Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
The Descent (Screenshot: YouTube)

One of the most useful things about a supercut video is being able to absorb a vast swath of related imagery and concepts in an extremely short period of time. Whether you’re looking to soak up knowledge of the 20 highest-rated TV shows of the ’90s or simply run down an assemblage of great serves from every tennis player in competition at Wimbledon this year, these videos can be a repository of enlightening information. Or, if you just want to see a bunch of dogs scared of farts, that’s also an option.

But some videos are worth calling attention to as a means of pointing out the fluidity of terms we now face daily on the internet. For example, let’s take a look at this new video from Looper called “The Most Underrated Horror Movies Of The Last 15 Years.” Presumably, the list wants to provide viewers with some films they’ve never heard of that are nonetheless worthy of their time. But in this case, it demonstrates the relative value of the term “underrated,” because the follow-up question to that word is always, “By who?”


In the case of the very first film listed in the video, The Descent, the answer is, “Certainly not The A.V. Club.” The film was number seven on our list of the best horror movies since 2000, not to mention being pretty universally acclaimed as a case of superior horror craftsmanship on the part of director Neil Marshall. So the idea of it being underrated must apply to something like box office receipts during its theatrical run, because it certainly seems to have earned more than enough critical goodwill.

Or take Green Room, last year’s superb locked-room thriller that pitted a punk band against a murderous group of Nazi thugs and featured one of the late Anton Yelchin’s final screen performances. It’s got a 90 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and made more than 20 year-end top 10 lists according to Metacritic. How is it underrated, then? Again, perhaps if you use box office numbers as a metric of assessment, you could fairly claim it didn’t receive its due. Sure, it made more than four times the gross of director Jeremy Saulnier’s previous film, Blue Ruin, but it had a budget more than 10 times that film’s amount. Again, a strange barometer of quality, but arguable.


The term makes more sense when it comes to something like 2013’s reboot of Evil Dead. While it had generally favorable reviews (including ours), opinions vary widely about the film’s success in restarting one of the most beloved film franchises in American horror. So the claim of “underrated” can be fairly applied in the normal sense of the word, with the claim that the movie is better and scarier than its reputation suggests. And others from Looper’s list, like We Are What We Are, have had similar arguments made on their behalf. For horror aficionados, it’s another reminder that what some consider no-brainer positions (hey, did you know The House Of The Devil is good?) don’t always mean the same thing to a wider audience; for everyone else, it’s another opportunity to see if you’ve caught the recent best of what a genre has to offer.

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