The rise of modern horrors

The independent production company behind some of the past decade’s biggest horror hits, Blumhouse Productions has established a unique formula that just won’t die.

Here’s a deep look into the success of modern horrors and why it’s latest terrifying offering, Truth Or Dare, in cinemas 13th April,  is ready to kill it at the box office…



The word Blumhouse has become one that signals a certain type of extremely popular horror film. The latest movie to come screaming out of the Blumhouse camp, Truth or Dare follows a group of teens who play the famous game .  But someone or something doesn’t want the game to end, and certainly doesn’t take well to cheating. Cheaters will be punished. It's going to get gory...

Truth or Dare fits the model of  the perfect Blumhouse horror film perfectly:

  • Up-and-coming director (Jeff Wadlow).
  • Micro budget.
  • Relatively unknown cast (Lucy Hale from Pretty Little Liars and Teen Wolf’s Tyler Posey are by far the biggest names).
  • Artistic freedom - which means challenging the obvious and go against the politically correct
  • An original concept

Also, you will be happily surprised (and scared) because: 

  • It looks like Saw meets The Ring and Final Destination.
  • The story leads to an audaciously nutty climax.
  • It has elements from different genres: sometimes detective story (the survivors need to find out about a curse), sometimes dark comedy - you'll laugh and cover your eyes at the same time!


If you're not familiar with the winning Blumhouse formula, have a look at these phenomenally successful films and the story behind why they became modern horrror classics...


Two words: Paranormal Activity. Not only did 2007’s creepy found-footage movie redefine the horror genre, it also redefined the way films were made.

Founder Jason Blum discovered the film, produced on a mini-budget of ,000, and miraculously convinced DreamWorks to distribute it without a ‘Hollywood’ makeover. The result was almost 0 million at the worldwide box office.

Over a decade later the micro-budget to maxi-profit approach is still stabbing away at the traditional Hollywood model... 


Blumhouse Productions became one of the biggest forces in the horror genre, seeking out up-and-coming directors with interesting concepts and giving them a few million dollars to do their thing.

With the distributors initially out of the picture, they were given complete artistic freedom, and lesser-known actors got the opportunity to shine (in return for working for scale and taking a cut of the profits).

  • 2012’s Sinister reaped nearly million on a million budget.
  • 2014’s Unfriended was produced for a pocket-friendly million and made more than million at the box office.
  • The Purge: Election Year ( million to 8 million), and last year’s huge breakout hit Get Out (.5 million to a staggering 5 million).


Let’s be clear, these are not gritty little genre films that get bums on seats and then disappear. This year’s Oscars saw Get Out up for four gongs including Best Picture, Director, Actor (for its breakout star Daniel Kaluuya) and Original Screenplay, for which director Jordan Peele took home the statue.

It was a script that had been knocking around Hollywood for a while, but nobody was willing to take a chance. Enter Blum.  And the formula even works on big names that just need a nudge back into the limelight, like last year’s Split ushered M Night Shyamalan back into blockbuster territory.


Paranormal Activity has now spawned five films in total, while The Purge has seen its box office climb with each of its three movies, and the fourth Insidious release, The Last Key, recently proved the biggest box office success of the franchise so far.

Its fitting, then, since Blumhouse is responsible for some of the biggest horror series of the past decade, that the company is currently taking a stab at relaunching the iconic Halloween series, with original creator John Carpenter onboard as executive producer.

Johnny English Strikes Again
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