From Their Screen to Yours

How CGI is Used in Modern Horror Movies


Eric Heissener

This is an iconic scene from the 2018 film “Bird Box.” To get the effect in actress Sarah Paulson’s eyes, CGI was used. This is one of the many examples of horror/thriller movies using special effects to enhance movie scenes.

Isaiah Prophet, Reporter

Computer generated images or CGI for short are an important factor in many modern films, this is especially true for many modern horror films. CGI can open up new creative avenues and opportunities for producers. Whether that means making objects float without the use of wires or even computer generating a monster CGI has changed the horror industry for the better.

“La Manoir Du Diable” or “The House Of The Devil” is considered to be the first horror movie in existence according to Mental Floss. The movie was made in 1896 by  French filmmaker, Georges Méliès. The movie was a short three minute film of a bat turning into a demon via quick frame changes and smoke as well as summoning various characters and objects to appear on the screen. The film’s rudimentary and rugged transitions may have seemed archaic by today’s standards, but for that time period, it was considered a masterpiece.

Flash forward 124 years where special effects are no longer put together with pieces of scrap and paper but instead are generated from a computer on the big screen. A great example of this was the 2018 “A Quiet Place.” In this movie, the creatures that hunted down the protagonists were entirely CGI animated. 

The process of designing anything from CGI is both costly and time consuming. In the case of “A Quiet Place,” the monsters that were shown went through several redesigns before the final product was shown. According to CartoonBrew the creatures used design elements from snake scales and prehistoric fish in order to make the creature look scarier.

“Annihilation” is another film that makes excellent use of CGI. Throughout the film CGI is used to make many of the creatures appear mutated. According to The Verge  the developers used CGI to blend the characteristics of various creatures to add depth to each mutation. In the case of what is now dubbed “the bear” developers smashed human and bear-like qualities to produce the nightmarish creature.

CGI can often be a taboo topic as any movie critics feel that it can make the movie feel cheap or basic. However, I believe that CGI is an important new aspect in filmmaking and as the technology improves so will the horror movies I enjoy so much.