Posts Tagged ‘horror’

Happy Saturday all you lovers of the macabre!

Last week, Emily named some honorable mentions to whet your grisly appetites for our 2012 pick for best horror movie. There were some great picks in there, but we think this one trumps all the others hands down.

The Cabin in the Woods (directed by Drew Goddard) 

Source: IMDB

Source: IMDB

Here are my reasons why this movie reigns supreme for best horror movie of 2012:

It Keeps you Guessing

Released on April 13, 2012 with the tagline, “You think you know the story”, The Cabin in the Woods (written by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon, creator of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series) leaves you guessing from the opening scene of the movie.

The movie opens with two lab geeks (Richard Jenkins of Stepbrothers and Bradley Whitford of The West Wing) having a seemingly mundane conversation. I saw this in theaters and remember thinking that I might have walked into the wrong movie theater because these two guys seemed to have nothing at all to do with a scary movie. A few seconds later my confusion was dispelled when the movie title splashed across the screen in large red letters. Okay, I had walked into the right theater after all.

The Cabin in the Woods quickly switches gear, and focuses on the main character, Dana (Kristen Connolly) who is readying herself for a weekend away with four friends at a cabin in the woods. Aussie hottie Chris Hemsworth plays Curt, female Aussie hottie Anna Hutchinson plays Jules, pothead Marty is played by the awesome Fran Kranz, and Jesse Williams plays the sweet good guy, Holden.

The five college students head out of town on their backwoods adventure, and that’s when things start getting downright weird. An eagle soars over a canyon, smacks into an invisible electric barrier, and plummets to its death. The two lab geeks make more appearances as the plot unfolds, and you wonder what the heck they have to do with the cabin in the woods. The five friends stop for gas at a rundown shithole of a gas station in the middle of nowhere and are warned of their doom by a creepy, tobacco chewing redneck. They ignore him as young folks always do in horror movies, and head on to their destination. When they arrive at the cabin, that’s when things really start getting weird.

And still you wonder, where is this movie going? Well, I won’t tell you because it’s so bizarre and well-crafted that it will be ruined unless you watch it for yourself. But on to the other reasons this movie is so awesome…

Comedic Element

It can be difficult indeed for a horror movie to successfully straddle the line between scary and comedic but The Cabin in the Woods does just that, and with excellent results. There are many elements of suspense in the movie where you’ll find you’re bracing yourself for something horrific to happen. However, these scary moments are balanced by moments of lightheartedness.

Marty, who reminds me of a human version of Shaggy from Scooby Doo, is perfect for the role of the silly, but sage stoner. He may be high, but he also sees things that no one else is picking up on.

In fact, there are several ways in which The Cabin in the Woods reminds me of one of my all-time favorite movies, Scream. It’s got the comedy/horror juxtaposition, it pokes fun at some of the horror movie stereotypes as this movie also does, and Marty reminds me quite a bit of Scream‘s Randy.

Source: A.V. Club

Source: A.V. Club

It Offers Something Fresh

The horror movie genre has been pretty well picked over, and there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in recent years. We’re seeing a lot of remakes of old movies and redundant plot lines, and it’s just gotten…stale.

Enter The Cabin in the Woods. I guarantee this plot hasn’t been done before….

Creativity

In my opinion, this might be the most creative horror movie I’ve ever seen. The plot is out there and far-fetched but enjoyable, and in what other movie would you see homicidal unicorns, maniacal clowns, unhinged child ballerinas, redneck zombies, masked murderers, and a merman all in one place? I’ve gotta hand it to The Cabin in the Woods–it seamlessly connects a plethora of unconnected horror genres together into one big masterpiece.

Source: Dinosaur Dracula

Source: Dinosaur Dracula

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Source: Dinosaur Dracula

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Source: Dinosaur Dracula

Effects

The movie, shot in Vancouver, Canada, had a budget of $30 million and more than 60 artists worked on the effects before filming even began. The awesome special effects brings all the blood, guts, and fear to life in a tangible way.

Element of the Unexpected

I’m going to be vague so as not to ruin the movie for those of you who haven’t seen it, but suffice it to say, the movie breaks a lot of “rules”. No one is “safe” and don’t assume you know how the movie is going to end. I’ve seen a lot of horror movies but this one definitely went in an unexpected direction. And I loved it!

There’s so much more I could say about this movie, but not without giving it away.  If you haven’t seen The Cabin in the Woods, watch it and let us know what you think!  If you have, do you agree or disagree with our pick as best horror movie of 2012? Let us know, we love to hear from you!

R

Yes. We had!

For a moment we just stood there in wonder, in utter disbelief that we were free. We looked around us; no wonder no one had ever come to our aid. We appeared to be literally in the middle of nowhere.

