It's simple enough for a horror movie to get stuck in an audience's craw, given the rate at which genre features are churned out, and the often lackadaisical approach to quality some studios exhibit (looking at you, Sony). But the lesser-spotted beast is the horror flick that gets put down by one of its contemporaries.
Studios typically fight dirty for their slice of the pie when it comes to movie releases, and its not unusual for two big rivals to put out similar features around the same time in an effort to out-gun or out-class one another. Some have even been known to churn out carbon copies of another studio's success in the hopes that audiences, single-minded simpletons that we are, will keep eating up the same thing no matter how many times its regurgitated.
Thus, we often find ourselves faced with a selection of similar options when we rock up to the box office, whether they actively aim for the same audience, copy their competitors' content, or simply play within the same conceptual ball park. And while many films can comfortably coincide, sometimes there is a stand-out feature that just makes rival flicks look the fool.
Some we remember well, some not so much, but all have had their pants pulled down in public and been found wanting.
10. Severance EMBARRASSED Shrooms
2007 horror Shrooms follows a group of American students who take a trip to Ireland and get lost in the woods after taking various mind-altering substances. The guide deploys a ghost story about the empty children's home nearby, which was stalked by a violent and sadistic monk. Soon, the group are being hunted by a psychotic killer and get picked off one by one. Good enough. Forgettable enough. And that's all, she wrote.
Or is it?
Doing the rounds a year before was the Danny Dyer vehicle Severance, which followed a group of work colleagues who take a trip to mainland Europe and get lost in the Hungarian woodlands. A story is deployed of the lodge they're staying in, which was previously a mental institution whose inmates were gassed by the Russians, and which was left with a murderous lone survivor. The group ingest various substances and soon encounter a psychotic killer.
Though the films swerve down different routes for the killer's reveal, the parallels between them are too much of a muchness to deny. But, as is so often the way with these things, only one reigns triumphant. While Severance is nobody's idea of horror film royalty, it has achieved status as a schlocky cult classic.
Severance leaves Shrooms with a slapped-red face thanks in no small part to its British humour, tongue-in-cheek approach and, of course, Dyer's reliably hammy performance.