How Movie Critics and Moviegoers View Films Differently

Critics of the cinema have been around for as long as cinema itself. During private screenings they are silent observers, but in their written reviews, their critical opinions can speak much louder than the average person. The job of a film critic is to critique films for their quality on a very specific set of “professional” film standards, as opposed to a regular movie attendee, who instead views a film for its entertainment value. It would make sense that the two different parties assess the quality of the film from each of their respective viewpoints, but the levels of quality enjoyment can seem too varied to just be their perspectives alone. Also, there exists a major discrepancy between one film critic and the next, and their reviews are rarely very similar. Why then, do average moviegoers and their critical counterparts vary so drastically when it comes to the criticism and overall enjoyment of a feature film? This article explores the dissonance between what film critics and the average moviegoer experience through the scopes of historical change, the underrated horror genre, and the modern critical vigilante.

Roger Ebert (1942-2013)
Roger Ebert (1942-2013)

Generally, horror movies don’t score too highly when reviewed by critics, but are sometimes highly acclaimed by hundreds of audiences looking for that experience. The general audience goes with the expectation to be scared and is greatly entertained when they are, while critics arrive with preexisting expectations of their own. This discrepancy has been increasing over the years, and much has changed since the time when the success of movies depended on the reviews of America’s greatest film critics, such as Roger Ebert (1942-2013). Conversely, moviegoers are increasingly less attentive to movie critics then they are their own peers when it comes to deciding if a movie is worth more than the ticket price. Other factors such as media coverage, changes in the style and taste of the horror genre, and user-reviewed movie websites may all have a role to play in modern movie satisfaction. Major shifts in marketing and cinema exposure have also led to a potential shift in audience opinion as well, being much more prominent today than forty years ago.

In the past, people relied on film critics to guide them with a wealth of cinematic knowledge to draw them into the theater. These critics had the power to make a movie’s success skyrocket or plummet at the box office. As more people became interested in becoming movie critics, more diverse opinions began circulating around the nation. Today, not only are there many acclaimed film critics in the profession, but more also exist in other places as well. There is at least one film critic with a column in every major newspaper across the nation, not to mention the hundreds of personal websites where other self-acclaimed critics express their opinions. With the increasing popularity of social networking and internet blogging, any person can now become an unofficial critic if they have a trustworthy fan base, regardless of how small.

Rotten Tomatoes Icon
Rotten Tomatoes Icon

These two groups have continued fighting for the trust of the viewer since, with the traditional movie critics striving to reclaim their respectful image, and the unofficial critics claiming that the opinions of the others are not trustworthy. It is no wonder, then, that the reputations of critics are declining. With less differentiation between the acclaimed critics and the critical vigilante, the average moviegoer is increasingly doubting the reliability of any reviews outside of who they know, and having a hard time trying to distinguish which opinions to adopt. Websites like IMDB, Metacritic, and Rotten Tomatoes exemplify this differentiation. They now allow for critical reviews and ratings in one category, and an opposing category for average reviews, where anyone with an account can rate and comment.

IMDb Icon
IMDb Icon

An established movie critic views a film from a much different perspective than does the average audience member. First, they are attuned to the critical aspects of cinematography studied in films; they are instead looking for cinematic elements such as proper stage setting (Mise en scène), directing, plot, character development, cinematography, editing, and special effects. A problem associated with this is that there is a significantly lower ratio of moviegoers who regard these things as very important. A critic will analyze a film for visual, auditory, and plot perfection, while the general audience only regards the movie as a form of escapism and entertainment. This is a key difference between critics and their audience counterparts. Over time though, critics have earned a fair amount of trustworthiness when dedicated moviegoers turn to them before walking into the theater. Unfortunately, this trust may be misguided.

While specific attention to certain details may facilitate a similar core system of rating (usually resulting in the four star emblems appearing on posters and TV ads), opinions outside of the guidelines vary greatly from critic to critic. These differences may make it difficult to know when to trust the professional critics collectively, or when one is truly more reliable than another. Regarding these variations, this bias is very prevalent among contemporary critics, although long has this existed. In some cases critic “corruption” leaks into the public eye.

