Why Tarot star Harriet Slater's horror movie 'resurgence' claim is a little hollow

Maybe she's been avoiding the reviews.

USA. Harriet Slater in the (C)Screen Gems new film: Tarot (2024).  Plot: When a group of friends recklessly violates the sacred rule of Tarot readings, they unknowingly unleash an unspeakable evil trapped within the cursed cards. One by one, they come face to face with fate and end up in a race against death. Ref: LMK106-J10639-200324 Supplied by LMKMEDIA. Editorial Only. Landmark Media is not the copyright owner of these Film or TV stills but provides a service only for recognised Media outlets. pictures@lmkmedia.com
Harriet Slater in this year's horror Tarot. (Screen Gems/Everett Collection)

Tarot star Harriet Slater has claimed horror movies are enjoying "a real resurgence" at the moment, but is that entirely true when the critics are tearing a large chunk of them apart?

Co-directed by Spenser Cohen and Anna Halberg, the genre's latest entry sees Slater (last on the big screen as Fran in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny) playing a teenager named Haley, who has a penchant for reading tarot cards.

Haley and a group of pals rent an Airbnb only to discover a cursed deck in the property, which of course she begins to use. Cue a string of grisly college kid deaths.

Following the movie's release, Slater told RadioTimes: "It's an exciting time for horror movies right now – they're having a real resurgence. The ones that really scare me are the ones based in real stories, like Midsommar, because it almost could be real. That film really scared me; I couldn't watch it again!"

TAROT, Harriet Slater, 2024. © Screen Gems / courtesy Everett Collection
The actress claims horror movies are in resurgence. (Everett Collection)

This Midsommar reference is fairly used in context to a supposed resurgence of the genre - Ari Aster's 2019 folk horror was one of the most deeply chilling experiences you can have at the cinema - yet Slater's own movie has spent the past 24 hours being ridiculed by the press, making her suggestion a little wobbly-legged.

In his two-star review for The Guardian, Benjamin Lee described Tarot as "a film wisely kept from critics until the very last second and one that audiences would be smart to keep themselves from too.

"It's not quite as bad as these things can often be but flashes of competence are not enough to distract from a sense of crushing pointlessness, more watery slop served up lukewarm for undemanding Friday night horror fans, who really ought to be demanding so much more," he added.

Variety's Todd Gilchrist even accused the filmmakers of repeatedly leveraging "the genre's laziest mood-setting and suspense-building devices to keep its audience on the edge of their seats", while GamesRadar+ essentially labelled it a poor imitation of Final Destination.

Ari Aster burst on the scene last year with <em>Hereditary</em> and has wasted no time in delivering another epic slice of supernatural spookiness. Florence Pugh and Jack Reynor lead a cast of American college students invited to attend and observe a traditional Scandinavian celebration, which it's fair to say is a little different to the average Western festivities. <a href=
Florence Pugh offered a stellar performance in Midsommar. (A24)

Let's be real for a minute: for every Talk To Me and Late Night with The Devil, there's a Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey, Night Swim, or Imaginary lurking around the corner - all released in the last couple of years.

This isn't a resurgence, it's merely the continuous trend of the horror world that gifts fans a genuine diamond in the rough once in a blue moon.

Tarot is now in cinemas.