Deliberate mismatch

When we go to the movies, we know immediately when we are seeing a romantic comedy, or a western, or a farce, or a horror film, or a police procedural, or a political drama. There is a certain texture to every genre, and that texture appears pretty much on the very first frame.

I am wondering what would be the effect of deliberately subverting such expectations. Suppose we were to apply the texture of one genre to the substance of another. Say, let’s say we were to release a horror film with the shot by shot ambience of a RomCom — or vice versa.

Would we end up creating a work with validity? Could it provide new insights, or perhaps be just crazy enough to be entertaining in some new and exciting way?

Or would we just end up confusing the audience?

6 thoughts on “Deliberate mismatch”

  1. Wouldn’t confusion be a valid emotion to be triggered by movies? Maybe you just created a new genre: Confusion Fusion 🙂

  2. I’m sure it works for short experimental films. But for a feature, where you’re shelling out $20 & two hours, audiences have certain expectations. If they’re not met, the movie bombs. The romcom crowd is grossed out by the horror movie’s gore, and the horror fans find the romcom-styled thriller lame.

    Of course, you can carry the “meeting expectations” thing too far (e.g., the last Star Wars movie)

  3. There are people out there who make fake genre-bending trailers of famous films. Like _The Shining_ as a romantic comedy:

    I suspect those are useful exercises for people learning to edit and direct, and they’re certainly entertaining to watch. But I suspect the tropes exist for good reason. It would be hard to effectively scare someone with a romcom. But some genres might blend better than others. There’s certainly precedence for western with sci-fi/space opera and sci-fi with horror.

  4. Much of Joss Whedon’s work has this flavour, especially “Cabin in the Woods”, which is a horror story embedded inside a comedy, embedded inside a horror story.

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