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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Low-budget Moviemaker’s Guide to Reading Reviews of Your Movies: PART 2

Ok, so I promised myself I wouldn’t become one of those moviemakers who is hurt by or complains about negative reviews, but after reading one our latest Monsters in the Woods reviews, I just had to say something.

Let me begin by saying I’m no egomaniac…Well maybe I am, but I certainly have no problem with folk not liking my stuff and being vocal about it. In fact, I welcome such input. I enjoy it, A few years back I got a fairly scathing review from fatally-yours for Edges of Darkness.  http://www.fatally-yours.com/horror-reviews/edges-of-darkness-2009/ Chris Jacques didn’t like the flick at all. He did however take the time to write a full, well-written and entertaining critique. Though it is negative to be sure, his review remains one my favorites. There are other examples of negative reviews that are hell-a-entertaining, and what they have in common is quality writing. The best negative review I’ve ever read was of Alone in the Dark by Devin Faraci, then of Chud. (I looked for a link to the review but couldn’t find it). That one review kept me following his writing for much of the past decade. It was one great, negative review. Then there are several negative “regular folk” user reviews on Amazon, Netflix or IMDB that really get a kick out of, and honestly that is where a recent review of my latest flick belongs, not because it is negative, but because it’s so poorly written it has no business being on a pro-site.

I’m not jerk, well maybe I am, but I won’t name the author or the website, but trust me, it’s pretty bad. Granted, if the review had been positive, I wouldn’t be writing this. In fact if I were to be completely honest, I’d admit that at least one postive review of the same movie was equally was poor. So yeah, I’m a hypocrite, but when a critique is so poorly informed (doesn’t comment or describe anything that transpires after the 20 minute mark) so poorly written (a clique is a group of like minded individuals who hang out; a cliché is an expression, idea, or element of an artistic work which has been overused to the point of losing its original meaning or effect) and is about my movie, I just have to speak up.

2/3 of the review is dedicated to the plot, which by the way only goes through the 1st act or the 1st 20 minutes of the movie and gets many of the details wrong. Then there’s a paragraph and a half of very general criticisms, again of the 1st 20 minutes. I can’t fault the author for not getting the movie or not liking it but they obviously didn’t watch the entire thing and wrote a review based on what they thought the movie might be. They never backed their opinion with any specific examples or gave a well-thought out critique on any aspect of the movie.

This kind of message board criticism is best left there. If you consider yourself a professional reviewer, than you owe it to yourself to at least watch the whole movie and give a review that does more than go over the 1st 20 minutes of a movie. If watching a particular piece is that much of a chore for you than just don’t do the piece. I’m also wondering if the site (a fairly reputable one) has an editor that actually reads theses posts, because a lot of the grammatical errors could’ve been caught easily. As posted it reads like it was written by a 14 year old who’s failing English (ok, that was just mean. I’m no English PHD myself. But then again, I’m not a “journalist” reviewing flicks for a professional site. However if I were, I’d put a little more care into my work.)

Lazy-ass reviews like this just really suck, especially for ultra-low budget movies that have enough trouble getting people to watch and judge them on their actual merits. I’m not saying that reviewers shouldn’t trash these movies when they’re bad, but they owe it to their audiences, the movies and themselves to actually put some effort into their work. 


***** Yeah, ok, so this probably 99% sour grapes. Wasn’t I the one who wrote a post a few days back about not taking criticism too seriously? Yet here I am getting all bent out of shape by 1 negative review outta 6.  Time to take my own advice and move on.



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