I'm writing these thoughts for the two of you that actually watch horror films! I know my movie opinions on movies in this genre generally fall on deaf ears, but I always feel compelled to talk about them. Damn I love horror movies! They are brain candy, sort of like my murder mystery reads.
Generally horror movies don't fare well on Rotten Tomatoes, so I was surprised to see that this one had a decent rating (I think somewhere around 70%). On Labor Day, my son, my dad and I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
Here is the premise. A wealthy family consisting of dad and mom, three brothers, a sister, and associated spouses and significant others, convene at their remote estate to celebrate the parents' wedding anniversary. Immediately it becomes clear that there is a quirky and dysfunctional dynamic within the family...mom is a nervous wreck and is on meds, the brothers all can't stand each other, the sister is worthy of eye rolls because of her silly chirpy cheerfulness. Most of the characters here are fairly unlikable.
Upon the start of their first dinner together, however, someone outside the house stars picking off family members with a crossbow through the dining room window. Chaos ensues, and that family dynamic I mentioned kicks into full gear as they decide who should make a run for the car, who should guard the house, who is brave and who is a coward.
Ultimately, three cold-blooded, masked murderers hold the house under siege slowly picking off family members one-by-one with garrotes, machetes, axes, knives and other paraphernalia. What they didn't plan on is that one member of the family is actually as badass as they are.
This was a really fun movie to watch. I know, you think I'm crazy, but it had a bizarre, over-the-top, dark humor feel to it. Parts of it WERE pretty scary...like those animal masks! And the premise, while fairly predictable, is incredibly believable, which also gives you the chills. No bad guys come back to life, there are no zombies or witchcraft or homicidal clowns about.
But as soon as the arrows start flying, this unlikable family just gets uglier, and soon you're not really sure who you are rooting for. You almost want to just lock the door and see who comes out victorious. It is like the classic horror gore fest like Friday the 13th, but with more realism and a lot more snark. At the end of the day, it is pretty exciting to see an unlikely hero emerge.
The actors are all ones we've never heard of (although upon feeling like I should know the mom, I discovered she has made her way through all the soaps at one point or another). The character development is thin at best, but you don't line up for these movies to see such a thing. If these types of movies are your thing, you will have a good time with this one.
4 out of 5 stars