jameswzegan85