There’s no telling what lurks behind the trees in this foursome that includes a variety of subgenres.
CREATURE CABIN (2017)
This goofy film is the only one in this bunch that I purchased on DVD as soon as I was finished streaming it. Why?
Because it’s a wacky combination of Evil Dead and Dead Alive with bizarro creatures and shirtless studs turned demon!
When our main girl is dumped by her boyfriend and kicked out of her band, she goes to a cabin in the woods with some friends.
Within minutes there are some sex scenes that go icky bad, including a wiener scene that is not for the squeamish. Just thinking about it gives me the willies.
The main girl soon finds herself battling possessed friends, a flying unicorn humanoid, a head that looks like Belial from Basket Case, and a boxing kangaroo demon.
Neon lighting and fog machines deliver good old 80s horror atmosphere, and there’s even an Evil Dead poster in the cabin.
High on humor, this one moves at a quick pace, but it does go off the rails in the final act, even featuring a rap battle in the woods. But I’ll gladly subject myself to that for this….
ARE WE THE WAITING (2017)
The director of Night Howl brings us a low budget slasher that didn’t quite satisfy my cabin in the woods craving. Even so, I appreciate the homebrewed look of his indie films, which seem like personal endeavors by someone that loves the genre.
After a dude learns he’s being drafted, he decides to skip town (aka: country) with a bunch of friends to party at an isolated house.
The gang just hangs around playing an online video game, and then someone in a black mask with glowing neon accents stars killing them off.
There’s a hint of a home invasion feel here, but there isn’t anything in the way of scares or suspense. And the killer reveal and motivation are quite underwhelming, a little out of left field, and little cringy.
THE NIGHT THEY KNOCKED (2019)
If you love home invasion flicks and don’t care that they’re all the same as long they are well made and have some intense scenes, you’ll find The Night They Knocked pretty darn satisfying. The only really glaring issue is how long it takes before anything of significance truly happens.
A guy brings his friends to his family’s house in the woods…where his hot brother, recently released from jail, has already set up shop.
There’s tension between them, and all the friends have their own drama to contend with for the first 45 minutes.
And then the shit hits the fan. Guys dressed as clowns start terrorizing them. The lead clown gives a devilishly good performance, and there are some satisfying suspense scenes and a handful of brutal kills.
SLEEPAWAY SLASHER (2020)
Big Hollywood studios can rarely pull off horror films longer than 90 minutes, so indie filmmakers really need to start reviewing their 90-minute plus movies and take note of the pacing before releasing them to the public. Better yet, gather a small test audience and ask for honest reactions.
So, this 100-minute slasher has a lot going on and a lot of characters, both of which work against it.
A dude whose father made a horror film in the 80s but never completed it is holding a film-making competition at the location of the original shoot…which is believed to be haunted.
We’re bombarded by clips of various groups in the competition filming their movies (I’d advise them all to keep them under 90 minutes long). There’s lots of running around in the woods. History starts repeating itself. Some scenes get the found footage treatment. Bodies turn up. Everyone starts losing it. They don’t trust each other. They turn on each other. There’s even word of a ghost.
There’s also no “slasher” killer here, making the title a little confusing, and by the end it becomes a boys vs. girls battle, the part of the film I appreciated most. There are some good ideas presented, they just don’t quite work together to form a clear narrative.