Subtitle for this post could read: When Reviews Lead You Wrong and Right
So, of a lazy afternoon I decided to switch from binge watching originals on Netflix, Amazon Video, and Acorn TV. I figured I was in a rut. Not because they'd begun to disappoint. Not at all. But I like to shake up my routines. Try new foods. Try new activities and meet new people (Hello Meetup!). You know, just get outta my old habits.
I decided to browse movie selections. This movie had won a few awards, and had some good reviews (IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes). Now the description should have alerted me that this wasn't my standard go-to.This movie was obviously in the art house genre (unconventional and highly symbolic, i.e. probably going to leave you with questions galore). But what the heck, right? Well, I watched the whole thing dutifully and was wearing this expression at the end.
Once again having confirmed that I'm a popular culture loving consumer of movies and fiction, I give it another go. Another afternoon where I have done my list of "must completes" for the day. I turn back to search. Once burned, twice shy. I look for a thriller or sci-fi. I happened on a movie called Cave listed as a thriller. Three friends go into a cave and terror ensues. The reviews weren't all that good - struggled to get 3 1/2 stars. Still, I've enjoyed plenty of movies and books after ignoring so-so or even bad reviews. Umm, this wasn't one of those times. The characters did things that made no sense, given how they were drawn. I mean, characters that are supposed to experienced, smart, resourceful, and physically tough. Yet they made some choices that left me once again like this -
In both instances I ignored reviews despite my gut instinct telling me to keep browsing. Lesson learned. I can say that even being let down helps me as a writer. First, know the expectations of your audience and fulfill them. A thriller should... well thrill. Not only did the characters act contrary to who they were supposed to be, but the pace just dragged. As for Suntan, clearly I'm not the right audience for this movie. The description sort of led to me to believe it would be more of a mystery or suspense/thriller, even though it had the write up of an artsy thing (where it was screened and the awards it had won). My take away as a writer? Deliver on promises to my target audience. Oh, and go back to binge watching my favorite streaming mysteries!