It was around this time last year that a horror movie was going around that was getting the type of praise that I typically look for in choosing my titles now: “scariest movie ever,” “caused faintings,” “incredibly messed up.” These types of descriptors all tend to signal things that I like in horror movies, so when the time came that I could finally see it, I was pretty excited.
And then when I watched it… I hated it. I hated it so much. There were a few parts that I think I liked at the moment, but I can no longer even remember them because my hate for the rest of the movie clouded any sort of rational memories I had relating to the film. I hated it so much that I get mad now if somebody even mentions the title. I found myself beginning to distrust people who liked it on a personal level. I’m getting mad now that I’m wasting so many words on it!
I’d love to just let it be, let it fester and rot and wither away in the back of my mind until one day I cross that threshold in my life where I never think of it again and only then will I truly be happy.
Except they went ahead and made a sequel. And by all accounts–including people who also hated the first one–it is a huge improvement on the original.
I am… conflicted.
I admit, sometimes I’ll watch movies with the expectation that I’m going to hate them. I might harbor some resentment toward a particular actor or filmmaker, maybe it got “over-hyped,” maybe it won some award I thought should’ve gone too something else. It also happens sometimes when a movie looks like it’s going to be a “bad movie” from the trailers–and people go see it with the specific intention of making fun of it. I’m not here for that.
It’s very, very easy to watch a movie you’re expecting to hate and have your bias confirmed by movie’s end. Once you lift the veil, it’s simple to pick out flaws that you might not have noticed had you allowed yourself to become more involved in the story. When you keep yourself at a distance… well, of course you’re not going to like it.
I try to like (or at least try to enjoy the experience of watching) most movies. But I do think it’s harder to champion the movies you love than it is to pick apart the ones you dislike. To proclaim your love of a movie puts you in a vulnerable position, certainly–offering a little piece of yourself, saying “this is what I like.”
Liking the movies I watch is pretty much always the side I’d like to be on, in an ideal world. There are too many movies that I’m destined to love to spend my time watching stuff just to hate on it. In the words of Tego Leo in Fast Five: “Too much negativity, bro.”
So… about the movie in question? I still don’t know. Maybe if I read this entry again and get myself into a zen place, I can forget the trauma of the first movie and be able to give it a far chance. Maybe I’ll ignore the movie when it comes around, and watch another one of those classics I’ve been meaning to. Or maybe I’ll get in a dark place, watch the movie anyway, and write a snarky review on Letterboxd. Those do always seem to get the most play…