When the opening credits roll you think you’re going to experience some classic horror film that dates back to thousands of years. A quick cut to modern times and we’re invited into a business that harbors a top secret project that is linked to traditional sensationalism mixed with ancient momentum. The top guys that oversee the project are Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Hadley (Bradley Whitford) with assistance from Truman (Brian White) ironically named, and Lin (Amy Acker) along with a full staff of employees. They are all involved in the lives of five college students and the choices these kids make in life. But this is not the only project, there are others taking place all over the world in hopes of successful outcomes. Have I confused you yet? Well it gets better and although I may be vague the film actually is more explanatory to the plot of this modern day twist of a thriller.
Five college students set out for a trip to a cousin’s cabin way out in the woods. Like any cliché horror classic we have the jock, Curt (Chris Hemsworth), the slut, Jules (Anna Hutchison), the pot head, Marty (Fran Kranz), the scholar, Holden (Jesse Williams), and the virgin, Dana (Kristen Connolly). Driving an RV they stop for gas along the way at an old run down gas station where they meet up with an odd looking man that likes to curse and spit, known to the men back at the office as Mordecai (Tim De Zarn). Like any good thriller he demeans the young adults and warns them of what their future may hold.
As the audience watches on, the students drive through a beautiful mountainous region that looks absolutely breath-taking, a place where anyone would love to visit and camp out for a get-away weekend. That is unless you’re a hawk that seems to disintegrate in mid-flight. An eye opener moment of what is yet to come. Like anyone in life we all make choices based on our free will and these kids eventually make one at the cabin that will change their lives forever with a little help from the boys at the office who control the game but not the outcome.
Once again if you watch for the signs along the way you’ll see many references to some very classic and modern day horror films. Remember the proper knowledge of thrillers, don’t go in there, curiosity is not always a good thing and sometimes the words less spoken no matter what language are best unsaid. But of course we would not have blood and guts without mistakes made along on the way. Enter the Buckner family Mathew (Dan Payne), Patience (Jodelle Ferland), Father (Dan Shea) and Mother (Maya Massar) and nothing will never ever be the same. Like Puppeteers the friends are faced to meet their demons and share their blood for the Gods.
But things in the end don’t quite go as intended and the game is up for the office clan thanks to the voices in one’s head. Many frightening creatures later and an elevator ride through hell so to speak the party just gets started and Hadley gets to meet his Merman! In the end it is choices that bring the world to an end with just one slap of a hand.
Being a horror fan myself I can’t say I hated this film but I did not know what to really make of it either. I did like the direction especially since it referenced so many other films in its genre but it also jumped around so much that at times it makes the film a bit quirky even though I think that was their intention. But that along with the writing which for the most part was well done makes the film never-ending. I mean just when you think it’s over, it’s not and when you think you have it figured out you don’t and when you think it’s intense the next second you’re laughing. It’s an odd film but very interestingly well done for the most part, just a bit bizarre. Seriously though, I would have stopped it and ended the story right before the cameo star walks in to top off the cliché moments and strange outcome. The gore, reality and premise are enough but taking it into the ancient past with the modern potential outcome was a bit far-fetched and unnecessary. There isn’t a lot of character development but when the plot gets going there is definitely a lot of gore.
Connolly really seems to master her character playing the meek yet strong and fierce girl out to try and save the day. Hemsworth fell flat for me in this film. Of course he’s good to look at since everyone will remember his Thor role and that made for Facebook body but his acting skills, could be the writing, play a bit flat. Unlike Williams who also has a chiseled body and shows it not only on “Greys Anatomy” but in this film as well, besides his good looks he really does have a brain and can use it to act well. Hutchison is cute, sexy, blonde and a bit dumb, hold off on the blonde jokes, since she does a nice job kissing the wolf. Best one of all the students though goes to Kranz, even though a bit over-the-top he still proves to be the smart one even high on marijuana, bringing funny into a bizarre yet intriguing movie. Hats off to Jenkins and Whitford though, since from beginning to end they played well together and proved that in reality life can sometimes kick you in the ass, especially when you yourself become part of the game. Out with the old and in with the new, horror has taken a new look at reality. Written and bizarrely enjoyed with two paws out of four by Jon Patch.