A Classic Horror Story – Film Review

Throughout its history, cinema has always drawn inspiration from the past. Many contemporary directors actually incorporate elements of their favorite filmmakers into their own works. Some, like Quentin Tarantino, even recreate scenes almost identically. Horror cinema has also frequently mined its past for ideas. However, occasionally, certain films not only draw from the past but also amalgamate everything from the past into a single reel, creating stories reminiscent of a computer’s data compilation. “A Classic Horror Story,” which I watched solely based on a recommendation, is precisely such a film. It openly admits to being a rip-off but executes the adaptation quite effectively.

Let’s briefly touch upon the plot… A group of young people on a road trip with their camper have an accident and wake up to find themselves in front of a house straight out of Oz Perkins’ “Gretel and Hansel.” The inside of the house is filled with satanic books and decorations, much like “Evil Dead.” Before long, the group tragically discovers the true owner of the house. They find themselves in the midst of a horrifying folk legend, and one by one, the group members begin to die off. Classic. Just as the title suggests.

“A Classic Horror Story” is undeniably a film that shamelessly borrows from many horror movies. It proudly acknowledges this fact while also poking fun at itself. The film’s own warped director is content with his creation of a folk horror, along with its references, but Elisa, a character in the film, openly declares it to be an unoriginal and shoddy rip-off. This is humorous because there are very few films that make fun of themselves in this manner. I appreciate the film’s unseriously serious approach in this regard.

Now, let’s discuss the film’s references without delving into a detailed analysis. The film kicks off with a classic slasher journey. After the accident, the group finds themselves in a house resembling “Gretel and Hansel.” However, the house is more like something out of “Mother!” standing in the middle of a vast forest. Upon entering the house, we encounter references to “Evil Dead,” a choice openly acknowledged by the film’s unhinged director. In fact, his preference is “Evil Dead.” Yet, I couldn’t help but relate the interior of the house to “The Ritual” from 2017 and “The Blair Witch Project” from 1999. Particularly, the cocoon-like trap made of dry branches strongly reminded me of “The Blair Witch.”

For a considerable duration, the film presents itself as a folk horror tale. At times, we even begin to think it might be a fantasy. Eventually, the film takes an Italian-style turn akin to “Midsommar.” Most viewers tend to liken the film to “Midsommar” in general, but I believe this is an inaccurate assessment. The film reveals its true inspiration after the “Midsommar” sequence.

Our rip-off film essentially takes its theme directly from “Cabin in the Woods.” Throughout the film, we gradually learn that almost everything we’ve seen is part of a setup. All the horror elements have been carefully chosen horror references. In essence, what we know as horror is merely a product of design. “Cabin in the Woods” demonstrated how Hollywood controls us with the monsters it owns. “A Classic Horror Story” delivers a similar message. Everything we consider horror is a production, a fabrication. The horror elements we so enjoy watching in movies do not exist in our daily lives, nor have they ever existed. Unfortunately, real life is mundane. Life is so dull that we turn to the realm of fiction, hoping to experience certain thrills by saying, “What if it were like this?” The film’s deranged director is essentially doing just that, adding color to his life by bringing horror to life and experiencing certain excitements.

Once the film takes the path of “Cabin in the Woods,” it remains consistent in its direction. Just like in our reference film, the victims begin to seek revenge against the orchestrators. The revenge scenes even feature a fantastic Tarantino-inspired touch. The scene where a little girl is shot with a rifle practically screams, “I’m a Tarantino reference.” Elisa’s escape and her throwing herself onto the beach also strongly reminded me of “Martyrs.”

In conclusion, “A Classic Horror Story” is a film that serves as a comprehensive compilation of references from many classic horror works. While viewers may liken it to “Midsommar,” I believe the film is more akin to “Cabin in the Woods,” a Hollywood celebration and critique. Hollywood releases whichever horror elements it desires and lures us into theaters, expanding its bank accounts. “A Classic Horror Story” tells the story of those crazies who use the horror compendium to add some excitement to their otherwise mundane lives and eventually transition from hunters to prey. It is an enjoyable horror film that keeps the audience guessing and offers a captivating story from beginning to end with two distinct acts.

Cast & Crew

director: Roberto De Feo, Paolo Strippoli

writers: David Bellini, Roberto De Feo, Lucio Besana, Paolo Strippoli, Milo Tissone

starring: Matilda Lutz, Francesco Russo, Peppino Mazzotta, Will Merrick, Yuliia Sobol, Alida Baldari Calabria

ITALY | 2021 | 95 MINUTES |


Ukrainian Creative Director | Motion Picture Writer | Horror Freak

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