Continuing part I of this post (How has horror films reinvented and resurfaced as a genre), is it possible to identify patterns and find out why/questions films like Corra!, The Current of Evil, Babadook and Good Night, Are Mom being so praised?
This second part makes a review of criticism on "Run!" – I chose to separate a post for each movie so that the reading does not get tiring and boring (lol).
Well, of course, just read the criticisms for generally understand what are the determining factors of success, according to journalists. But how to do this more structured? Using text mining and text analysis techniques i separated about 10 "random" reviews from recognized vehicles found on the respective pages of each of these 4 films on Metacritic.
Before reviewing these films, however, I would like to mention an article recently published by The Guardian coining the post-horror term (post-horror or post-horror for us).
Through textual analysis, we will observe throughout this post how mistaken it is to call this sub-genre post-terror — although there are already great materials refuting this nomenclature and explaining even the etymological error of the term.
It doesn't hurt to warn you that this post may contain spoilers from all the mentioned movies.
Politics, social criticism and satire are the trumpcards of terror of "Run!"
Through the Iramuteq software it is possible to do an analysis of a set of articles (called corpus) and identify patterns and groupings of words. The analysis of 10 criticisms of Corra! brought some interesting reflections that allow us to understand what are the main points by which critics saw it as a "good film":
At the center of each of the colorful groups are the words that appear most often: black, white, Peele and Chris. Of course these words appear more often because they are widely used to describe the film's argument, as well as talk about the main character and creator of the film.
The orange group, whose central word is black features sets of words used to describe the motto of the film, often describing the initial scene of the film (guy, street and lakeith, the name of the actor who stars in this scene) – then a very close cluster forms around the word white. This time, the word cluster introduces us to some of the film's problems: especially if we look closer to the words Hollywood, point, idea and audiences.
Here it is possible to begin to draw the arguments of bother since, according to criticism in general, the white audience is not used to being directly provoked to reflect on its privilege in cinema, especially in genres generally recognized as shallow — like horror films. Similarly, it is not common for horror films to address racial issues directly as social criticism – however, in films (especially the slashers of the 1980s) it is very common to find racist and misogynistic clichés (if we notice that blacks and women generally do not survive and/or are the first to be killed in the serial killersagas).
Also connected to the orange cluster is purple, whose main character name (Chris) is in evidence. I will not analyze this grouping of words because it is basically a descriptive of what happens in the film. However, a small green cluster in the upper right corner makes an interesting analogy to the film Stepford Wives. I drew an excerpt from The Telegraph's criticism that clearly exemplifies one of the main aspects by which this sub-genre should not be called post-terror in an attempt to prove that this would be an "evolution", not even untied to the genre of terror by those who discredit movies that are not graphically shocking.
This excerpt revisits some of the points by which classic films were considered excellent – hour honoring, time drinking at their source:
The elements of horror of the film focus on waiting, as well as satires from previous generations – The Wives of Stepford (1975), Rosemary's Baby (1968). One aspect of Chris' situation involves being forcibly detached from reality through hypnosis, sinking into a parallel world that (Catherine's) Keener's character calls "the place of forgetfulness." Visually, the film borrows Jonathan Glazer's trap in Under the Skin. But this loan works because of strong political appeal – it becomes a floating and hectic metaphor of being powerlessly overshadowed by white hegemony.
(Translated from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/films/0/get-review-breathlessly-suspenseful-expose-horror-liberal-racism/)
The last and most complex text cluster is what also groups the largest number of reflections on the film. At the center of words and featured is the last name of the director, Jordan Peele, who is also the screenwriter of the film. the closest words – director, comedy, debut, proves, race – accredit and contextualize two of the first information relevant to the "tabulation" of this genre that we are trying to sort: Run! is Peele's directorial debut – he is widely known on American TV for starring in a comedy series, Key & Peele, and takes advantage of his comical vein in Get Out putting a sidekick (LilRel Howery) to add the complex task of merging two genres almost antagonistic in one film – and this is the second of the most interesting general aspects of the film, and can be observed in the amount of synonyms for comedy found in these clusters: satire, funny, comic, laughs.
Social, political, liberal, racist, racism, trump, obama: those are some of the words surrounding the third and last point to be considered in that analysis – the social criticism that adds another layer of complexity to the film – as previously mentioned, a of the main points discussed by the script is guided by the "finger in the wound" placed by Peele, being himself black, and choosing Daniel Kaluuya (a black man who could not be "bleached") to star in the discomfort of spending a weekend in a chimeric scenario of a predominantly white community so gentle that it would "vote for Obama once again if it could" and that "considers as a family" the few blacks who live there. That is, the level of refinement of Peele's political criticism, which runs away from attacking Donald Trump's predictable racist electorate.
That is: from this analysis we extracted some ingredients from the recipe for success
- Aesthetic refinement and use of script components that honor and are inspired by classics – whether they are terror or not;
- Blend of characteristic components of other genera (comic vein)
- Use of horror film as a tool for exploring current and complex themes, which would normally be reserved for "more serious" genres
In the next post, I'll do a similar analysis for The Current of Evil.