Your Worst Nightmare

Here‘s another one we had been waiting for months.  Every website I read stated the national release on DVD was September 18.  The ultimate horror movie – why are people always looking for that anyway?

As we changed our Netflix subscription plan to unlimited streaming and I too late found out, not all recent   DVD releases are immediately available for streaming.  Netflix should have let us know in advance, but if we are to pick a fight with every little inconvenience creator these days, life would be  as nightmarish as the movie I’m about to describe,  as  almost everyone everywhere do not  do what they were supposed to do; what they said they would do. Also, Netflix did away with my movies in queue – I must have had almost thirty titles lined up – so now I have to do my search again for the streaming option and create a new queue. But since not all the DVD titles are available for streaming, well you see my point.

Back we went to the old Red Box or Movie Express machine (they look dangerously similar to me but don’t make the mistake of trying to return a Red Box DVD to a Movie Express machine or vice-versa) at the local grocery store and its unbeatable $1.50 per day of rental.

The Cabin in the Woods is your worst nightmare for many reasons. Starting with the acting.  My husband said he felt like watching a B movie and I had to agree the first fifteen minutes were not very promising. There’s a touch of reality show too, but that did not help either.  I sighed in relief when, among a parade of young and unknown (to me) faces – our heroes or victims – I saw Chris Hemsworth (Thor). I liked him better when he was wearing the Viking helmet and holding Mjollnir  (his magic hammer) and not doing so much talking.   So the Cabin in the Woods producers did spend some considerable resources paying this famous actor’s fee, right? Therefore  the movie cannot be too bad, right? Right?   

Maybe the helmet and the magic hammer gave Hemsworth special powers… Nah there is no hocus-pocus when it comes to good acting and an actor’s performance is often the result of positive or negative direction. And script. Give an actor/actress good scenes and well written dialogues and watch him/her excel.  I am no expert in movie making, and yet have seen this formula repeat  time after time.  The more  the production invests in high quality scripts and outstanding direction, the better the actors perform. Who knew.

Thor is not doing much to save the world this time and honestly, you can’t blame him.  Soon the B movie feeling vanishes and instead we are under the  impression this is just another   dark humored  gory  fantasy, with  sleazy  zombies materializing off  the ground in the woods. The zombies were doing great, by the way.  But  all that fuss for yet another cross of B movie with Halloween scare?  What is so extraordinary about this movie to  justify a  budget of sixty-five million and all the stellar reviews I read on line?  The body count is growing , Thor is nowhere to be found,  and there is this party going on in a subterranean  facility, with the participants watching real people being murdered  on the giant screens of their control room.  Actually, they are now betting money on who will die first and who the winners  will be. The zombie team? It was supposed to be funny,  but again the script fails and while  jargons and clichés cascade down, the victims’ blood runs through the soil into human figures carved  in  a wall –  wall art, and not of very good taste.

Hero and heroine now found a way into the subterranean fortress that is causing all that tribulation, appalled at what  became of their  holiday in the mountains;    surrounded by  zombie  arms and hands – the type that keeps creeping around even when severed from its original corpse.  It’s not scary, it’s not funny – it’s just so silly, so old.

As they descend into the core of the fortress, you will understand the meaning of  “your worst nightmare”. Each  chamber  holds  a human fear. There is a  very  convincing werewolf, a little Japanese   girl with long pretty black hair whose entire face is this huge mouth with sharp teeth,  crowds of zombies, flying  beasts who will eat your heart off,  slimy monsters that feast  on human entrails, a male humanoid whose head reminded me of the  iconic monster in Hellraiser – evil and perversity dressed in a thousand different ways.

If the movie did something well, that would have to be  the very impressive special effects and a detailed depiction of the most terrifying nightmares the human mind can create. At this point, I had forgotten all the negative aspects,  fascinated by the  collection of bad dreams  parading on the screen in such clever detail. The fortress’  spacious elevator lobby, all pristine marble and glossy white walls,  now crowded by heavily armored and armed soldiers,  is assaulted by a   massive attack of all these evil forces combined, leaving it soaked in  blood.  It  is reminiscent  of one particular scene in  Stephen King’s The Shining (the original, starring Jack Nicholson) , when  the hotel lobby in Danny’s  night terrors and visions is taken over  by a tsunami of blood. Blood everywhere, as it turns out, is another common human nightmare, maybe because it represents the very flow of life and seeing it anywhere outside where it belongs – veins and arteries – we know, means pain and death.

In the end, when everything is explained and we realize that few options are left to humankind, the female voice that we have been listening through the speakers, reminding the hero and heroine this is all happening for a greater purpose, suddenly acquires a familiar face. She is older now, but has a commanding presence and a melodious voice, and, most important, she has been around ghosts and monsters since I was a teenager. A very wise choice, I thought to myself.

Hope you agree if you have the chance to watch nightmares come true in The Cabin in the Woods.  And while we wait for Paranormal Activity IV, Happy Halloween!

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