An accidental theme shared by all of the movies in this week’s column is that they are all about college students who go into the woods for Spring Break (or some kind of break) and then die. So really this is sort of a horror comedy column too. Please don’t go wandering into the woods this break!
Cabin in the Woods (Movie)
I’ve mentioned Cabin in the Woods and its director Joss Whedon in this column before, but that was brief and I’d like to elaborate. Cabin in the Woods is not just a horror movie (and also a spring break movie), but it’s also a dissection of scary movie clichés and the genre in general.
Cabin in the Woods is about a group of college friends who decide to rent a cabin (in the woods) and stay there for a week, drinking and fraternizing as usual. Everything goes awry once they make a strange discovery in the basement, and the classic horror tropes begin to attack.
Cabin in the Woods is more than just a horror movie because of the way it approaches the material. The movie has a self-analytical viewpoint that is somewhat reminiscent of scream, but is a bit more meta. It’s just a good movie to watch.
Cabin in the Woods is available on Hulu (for free), Amazon Instant Video, and Youtube
Tucker & Dale VS. Evil (Movie)
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil used to be one of the few movies to hold a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (although it’s somehow dropped to the 80th percentile now), and for good reason. The movie manages to be funny, surprising, and consistently interesting yet also somehow stays politically correct and cheery through all of the blood splatters and insanity.
The movie’s about a group of college students who decide to go camping for break, but then things go awry as they meet two hillbilly men, “Tucker” and “Dale.” The rest of the movie spirals out of control and turns into a bloody and hilarious frenzy, with Tucker and Dale unwittingly stuck in the middle. It’s a sort of slapstick dark comedy that’s hard to explain, but needs to be seen.
Tucker and Dale vs. Evil is available on Netflix, Youtube, and Amazon Instant Video
Evil Dead (Movie Trilogy)
The Evil Dead is significant in many ways. Released in 1981, the movie was made by Sam Raimi(the creator of the Toby McGuire Spider-Man films), and was a ridiculous B-Movie gore fest. Focusing on a group of college students stranded in a cabin in the woods (back when that premise was original), the Evil Dead quickly spirals into a crazy movie filled with zombies, satanic trees, and a particularly strange Claymation scene (in the sequel, “Evil Dead 2”).
The Evil Dead has inspired several other crazy movies like it, spawned two sequels (Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness), a fairly funny comic book series, as well as an even bloodier modern reboot/continuation (Evil Dead 2013).
The entire Evil Dead trilogy is available on YouTube video on demand, and Evil Dead 2 is available on Netflix.