The kickoff to Zombie Movie Night: Season 4 is here! With it I had a bit of a conundrum. I had heard that The Cabin in the Woods contains zombies, but I wasn’t sure to what degree or even if they were really zombies. Yet I also desperately wanted to watch a “real” movie. I did not want to repeat last year’s super crappy kickoff of Days of Darkness and Battle Girl: The Living Dead in Tokyo Bay So, crossing my fingers, I went with the movie that had an actual theatrical release:

The Cabin in the Woods

It’s hard to say anything about this movie without giving too much away. So, I’m going to err on the side of caution and not say much aside from the fact that, yes, it does contain a good deal of actual zombies.

THE GOOD: This movie is pretty much awesome from start to finish and the climax is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen on film. If you’re looking for something truly scary, this is not that movie. But, if you’re a fan of horror movies, this movie will definitely leave you smiling. It also features good acting from familiar faces, including a pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth, Eric (the bad guy) from Billy Madison (or West Wing, if you prefer), Farrelly Brothers regular, Richard Jenkins, and a guy who I’m told is on Grey’s Anatomy (though I wouldn’t know anything about that).

THE BAD: For the purposes of this review, The Cabin in the Woods is not really a zombie movie in essence. But unless you’re a weirdo dedicated to watching zombie movies at least once a month, then it’s not something you should care about and doesn’t detract from the film in any way.

There’s also a bit of a pro-drugs message built in and I can’t say I support that.

THE ZOMBIES: Or to be more specific: Zombie Redneck Torture Family. The movie contains real, honest to goodness, undead zombies rising from the earth. They’re fairly intelligent and use weapons, but they’re definitely dead. As mentioned earlier, the zombies are not the true antagonists, but they do get a significant amount of screen time. The Cabin in the Woods has more zombie action than a number of other films on the ZMN roster. As an added bonus, more generic, traditional zombies also make a cameo later in the film. Threat Level: 7

VERDICT: Whether you’re a zombie fan, horror fan, or just a movie fan, this is one fantastic movie. If you don’t see it, I don’t know what you’re problem is, but that’s on you, brother. The Cabin in the Woods is an all the way. It’s probably the best movie in the ZMN Standings, though the Standings represent the “best zombie movies” and it’s simply not a pure zombie movie and can’t hold that honor.

Current ZMN Rank: #3 out of 89

Golden Zombey Watch: Definitely a front runner for Best ZMN Feature right out of the gate. Possibilities in all acting categories. Maybe a look at Outstanding Zombie for one of the Buckner Family zombies. It also features real music, which makes it a standout for Best Soundtrack though that honor has typically gone to movies with original music.

After such a great movie, we hoped to keep things going when we turned on:

Shadows of the Dead

Ok, so the cover art didn’t fill me with optimism, but that might not mean anything.

Shadows opens up with a couple driving to a vacation cottage hoping to recharge their romantic batteries. You see, they apparently argue a lot as we’re treated to some wooden dialogue about how the girl doesn’t like it when the dude eats her french fries. In two unrelated events, they get a flat tire and find a dead body. They proceed to do absolutely nothing and sleep in the car. You know what? I’m getting bored just trying to recall the details so I’m just gonna truncate things. Dude gets bit, they walk to the cabin, Dude decides to dress like Darkman, nothing happens for a while, Dude bites girlfriend, and then pretty much nothing happens for the rest of the movie.

THE GOOD: Shadows doesn’t really have a bad concept. A couple struggling together with their fleeting humanity and mirroring difficulties in real relationships could have worked. But…it didn’t. At all.

THE BAD: Shadows commits some pretty serious zombie movie sins. It’s pretentious, it looks bad, the characters are irritating, and worst of all, it’s boring. Really, really boring.

THE ZOMBIES: The couple are thinking, slowly decomposing zombies. They apparently have to eat flesh to live, but they don’t do a whole lot of that. In fact, they don’t do a whole lot of anything except lay in bed and be boring. Threat Level: 2

VERDICT: I can’t imagine any reason that anyone should watch this movie. I regret watching it. F.

Current ZMN Rank: #88 out 89 (I never thought that I’d see two movies worse than Motocross Zombies from Hell, yet here we are.)

Golden Zombey Watch: This probably won’t get more than one pity nomination. Possibly for Outstanding Zombie, though that would be a big stretch. Maybe Most Bizarre Zombie Behavior for zombie journaling.

  1. kjburke says:

    I hadn’t even considered what Shadows could be nominated for. We’ll probably have to create a silly negative category. Like most annoying couple or something.

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