Why I Won’t See Devil Inside: Because It’s Probably Dumb…

January 10, 2012

I have some passing interest in horror (I teach a class on it), I am supposed to be an “expert” on fake documentaries, and my recent concern is user-made video. Thus, I feel some professional obligation to see (and then write about) films in the fake register that are either big-grossing or viral-wonders (i.e. Paranormal Activity, Catfish, I’m Still Here, Taking Woodstock, Exit Through the Gift Shop, or “the lesbian blogger Amina“), just to stay current. But I won’t go to see Devil Inside at a movie theater, and even when I catch it streaming on Netflix, I’ll still be sorry.

Why? Well first of all, it’s reputed to be a very bad movie, and given that even the movies that the general audience tends to like leave me underwhelmed, the crowd’s “F” rating is a strong enough detraction. But more importantly, for me, once you choose to go into self-reflexive mode, you need to be smart as well as crafty. This is the piece (intelligence, commentary, critique) that is missing in our culture’s current obsession with parody. It’s easy enough to fake style: every day users do this as a YouTube pre-req.

But to attach that falsification of an artistic norm to an idea, any idea, about that norm, that culture, the truth, history identity, movies, technology: now there’s the rub. However, since I believe that disbelief attached to mean-spirited mockery is itself the cultural norm and form then perhaps there’s another way to see this. Devil Inside is not a fake of anything, it is the thing itself, which means it is not self-reflexive, which means it can be dumb, but even so, I don’t need to see it, given how swamped I am anyway, by all the other dumb things that come my way given my now-generic interest in fakes (see my personal rub above).

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