No one likes to redo a job they've done before. In the realm of film criticism, it's amazing it doesn't happen more often.
It rarely happens, but when it does, it definitely sets you back a bit. The other day, I was assigned an upcoming theatrical release for review. The title and the core concept sounded vaguely familiar, but in the realm I was dealing with - horror movies - that’s par for the spook show course. Thinking nothing more than beyond the upcoming deadline, I settled in with my screener, watched as the movie unfolded a bit like I expected, and marveled at the message buried subliminally within the standard haunted house (or in this case, haunted family) dynamic. By the end, I was mildly impressed, capable of coming up with the mandatory 600 words-plus to meet my obligation.
As I sat down to write the review, I felt odd, a bit uneasy. There was a weird sense of pseudo deja-vu running through my thoughts, an aura of undeniable familiarity…as if I had been here before, commenting on the exact same thing. Again, I chalked it up to the copycat conceits of the genre and the hundreds of movies I have seen over the years. In May, I will have been a quasi-professional film critic for 10 years, and in that decade I have seen close to 5000 films. I average between 7 to 10 per week (between theatrical and DVD/Blu-ray), not including the rare instance where I actually enjoy a movie for personal fun. Any sneaking suspicion I had could be chalked up to a kind of aesthetic repetitive stress disorder.