This past weekend was a lousy one for Horror. Universal’s THE MUMMY underperformed at the American box office (but did great overseas) and got slammed by bad reviews (more on this in a second). The independent IT COMES AT NIGHT has been getting glowing reviews on the circuit, but it also underperformed, relatively speaking, and in one of those rare exceptions, the audiences were harsher on it than were the “professional” critics. (More on this in a sec, too.) And the excellent ALIEN: COVENANT is still losing ground.
First, check out this assessment by a writer for Deadline, slamming THE MUMMY–a writer who obviously didn’t even watch the movie and is generally clueless about a lot of things. “[The film is] just a really bad, messy movie which can’t decide which direction to take,” he says, “coupled with a complex mythology around a female mummy’s soul trapped in Cruise’s body.” Uh, no, junior. That ISN’T the plot. Not at all. Maybe try doing a little homework before you write your articles next time? Or if you did go see the movie–which I doubt–maybe you should’ve actually paid attention.
He then laments that the new film isn’t more like the Brendan Frazer fantasies. “Why lose what everybody loved about earlier entries…social chatter has fans with ‘fond memories of Brendan Fraser’s series of films’ and reviewers fondly recall the campiness of those pics, gone now for a dark, broody, monotonous tone.” The consensus among Horror fans is that they want the new Universal movies to skew more closely to straight Horror and less towards the “campy” aspect. Fans want it darker, not lighter!
This same writer then takes issue with FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM. “[It is] another example of what can go severely wrong when there’s so much emphasis put on a movie to launch a franchise…Warner Bros. nearly ran into this problem with [FANTASTIC BEASTS]…when they ambitiously announced a month before release that the [HARRY POTTER] spinoff series would span five titles. [It] put up the lowest opening of any [POTTER] universe title.” Yeah, because it WASN’T a Harry Potter movie. Is that some kind of surprise?
The writer does get one thing right. “Some moviegoers don’t believe Cruise in this role, and conversation along these lines suggests a certain amount of wear-out related to the actor in these super-action roles.” Oh, but he was actually quoting another critic at that point. My bad.
The guy isn’t completely wrong, and THE MUMMY did have its flaws. But his article is a perfect example of what happens when you get a mainstream critic taking shots at a genre effort without being sufficiently knowledgeable about said effort. He is the typical Rotten Tomato critic, and as such his assessment lacks credibility.
Now as for IT COMES AT NIGHT being hated by its audience, blame that on it being marketed as a straight Horror film when it’s really as much a psychological thriller. That one is on the audience, for not knowing what they were buying tickets to see.
Again, it all comes down to doing a little homework beforehand. You’ll be a happier moviegoer because of it, and a better critic. (Although probably not a happier one. Critics as a general rule are a cranky bunch.)