I have a strange habit. I watch a lot of movies. This in itself is not strange, the fact that no matter how crap it is I have to watch until the end is. I have never walked out of a cinema. If I rent the movie or borrow it I must watch it to completion and cannot turn it off. The only exception is when it is on TV and I have to leave the house.
So as you can imagine, I have watched a lot of movies in my time. When I was at uni I was known as a connoisseur of not only B-Grade, but all the way down to Z-Grade (a classification we invented after some of my more ‘exotic’ choices to rent). Some I remember more than others and I have to admit at times I begin watching a movie I think I haven’t seen before and then 30 minutes in realise I have.
This means most movies for me are predictable. Most follow a very straight formula, some being derived from literary theory, some just tried and true standardised methods. One of my ex-partners even complained (of sorts) that I always knew who the killer was too quickly. I taught him how I knew and now he unfortunately suffers the lack of suspense as he too discovers it early in the piece.
So how does a movie retain my suspense, create my adrenaline and all those awesome things that they should do? For me it’s all about how the movie is done. With the right script, believable acting and decent directing, a movie can still be effective and impacting despite knowing what is about to come next. It is then no longer about knowing the story, but watching how it unfolds. Knowing someone is going to die does nothing to detract from the bump and jump provided the movie has retained your attention intently enough to have the ‘bump’ happen unexpectedly.
I’m not sure if this increases my expectations on movies or if it becomes pleasantly decreased. What I do know is that sometimes it’s the ones you least expect that manage to achieve these goals.