Sean K. Cureton

Posts Tagged ‘Horror’

The Devil’s Candy: An Intersection of Genius, Madness & The Devil

In Movies on VOD: Reviews and Recommendations on September 2, 2017 at 10:37 am
The Devil's Candy

IFC Midnight

The Devil’s Candy (2017)
Directed by Sean Byrne
VOD Rating: Really Liked It

The Devil’s Candy sees Australian provocateur Sean Byrne fully coming into his own as a storyteller whose primary interests continue to aim towards the macabre. Evil forces pervade throughout Byrne’s latest film in ways that often veer towards the kind of morbidity made popular by Rob Zombie. The devil plays a central role in The Devil’s Candy, a satanic influence that can be keenly felt in the sheer terror that pervades throughout. But unlike House of 1000 Corpses or The Devil’s Rejects, Byrne spins a tale of demonic influences that never seeks to embrace its movie monster outright. Far from it, The Devil’s Candy builds its own scares in such a way that the viewer’s fascination with the evil contained therein proves self-reflective.

Crossing the intersection of genius and madness, Byrne seeks to find inspiration in the darkest parts of the human psyche, where a loss of control sometimes amounts to an artistic breakthrough. Unfortunately for central protagonist Jesse Hellman (Ethan Embry), whose slavish devotion to an unseen force of primordial malevolence threatens to consume him and his family whole, that kind of fiendish obsession can prove all too alluring. Byrne directs scenes of terror with a visual aestheticism unmatched by most of his contemporaries, and in The Devil’s Candy, viewers are offered what is perhaps the most significant 21st century genre film since Zombie burst onto the scene in 2003. Like Zombie, Byrne‘s latest is unsettling on a subconscious level, wherein narrative logic gives way to viscerally shocking imagery and implied ideas that become fleshed out via the co-operation between the director and his audience.

In order to perfect their very own iconic family portrait reminiscent of Grant Wood’s early 20th century American masterwork, Jesse (Embry) and Astrid Hellman (Shiri Appleby) decide to purchase a house in rural Texas. Enamored with their new abode’s rustic integrity and backwoods isolation, Jesse immediately begins to set up his art studio in a repurposed barn. The only thing that stands in his way is the history of the estate’s previous tenants – who were viciously slaughtered by their troubled son (Pruitt Taylor Vince) acting at the behest of the Devil himself. Soon enough, the voice of the Devil begins to torment Jesse, whose commissioned piece of domestic tranquility is quickly turned into a pictorial representation of demonic prophecy concerning the mortal soul of his young daughter Zooey (Kiara Glasco). Meanwhile, the troubled Ray Similie (Vince) makes his presence known and begins to commit the acts of murder that Jesse’s painting foretold.

Instead of devolving into the same kind of fatalism that so often plagues Zombie at his most heightened states of cinematic vitality, Byrne walks up to the same edge of moral depravity only to shock his audience into fully realizing the gross reality of his film’s transgressions. Unlike Zombie, Byrne manages to find a way out of the hellish furnace that he literally and figuratively places his characters into. Spiritually reminiscent of the late Tobe Hooper‘s cult-classic masterpiece The Texas Chain Saw MassacreThe Devil’s Candy reexamines the same regional well of inspiration only to find another movie monster possessed of a grotesque appetite for the human flesh, spirit, and soul. Following his debut film The Loved Ones from 2009, it will be exciting to see where Byrne will turn his attention next. Offering much more than the sum of its parts, The Devil’s Candy tells an American horror story that is ethereally tinged with a subtlety that often lends to frightening visions of presumed domesticity.

The Devil’s Candy is currently available on Netflix, and is My Movies on VOD: Recommendation of the Week. This review is an abridged version of an article that was originally published by Film Inquiry.

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It Comes at Night: A Midnight Odyssey

In Movie Reviews: 2017 on June 10, 2017 at 9:54 am
It Comes at Night

A24

It Comes at Night
Directed by Trey Edward Shults
3 ½ out of 4 stars

It Comes at Night – the sophomore outing from American writer-director Trey Edward Shults – is a thoroughly satisfying art house genre feature. Shults’ latest motion picture production ensconces itself in the shroud of horror, only to pull the rug out from under the feet of an unsuspecting audience to reveal a more psychologically tuned drama. Ostensibly about a viral outbreak that has killed an unknown percentage of the human population, It Comes at Night builds upon the tension of its title while offering little in the way of explicit terror. Holed up in a house in the middle of the woods is a family of three, who soon find themselves playing reluctant hosts to another close-knit nuclear unit. What follows from this premise is a whole host of paranoid apparitions that operate in a surreal realm of tangible distrust and unease.

