Genres are very important in the movie industry. Being able to put things into categories allows us to organize our minds, and also tell us what we can expect from movies before we see them. But why do we rely on them so much? And is it really the worst thing in the world if a movie does not stick to a strict genre.
What constitutes a genre?
There are two different ways to associate a movie with a genre. One of those is the actual insides of the movie and what type of things it consists of. This can mean the setting, the dialogue, the type of plots etc. For instance, you can tell that a horror movie will likely have a secluded setting, some eerie music, and a lot of questions in the dialogue.
The other way that a movie fits into a genre, is actually how the audience reacts. A comedy movie can have a lot of different things inside the movie in regards to characters, settings, and plot. However, a movie that makes audiences laugh will be added to the comedy genre.
Should genres be mixed?
There are some great opinions out there about whether or not genres should be mixed. It can be difficult to wade through a sea of uncategorized movies, however, even the experts will say that movie genres are too broad to pin down most movies accurately. Movies, and storytelling in general, have always borrowed from other forms in order to best tell the story they are trying to portray. Often it is the ‘B’ movies or the lesser known movies who are brave enough to take on the taboo of genre mixing. If you take a look at science fiction movies in particular can take elements from all kinds of genres to get their story across.
Not only does it make for less repetitive and more interesting story telling, it is also something that movie executives are recognizing as quite a cash cow. When you bring two genres together, you are also potentially bringing two audience demographics together, and this obviously leads to more movies. Genres bending can also lend some contrast to an otherwise stale movie. Having a serious thriller peppered with the right kind of dark humor, or giving a romantic comedy a sci-fi twist, can often add some contrast and brighten the film up so to speak. Too much of the same thing, and movies become predictable and unwatchable.
There can be good things about having the ability to group movies by genre. We like to know what to expect from movies, we like to be able to seek out movies that are like the movies we have liked in the past. However, these genres can be quite restrictive and do not always represent the true atmosphere of a film. Branding of movies into certain genres can also leave audiences disappointed or confused if they did not get what they thought they would get.