But I won’t bore you with the unexciting details of how we made it back home.  I’ll just say that it was slow, painful (considering that we were missing some parts), and seemed to take forever. We did finally make it back home again though, and we’ve resolved to implement some serious security measures so no psycho-creepy-cannibalistic-freaks can ever get to us again.

We know we’re really lucky that we made it. Because let’s face it. What percentage of characters in horror movies usually “make it”? The survival rate is pretty pathetic.

And this brings me to a movie about some pretty unlucky ghost hunters trying to escape a haunted asylum. Unlike us, they don’t succeed very well, though not for lack of trying.

We had a significant advantage, though. At least our abductor was human. You’re pretty screwed when you’re dealing with the already dead.

Grave Encounters (2011)

Source: Fantasmo Cult Cinema Explosion

Source: Fantasmo Cult Cinema Explosion

Grave Encounters is a Canadian film by the Vicious Brothers about a group of ghost hunters who make a living embarking on otherworldly expeditions and filming their so-called “encounters” with the paranormal.

The movie is shot in found footage style, like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, and in my opinion the Vicious Brothers do a pretty good job filming the movie so that it appears to be authentic footage.

The team, led by Lance Preston, decide to visit an abandoned asylum that is rumored be haunted by the patients and maniacal doctor who resided there years ago. However, they don’t just want to explore the place, they want themselves locked inside until dawn to see if anything goes bump in the night.

The plot isn’t a new one—several movies like House on Haunted Hill, The Haunting, 1408, and Rose Red tell the story of what happens when disbelievers spend the night locked in a supposed haunted house. In this case, though, Grave Encounters combines the foreboding haunted house theme with the crazy, deserted asylum theme, and films it as found footage, making it quite an interesting hybrid.

The haunted house story is quite overdone and the asylum haunted by crazies isn’t new either, but this movie brings something fresh to the table. The documentary-esque filming adds to the suspense of the movie. You only see what the cameraman is filming. And the camera captures the scenes of darkness in a truly terrifying light.

But back to the story.

It can come of no surprise that the team ignores all signs of impending doom, including the fact that the door they enter to get into the asylum is spray painted with the words “Death Awaits”. They’re also told by the caretaker that strange things happen inexplicably—like locked windows opening of their own accord.  But they choose to ignore these revelations.

At sunset, they are bolted inside, and they immediately start provoking the ghosts they don’t believe in in a haughty, disparaging manner. As you can imagine the ghosts don’t react well, and all hell breaks loose. What’s worse is that they end up completely turned around in an asylum-turned-labyrinth that they can’t seem to escape, try as they might.

I don’t want to give away too many details for those of you who haven’t seen the movie, which I do recommend as worth a watch. Not the scariest ghost movie I’ve ever seen, but definitely gripping. Stupid as the ghost hunters may initially be for undertaking such a crazy expedition, they do get creative with their escape tactics. But they are no match for the paranormal.

Check it out, and let us know what you think! If you like it, there’s a sequel (Grave Encounters 2) that was released in 2012.

 

We racked our brains for ideas… We had seen enough horror movies to figure out a way to get out of this mess, right? What does one do when they find themselves chained to a wall, weak from years of torture, body disfigured and missing a few semi-important body parts.  If only we could find a saw- losing a hand at this point didn’t seem so bad compared to the endless days with chains around our wrists… Or if we could somehow get ahold of a wire hanger and jab the masked man in the eye with it…

Should we try to surreptitiously steal a weapon from our captor? Unlikely. The chains would make that difficult as would the strength of the fiend, but maybe during our daily feeding, where we were unhooked from the wall, and had a small range of motion we could find something, anything, that would aid us in our escape.  Many days passed. Every day we jiggled our chains in the hopes that they would loosen, but they seemed to stay just as solid as the first day they had been clamped onto our wrists. During every feeding our eyes searched the floor for any object that could possibly give us a glimmer of hope.  As our plan seemed more and more hopeless, Rebecca whispered, “Sometimes dead is better” but I knew we couldn’t lose hope just yet. “I will not be threatened by a walking meatloaf,” I replied. That seemed to perk Rebecca up, and I knew that at least for a little while longer we would live to see another day.

Finally, one night, as the moon shone in the window and alighted on the floor, something caught our eye, could this be the tool that would aid in our escape? We resolved to get ahold of it the next day and prayed all night that it would be something useful to us, and not just a trick of the eye.  Rebecca prayed, “Maybe tomorrow it’ll be our world again.”

As soon as we were given our porridge the next day, and the villain had ascended the stairs, we inched our way over to the object. At first, we were disgusted and sighed in disappointment. The object that had sparked such hope in our minds turned out to be a remnant of our captor’s dinner the night before- a shard of bone from the chunk of leg he had sawed off… but then an idea started forming in my head…. I said to Rebecca two words… “Gerald’s Game”. A glimmer of hope shone in her eye. You may know the story, a woman handcuffed to a bed by her husband during a “game”, the husband unexpectedly having a heart-attack and dying, the woman trapped… how did she get herself out again? Maybe we could do the same.