In the opening shot, Shults greets his audience with the face of a dying man named Bud – played by David Pendleton – who is soon revealed to be the grandfather to Carmen Ejogo’s Sarah, herself the wife and mother of Joel Edgerton’s Paul and Kelvin Harrison Jr.’s Travis. Pallid and covered in dark spots, it’s quickly made apparent that Bud has become infected with a virulent virus of an untold contagion, and is swiftly taken out to the woods to be shot in the head before burial. Hinting towards the very best works of the zombie sub-genre, It Comes at Night borrows from some of the core narrative tropes of horror master classes like Night of the Living Dead and 28 Days Later, yet manages to surpass them in its unwillingness to exploit the walking dead. Instead of falling back on a host of shambling deadites to illicit an immediate sense of danger, Shults feels far more at home with the imagined horrors of the living. Forced to undergo varying states of cabin fever brought about by instinctual self-preservation turned hermitic isolation, It Comes at Night exhibits the hollowness of people living in the wake of the apocalypse.

Borrowing heavily from the themes and imagery of 16th century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch – whose canvases of grotesque and decripit landscapes feature prominently during the film’s first act – It Comes at Night is a dark and twisted fantasy. Scrabbling for a hold in a world that doesn’t really seem to exist beyond an established set of routines and the bonds of one’s immediate family, belief in the good of mankind becomes an antiquated philosophy. When Christopher Abbot’s Will shows up at their door one night, Paul, Sarah, and Travis are reluctant to take in an unwanted visitor. And later, when Will and Paul go out to retrieve Will’s wife and son, Kim and Andrew – played in the film by Riley Keough and Griffin Robert Faulkner, respectively – the two fathers are attacked by another roving pair that bear an unsettling resemblance to themselves. Ostensibly having killed two people whose situation may not have been all that different from their own, Shults makes it apparent that Paul and Will live a disassociated existence.

In the film’s climactic third act, It Comes at Night retains a parabolic ambiguity. Refusing to offer any easy answers – or explain Travis’ strange nightmares and midnight odysseys – Shults spins an unforgettable yarn. The movie leaves viewers with an oddly compelling series of half-remembered shots and stolen glances that serve to give shape to its discomfiting form. Edgerton turns in another stirring performance that serves to ground the film in a world where assumptions inform a reality ruled by solipsism and mania. Fact and fiction are blurred in It Comes at Night in a way that serves to mirror the disorientation of its characters – and the viewer by proxy.

Evangelical Paranoia in The Witch

In Movie Reviews: 2016 on March 5, 2016 at 12:39 pm
The Witch Review

A24

The Witch
Directed by Robert Eggers
3 out of 4 stars

Robert Eggers’ directorial debut premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, but it wasn’t until this year that A24 acquired the rights for distribution in the United States, though that hasn’t stopped the film from gaining momentum leading up to its theatrical release. The film centers on a New England family in 17th century America, whose staunchly held religious beliefs force them outside of their small colonial settlement into the wilds of uncivilized native lands that my be home to more than an enigmatically feral-seeming stray rabbit. The entire production is laced heavily with Puritanical Christian themes that more often than not revolve around the concept of sin and evil, all of which quickly devolves into an apparent spirit in the woods who begins devouring each of the seven family members’ sanity, one by one. Much of the film’s script is devoted the sense of alienation and dislocation that the various members of the nuclear unit feel upon their late separation from their English home of origin, which manifests itself in a physically manifested witch, whose object reality becomes a central question with which Eggers’ leaves his viewers’ by film’s end. It’s easy to conclude that the witch spirit, or spirits, that inhabit the film are a figment of insanity brought on by evangelical hysteria, and yet much of the film’s evocative imagery and coyly depicted dramatic events make for a supernatural horror thanks in no small part to said fervency of faith.

