Scaredy cat notice! Netflix’s internal tracking data has figured out what scary movies people are having to bail out of, after renting them.
Don’t look, kitty! Too scary! Paul Tassi, of Forbes, received a note from Netflix, after he mentioned that he had watched Veronica, a movie pitched to be “So terrifying that Netflix users were saying they had to turn it off.” I can vividly remember watching The Silence of the Lambs with my parents on VHS, and they had no idea what they were up against. Dad bailed out of the living room after Buffalo bill kidnapped Catherine in his white cargo van. Mom bailed out after Catherine was in the pit. Neither of them made it past the 50% marker of the movie, leaving me alone to finish it. I had to stop watching Splice because the characters decision making was so frustrating, and the mutant incest themes were more than I wanted to deal with. (Good acting, good production, but a film that I just couldn’t finish.)
Netflix has apparently tried to figure out what movies in their library have people stopping the films due to how scary they are. Tassi wondered how you could determine if people were quitting because the movie was bad, or if they were quitting because it was too intense. Netflix used the 70% completion point as the tracking marker, since if someone tends not to like the film at all… they were bailing much earlier. Like, when I bailed out of Transformer Age of Extinction… in which I think I quit after 20 minutes. A waste of money, that was.
Here is the list of the top 10 movies according to the Netflix data, the Rotten Tomatoes score, and my estimation as to at what point people stopped watching.
- Cabin Fever (2016) RT: 0%
A flesh-eating virus infects horny twenty-somethings in the prototypical cabin in the woods. This is the remake of the equally nasty 2002 film by Eli Roth.
Breaking point suspicion: So many points to choose from. My guess is when they find Marcy bleeding from all orifices and falling apart. But it could have been the moment with the dog. Or any number of other gory moments.
- Carnage Park (2016) RT: 61%
A crime/horror heist caper. Violent and bloody.
Breaking point suspicion: I suspect the scene where a woman who is handcuffed to a corpse had to mutilate said corpse to break free.
- Mexico Barbaro (2014) RT: 60%
A group of abused strippers takes their revenge upon their abusers.
Breaking Point: I have not yet seen this movie to determine where the panic point sets in. Nor is there any IMDB data to suggest what might be turning people off. Given the limited plot synopsis, I’m guessing there is a rape scene, which for many is an automatic non-starter. Anybody out there willing to clue us in?
- Piranha (2010) RT: 74%
Spring break goes completely haywire when thousands of piranha are released from a fissure in Lake Victoria’s depths.
Breaking Point: Unclear… as Tassi also points out… this movie is a goofy horror satire, and doesn’t take itself seriously. It is raunchy, and juvenile, and while it is bloody, it isn’t out and out gross and disturbing like Cabin Fever. Maybe it’s when Jerry O’Connell gets his junk bitten off… and that’s when parents may have said… “OK, that’s enough.” Click. Also, the piranha attack on the spring break partiers is very bloody and chaotic, and again, parents thinking this might be a fun movie to watch with their kids may have opted out at this point.
- Raw (2016) RT: 90%
A young vegan woman who is starting her first year in veterinary school becomes a cannibal after being forced to eat meat in a school hazing ritual.
Breaking Point: This isn’t so much terrifying as it is extremely anxiety-inducing. The moment where our protagonist Justine is confronting her cannibal for the first time had me shouting “No! No! Don’t do it!” at my TV. Others may have just hit the panic button at this point. Stay with it though, as I think it’s a very rewarding watch.
- Teeth (2007) RT: 80%
A high school student, living in the shadow of a nuclear power plant discovers that her girly bits have mutated, and act as a strange evolutionary defense mechanism from sexual predators and molesters. This is most definitely not a gateway film, and probably could have earned an NC-17 rating, but it was widely applauded by critics.
Breaking Point: Another anxiety-inducing film. The premise alone tells you that there are going to be some extremely uncomfortable moments. There are multiple rape and molestation scenes that will repulse many viewers. Both the act and the monstrous reaction are probably enough for people to shut it down for the night.
- The Conjuring (2013) RT: 86%
Famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren assist the Perron family, who fear that their home is haunted.
Breaking Point: The climax of the movie is very intense, though the movie is almost free of gore. When Caroly Perron goes full possession, I could see thousands of people thinking “Nope!” and shutting it down. They would be doing themselves a disservice, as this is an excellent film, and worth gutting through the scary stuff for.
- The Human Centipede (2013) RT: 30%
Yeah, you know this one. A mad scientist captures a trio of tourists and stitches them together in a chain, anus to mouth, to form a “human centipede.”
Breaking Point: Well… this is one of the most notorious bridge too far movies. If you went into this movie, just curious about the hype… I suspect you would be bailing out at the first vision of the centipede victims. I will admit that I have not, nor do I want to see this movie. It is all kinds of vile, and I would seriously suspect that I would be one of the people switching this off.
- The Void (2016) RT: 75%
A small town sheriff’s deputy drops off a patient to the local hospital during the night shift, only to find that the hospital is being possessed by demons, and is surrounded by a cult who worship the demons inside.
Breaking Point: This is a violent and gory movie, and for those unaccustomed to gory and violent horror films, there are a number of scenes at which you might just give up. Those who managed to make it through the first big encounter with the demons may have just decided they had enough once the survivors decided to go into the basement, where much foulness awaited. Here’s my review of The Void.
- Jeruzalem (2015) RT: 59%
A pair of American women go to Israel for holiday, and when arriving in Jerusalem, they find a city under seige by demons.
Breaking Point: I haven’t seen this yet. However, in reading the IMDB Parents Guide, there is a zombie attack on a soldier that is pretty gory… but this does not carry a reputation for being a notoriously gory movie. Perhaps this is a case where people who rented this movie were expecting something different.
So, there’s a mix of good movies, trashy movies, and absolutely vile movies in this list. The two films I don’t understand being on this list are Piranha and Jeruzalem, which on the whole are fairly benign films, compared to the others on the list. I’m pretty stunned that Hostel, A Serbian Film, and The Green Inferno did not end up on the list, as they are all brutal and difficult watches (and recent enough to get a lot of data.) It’s also astonishing at how fine-grained Netflix can get when analyzing our viewing habits, and perhaps the scariest takeaway of it all!
To respect our viewing audience who may be sensitive, I am keeping the images limited to adorable critters who also don’t want to watch these movies to their conclusions.
My thanks to Dan Bradbury for bringing my attention to the Forbes article!