Slowly the memory of the book came back to us. It would involve a lot of pain and a lot of blood. “Oh yes, there will be blood,” I thought, but there had already been so much pain and blood, what would a little more hurt?  We resolved to do it that night. It would have to move quickly if we were to survive, but we didn’t see any other option.

After what felt like the longest day of our lives, night came, and with it the dark. I like the dark, it’s friendly, and it was especially friendly that night. The television was on as always, and luckily The Texas Chainsaw Massacre was playing, one of our favorites, but we were especially thankful for it tonight because it might just have the longest scene featuring screaming in a movie ever.

We decided to wait until this moment to make our move, as we knew that once we began our plan, we were sure to be screaming ourselves, and our screams would hopefully blend in with the movie. The time came and I volunteered to go first.

I drew the shard of bone out from its hiding place, a crack in the cement wall behind us, and I geared myself up. I gritted my teeth, and brought the bone to my wrist. The plan? Cutting into my own flesh for enough blood to flow so that I could lubricate my skin and hopefully be able to slide my hand out of the cuff. I didn’t want to cut myself so deep that I would bleed to death, but there had to be an adequate amount. Once that was done, if I couldn’t work my hand out, I would have to either sever some nerves in my hand so that my hand would be able to compress and slide out of the cuff, or if I could somehow gather enough force to slam my hand against the wall and break some bones, maybe that would work. Once one hand was out, I figured I could reach the lotion that we were forced to rub on our skin, which was now kept on a shelf above our heads, and that could lubricate my other hand and Rebecca’s hands.

The time came. I started slicing. Lightly at first and then harder. I wanted to get this over with. I began to sweat, and then whimper and them scream. Rebecca said, “Scream for your life!” And I did. The blood covered my hand, then my wrist and arm. I started twisting, and twisting and twisting. The cuff slid down a little bit and stopped. Okay, now for the hard part I thought, and laughed a little bit.

I decided a few broken fingers was better than a few severed nerves, so I slammed my hand against the wall using what little strength I had left. Again and again I threw myself against the wall and slowly the cuff slid a little more. Maybe it was the fingers I was missing, or the fact that I had lost so much weight, but my hand finally came free. I gasped for air–the  pain was so much that I was afraid I was going to pass out, but I knew I had to stay strong. A voice in my head said, “No tears, please. It’s a waste of good suffering.” That voice sounded so familiar, but somehow it was comforting… and it was right. I stretched and stretched until I felt the bottom of the bottle of lotion, and I worked my mangled hand around it, very carefully, as now would not be the time to drop it, and suddenly it was in my hand. There was only a little left, but it would hopefully be enough. I opened the bottle and squeezed a little onto my other hand and wrist and spread it around. Twisting and slamming, twisting and slamming, and then, by some miracle I was free! Hopefully this freedom was anything but a dream. I squeezed the remaining lotion on Rebecca’s hands, and with the last remnants of whatever vitality she had left, she worked her way out of her chains.

And so we escaped… slowly, painfully, we dragged our mangled bodies out of our chains, along the floor stained with the memories of our disfigurement. Passed disfigured dolls, jars filled with gruesome science experiments, piles of wallets, cell phones, and all sorts of souvenirs of his past victims. Did we dare drag ourselves up the rickety stairs that he descended everyday to inflict our daily dose of terror, or did we try to find another way out from this house of horror?

Rebecca looked up the stairs toward the door at the top and said, “I dunno what the hell’s in there, but it’s weird and pissed off, whatever it is.” And then she asked me in a quiet voice, “Was it the boogeyman?” and I answered, “As a matter of fact it was. It’s all true. The boogeyman is real and you found him.”

We looked around the room where we had spent the past couple years of our lives. Suddenly we saw it, a dusty grate in the far corner of the room. This might be our best chance, we said to ourselves. Plus, without our legs burdening us anymore, and as our bodies had become emaciated from our daily ration of disgusting, mushy gruel, we would have no problem squeezing our bodies through that small space.

It was a painstaking process, but bound by determination and hope, we made it to that possible escape hatch. We pried the cover off with a dull knife that had been left on the far side of the floor, a forgotten artifact from an earlier torture. The passageway was covered in spiderwebs and reeked with a stench of mildew, ammonia, and some other scent that we couldn’t quite place. I debated going in–you know I’m terrified of spiders–but we decided to take our chances with those hideous creatures. At least death by spider bite would be less painful, and if they decided to bind us up in their webs and drain the life-force from our bodies, if would still be preferable to watching our flesh be slowly eaten by a madman.

And so we entered the dark tunnel that would hopefully lead us to freedom. Laboriously we pulled ourself along the passage, and finally, after what seemed like hours upon hours, we saw a faint glimmer of light.

Could we have finally reached freedom?!