The actors chosen for their roles in Eggers’ film are spectacularly casted, as each member of the film’s modestly assembled theater troupe are so peculiar in manner and physiognomy that they feel intuitively right for the time and place in which the film is said to take place. Pulling from the roster of Game of Thrones medieval character actors, Ralph Ineson and Kate Dickie exude a certain archaic foreboding as the parental unit in their very essence, as both performers strike a fine balance between archaic dignity and primitive antagonism. Pulled into the fray are some of the best child actors to be seen on the big screen in quiet some time, all of whom are led by the spiritually corruptible Anya Taylor-Joy as the young Thomasin. It is in Taylor-Joy’s apparent willingness to indulge depravity and wickedness that proves to be her ultimate undoing or salvation, depending on how you read the film’s thrilling and surreal final sequence, and which makes Eggers’ film so sympathetically compelling. There is something undeniably at work upon the small family throughout the film’s unbelievable taut and claustrophobic 92 minute runtime, though from whence said tension arises is left to the power of its actors, who exude all of the horror for which the film falls into the realm of genre fiction.

Which brings the entire conversation back to the film’s apparent supernatural elements that threaten to override Eggers’ script’s obvious indebtedness to the more psychological and theological elements that make the entire production worthwhile. Like William Friedkin’s The Exorcist of 1973, The Witch examines the socio-cultural under-pinnings of contemporary belief through the history of religion, specifically the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, respectively. But where Friedkin is always aimed at finding the ways in which good will always triumph over evil, Eggers’ new film appears primed at examining the temporary desire for the pleasures of corruption, with the devil being a more alluring figure in his ephemeral appeal to the senses. The witch of the woods appears in the guise of whatever fantasy each of the members’ of the archetypically doomed household want the most dearly, and subsequently consumes them when they give into said carnal appetites. As Thomasin finally discovers at film’s end, sin is a far more attractive alternative to the dedication and hard work required of basic goodness, though the former indulgence will change you into a spectral shadow of one’s former self.

There’s plenty to continue to ponder after the credits finally role at the end of Eggers’ impeccably crafted first film, with the final sequence being one of the most obtuse and alienating experiences in recent memory. Eggers leaves his viewers with no easy answers or clear path out of the labyrinth of religious paranoia and colonial greed that he leads them into, and only continues to confuse the pertinent message underlying the visual tapestry of illusion, metaphor, and fantasy with the use of supernatural fiction. Which is all to say that the film works its way into unsettling the viewer in more ways than one, and provides a psychological horror story fit to bear the picture’s subtitle of being, “A New England Folktale.” Based in part on historical accounts and legends of the time passed down across generations and centuries, The Witch is half fable and half docudrama, though none of it ever purports itself to be literally or figuratively true. Which is all to say, again, why the film works so well, as all of the unreality of its visceral horror may finally be felt as psychological insight, however manically acquired said revelation is delivered.

Krampus, Late Capitalism, & Christmas

In Movie Reviews: 2015 on December 26, 2015 at 12:54 pm
Krampus

Universal Pictures

Krampus
Directed by Michael Dougherty
2 ½ out of 4 stars

The latest seasonal horror-comedy from writer-director Michael Dougherty has already been cast as a contemporary successor to Joe Dante’s Gremlins of 1984, despite its Alpine folklore elements never quiet cohering entirely with a central narrative reluctantly concerned with the spirit of its featured holiday season. In Krampus, the titular Austro-Bavarian creature of legend is summoned by a disharmonious family that is forced to spend the Christmas holiday under one roof, whose antagonistic displays towards and against one another continue to proliferate and emerge until the anti-Santa is unleashed upon them. In the opening credit sequence of Dougherty’s new film, there is a surprisingly well-orchestrated bit of comedy at play, wherein the consumerism of the holiday is expertly lampooned in a hyperbolic fashion. The tableaux in question centers around a violent outburst perpetrated at a local shopping mall, Santa meet-and-greet, as the Engel family’s eldest son Max erupts in a fit of violent rage over some inexplicable, and likely self-involved moment of environmental misjudgment, that plays out like any tantrum thrown by any child under thirteen in a public shopping center at the height of the winter holiday season. Much of the film’s lightly applied social satire develops from this early moment of comic clarity, though much of its fails to deliver on the nuance and light-hearted subtlety at play early on, and ultimately delivers on a wide range of ill-timed and excessive horror movie elements.

