It's that time of year again! The time when the Nawrots get SO excited to experience the thrills of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. This is the 23rd year of the festivities, and based on our experiences since we started going a few years ago, it just keeps getting better. This year we are planning on going October 4th, so we have been preparing ourselves.
Each year they pick themes and reveal each name of the eight or so haunted houses. Often they are based on legends (one year it was all about Bloody Mary), movies, and video games, and we have found that the more you know about them, the more effective the thrills.
This year it seems they have gone with a zombie/mutant theme. They have a Resident Evil house (per my son the video games are awesome and the movies are trash), a Walking Dead house (based on the AMC series), one based on An American Werewolf in London (movie), one based on the 2013 movie remake of Evil Dead, one based on the movie Cabin in the Woods, and three others with themes of after life, a murderous mother, and genetically-engineered super-soldiers. The kids and I decided we need to see a couple of movies to bone up on our demons.
I remember when Evil Dead came out in the theaters this past spring. It got a decent Rotten Tomato score of 62%, and was nostalgic of the original Raimi film that came out in 1981 that we all saw back in the day. The premise is that a group of friends convene in a cabin in the woods (which looks insanely similar to the set of The Cabin in the Woods) to help one of the girls detox and get clean from heroin. They discover an old book in the basement that, when certain words are read, unleashes a homicidal demon that invades human souls. The problem is that when said demon gets inside the detoxing girl, nobody realizes it because, you know, ridding oneself of drugs can bring out the worst in people.
Let me just say that the visuals are terrifying and extremely GROSS. There is a horrifying basement full of dead hanging cats, things come out of the ground, and while under the influence of the demon, people do really bad things to themselves and others. After we watched this one, my daughter had to sleep with me that night. This would be my veteran B horror movie daughter. Just be warned. But as a high octane horror film, this is what it is all about. 4.5 out of 5
So we are back in a cabin. In the woods. Also with a messed up basement. A group of attractive young friends are hanging there for the weekend for fishing, smoking dope and hanky panky. As you would expect. (I'm willing to overlook all the stereotypes for a peek at Chris Hemsworth...just sayin'.) Little does this group know that they are in the middle of a type of orchestrated reality show, run by ruthless game players that make bets on what evil the group will unknowingly unleash and whose blood will be spilled first.
I can't say I loved this one, much to my surprise since Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 92%!! It certainly was different than any other horror movie I've ever seen, but I thought the premise was pretty goofy. I mean, I get that this is satire, but I didn't think was GOOD satire. I thought the most interesting part of the whole hour and a half was witnessing the smorgasbord of evil that is held captive by the game players and could potentially be unleashed if they are "chosen". All that said, I'm pretty excited to see what the folks at Universal will do with this one. 3 out of 5