Thursday, October 4, 2012

October Horror Movie Challenge: Day 4

Here we are again and I decided to start the day off with The Cabin in the Woods. This is due to the theme today being "meta-horror". It took a bit of searching to even figure out what that meant but now I think I get it. It's basically when you've got your base genre (horror) but things happening beyond that. Something overarching in control or being spoken about for the whole situation. So things like Scream are meta horror because while it is a "horror movie" at the core it is also an obvious joke. Something like that.

So The Cabin in the Woods has been on my list for a while. Loads of people though it was great and others hated it. I wasn't sure where I was going to fall on the spectrum so instead of watching it, it simply got ignored. Either way after seeing it my feelings are rather conflicted. The film was fun, yes, as well as creative. However, I can't say that it was anything mind-blowing or completely new. I guess the basis of the plot is a little changed from other films but not as far removed as it could have been.

Having an overarching being in "control" is hardly new territory. Neither is the idea of characters meandering into their own death trap by design. So what new is being put forth? It could be the quick wit of the characters and script. Still, that's more a result of the age we're currently living in. What is really, really new? The connecting of horror and action film certainly isn't either, as it does basically become a big-budget action film halfway through. The production values were apparently pretty huge in here.

What is good about this movie? It is fun to watch, the characters are likable, and it offers something more creative than simple zombies or homicidal maniacs. Despite all the glitz of the film though it's surprising that it doesn't go further. Because of the money, I have a feeling it would have been impossible to make this film actually "scary". Either way, it's worth watching for horror fans if you feel like catching all the homages to existing horror film characters and films. I dunno, it was okay. Honestly I think the cover kind of ruined it for me. The iconic image of the cabin shifting like a jigsaw puzzle really made it seem like it was going to be a psychological affair rather than a comedic action thing.

Urban Legend was the next feature on my plate. Somehow I'd never heard of this one before (or it had such a simple name that I forgot it...), but it was a good thing it finally crossed my path. The movie is pretty fun overall and totally worth checking out if you want a movie that'll make you second-guess the killer until the reveal. For me, I changed my mind about four times and the film works hard to support multiple theories simultaneously.

This isn't the best feature of the film though. It is of course the "urban legends" which the movie is based off. Almost every killing in the film is a take off of famous urban legends and it's exciting to guess which one is coming next. Some of the legends aren't quite as famous as others, but it's still a good attempt overall. The characters were another shining point of the movie. Some were jerks, but at least they were slightly likeable. As for me, my favorite character was the Foxy Brown-idolizing campus cop. Urban Legend is just a great comedy/horror that is totally overlooked.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil was the last thing I could handle watching for the day. It's pretty recent as it just came out in 2010 but has managed to fly mostly under the radar. I'd definitely classify it as a hidden gem. If you like horror films that are plays on the genre like Shaun of the Dead or The Rise of Leslie Vernon this one is probably right up your alley.

The film starts off with a really annoying crowd of college kids who are going out to the wilderness to party, as is apparently a very popular ritual according to so many horror movies. Along their way they stop for some drinks and have creepy run ins with "hillbillies". However, as the audience, we quickly see they're just normal people and if anyone is messed up it's probably the college kids themselves. Either way, a series of huge misunderstandings cause things to get really wild (and a lot of fun to watch). This is probably the favorite movie I've seen so far for the Challenge.

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