How to Act in a Horror Movie

Horror movies excite and frighten viewers due to the danger faced by their characters from whatever alien, monster or slasher is chasing them. Actors must be believably scared or brave to make a horror movie good. Here are a few tips to improve your performance and to act in a horror movie.





Research the original if it’s a remake.

Horror movies that are remakes of classic films will have die-hard fans that will scrutinize your acting performance. Watch the original film several times and pay attention to the character you’re playing. Look for ways you can embody the original portrayal while still making it unique to you.


Get in shape for chase scenes.

You’ll probably have to run up stairs or through woods for several takes when you’re acting in a horror movie. Follow an exercise routine that includes plenty of running and cardio so you’re in shape and camera-ready.


Know your character.

Make your acting more believable by being comfortable with your character. Know who the character is, his or her background, the character’s connection to the other characters, and how he or she came to be in the setting of the film or encounter the bad guy. Decide what character traits or flaws will be most effective to emphasize during your horror movie performance to connect best with the audience.


Practice screaming.

The perfect blood-chilling scream is a vital part of any horror film, but multiple takes will leave you hoarse if you’re not prepared. Find a location where you won’t disturb anyone and practice screaming as loud as you can several times in a row.

Improve your scream with proper breathing. Take a deep breath from your diaphragm so you feel it in your stomach. Hold your head up and back when you scream to expand your lungs and airway for maximum volume.


Understand your role.

Horror movies often employ characters in set stereotype roles, like the dumb athlete or the promiscuous party girl. Understand your stereotype even if it’s not who you are in reality. Stick to the character traits and actions that epitomize that stereotype to make your character real to the audience.


Think about what scares you.

You will be more believable when acting in a horror film if you’re really scared. Think about what scared of, like spiders or snakes, or what scares you in a horror movie, like aliens, slashers or demon-possessed children. Use these inner fears to fuel your performance when you face the movie’s villain.


Learn to use your weapons.

Understand how to hold, load and use any weapons your character uses in the film. You’ll be shooting blanks and using prop knives, but knowing how to handle the real thing will make your performance more relatable and believable to the audience.


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