Jack Ketchum's 1984 novel Hide and Seek unfortunately suffers a bit from this malady. Although its monsters are not truly supernatural, Ketchum's novel contains a beast that really isn't very scary, and its appearance towards the end of the book is a bit of a letdown--at least from my point of view.
Of course, it's only a letdown because the buildup to that point is so damned compelling.
I'll try not to spoil anything, but suffice to say that Hide and Seek has much more going on under the surface than a teenage slasher or haunted house movie. I wrote about Ketchum's depth as a writer in a recent post and he doesn't disappoint here. Hide and Seek is about the darkness we have inside of us. In a play on the title, Casey has her own dark secret that she keeps buried and hidden. Seeking it out at its dark core proves very dangerous, indeed.
The old Crouch house contains a tunnel of horrors in its dusty basement. Read as a symbol, the journey into this dark and rotten place is a voyage inside Casey's bleeding psyche. A horrible, vile truth lurks in this void, but it must be faced and stamped out if she is to become whole.
Hide and Seek begins with a brief meditation on how fate and chance are unpredictable, and how even a single, awful event can twist and ruin someone for the rest of their life. For Casey, a moment of unforgiveable weakness by her father in her 13th year causes her to develop a wild, nihilistic streak that threatens to consume her. Only when she finally faces her fear--the beast in the cave--does Casey grow up:
In the midst of all the terror, we were happy. The caves had shown us the worst the world could do to you. And for just a moment, something of the best.
But Ketchum is not a typical writer and happy outcomes are not guaranteed. His horrors--and those endured by Casey--are mean and nasty, and can kill.
In summary, if viewed in a purely psychological sense, Hide and Seek works and its implications are frightening. But with a literal reading in the cold light of day, the things in the Crouch house aren't really so frightening, after all.
Note: Hide and Seek is Ketchum's second novel and, although I still recommend it as a cracking good read, his later stuff (The Lost, The Girl Next Door) gets better.