Birth.Movies.Death: ‘Style Over Substance’ in Horror

Suspiria

When film criticism declares a movie is “style over substance,” does that incite you to queue up at the box office or convince you to wait for streaming? For many, there’s a wave of negative connotation and apathy paired with the phrase, as if too much style is a bad omen, something to approach with trepidation and preconception. While arthouse films and Oscar bait are occasionally granted immunity, movies touted as having more style over substance are seemingly wrapped in caution tape or at worst, avoided completely. Whether discussing movies like Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive, Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill or arguably Baz Luhrmann’s entire career, movies are made to evoke emotion. If a movie can elicit that response without the crutches of melodrama or plot ploys, shouldn’t that be worthy of praise, too? There’s room for abstraction in filmmaking and criticism alike, and in some cases—particularly in horror and genre films—an abundance of style can add to a movie’s clout. Style can be the substance. Head to birth.movies.death for more…

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