In 2011, a group of movie fans in America, named Citizens for Truth in Movie Advertising, tried to sue the movie studios, claiming that the reviews by these critics have been compromised by the studios’ agendas. They claim that the reason the critics are swayed is by giving them countless benefits behind the scenes in order for them to produce generous reviews (Campbell, 2011). More recently, critics have discovered that their opinions appear more relevant to their listeners when they begin to draw less from their usual standards and instead begin to identify with the things an audience can personally relate to without extra knowledge required. There are also critics who will appeal directly to the emotion of the movie, admirably stating that “This movie is a tearjerker”, or “Prepare for the ride of your life”.

There is a certain power instilled in people listening to one’s opinions, and critics sometimes attempt to sway most listeners in their favor to gain credibility for their accurate depictions of a film. If the critic steps into the shoes of the moviegoer and analyzes the plot and focuses on things relevant to the story, then, in theory, they become more popular, as do their opinions. In a way, this is forcing some critics to break traditional high-class movie rating standards and instead identify with popular appeal to remain relevant. In part, this is why their credibility is declining for those critics who don’t adapt, and as a result, moviegoers are left to either trust in the knowledge of the critic or turn to another source, often personal contacts through means like social networking applications.

Some unofficial critics have taken it upon themselves to try to absolve the “corrupt critic system” by offering their structured opinions that seem to mimic professional critical standards. Philip C. Congleton, an average movie lover, describes how he rates his movies, which is surprisingly intricate. He looks for plot, continuity of the story, character development and rating of the acting, music and singing elements, directing and editing style, cinematography and special effects. He then assigns them a letter value based on a ten point number system. He takes the averages and afterwards illustrates a final critical review rating, and only then does he review it for the qualities important to regular moviegoers (no date). This may illustrate that while many people are shying away from critics, their necessity may be more obvious in that some less-experienced critics are still taking their place, because most people like to hear other opinions. In this case, they would seem to rather hear it from someone who is not established nationally, to avoid what they would refer to as corrupted reviews. Let’s now switch gears and discuss how the horror genre can dramatically affect how critics and average viewers view a film’s entertainment value.

When avoiding critics, on the other hand, the general moviegoer critiques a movie based on the entertainment value of their experience. If they enjoyed themselves in the theater, then the movie is highly regarded. The most prominent reason behind this rationality is an idea of a certain set of standard expectations one would expect to be included in a movie. Expectation follows suit with the genre of the film, which is the classification of the film in which expectations derive from. Insight from Richard E. Klinck illustrates that the movie Stagecoach (1939) successfully began to set the stage for expectations in future western movies.

Claire Trevor in Stagecoach (1939)
Claire Trevor in Stagecoach (1939)

He mentioned that Monument Valley was a perfect scene to capture a western attitude (p. 1). After the movie was produced, this location became iconic, and a standard expectation was born. During that time period, if this landscape were missing, the movie itself would seem disappointing. For my primary example, and like any other genre, horror movies also come with their own set of expectations.

Horror movies have adapted much throughout time, adjusting to each generation to tailor to the audience’s worst nightmares. Movies shown today that are regarded as scary would be petrifying beyond comprehension if played sixty years ago. People and their fears are demanding scarier and scarier content, reflecting what current trends people find terrifying. The brightest attraction to horror movies revolve around its characters delving reluctantly into the unknown, where the viewer themselves are too afraid to trek. While usually being classified as supernatural, psychological, slasher, thriller, and religious sub genres, certain expectations are also anticipated similarly by viewers and critics alike. Visual elements would typically reflect sharp shadows, scary locations, creepy artifacts, low-key lighting (a dark color scheme), quick edits (cutting on the action), disorienting depth and space within the frame, as well as high contrast elements. The auditory sound scape should be expected to be crafted masterfully, fully incarcerating the audience into a horrifying world where their worst fears sound all around them. More masterful is the lack of sound in a theater, when scenes involve absolute silence for contrasting effects. Music is then carefully placed at moments when pure terror is destined to ensue. General viewers enter the theater expecting to jump in their seat, grab at their racing hearts, and cover their eyes with anything they can place between themselves and the screen. Most critics, however, enjoy the scare factors far less, as they attempt to follow suit with their critique rationale used for every movie they attempt to analyze.

