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The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

Homestead High School's student newspaper

The Epitaph

TikTok’s cinematic revolution captivates viewers

MovieTok redefines movie reviews by creating bite-sized, engaging videos

As the flickering glow of the TV screen illuminates my living room, I find myself lost in the world of cinema. The anticipation of a gripping plot, the power of exceptional performances and the magic of visual storytelling have always held me in their thrall. Yet, in recent years, a new force has been influencing the way I engage with the world of movies, a force that is as close as my smartphone – TikTok.

MovieTok captures the magic of the film industry through accessible and engaging videos. (Illustration by Veronica Zhao)

MovieTok, a subgenre of TikTok content, has emerged as a platform for analyzing and reviewing movies. While the traditional format of movie reviews often features long-form essays or video reviews, MovieTok creates bite-sized videos that allow audiences to engage and share their thoughts on films. 

A prime example of the brilliance of MovieTok is Maddi Koch, a content creator who specializes in “movies you might have missed,” according to the New York Times. Oftentimes, she reviews, analyzes or promotes movies to the audience. 

Koch attempts to capture the viewer’s attention within the first three seconds: she starts her review of the hit horror film “Barbarian” with, “This movie’s perfect for you if you never want to sleep again.” 

She speaks directly to the camera, with screenshots from the film in the background. The method of using a gripping and attention-grabbing statement immediately engages the viewer’s curiosity. I felt like I was having a one-on-one conversation with the Koch, which is a notable accomplishment given the fast-scrolling word of TikTok.  

On MovieTok, the most successful users generally post at least once per day, with videos typically lasting 30-90 seconds, according to the New York Times. However, what really drew me in was the personality of the creators. 

Creators often infuse their own characters and experiences into their reviews, making it easier for viewers to connect with the content. Whether it is humor, a personal anecdote or a passionate rant, MovieTok reviewers often bring a unique and authentic perspective that echoes with a broader, more diverse audience.

MovieTok also engages with pop culture trends, aligning movie reviews with popular culture references or participating in trending challenges. Many videos include viral songs in the background, hoping for the video to tap into a more comprehensive audience and generate meaningful discussions about films. MovieTok cultivates a sense of hype and anticipation for the movie, potentially boosting its viewership and box office success. 

The avid discussion of movies on TikTok further destigmatizes the “ivory tower” – a perceived exclusivity – of traditional film criticism. Standard movie reviews often lean towards a more intellectual or academic tone, which can alienate some potential moviegoers. MovieTok, on the other hand, is approachable and welcomes the world of cinema. Anyone with a smartphone can become a movie reviewer in the world of film critique.

MovieTok continues to evolve and shape the landscape of the film industry, whether it is by influencing box office successes or increasing the discoverability of films on streaming platforms. The platform reminds us that the way we engage with and discuss the world of cinema is constantly adapting, and it is essential to notice its transformative power in this digital age.

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About the Contributor
Veronica Zhao
Veronica Zhao, Arts & Culture, Multimedia Editor
Veronica Zhao is a junior and is an Arts & Culture and Multimedia editor for The Epitaph. In her second year on the paper, she is looking forward to staying involved in the HHS community by writing engaging and proactive articles. Aside from The Epitaph, Veronica enjoys journalling and trying new boba places.

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