Like any other decade, the 2010s has its fair share of great movies that audiences overlooked. Throughout history, critics return to movies and discover that they underrated many of them. The following 10 movies belong in that category of underrated movies that need to be revisited as they were misunderstood on their original release.
10. The Counselor
The Counselor caught people’s immediate attention when such names as Ridley Scott, Cormac McCarthy, Michael Fassbender, and Brad Pitt were attached. As a result, expectations were high. People expected the combination of Ridley Scott’s gritty, intense style and Cormac McCarthy’s intellectual writing to produce a taut, violent, and edge-of-your-seat thriller. Upon release, audiences found their expectations not met with their sentiments being reflected on review aggregate websites like Rotten Tomatoes where the film currently holds a 34% from critics and 23% from audiences.
The Counselor demands a revisit though. The expectations that audiences had weren’t the right expectations to have. The Counselor doesn’t aim to be a standard thriller, it wants to insert unique characters, human interactions, and philosophical musings into a genre that is defined by loud, over-the-top simplicity. When approached from such an angle, The Counselor is a movie that’s actually quite good and the misunderstandings become very easy to see.
9. Inherent Vice
Inherent Vice was one of the most polarizing movies of its year with many critics and audiences saying that the movie failed to successfully bring an “un-filmable” book to the screen. Thomas Pynchon’s notoriously dense, but no less engaging, style was something people were skeptical could be translated.
Nonetheless, expectations were high when director Paul Thomas Anderson took on the endeavor with an all-star cast including Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, and more. After its release audiences found things worthy of praise but not nearly to the heights of Anderson’s other filmography.
Inherent Vice should be revisited though. Although the cast might suggest that it’s a mainstream movie, it’s more tailor-made for the independent crowd that’s seeking a more thought-provoking experience. It’s a movie that prefers style over structure and the end result proves to be a more experiential movie-going experience than anything else. Viewers should return to it with their previous judgments checked at the door and allow themselves to be fully immersed in the experience with no expectations.
8. Killer Joe
William Friedkin has been responsible of a number of beloved classics like The French Connection and The Exorcist. However, since his heyday in the 70s, critics have been split on his consistency with many finding his movies hit-or-miss. One movie that critics couldn’t agree on though was his 2011 black comedy Killer Joe, a movie that brings dark comedy to whole new levels. The movie was originally rated NC-17 with the scenes of sexual violence and the film’s overall nihilism causing audiences to shake their heads in disgust.
However, the content of the movie unfairly precedes its merit. It’s a movie full of strong performances and the witty dialogue perfectly balances cheeky self-awareness with grim seriousness. It’s undoubtedly an acquired taste but deserves a revisit due to its performances and sharpness.
7. You’re Next
You’re Next is a smart satire of home invasion movies like The Strangers. It flew relatively under the radar given how popular the genre that it fits into is. For the critics and audiences that did see it walked away from the film feeling rather neutral but not that they had seen anything monumental. They saw it as a fun horror-comedy romp that made for a good, individual viewing.
This is unfortunate and why You’re Next deserves a revisit. It brilliantly satirizes the home invasion tropes by making things hilariously hyperbolic. Its self-awareness and sharp take down of the genre make it a movie that should be a standard feature during the Halloween season. The horror-comedy genre may be running out of steam, but You’re Next remains a new, fresh take worthy of a re-watch.
6. Crimson Peak
Guillermo Del Toro remains one of the most popular directors of his generation. After the success of his blockbusters Pacific Rim and the Hellboy series, Del Toro returned to his roots with this gothic horror movie. Upon release, Crimson Peak was not a big critical or commercial success and sort of fell into obscurity relative to Del Toro’s other movies. The release of the Oscar winning The Shape of Water two years later certainly didn’t help revive this movie.
Audiences should make the effort to seek this movie out as it has all of the definitive qualities of what made Del Toro such a beloved director. The atmosphere, color scheme, and set pieces all make for a bleak and effective supernatural horror. Re-watching this movie will show audiences that this has not received its due praise and belongs in the conversation for Del Toro’s top English language film.