Insidious - UK Poster
Insidious Poster- UK

Insidious (Wan 2010) is a story that is centralized on the idea that demons can possess not only just houses, but also the people who reside within them. Kids are especially susceptible, and thus the horror story begins. According to Owen Gleiberman, a critic for Entertainment Weekly, Insidious is a movie that has “some of the most shivery and indelible images I’ve seen in any horror film in decades…Yes, it’s that unsettling” (Par.1). Conversely, Roger Ebert, an internationally established film critic, asserts that “This one is not terrifically good, but moviegoers will get what they’re expecting” (Par.1). What is going on here? First, with a horror movie of any kind, they face certain hard criticisms because they lack the traditional cut and dry angles and techniques used in other genres. Contemporary movies in the horror genre typically try to bend the conventional setups in an attempt to disorient the viewer just enough to place them into the director’s world.

As it seems, the same old horror story dies quickly in modern human culture. Insidious uses a variety of camera angles that purposely disorient the viewer, making them struggle to make sense of what they are forced to interpret. This is a contemporary and yet artistic technique used in many horror films of the decade. Second, the horror genre is torn apart by critics because they seem to lack a deep enough plot. With a horror film, the plot can only be as deep as the fear, and the fear is only as deep as what personally affects each individual viewer. A personal experience will impact a viewers’ interpretation of a film far more than someone who has never feared the plot before. Horror films chronicle the fears that people experience, and thus may be limited when writing a script meant to horrify a diverse audience. Usually, general audiences hold a higher regard toward any horror movie than a critic, who sometimes fail to differentiate between this point and instead place different genres (and their specific film styles) on the same scale, which can be hindering to any film’s review.

Psycho (1960) Poster
Psycho (1960) Poster

The famous horror movie Psycho (Hitchcock 1960), was released around a time when psychological fear and murder was growing in popularity among the masses. Though the themes were as intriguing as they were horrifying, Hitchcock managed to pack every showing of this film without ever giving away many details. Even today, it’s rated number 30 for the highest rated movie of all time (source: IMDB). Near its release date, every critic was raving about it. Even today, critics still regard it highly, and popular opinions suggest it was because it was filmed to be a masterpiece. Not only was it directed by Hitchcock, it was created using the same techniques critics have always looked for, and as a result they were amazed. During the time period, most movies made sure to follow these critical guidelines, because the success of the movie depended on how critics wrote about it. Today, this is not so much the case.

Insidious (2010) is a prime example of a contemporary horror genre film because it breaks away from the conventional setup of classical masterpieces. Insidious was released 50 years later, when the fears of the culture had changed. This movie revolved around haunting by spirits and demons, which was unheard of in the cinema in the 60’s. Insidious has received unusually high ratings for a horror movie of the last two decades, regardless of some critical reviews that address the negative qualities of the film (as mentioned earlier in Ebert’s review). Even still, most critics, even with negative reviews, still mention that a regular viewer would still be satisfied. These high ratings resulted because it appealed to both critics and general audiences alike. Insidious is a rare gem in which cinematography, along with the other elements mentioned earlier, was done exquisitely well, and had a plot and characters to match. Most of the critics who have adopted the contemporary review style identify with the audiences and rave about the plot, characters, and overall story; most viewers of the film have later agreed with those critics. Michael O’Sullivan of the Washington Post claimed that “Insidious [was] proudly being marketed: You can’t criticize it for false advertising…You’ll jump out of your skin so many times that, after a while, you may just decide to leave it off” (2011). Some traditional film critics generally would agree that if nothing else, it was captured beautifully.

