The Difference Between Thriller Movies and Horror Movies

The thriller movies genre is often confused with the genre known as horror. Why? It can be difficult to differentiate between the two, from their very natures to the way Hollywood and the film industry prefers to split the two or blur the lines between them. Here are some of the main differences between thriller movies and horror movies.

The Purpose of Thriller vs. the Purpose of Horror

Every film is written with a purpose, how it wants to affect the audience. Thriller movies are meant to thrill, to keep viewers on the edge of their seat – not shaking in it. Though they may have some elements of terror, they are usually more suspenseful. Horror movies aim to horrify viewers; the main goal is to get you jumping from your seat. A thriller leaves room for discussion and can generate some real fear, whereas horror will simply leave you feeling spooked without much reason, as the events are extremely improbable.

No Plot vs. a Point

Thriller movies always have a good plot. This isn’t surprising, as many are book based. You can expect the unexpected with thrillers. You don’t know exactly who is doing what or why, but it is revealed to you and there’s sure to be twists in the story. With horror, most everything is predictable. You typically know who is doing what, though a motive may or may not be given. You can typically tell what happens next and to whom, but thrillers are witty cat and mouse games.

Reality vs. Fantasy

The line between thrillers and horror is drawn here. Thrillers are films that could happen. They’re about stalkers, serial killers who stay dead when they die and practical phenomenon.

Horror films stray from reality, with killers returning from the dead and other supernatural elements taking place.

Body Count Counts

Horror focuses on gore and body count. A thriller might kill off a significant number of characters, but any grotesque deaths will only be implied, not shown.

Genre Mixing to Gain an Audience

Many times genres are mixed and for the sake of attracting more viewers they are categorized in a non traditional way. What may have been a horror might be released as a suspense thriller. That’s just how Hollywood works. It’s about earning a dollar, and some people who don’t like horror will be drawn in when watching thriller movies that almost cross that line, but not quite.

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