Sinister 2 opens in Singapore this Thursday! In the aftermath of the events of Sinister, a young mother and her twin boys move into a house that is – of course – haunted. In this sequel to the 2012 hit sleeper movie, a protective mother (Shannyn Sossamon of “Wayward Pines”) and her 9-year-old twin sons (real-life twins Robert and Dartanian Sloan) find themselves in a rural house marked for death as the evil spirit of Buhguul continues to spread with frightening intensity.

But what makes a scary house? Here’s 10 things every scary house in a horror movie must have.

1. The house is old. And abandoned. 

The resale value of the house had plunged for some reason. Source: imgur.com

The resale value of the house had plunged for some reason. Source: imgur.com

Your first sign that something’s up: The house is totes old and located in the middle of nowhere. It should also be concealing a horrible history that can only be related by…

2. A cheery housekeeper

"Why, hello there. Why don't you come in while I sharpen my knives and cleavers?" Source: www.housekeepers-tale.com

“Why, hello there. Why don’t you come in while I sharpen my knives and cleavers?” Source: www.housekeepers-tale.com

Next up: A smiley, preferably matronly, housekeeper. Don’t ever turn your back on her, cos you just KNOW she’s hiding murderous intentions behind that smile, and a cellar full of eviscerated body parts.

But before she reveals her true nature, she must first relate the story of the house, usually involving a patriarch/matriarch who went mad and murdered the entire family.

3. Creaking doors that slam shut

Source: www.youtube.com

Source: www.youtube.com

Your next indicator that things are going to get bad: Doors that creak reaaalllly loudly, and then slam shut for no good reason at all.

Which is an indicator of either a) door hinges in need of some industrial strength lubricant b) a really strong air current flowing through the house or c) a really, really haunted house.

4. Creepy children

OK, OK, I'll get out of bed. Source: Golden Village Pictures

OK, OK, I’ll get out of bed. Source: Golden Village Pictures

You know those smugly married couples with kids who extol the virtues of marriage and constantly ask you: “So when’s your turn?” Well, they wouldn’t be so smug if their children had turned out this way.

You can always identify the creepy kids – they’re the ones hanging out in the corner, casting meaningful glances and talking to invisible friends. Then they look at you all weird-like and say things like “He is coming” or “Freddy is back”.

Occasionally, they also kneel in front of a television showing only static and whisper to it.

5. Animals freaking out

"NOOO NOT THE SOFT TOY!!!" Source: www.hazaah.com

“NOOO NOT THE SOFT TOY!!!” Source: www.hazaah.com

Other than their ability to sense food, dogs also serve a very useful function: Detecting the invisible creatures that want to murder you.

If the dog doesn’t start barking ferociously at something you can’t see, then it has failed in life. FAILED.

6. The creepy guardian

Source: www.geektyrant.com

“Don’t go in that house. It faces east and there’s no MRT station nearby.” Source: www.geektyrant.com

But before you get to all of that, you first need to deal with the harbinger: A (preferably) old man who comes over all creepy and issues dire warnings not to go near the house. Which you promptly ignore, of course.

7. Flying dishes/cutlery/furniture

www.nick-b.hubpages.com

“I just washed those!” www.nick-b.hubpages.com

Strangely, this always feels much more exhilarating than frightening. We’ve all felt like throwing our stuff around in frustration – and the ghouls/ghosts/creatures do it for you!

8. Religious artefacts
The famous crucifix in Amityville Horror turned upside-down by itself. Source: www.editionspapiers.org

The famous crucifix in Amityville Horror turned upside-down by itself. Source: www.editionspapiers.org

Crucifixes, rosaries, religious icons et al are usually a source of comfort for the faithful, providing a fixed point for their beliefs. In the case of haunted houses, it just means weird stuff is about to go down.

This usually involves said artefacts bleeding, or being vandalised, or being thrown around the room. Which is awesome for the ghosts, but just having to clean up the mess alone would make any sane person move out.

9. A hidden room

Of course we found the gateway to hell. We came that way. Source: Golden Village Pictures

Of course we found the gateway to hell. We came that way. Source: Golden Village Pictures

It’s not enough for the apparitions haunting the house to just haunt it – they also have to have a hidden room that no one knows about. Which just isn’t fair to the living, when you think about it.

10. A single mother
The single mum is an easy target. Source: Golden Village Pictures.

The single mum is an easy target. Source: Golden Village Pictures.

For some reason, couples never seem to get targeted as much as single mothers do. As seen in Dark Water (2002), The Others (2001) and Sinister 2 (2015), the husband is either missing, has left the family after a divorce, or dead. Then again, these cinematic ghouls could be Singapore government officials.