Horror movies face some of the toughest criticism from all angles because its success depends almost entirely on the entertainment value of the audience in the theater. Some people still rely on critics’ reviews to go see a film, but most modern film critics don’t hold up against the traditional prestigious values that film criticism was founded on. For the critics that do, other than their loyal fans, they are losing popularity and their overall voice for as long as their reviews don’t appeal to the average viewer. It seems that average moviegoers are in the theater to partake in a manner of escapism, and simply want to be entertained during the films. This means that, more often, people are beginning to seek reviews and criticisms in from other sources, because of the stigma placed onto traditional film critics. These factors together are changing the manner in which people see and enjoy movies, and are changing the critic industry as a whole.

Why is there a difference between what film critics and the everyday moviegoer experiences? It would appear that this is because these two parties are simply looking for different things when it comes to viewing a film. The general audience is looking to be entertained with a good story that fulfills their expectations, and a critic tries to dissect a film for the quality of its creation. The time is changing from when people relied on a good criticism to view a film, and instead turn to either their own interests, opinions of people they know, or what other publicity has been produced on the film aside from critical reviews. With exception to the most loyal fans, critics must either adapt or phase themselves out in a world where people no longer rely on a criticism to draw their own conclusions about a film.

Works Cited

Campbell, D. (2011, July 10). Film fans sue over “corrupt” reviews. The Guardian, p. 1.

Congleton, P. C. ((no date)). Critics Corner; a Guide to Film Critique. Retrieved December 1, 2013, from Mecfilms: www.mecfilms.com/critic1.htm

Ebert, R. (2011, March 31). Insidious Review. Retrieved November 29, 2013

Ford, J. (Director). (1937). Stagecoach [Motion Picture].

Gleiberman, O. (2011, April 05). Insidious (2011). Entertainment Weekly, p. 1.

Hitchcock, A. (Director). (1960). Psycho [Motion Picture]. Shamley Productions.

Klinck, R. E. ((no date)). Movie-making in Monument Valley. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from The New Mexico Geological Society.

O’Sullivan, M. (2011, April 1). Haunted house? Think again. Washington Post, p. 1.

Wan, J. (Director). (2010). Insidious [Motion Picture]. Film District.

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I am a contributing writer for The Artifice. I'm an undergraduate filmmaker who loves learning about film-craft.Email: Mateo714@live.com

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38 Comments

  1. Very well written and informative. I have been seeing this contrast between critics and movie-goers for some time now. It was interesting to read about how modern time has shaped movie critiques from all angles. I really enjoyed the discussion on the horror genre, as it is one of my favorites, and I found the comment on diversity particularly striking. I do feel the horror genre in particular gets very mixed reviews and I have always wondered why. However, this article has helped clear up some of my confusion. Very thought provoking!

    • Thank you for your comment, Lydia. This issue has been floating around in my head for a while now, and, as the horror genre is also one of my favorites, I thought it would be fun and interesting to incorporate it into this article. I’m really glad that this article helped you think through the topic better. Thanks!

  2. This is a very well-written and interesting take on a topic that has intrigued me as long as I have been watching and critiquing films. If you ever wanted to do a follow-up article on a similar topic, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the differences between the yes-or-no system of Rotten Tomatoes and the standardized score system of Metacritic. Both have pros and cons, and I’m curious to see which system you think does a better job at giving films their fair judgement.

    • Thank you, Ryan. I might be interested in a follow-up article on the subject you mentioned. Perhaps if I do end up pursuing it, I will contact you, because I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on that as well.

  3. I found this very intriguing as I had wondered about the differences in movie critique from the critic perspective as well as the audience. While I personally do not like or watch horror films, the use of them as an example of criticism was very well done. Thank You!

  4. August Merz

    While I don’t doubt that film critics tend to appreciate the tradecraft of a film more than the entertaining portions of it, it seems a bit dismissive to think that they only look for value in the filmmaking itself (not to say you are being dismissive Matt). For example, Mark Kermode, one of my favorite film critics, often talks about how he dislikes films based on the content of the characters within them. He said that although The Wolf of Wall Street was a good film, it became severely annoying over time because he absolutely hated the characters. That’s not a judgment on the acting, writing, or directing; it’s a direct indictment of who the characters themselves are and kind of deviates from just criticizing the way a film has been made. No matter what though, I thought this was a very interesting article which offered a neat perspective on how critics and average moviegoers watch their movies.