Which is not to say that most of the scare tactics and grisly movie monsters that Dougherty employs throughout his new film are entirely without merit, or contrived and silly on their own terms. Divorced entirely from the rest of production, many of the demonic children’s toys that populate the snowy landscape of Krampus are either minutely disturbing enough to warrant their own short films, or genuinely unsettling to behold, and make for some the film’s more effectively creepy scenes and sequences. But the sheer multitude of these miniature movie monsters often becomes too much, and their ubiquity for the first two thirds of the film makes for a less imposing final reveal when Max finally confronts the great beast that he has unwittingly unleashed upon his family by film’s end. The grotesque Jack-in-the-Box and the army of malevolent gingerbread men are effective on their own, but combined with an evil teddy bear, a satanic angel ornament, and a smattering of incoherent, malicious elves, much of the film’s horror movie elements fall flat inn juxtaposition to one another, and serve to flatten a lot of the film’s scares, while simultaneously diminishing the script’s more tender-hearted narrative intentions. If Dougherty had scaled back on the sheer assault of unnecessary, annoying, and entirely predictable jump scares and horrific surprises, he might have been able to produce a subtler film that relied more heavily on the imposing presence of its featured movie monster, and delivered a fable more in keeping with the quaint nostalgia that beats at the very heart of many of the film’s stellar performances.

In their respective roles, the actors who comprise the cast for Dougherty’s latest horror-comedy are at the top of their game respectively, and serve to ground the film in a humanistic story that is both sardonic and tragic. Adam Scott and Toni Collette are sweet and believable throughout as a couple struggling to stay together and in love, and serve to offer some kind of hope for the end of an entirely disparate film that never comes to pass. Likewise, David Koechner and Allison Tolman are diametrically endearing as the imposing relatives, and Conchata Ferrell is always a welcome presence to any broad comedy production. But there simply doesn’t appear to be anywhere for these characters to go except down, as the narrative that Dougherty’s quickly established over the course of the film’s second act is one that offers no hope or redeeming moral lesson to be learned from the horrific comedy of errors that otherwise ensues. Instead, the Engel’s are left to contemplate the error of their ways in an apparent purgatory that seems oddly misappropriated for a movie purportedly in keeping with the spirit of Christmas, and ends in one of the worst jump scares all year, save for the nearly identical one more appropriately tagged onto the end of Leigh Whannell’s Insidious: Chapter 3.

Joe Dante’s aforementioned horror-comedy is a better film in a every way imaginable to Dougherty’s contemporary revamp of many of the same ideas and basic dramatic structure. In Gremlins, the tiny demonic creatures who wreak near-inescapable havoc are vanquished by film’s end, and the family forced to undergo a holiday of terror are chastened and all the better for the ordeal undergone. Meanwhile, Krampus is an oppressively nihilistic version of the same story, even as it doesn’t appear to mean to be. Dougherty’s horror movie elements effectively take over what is an overtly humorous take on the scary story at the comedy production’s center, and ends up offering one of the worst holiday films imaginable, with none of the heart or understanding of many of the themes and lessons that it purports to deliver. At times, it feels as though Krampus wants to be a different film entirely, one more in keeping with much of the holistic goodness of Dante’s aforementioned cult-classic, but fails to see very far beyond the outwardly apparent bleakness of its chosen source material, and offers little more than a confused satire of late-capitalism, with a couple of scares thrown in to make sure the audience is paying attention.

Gothic Romance as Macabre Farce

In Movie Reviews: 2015 on November 7, 2015 at 2:12 pm
Crimson Peak Theatrical Poster

Universal Pictures

Crimson Peak
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
2 out of 4 stars

Crimson Peak comes on heavy from the start, with its supplementary ghost story an element of the film’s fabric that becomes all pervasive, drowning out many of director Guillermo del Toro’s more subtle and rhetorical flourishes. The film itself is an incredibly atmospheric, gothic romance, as the director so vehemently made a point of stating in the promotion of his new film over the course of the last month, though its tender tragedy comes at the very center of a fairly convoluted, meager, and mediocre, melodramatic period piece. While the film’s stars Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, and Jessica Chastain form a compelling lover’s triangle that is constantly on the verge of the cross-strangulation of all three aphrodisiacs, their story is largely put on hold in the service of a fairly route, haunted house ride. Implementing perhaps more CGI than would have been advisable, the monsters in del Toro’s latest all appear hyper accentuated to a fault, though perhaps this particular un-reality has more to do with the ludicrous plot, setting, and climactic clash over hallowed grounds that have been reddened through a plot contrivance exhaustingly convenient. The film itself never coheres into anything close to resembling an independent production, but instead peters out into several incongruent and seemingly discontinuous parts, with del Toro’s impeccable eye for detail and literary allusion his apparent undoing this time around.

