10 CGI Horror Movie Shots You Never Noticed

You'd never known these moments from famous horror movies weren't real.

Scream 4 CGI Knife
Dimension Films

There's a long-standing history of practical effects in horror movies, from the very early days of the genre to the smash hit slashers of the 1980s and beyond. This might have something to do with the fact that, historically, horrors have had relatively low budgets which cannot be spared on expensive computer effects.

Why pay for Industrial Light and Magic when rubber masks and tomato ketchup will do just as well?

However, as time has progressed, more and more horrors have opted to move their effects divisions into the digital space. Some series have kept things practical, like the Terrifier movies, but CGI is definitely becoming more commonplace throughout the genre.

Sometimes this isn't hard to spot (IT and IT Chapter Two both have some shocking SFX in them), but, in other cases, the digital trickery is so subtle that you wouldn't notice it unless someone pointed it out to you. Consider this list someone pointing it out to you.

From weather effects to character models to entire environments, these 10 movies all proved that good CGI doesn't have to be an anomaly, no matter what some recent Marvel movies might have you believe.

10. The Island’s Introduction - Shutter Island

Scream 4 CGI Knife
Paramount Pictures

With more twists and turns than a dancing boa constrictor caught in a clothes mangle, Shutter Island is a tense horror-thriller from Martin Scorsese about an FBI agent who gets more than he bargained for when he arrives at a mental institute in search of a missing patient. 

The institute is on an island, in case that wasn’t painfully obvious from the title. 

The titular location is introduced in a great shot where U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his part Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo) arrive there via boat. You’d have thought that this was just a regular shot of the location where the movie was filmed, which was Peddocks Island near Boston, Massachusetts, but there was some post-production trickery at play here.

In order to make the island look more eerie, extra fog was added in post, giving birth to that great moment where the boat finally pierces through the mist and reveals the menacing rock in all its looming glory.

It’s a relatively minor addition, but one that does a lot of work in setting the scene for all of the dark revelations that are to come. 

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Jacob Simmons has a great many passions, including rock music, giving acclaimed films three-and-a-half stars, watching random clips from The Simpsons on YouTube at 3am, and writing about himself in the third person.