    • Hi August. I appreciate your comment. I understand what you mean about critics looking at film from not only technical details. What’s surprising is that they can view it from a technical perspective, then separate their thoughts and focus on the things most noticeable for average audiences. A general audience member cannot go through that process. I view a critic as a movie veteran, able to actually understand all of these things simultaneously, so that they are able to dissect it for meaning on a much deeper level than “I liked the movie.” Imagine that a large circle contains the “stuff” that critics appreciate, encompassing all of the technical aspects while also including things like character development, plot, dialogue, among other things. Now imagine a much smaller circle containing only the elements obvious to a typical viewer, like the acting, story, and such. It seems that, the more a person is able to learn from a film, and begin to truly appreciate the different aspects that go deeper than the surface level, then the more trustworthy their beliefs are when criticizing a film, regardless of whether they are professional critics or people like you and I. One of my pet peeves are when people tell me they enjoy a movie and have no reason to support those claims. Great comment, it really got me thinking. Thanks!

      • Art Posocco

        Great topic, and great discussion. I agree with August that critics are not only looking at the filmmaking (even if they believe that is what they are doing). Individual tastes, prejudices, and moral qualms will (unconsciously) flavor a critic’s opinion of a film, despite the critic’s attention to the film’s technical and cinematographic features. But conversely, general audience members are not just watching films with their critical faculties turned off. They will develop their own sets of criteria by which to judge films, even if these criteria are far outside the generally accepted critical standards. Again, this might not be something the viewer is even conscious of.

        In your example, you mention people who enjoy a film but have no reason to support the claim. I think that they probably do have a reason; they just need time to formulate it. Critics are no different; their “reasons” for liking or disliking films are always developed post hoc, after they have already (and automatically) made a judgment for or against a work.

        • Hi Art. That is also a good point. I chose to keep the regular viewer “ignorant” of having personal criteria for the sake of keeping a relatively narrow scope for this essay. That is a counterargument that can serve to be an essay of its own. I agree that, even before I took an acute interest in studying Film and Video, I had my own personal guidelines and tastes when it came to enjoying a film. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Andrea Paul

    I recently got a degree in cinema studies and find this topic to be SOOOOOO valid. It almost frustrates me that I can’t watch cinema in the same way anymore. I used to watch specific films just for their plot value or entertainment factor or acting and that is nearly impossible now. Great article!!

    • Hi Andrea. I’m running into the same problem. The more I learn about how a film is constructed and broken down into it’s simpler components, the harder it is to watch it for fun! Don’t worry though, there will always be movies to enjoy.

  6. Mette Marie Kowalski

    This is a very interesting issue and you wrote an interesting article about it. In fact, I personally find that there is a struggle inside me reflecting the one between movie critics and audiences. For example, many a time I can appreciate a film for certain factors like cinematography, plot, acting etc. but just don’t find it appealing personally. This happened to me recently with the movie Léon. In my reviews, I try to reflect these thoughts – pretty much the opposite of what Ebert did in his Insidious review – and say that while I can see how the movie is critically appealing, I didn’t find it entertaining or engaging.

  7. Artscotthoch

    there is definitely a difference between general audiences and people who REALLY know what to look for when watching movies. having knowledge of basic film language can make good movies better, but bad movies worse, it’s almost a curse. while most movie goers can turn off their brains and appreciate a stupid comedy for what it is, someone with more experience would be plagued to have a terrible time. I have only had a basic film studies class in high school and it has made me entirely pretentious when it comes to film knowledge. this was a good article, a topic i’ve often thought about

    • Thanks for the comment. One thing that I find that helps me deal with some movies I’ve disliked is that, once I accept it for what it is, and dislocate the voice in the back of my head telling me to turn it off, you’d be surprised how much you can still enjoy it. The worst movies sometimes become the best comedies to the people with a wealth of cinematic knowledge.

  8. I found this topic very relevant. Often times when trying to decide what film to see with friends, someone inevitably suggests checking the films Rotten Tomato score. The counterargument will then be raised that the scores never impact their enjoyment of a film and that horror films and comedies tend to have low scores.

