STREAM QUEEN: time for a cabin in the woods marathon

I wish there were a way to have films with descriptions that begin “A group of friends heads to a cabin in the woods…” on streaming services automatically deposited into my watchlist. In this case, the cabin films got me a mixture of werewolves, infected, demons, and a slasher.

THE SHATTERING (2015)

shattering cover

Initially, The Shattering feels like it has a whole lot of potential. A group of friends is driving to a meet a healer that is supposed to have a cure for their friend’s cancer.

shattering handmouth

When their car breaks down, something attacks, they run for it, and someone starts shooting at them as well.

shattering gore2

They take cover in a cabin in the woods. They find diaries and videos that offer revealing information about werewolves and the healing power of wolf saliva, plus they fight among themselves.

shattering shoot

We also learn that when a female finds out her man is cheating on her, it doesn’t matter that there are werewolves and sharpshooters outside. She’ll take the risk and run out of the cabin just to get as far away from him as possible.

shattering gore1

This werewolf film runs only 75 minutes long, but feels longer. That’s because, well, although this is a major spoiler, it’s one you’ll want to hear – you never see a werewolf. What I’m saying is, this movie is all words, no wolf.

FROM BENEATH (2012)

from beneath cover

This is a film about a couple trapped at the girlfriend’s family lake house as some sort of leech virus starts to severely affect the boyfriend.

from beneath couple

He begins to suffer from disturbing hallucinations as he slowly becomes “infected.”

from beneath intro

The intro scene is dark and foreboding, and the general setup of the couple’s predicament is ominous, but dialogue and plot become repetitive for a majority of the film and get bogged down by a sleep-inducing piano score, despite the film having some generally great horror atmosphere.

from beneath couch

Just when the suspense at last kicks in for the climax – a repeat of the scenario from the intro scene – the horror is accompanied by an instrumental imitation of Bauhaus’s “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” that drones on and on just as much as the 10-minute goth rock classic.

from beneath girl

While the acting in indie horror isn’t often make or break, in the case of From Beneath, it really matters.

from beneath carry

While the acting in indie horror isn’t often make or break, in the case of From Beneath, it really matters. There’s simply a level of intensity needed for the circumstances and the clash between the protagonists that isn’t reached here. These characters experience some gnarly, horrific, and devastating shit…the actors, not quite as much.

NEVER OPEN THE DOOR (2014)

never open the door cover

I almost want to go against everything I stand for to say that I wish this film from Bloody Bloody Bible Camp director Vito Trabucco ran about ten minutes longer. Never Open the Door is only 64 minutes long, so just when the horror really had me going, the big Twilight Zone-esque twist hit and it was over! But hey, I know if those extra ten minutes were there, I’d probably be like, “if only it had been edited down by ten minutes.”

never open door window

The nod to Evil Dead is undeniable from the very start as shaky cam comes upon a house in the woods where a group of friends is celebrating what sounds and looks like Thanksgiving dinner (Turkey, cranberries, etc.). The film is shot in black and white, so it also captures the spirit of the edgier horror of the 1960s.

never open door tie up

The good thing about the short length is that we get just the right serving size of character development before moving on to dessert – a knock on the door.

never open door doorway

A bleeding man stumbles inside spewing blood. Uh-oh. Is Cabin Fever on the menu, too?

never open door demon guy

Not quite. There’s still demonic indulgence to come, but most of it is teased until closer to the end of the film.

never open door lick

The chaos that erupts because these friends opened the door involves them turning against each other as they try to locate the mysterious force they’ve invited inside.

never open door shower

While it does leave some unanswered questions and not as much demon camera time as I would have liked (because what we get is quite effective), Never Open the Door is creepy, funny, and fast-paced, making it a good way to squeeze in an extra hour of horror during a marathon. I’ll definitely be adding this one to my film collection.

never open door demon in back

CABIN FEAR (aka: Seclusion) (2015)

cabin fear cover

So glad the title of this one was changed. Seclusion sounds way too serious and drab, because Cabin Fear is a blast and took me right back to the days of good old 80s slashers.

cabin fear couple

It’s all very simply. A guy and girl are getting married so they head to a cabin in the woods with their friends to celebrate.

cabin fear old man

In between having sex, fighting, and listening to stories from the weird old caretaker, the friends get killed off by an unseen psycho with various sharp weapons.

cabin fear arrow redo

Classic kills and body reveals galore offer up that old school slasher vibe.

cabin fear bug

Cabin Fear also delivers the perfect blend of fun and funny, thanks to a likable cast that has a good time and a good grasp of comedy, including director Joe Bandelli, the dude with an arrow in his dick above. Personally, I think he should have kept himself alive a bit longer, because he was giving me a good giggle.

cabin fear scream

Plus, the guy who gets the big sex scene is the guy who should get the big sex scene. Yummy. And I’m not talking about the cake (but I am talking about the cakes).

cabin fear cake

And finally, the main girl’s battle to the death with the killer kicks ass. Cabin Fear is definitely another one I’ll be adding to my movie collection.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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