Strolling through Netflix to find something for us to review, I was reminded of the debacle that was Venom. Not only is the title in itself a disappointment (I wanted a symbiotic alien parasite with a false sense of justice feeding on people's brains), but the film itself lacks any punch or drive. And while the film as a whole was by no means awful, the finished product felt bland, uninspired, and boring.
This film at the time of its release became the source of my ire towards modern mainstream horror films. It contained all of the predictable models: poor acting, a lackluster script, bland editing and cinematography, all attempting to be frightening with shallow jump scares attempting to mask a weak synopsis.
Let’s not kid ourselves. The horror genre has never been a staple for high-quality acting and worldview-altering dialogue - we leave that to the Oscar-chasers - but we used to at least see the occasional actor trudge through the murky waters of a supernatural slasher before getting their big break. That is a rarity, if at all, that an actor today would be recognized outside of midday soaps or dredging the SciFi Original racket. This is by no means a necessity to good horror, but a sad development since the turn of the century.
The greater issue with films like this is the mainstream designated layout. A “hole-riddled mystery with jump scares” is the mainstream definition of a horror film that is competing with the more effective “atmospheric and visceral” style. It is becoming more evident as the years roll on that even the horror community is becoming jaded by the “conventional model” Hollywood has been pumping through the factory for a decade. Horror movies like Venom bomb, where movies like Paranormal Activity (it had its flaws, but the first film was fresh) and It Follows thrive. The horror community has spoken and they want fresh, original, courageous concepts, the film’s budget be damned.
And I hope that this mild revolution leads to not only more original concepts with the backing of bigger production companies, but encourages those directors and writers out there to pursue the goal of materializing their nightmares for the rest of us to commiserate.
I apologize to Venom leading to this soapbox, it innocently sat on Netflix with no harm to anyone. But in my defense, the final 20 minutes of that film do seem to drag on…and on..and on…kind of like this sentence…and on…