One twist too many?
A Classic Horror Story is a movie that’s both an homage to horrors gone by and a title that tries to be cleverer than it actually is. While there’s definitely some good material here, the movie wraps itself up in a knot of red herrings and twists, leading to a dizzy spell of mediocrity by the end.
At its core, the story here sets itself up as a generic road trip gone wrong; a group of strangers all carpool together and find themselves stuck in the woods with no way out. The mysterious Riccardo is the only adult and he’s a doctor, heading back home to his parents. Irresponsible Mark and his girlfriend Sofia are along for the ride, while pregnant Elisa and movie aficionado Fabrizio make up the quintet.
When their RV crashes, the gang awaken to find themselves stuck next to a creepy cabin. As the film progresses, it soon becomes clear that there’s more going on here than first meet’s the eye. It’s worth persevering through the heavy-handed exposition early on too as the film does eventually open up to show glimmers of something special.
In its simplest form, A Classic Horror Story feels like a patchwork of other modern horrors, including The Ritual, Midsommar, Hostel and Saw. The ensuing result is a familiar movie with some pretty disturbing and graphic imagery.
For the first hour or so, the movie builds up a consistent level of dread and mystery. There’s one stand-out scene involving one of our characters stepping outside to find a ritual about to begin. It’s unnerving, creepy and easily the best moment of the movie.
Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from there as the film throws in twist after twist, revealing what’s really going on and who the ringleaders behind this really are. While the initial plot twist is a good one, and likely to catch you off-guard, the movie continues to twist after that.
It also doesn’t help that the characters along for the ride are a real mixed bag of unlikable, irresponsible teens and brain-dead cliches. Remember those old horror movies where you’d scream at the telly for these characters not to make stupid decisions? Well, this movie is full of moments like that.
From the opening 10 minutes onward, A Classic Horror Story is a conglomerate of stupid decisions compounded together. You’ll undoubtedly find yourself as frustrated as I was at some of the choices these characters make. Still, the film does keep you guessing until the end, which is at least something.
Ultimately though A Classic Horror Story will live and die by your feelings toward these twists. For some, it’ll be an ingenious move and make the ride to get there worth taking. For others, it’ll feel like a last ditch gasp to try and inject some excitement into this horror. Either way, there’s enough here to recommend but not enough to warrant the ‘classic’ tagline this movie has picked for itself.
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