Say what you want, but the best way make sure whether a film is good or subpar is to watch it a second time – at least.
Before I started writing movie reviews for a living, I’ve been an eager horror moviegoer but I’d have rarely sat through a horror film more than once: I did watch the same motion picture more than once, but that happened only when I was extremely in love with said movie.
As a critic, however, as much as the first impression counts, you must go back and give a second chance to a film to understand better its strengths and weaknesses. Yet, my readers often make me rethink about my previous statements, as well as reading other professional analyses might change my mind or see a plot point in a different way.
As a consequence, although I’m usually more than enthusiastic with my articles (I apologise if this sounds cocky!), there have been a few occasions were my opinion on a specific movie drastically changed after further reading into the film or discussing it with the fine people out there.
Here is a list of six films I changed my perception of due to many external factors: I took into consideration 3 titles that I first considered to be bad and 3 movies that mesmerised me at first but, after a deeper and more mature analysis, turned out to be average or below average. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Three ‘bad films that are actually good’
- Fright Night (1985) – when I first approached horror cinema, I was mainly enthralled by 70s and 80s horror flicks. However, amongst a few exceptions, there was Fright Night directed by Tom Holland (no, not Spiderman…). Perhaps I hadn’t developed a decent sense of humour back then or maybe I just didn’t buy the whole practical makeup effects; whatever it was, I truly despised the film when I first watched it. In 2016, I gave it another chance, despite being rather sceptical, and I ended up loving all the things I didn’t like the first time around.
My original grade: 3/10 My current grade: 8/10
- Eyes Without a Face (1960) – honestly, I don’t know what it was: my first approach to this French/Italian disturbing horror film just left me bored! Perhaps I wasn’t used to the awkward, unique atmosphere and pace of old European horror films, which is definitely not for everyone. Though I dreaded to check out this movie a second time, I eventually did when I read a book about the most underrated horror films of all time… and Eyes Without a Face took the cake in such a list. I’m glad I watched it again, though, since this is a masterpiece of disturbing and psychological horror cinema: it came out the same year as Psycho and I’m not ashamed to say I love it nearly as much as I love Hitchcock’s magnum opus.
My original grade: 4/10 My current grade: 9.5/10
- A’ l’interièur/Inside (2007) – this is the one I’m most ashamed of. It took me three views to fully appreciate this outstanding example of hard-core horror cinema. The first time I saw A’ l’interièur/Inside, I couldn’t even get through it: I found this French film too violent, extreme and pointless in its brutality. Man I was wrong! A’ l’interièur is simply one of the greatest movies that came out during the first decade of the 2000s… besides, this film stands out as an ultra-intense and guts-wrenching ride. If you’re a fan of extreme horror cinema, this film is the one to go with!
My original grade: 2/10 My current grade: 9/10
Three ‘good films that are actually bad’
- Salem’s Lot (1979 miniseries) – I truly believed this was one of the best King’s adaptations until I gave it a second watch in 2016. Just thinking about the fact that I based my love for vampire flicks on this one makes me feel sick. Before you shoot me for hating on a movie based on Stephen King’s work, let me honestly say that, probably out of nostalgia, I still find Salem’s Lot rather watchable. Nonetheless, the poor production values, the uneven pace, the paper-thin characters and the overall dullness of it all, can’t easily be overlooked.
My original grade: 9/10 My current grade: 4.5/10
- Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (2000) – strangely enough, I always appreciated the first Blair Witch (1999), even before being aware of its ground-breaking impact on horror cinema. Nonetheless, a strong sense of guilt surrounds me when I think that, only a couple of years ago, I liked the sequel, Book of Shadows, even more! Upon watching it again, I realised just how awful this sequel is: it even got bad reviews, but way better reviews than it should’ve deserved. Dull, formulaic and entirely different from the original, Book of Shadows is one of the worst sequels of the 2000s…, which is saying a lot!
My original grade: 7/10 My current grade: 3.5/10
- Thirteen Ghosts (2001) – There’s only one movie that can make me think about how stupid I was as a teenager: Th13teen Ghosts (can you believe that’s the actual title, with the number in it?). I watched this movie again 4 or 5 years ago because I remembered it to be a blast and, get ready for this, very scary! Upon rewatching it, I can honestly say that Thirteen Ghosts (I refuse to write down the official title ever again) is one of the most unscary and one of the dumbest films I have ever seen, at least in regards to the ones produced by renowned companies. The acting is laughable, the ghosts taken from a Scooby Doo episode, the story stupid, the pace awful, the camera-work amateur and I could go on and on with this rant. I always say I don’t have a favourite horror movie: there are 20 or maybe 30 horror films that I truly love, but I can’t rank them in a list. I do, however, have a least favourite horror flick of all time and, yes, you guessed it, it’s this pile of crap! If a fan of this flick is reading this, I apologise and I hope we’re still friends… After all, this is just my opinion!
My original grade: 8.5/10 My current grade: 1/10
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