Wasikowska is sympathetic enough in the role of Edith Cushing, an educated young woman living in what passes for America within the film’s disparate landscapes, on her father’s moneyed estate. Bearing a passing resemblance to such Victorian characters as Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet or Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, the film makes blunt associations to the two former literary characters of the period of time that del Toro attempts to portray visually, even as his script plods along with overbearing dialogue and brashly cliché, narrative beats. When the film moves across the pond to Hiddleston and Chastain’s estate amid a cinematically secluded English country side, Thomas and Lucille Sharpe prove not only dislikable antagonists, but villains without any heart or bearing of their own outside of the heavily redundant world against which they are cast. The film becomes an exercise in indulgence spurred on by del Toro’s decided love for all things creepy, though his attempts at recasting the haunted hills of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is well neigh suffocating in his persistent courtship of intellectual pretention. As the entire affair comes to a bloody head at the film’s conclusion, and Wasikowska’s Cushing character closes the book of her own writing on the events contained within the film proper, viewers may at least come away with the relief afforded by never having to glance at the flowery and pompous prose intimated by the film’s self-aggrandizing majesty.

Which is all not to say that the film doesn’t still have its moments, or that del Toro has completely lost his touch as an inherently hyperbolic filmmaker. Like Pacific Rim, the director’s latest builds upon pre-established and well known storytelling traditions while incorporating his own unimpeachable aesthetic vision. The Sharpe estate in his new film is gloriously macabre, with his dilapidated structure, groaning, mechanized structural bearings, and oozing floors threatening to be over taken by the red clay that becomes visually associated with the crimson ghouls that haunt the ancestral abode with menace and woe. Edith is an appropriate avatar by which to navigate the films labyrinthine, maze-like structure so well known to fans of del Toro’s larger oeuvre, and the very construction of his latest cinematic set piece is reminiscent of the many winding gears and widgets of his directorial debut Cronos, only to be recast and seen again later on in Hellboy II: The Golden Army and Pan’s Labyrinth. It’s always a pleasure to get to know the inner workings of behind the tapestries that adorn del Toro’s films, even if the fabric quickly gives way to a skeletal frame in dire need of expositional support.

The film’s cast at times appear aware of the del Toro’s many excesses and illusory sparks of innovation that ultimately give way to a barren cellar of discarded and recycled tropes and images from greater works on the page and screen from the past. At times Hiddleston’s limber frame and hints towards a predatory menace necessitated by a wounded humanity resulting from his own loss of innocence, though in extrapolation on the Thomas Sharpe character it is in his sister Lucille where much of the film’s horror arises, and to lesser reward. In moving so quickly between too many literary and cinematic allusions to count, del Toro makes a mockery of his own sycophantic appreciation of his own artistry, his gothic romance a macabre farce in disguise. The estate from which the film derives its name is an effectively eerie setting that becomes undone by the film’s many surrounding elements, all jockeying for their time in front of a camera that moves far too frenetically between its many points of reference. On that note, it becomes possible to leave the would-be Victorian novelist, Ms. Edith Cushing, to ponder over her own shallow pool of narrative recursion between the covers of a book that may be closed by the film’s viewers indefinitely.

Primordially Post-Modern Horror Comedy

In Movies on VOD: Reviews and Recommendations on October 31, 2015 at 3:41 pm
Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

Magnet Releasing

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2013)
Directed by Eli Craig
Netflix Rating: Really Liked It