    I find it interesting to think how almost anyone with an Internet connection can be a film critic. Most of us, and I fully admit to it, have left a theater and almost immediately tweeted our thoughts on a film. It is almost human nature to want our voices heard and social media has made it easier than ever. With the exception of, At the Movies with Ebert and Roeper, critiques have generally been faceless. Now if I have a YouTube channel, I can make a connection with an individual while reviewing a film in a more personal way than whoever is reviewing films for my local newspaper.

    I think you’re definitely correct in your assessment of critics looking at the technical aspects of a film as opposed to the average moviegoer. The majority of critics could do a better job at addressing these techniques, but they are still more aware of formal techniques than the general audience. The audience is still experiencing these techniques in the way that the filmmakers intended; the critics are simply better at naming the techniques.

    • It truly is something that required attention if nothing else. You made a good point; perhaps part of the problem is that most critics are generally faceless. It’s easy to believe someone you can ask personally, or at least the illusion of closeness (a profile picture or a short video). Even though many people see traditional critics as old fashioned, not much can be done as long as the “personal” trend continues. People are more apt to gravitate toward someone they feel they can relate to.

  9. Beautifully written and meaningful, insightful perspective. Thank you.

  10. As a student of global cinema, I’d like to think that one can look at a film both analytically and “just for fun.” The best critics can do this. Your excerpt from Roger Ebert’s review is a good example – he addresses the target audience for Insidious as well as his own critical reaction. And while modern horror movies do seem to be peculiarly “critic-proof,” I think that for the most part the enthusiasms of critics and audiences line up pretty well.

    But the level of influence that critics have on audiences has been waning for a long time. In the days of Pauline Kael and Andrew Sarris, critics were genuine taste-makers – their writings coincided with the Hollywood Renaissance, a time when films were being taken seriously in a way that they hadn’t been before (in America, at least). These critics could make or break a movie with what they wrote. But when Ebert and Gene Siskel commercialized and, by necessity, simplified film criticism on their popular television show, I think that was the beginning of the end. I like Ebert a lot, but boiling a movie down to “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” is just unfair – even he acknowledged this later in his life. And now, when anyone with an internet connection can let the world know what they thought of a film, the tendency is to simplify even more, to engage with a film on the most superficial level. I say this: let critics keep critiquing, as long as they do so thoughtfully.

    Cool article!

    • I agree. Most of the critics I read, Owen Gleiberman, David Edelstein, Lisa Schwarzbaum, Matt Zoller Seitz, etc., I often disagree with but I value their critical analysis as it’s (almost although not always) an interesting and informed point of view.

      I do think the the film critic world should be more cognizant of the average moviegoer and be respectful of that experience. That being said, I think it’s all the more important for reviews to continue to critique film in terms of good stories that fulfill expectations as well as artistic quality. Pushing filmmakers to be better in any which way is not a bad pursuit. The worst a movie could be is mediocre — to me, mediocrity is offensive to the audience, who is expected to consume it like stale albeit edible snack. No. Give audiences something quality AND entertaining. Give them what they want — in a way that EXCEEDS expectations. That pushes the medium forward. That pushes human ingenuity forward.

      Yes I recently got my BA in Film Studies. 🙂

    • Hi Harper. Critics should practice their art thoughtfully. It almost sounds like an ad tagline: “Please critique responsibly.” Thanks.

  11. Sometimes the movie critic becomes a star and then his or her opinion becomes at times, questionable. Does he or she want to be the focus of the review? For example, David Denby’s review of “Django” became a news item because Denby counted the times the “N” word was used!

    • Hi Morgan. That can be true as well. There’s always a risk of the review to turn into a tabloid of sorts. Websites like buzzfeed.com are notorious for movie trivia and actor tests to match personalities and the like. In some cases, there is nothing to stop a critic from simply writing a flashy review that focuses on something people find more entertaining than relevant. You used a great example. thank you.

  12. ScorpiusNox

    “Critical vigilante.” Now THAT’S a title I wouldn’t mind having x) . Good name for a band, too!

