Women like a good scare, too
Project | Test
Horror films rely on younger audiences to maximize the box office, and often skew male even though women viewers are critical. One film shifted the focus to women to ensure success during the busy Christmas play period
Blumhouse Productions put its magic touch on a remake of the 1974 genre-defining movie, “Black Christmas.” The remake relies on a new vision from Blumhouses’ first female director (and female writing team), in addition to tried and true horror techniques to frighten audiences. Monet’s trailer test results reveal a secret formula to win women viewers ages 18-24.
The first half of the trailer is traditional Blumhouse horror with female characters in jeopardy, falling off one by one. The back half of the trailer reflects the director’s vision of girls taking back control like “Friday the 13th.”
Monet reveals the emotional valence of female viewers increase as the trailer progresses (see the image above), which means they like the come back story. The men’s emotional engagement is high in the first half, but decreases
Dig deeper and you can see how the scariest moments of the trailer also cause women to react the highest. Monet’s dashboard view below overlays scare emotions (in orange) with reactions (in white). The harmonized peaks reveal women like the jumpscares.
It’s not always about having good emotions, but exciting people when they want it most. That’s why “Black Christmas” stands a fighting chance with young women during a competitive holiday play period (Jumanji and Star Wars).
Contrast these results with "Doctor Sleep"
The Stephen King adaptation revitalizes iconic moments of “The Shining” to engage young women. It works in the first half of the trailer, but the suffocating tension causes emotional engagement to drop.
The dashboard view below also shows how the scare emotions and reactions are not in sync.
Monet recommends “Doctor Sleep” devote more time to female characters and situations to increase engagement and drive urgency to see the film when it is released.