Horror vs Thriller: Difference and Comparison

Movies are always a great source of entertainment, and the craze of binge-watching a movie or any series never fades away. Long weekend plans include bungee-watching any show or movie.

The storyline of the movie is one of the essential parts. Scripts of a film can do wonders; even if the star cast has just debuted, the movie can become a hit, and a bad script can flop even if it has the most famous actors or actresses.

The baseline of any script is choosing its genre. Genre is a particular style or category in which a writer writes a script, for example, romance, horror, thriller, comedy, etc.

These are the complete choice of the writer on how he puts things in his script.

Genre is vital for any script as it somewhat filters the story. For example, some people prefer watching romantic movies, but if the genre is not specified in movies and they watch thrillers, it will bring boredom to the audience, so it helps the audience choose their type of movie.

Every genre is different from each other, but movies can have more than one genre at the same time, for example, romcom (romance and comedy), fiction and thriller, drama and romance, etc.

Key Takeaways

  1. Horror is a genre of fiction that focuses on evoking fear, dread, and terror in the audience, involving supernatural elements, monsters, or other frightening themes.
  2. Thriller is a genre of fiction that emphasizes suspense, tension, and excitement, revolving around a high-stakes conflict or a dangerous situation the protagonist faces.
  3. Both horror and thriller genres aim to elicit strong emotional reactions from the audience, but horror focuses on fear and terror, while thriller emphasizes suspense and tension.

Horror vs. Thriller

Horror is a type of movie that may be based on supernatural creations. The purpose is to present scary events to the audience. The audio and visuals are also designed in a scary way. A thriller can be something about theft, escape, etc. It is a combination of suspense, twists, excitement, etc.

Horror vs Thriller

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonHorrorThriller
ObjectiveCreate horrorCreate thrill
PracticalityNot presentOften present
Basic plotGhostCrime or escape
AudienceAdults onlyAdults and children above 12 years (under the supervision of an adult)


What is Horror?

Horror is a genre that has supernatural elements, mostly “ghosts.” This genre is always preferred for adults as it leaves people spooked and can be dangerous for kids.

All love horror movies; although they are not so practical, their representation contains supernatural elements, so their story’s primary focus is horrifying the audience to another level.

It sounds absurd to some people, but some horror lovers always want more horror in the movies, as they are never satisfied with the horror scenes. Sometimes visuals of horror movies are also too scary.

The main focus of the writer is on the person who is being attacked by the ghost (protagonist), the person who helps them out (the protagonist), and the ghost (antagonist). The irony of horror movies is that the antagonist is not even a human being; they are something that cannot be seen.

Most horror scenes do not visualize the ghost, which might deteriorate interest. Rather, scenes are depicted wherein something is happening, but the presence of humans is not there, ultimately creating horror.

The horror genre is also found in some novels; in the world of book lovers, horror might not be as famous as movies, as it becomes difficult to picture what is not even tangible in the head. So, not everyone likes horror in books.

Horror becomes more horrifying when incidents are taken from real life. Their reference is from real-life stories sometimes. But the only drawback of horror movies is that they are not practical.

They are predictable that something supernatural in the movie will horrify the main character, and someone will help the protagonist. Although, some writers have done experiments by mixing two entirely different genres, horror and comedy.

Indeed this combination is absurd yet interesting.


What is Thriller?

Thriller is a genre with a twisted plot with crime and escape scenes. This genre is always present in most crime movies and thus loved by the audience.

Thriller is a package of thrill, excitement, suspense, grief, twists, etc. This genre never fails to brighten up boring Sundays.

This genre lets its audience chase the climax. To make it more interesting, makers of movies try to exaggerate the movie till the second part, which ultimately brings the audience again to the theatre.

Thrillers are full of suspense and crime; it is always advisable to make children watch under the supervision of an adult. Writers of thriller genres are always considered enough to put twists in the movies.

Unlike horror, if thriller movies have lots of twists, it might confuse the audience.

Thriller movies have patterns and structures with lead characters as protagonists and antagonists. These characters are human beings (mostly) which creates a fine line between thriller and horror.

Writers of the thriller genre always experiment with the basic storyline making it more interesting by giving it different shapes; in some movies nowadays, it is seen that the climax scene is put in the first place to create that chaos in the audience and leave them with guesses.

In novels as well, thrillers are loved by book lovers. Thrillers are easy to picturized in the head, and they create suspense. Thriller is mixed with other genres like horror, fiction, etc.


Main Differences Between Horror and Thriller

  1. The motive of horror is to create more horror, and the objective of thriller is to generate more thrill.
  2. Horrors leave the audience spooked, whereas thriller leaves the audience in suspense.
  3. In horror, the antagonist is a supernatural element; in contrast, the thriller antagonist is a human being (mostly).
  4. Horror is not practical as compared to thriller.
  5. Horror is predictable to some extent, but thrillers have lots of twists and suspense.
Difference Between Horror and Thriller
  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=9-KAAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PR7&dq=Horror+and+Thriller&ots=dTIGfzDU2c&sig=5hB3Y2NOL3jI0OZ3fI42D0qr2pI
  2. https://eprints.qut.edu.au/16446/

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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20 thoughts on “Horror vs Thriller: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The article makes a great job highlighting the differences between horror and thriller movies, and the importance of having a good script. Very informative!

    1. Certainly, understanding the essence of each genre is essential to appreciate films to their fullest potential.

  2. The detailed exploration of horror and thriller movies portrayed the complexities and diversities of each genre eloquently.

    1. Absolutely, the article left no stone unturned in deciphering the allure and essence of both horror and thriller films.

    2. Precisely, the insightful examination of horror and thriller genres provided a comprehensive understanding of their multifaceted nature.

  3. While I enjoy a good thriller, I’ve never been drawn to the horror genre. The examination provided, however, was captivating and insightful.

  4. I’m not a big fan of horror movies, but the thorough analysis of the genre’s elements made me rethink my perspective. Quite compelling!

    1. The article successfully describes the key concepts of horror films, painting a vivid picture of its unique characteristics.

  5. The comparison table was very clear and useful for defining the differences between horror and thriller movies. Great post!

    1. Avatar of Phillips Muhammad
      Phillips Muhammad

      Indeed, the detailed insights were quite enlightening, shedding light on the complexity of movie genres.

    2. Avatar of Kieran Anderson
      Kieran Anderson

      I agree, the article provided a comprehensive overview of each genre, enhancing our understanding of the film industry.

  6. This article is a fantastic guide for those interested in understanding the dynamics and nuances of horror and thriller movies.

  7. The rich, in-depth analysis within this article not only broadened my knowledge of these genres but also heightened my appreciation for them.

  8. This article’s meticulous portrayal of horror and thriller genres was both illuminating and thought-provoking.

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