A decade ago, many movies had a blue tint added to them, apparently meant to convey a spooky or thrilling vibe. But there's also an extreme yellow tint to certain films, the latest example being the new Netflix movie Extraction. (Trailer above.) What's the deal with the mustard-colored movies? At the Matador Network, Elizabeth Sherman writes about the "yellow filter" and why some people find it offensive:
[…] It's almost always used in movies that take place in India, Mexico, or Southeast Asia. Oversaturated yellow tones are supposed to depict warm, tropical, dry climates. But it makes the landscape in question look jaundiced and unhealthy, adding an almost dirty or grimy sheen to the scene. Yellow filter seems to intentionally make places the West has deemed dangerous or even primitive uglier than is necessary or even appropriate, especially when all these countries are filled with natural wonders that don't make it to our screens quite as often as depictions of violence and poverty […]
Yellow filter goes hand in hand with films that depict mostly negative stereotypes about living in the country in question, all while centering the journey of a white hero: Some combination of gangs, extreme poverty, drug use, and war seems to pop up in most of the movies that use yellow filter. Not only is it ugly and overused, but it reinforces stereotypes about people in countries that Americans still tend to think of as the "developing world."
"Why does 'yellow filter' keep popping up in American movies?" (Matador Network)