    *ahem* Anyway, I really enjoyed this article. I’m not a big fan of horror movies myself (my overactive imagination works against me in the aftermath -_-), but I’ve always wondered why it is that critics seem to hate so many movies that I love. Now, it’s a bit clearer; the critics are viewing the films as art, whereas I’m viewing them as entertainment. It’s like the difference between an individual who critiques the linework and color contrasts in a painting and a person who just likes to see a pretty picture.

    Very informative. Thanks a lot!

  13. I feel like I licked out in this department, because I genuinely just enjoy seeing movies, and I can get lost in even the dumbest ones, but when Unwelcome done watching it I have the ability to step back and think to myself “OK, what worked and what didn’t work in this.” It’s a nice blend of critic and fan. I’m able to distinguish what makes a film, while still enjoying it.

  14. Matt – You have an interesting article here and I would have liked to see a little more thoughts regarding other horror film where the critics hated it, but audiences still loved it. I think Insidious worked so well because it was meant to be like 1970s horror film, with a modern touch. The House of the Devil is another example where director, Ti West, essentially created a 1980s horror film. It is refreshing to see the break from excessive gore and violence that can sometimes hinder a film (and turn off critics) and may be a reason why some filmmakers and film goers are seeking out alternative horror films that hark back to classic techniques used that made older horror films successful and appealing today.

    Also, film is meant to be a personal experience that just happens to be shared with a mass audience. Critics are no different in that they have personal opinions of a film, regardless of what they may be looking for when they view and critique a film. I think I have the best of both worlds: as a film studies major, I understand, agree and disagree with film critics and their reviews; as a film goer, I can divorce myself from my film studies training and simply enjoy the film.

    • Hi Dylan. I agree; a film is meant to be a personal experience shared among a large group. Also, I agree that Insidious was a nice break from the gory trend horror movies are capitalizing on in the last decade. Thanks for the comment.

  15. S.A. Takacs

    This article was really interesting. I had always wondered why critics would dislike a movie while casual moviegoers would have the near opposite reaction. I enjoyed how you compared critics and moviegoers through the lens of horror films. I am curious if the differences between critics and moviegoers varies by genre (drama, comedy, etc.).

    • Thank you. I think that there would be many discrepancies among different genres in this category. It’s definitely something to think about.

  16. Brian Primm

    I have to say this all makes sense. I find myself disagreeing with critic’s reviews on comedy films. It’s hard to say which side is viewing film properly, but it seems like there should be some kind of middle ground. Critics need to look at the entertainment factor in films, and audiences should have a respect for all the classic elements of film. An extreme opinion on both sides of the spectrum can’t be right. Each viewer is entitled to his or her opinion and that’s one of the great things about cinema.

  17. I really enjoyed this article. Comparing a critic’s review of a movie with a fan’s review is like comparing apples and oranges. Critics have a certain goal as to how they watch a movie while fans focus on the entertainment factor (while still appreciating a film with good overall elements). When I go to a movie and wonder if it’s worth seeing, I usually do not completely rely on film critics. Like you said, with the internet and social media these days, instead of having to rely on critics, fans can now find countless reviews of almost any movie.

  18. Julia Lester
    1

    Hi Mr. Collazo,

    My name is Julia Lester, and I am a junior at Calabasas High School in the process of creating a documentary proving that there is a disconnect between critical success and box office success within the film industry. My team and I would possibly like to interview you (via Skype) for our project. If you could contact me by email and let me know if you are interested, that would be great. We enjoyed your article very much, and your insight would be a great addition to our project.

    • Hi Julia. Thank you for reaching out to me! I would definitely be interested in working with you and providing any insight I can to help your project. I am unable to see any contact information, so please view my profile page (click on my name) and contact me via email. I’m looking forward to where this may lead. Thank you.

  19. Julia Lester
    0

    Hi Mr. Collazo,

    I emailed you a few times using the email you provide here on your page, and I never received a response. I may have done something incorrect. Please email me again from your email so I can contact you again. We would still love to interview you! Thank you so much

    -Julia Lester

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