The Cabin in the Woods (15)
Starring Kristen Connelly and Chris Hemsworth
Strap yourself in kids; you’re in for a real treat with this postmodern horror. Hailed as the next instalment to Wes Craven’s Scream and from the writer of the ass-kicking and stake-stabbing Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the gritty and tense Cloverfield, Drew Goddard’s The Cabin in the Woods is a film with no limitations and strikes the perfect balance between the stereotypical and the surreal.
The Woman in Black (12A)
Starring Daniel Radcliffe
Good evening and welcome to Eel Marsh House, where everything is black, covered in cobwebs and small china dolls or monkeys play instruments.
In other words, welcome to shit-your-pants-ville.
Returning to my series of blog posts on ‘Old Horror Movies’, I shall take you into the psychotic world of Norman Bates. It’s not a pretty one, plus he has an avid fascination with stuffed animals and birds. Let’s just say, he likes to get his hands dirty.
Being a big fan of horror films, combined with having plenty of time on my hands, (as a recent graduate!) and my amazing superhuman ability to stay awake until 6am, analysing the good ol’ horrors seems like a perfect plan.
The first of this series of blog posts will focus on the 1953 adaptation of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds. How can I call myself a horror fan, particularly of sci-fi horror, if I had never seen H. G. Wells’s mutant take-over? I was certainly ashamed of myself, but as of now, I can face the world of horror with my head held high… (for the time being).
For those of you who haven’t seen this spectacular vision from the eccentric director, Lars Von Trier, it is certainly one film that die-hard horror fans cannot miss.
Von Trier opens with a heart-wrenching, gut-spilling and excessively phallocentric scene, where a baby boy finds his feet to climb a second-story window. The words ‘phallocentric’ and ‘baby’ paired in the same sentence is, of course, far from normal, but normality is not this films forte.
Filmed entirely in black and white, with classical music filtering our ears, the little boy steps off the window-ledge while his mummy and daddy have mind-blowing sex … or passionately make love for those with sensitive eyes.
The pleasure of the lovers (Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) is beautifully juxtapositioned with the heart-breaking moments of their little boy falling in slow-motion. Losing his grasp on the teddy, he hits the ground in the moments of Gainsbourg’s sexual climax. The music fades and we are left with a feeling of intense terror and meloncholy.
In the months after their son’s death, Gainsbourg enters a coma of grief and with the help of her husband, a therapist by profession, they begin to seek a cure for their despair.
Unfortunately for the couple, Gainsbourg has become possessed by the idea of masochism, sadomasochism and an unhealthy sexual appetite. The terrible guilt of her son’s death weighs down upon her shoulders, and she begins to have vivid dreams involving her son and a garden she calls ‘Eden’.
Horror films are notorious for their slow-building tension and suspense, and Anti Christ does not fall short of these expectations. However, if you are the type of fan that likes a ‘quickie’ (gruesome but satisfying chain of deaths) then this is not going to be your cup of tea. The film focusses on the relationship between the couple and their abiding guilt for the death of their child.
It is on the couple’s arrival at ‘Eden’ that things start to get interesting. Allegorical symbols, sex, nakedness and a whole lot of blood spills forth onto the screen whilst Gainsbourg’s character continues her psychopathic rage. There is an interesting and more accurately disgusting moment within the last scenes of the film. I would like to divulge this scenario to you, but I’m afraid it would spoil the entirety of the film and its ending. For those of you who have seen the film, doesn’t it make you wonder how Willem Dafoe survived his wife’s reign of terror?
In a nutshell, this film is one that takes a strong stomach, but the beauty of the mise-en-scene and the heart-breaking opening sequence saves this film from becoming another ‘screamo-horror-shocker’.