Following in the path of such iconic horror comedy masterpieces as Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive and Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, Eli Craig’s directorial debut, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, is a grimy, gory, backwoods horror romp that plays up the genre for all of its very best camp elements. Seemingly set up as an alternative to Tobe Hooper’s cult-classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Craig’s film depicts two hillbilly-esque, country bumpkins, played to greatly sympathetic effect by veteran comic actors Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine, as they become the physical manifestations of a rural mythology projected onto them by a troupe of middle-class, college kids. The socio-cultural prejudices that thematically weave throughout the entire film’s fabric are pointedly articulated, though they never entirely rest away the bite of what is a spectacularly violent splatter-fest. Tucker and Dale play their parts meticulously well, only to have the rug tugged out from under them, leaving them to tumble through an increasingly cliché-ridden, albeit self-aware, manifestation of every horror film perhaps too dependent on the very same tropes, pratfalls, and sight gags that lend so easily to thematic comedy. Craig’s film is on a par with other twenty-first century post-post-modern horror comedy gems as Ruben Fleischer’s Zombieland, Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead, and Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon’s The Cabin in the Woods, films that have situated themselves as individual entries within an increasingly well-versed community of genre filmmakers willing to exploit the very cinematic traditions that their films simultaneously mock and unambiguously embrace in kind.

As the found footage horror format continues to proliferate in regards to more straightforward horror films, movies like Craig’s work alongside the former productions as the extant remnants of a by-gone era, Tucker & Dale having more in common with such classic scary movies as John Carpenter’s Halloween than it does with the more thoroughly modern Rob Zombie remake. Where filmmakers like Zombie might wish to peel back sheer terror to discover the monster underneath, it is in films like Craig’s where the monsters are more appropriately distanced beneath the veneer of genre conventionalism. Zombie may be a more intellectually nuanced filmmaker at times, but is also a misguided sentimentalist when it comes to interpreting movie monsters with too much sympathy and self-identification. Craig’s film never seeks to find the humanity in its alluded depravity, and in effect makes a monster out of the very same sort of fanatic schlock-devotee that Zombie often comes across as being. Though Tucker & Dale is by no means the most original horror comedy to come out over the past fifteen years, it is an impeccably crafted comic diversion that earns its humor and gore in its honest approach towards the history of the horror movie.

When everything comes to close in Craig’s reimagining of a thoroughly cinematic, hick horror country, all of the pieces and various stereotypes have reached a conclusion entirely expected and predetermined by the prejudices underlying much of the film’s ironic acknowledgement of what has come before. Dale comes away from the film as the hero in a story not all that far divorced from Hooper’s aforementioned terrified tragedy, both Labine and Gunnar Hansen’s Leatherface heroes of an unconventional sort. Much of Craig’s film is concerned with the way in which characters in a horror movie are largely expected to fulfill their given role, but in allowing Dale to overcome the monster role to which he has been assigned by the film’s expected victims, he gets the last laugh and rides off into the sunset with the film’s Final Girl, chainsaw still in hand. It would be easy to make very little of such a tired, simple premise, but in Craig’s hands the film engages with its audience in a deceptively playful manner, allowing them to make sweeping generalizations about the cast while also subverting those same expectations in a method entirely consistent with the film’s broadly applied farce. Tudyk and Labine are obviously made to be the butt of each and every joke that occurs, and much of the on-screen gore is hyper-accentuated to surreal effect, making the film hilarious in its various deconstructions of the narrative tradition at play throughout.

Like Goddard and Whedon did with The Cabin in the Woods, Craig takes a lot of the rustic eeriness at play in such classics as Friday the 13th and The Last House on the Left, and subverts those cinematic worlds into a playground for frenetically dangerous comedy to occur. Tucker and Dale eagerly engage with the backwoods psychopathology already resident to the abandoned summer home bequeathed by Tucker’s ambiguous lineage without knowing anything about the history of the horror film. In the absence of fully autonomous movie monsters, the presumed victims of Craig’s film run amok in recreating the very horror stores which have been otherwise supplied to them by an extant culture of horror aficionados, a la Jamie Kennedy in Scream. Every shock gag and blood spurt can be seen from a mile off, though the reaction from each character in the film is where a lot of the precocious fun is had, as the film devolves into a horror film just like any other despite its attempts to do otherwise. For all intents and purposes, Craig has made the seminal anti-horror film in much that same manner that Jackson and Raimi primordially achieved in the late 1980s and early 1990s for the 2000s, the traditionalism inherent to its very construction alternatively funny and genuinely surprising, proving that the horror film is alive and well despite repeated thematic recursion and repetition.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is available on Netflix Instant View, and is My Movies On Netflix: Recommendation of the Week.