A Classic Horror Story is an Italian horror movie that spins the Cabin in the Woods horror trope in its own way. It draws inspiration from the typical releases from the genre and makes sure that there is no shortage of blood gore and grime throughout its hour and a half release. The result — a passable addition to the horror genre but not the most original.
Synopsis: Elisa is on her way home to get an abortion after she accidentally falls pregnant. She grabs a rideshare along with three other passengers, carefree couple Mark and Sofia, disgraced doctor Riccardo along with their weird driver, the aspiring travel vlogger Fabrizio. However, things take a turn for danger when they get in an accident and they mysteriously wake up, not on the road but in the middle of a forest.
A Classic Horror Story does not pretend to be original. As a matter of fact, it goes out of its way to point out its similarities to other gruesome suspense thrillers. It even goes so far as name drop Sam Raimi who is famous for the Evil Dead franchise. To this end, I would like to credit the film for being smart. In volunteering the inspiration behind the movie, viewers would not be too harsh in comparing the classic with the new material.
I liked that A Classic Horror Story invested in its cinematography. The shots were perfectly framed and the make up and practical effects only served to enhance the scenes even further. There was hardly any CGI in the movie and it helped solidify its classic approach. Even the treatment and texture of the filmmaking was that of an 80s horror.
The film was dark and gritty and bloody. There was a sense of imminent danger with the protracted use of ominous music, as well as the sense of panic that permeated the scenes as the characters hopelessly moved in circles in the seemingly endless forest.
The film drew a lot of inspiration from its predecessors in its approach. Apart from the Evil Dead franchise, there were also elements of Wicker Man, Midsommar, and M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village thrown in.
And although it was presented as a straight out horror, there’s actually a twist in the end that tries to separate the movie from the rest of the genre. Unfortunately, the twist is not something that we have not seen before.
My only question is that in classic horror movies and in what was purported to be the real situation in the film, why are the characters always so stupid? If you figure out the villains’ MO, the first instinct should be to arm yourself, right? But none of these fools ever thought of it. Instead, they fought, they ran, they cried and argued to their hearts’ content and waited until they were sitting ducks for the crazed villains of the piece.
Apart from my brief rant, props to lead star Matilda Ana Ingrid Luz (that’s a mouthful) and co-directors Roberto De Feo and Paolo Strippoli who also wrote the screenplay with Lucio Besana. They really made the film stand out. It delivered its fair share of scares and you really feel for the female lead in her struggle to survive. I think that is what is lacking these days — a rootable main character that viewers can really get behind. In this sense, the film was a success and put itself alongside some of the more memorable horror features released during the pandemic.