So it's a horror film, and with these kids in the cabin we should be expecting a clone of Jason Voorhees or some clone to come crash the party and kill them all, right? Wrong. The culprit is a flesh eating virus, and eventually "culprit" becomes plural as they turn against themselves and others. The movie gets a small nod for an intriguing approach (flesh eating virus instead of Jason clone), but no marks beyond that.
Saddest to see was that the Director/Writer Eli Roth and the entire cast took this film seriously. The dialogue was unrealistic and laughable at times, and each scene appeared either more improbable or ridiculous than the one before. The surviving characters also gained an interesting quality that most characters shouldn't gain in a film that strives to take itself seriously: stupidity. Yes, they get dumber. Their collective and individual responses to stress and difficult situations actually get worse as the movie progresses. In whatever art form that aims to take itself seriously - be it writing a book or making a film - characters are supposed to grow, to learn. With one exception, these characters start with a brain, and end with a mostly empty cranium. The one exception is a character that begins with an empty cranium. Surprisingly, he alone experiences a small amount of growth. But it doesn't matter, because it's too small and irrelevant.
There's a frustrating dearth of good horror films. There's no shortage of horror movies that began with an imbecilic notion and carry it through to an imbecilic end. To me there is little more frustrating than a well intentioned horror film with a unique and fresh approach that gets it all wrong.
This could have been one of the few good ones. Instead it turned out to be a parody of itself. As the movie came to conclusion, I really wasn't sure whether or not I was supposed to be laughing along with the film or at it - but one thing I was sure of is that I was laughing. Being unsure of how I was supposed to respond to the movie was the only reason I watched the special features on the DVD, and I learned, sadly, that I was not supposed to be laughing along with the film.
Too bad. It is Eli Roth's debut as a writer/director. If you're true and honest to your craft you grow as you practice it. Perhaps future endeavors will be better.
I hope so.
They tried too hard in this movie. Read more