A Classic Horror Story is, as the name suggests, a horror film directed by Roberto De Feo and Paolo Strippoli and stars Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Francesco Russo, Peppino Mazzotta, Will Merrick and Yuliia Sobol, alongside other cast members. The film is 95 minutes long.
– A Classic Horror Story review contains mild spoilers –
The official Netflix description for A Classic Horror Story reads:
In this gruesome suspense film, strangers traveling in southern Italy become stranded in the woods, where they must fight desperately to get out alive.
Remember the creepy A Classic Horror Story teaser and that horrible song that just sounds so innocent otherwise? Yeah so, picture that, but with a tied bloody woman whimpering on a table and a man coming inching closer to her with a sledgehammer. Yep, that’s how the movie stars.
Now picture A Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A group of people, the vast road before them and an RV. A Classic Horror Story starts paying homage to the classic, but well, that’s about it. As their RV crashes and goes off the road, all hell breaks loose.
Fabrizio, whose carpooling service the four guests are availing is an absolute annoyance. The first minute I see him, I feel annoyed. His character is very cliched, you know, the overenthusiastic asshat. The others are kinda fine, but nothing to really latch on to. Eliza is our protagonist and she’s pregnant. Her overbearing mother really wants her to get an abortion but she doesn’t want to do that. Mark is another asshat, there’s his girlfriend and a doctor who is reclusive.
We also get to know about a mafia that supposedly operates in that area – will this tidbit have any bearing on the plot? Hmmm…
A Classic Horror Story’s first half is interesting because of all the things you expect it to achieve. It has the classic characters, a creepy house and supposed lost time. All of which makes for an interesting horror movie to bloom in front of your eyes. Heck, the characters reference several famous horror movies for good measure. However, A Classic Horror Story is unable to be anything more than its tropes – an extension of the movies it tries to pay homage to but adding nothing more to them.
For starters, everyone just makes the worst decisions in horror history. I mean, leave horror aside, if you’re stranded somewhere and are cut off from the outside world and there is a creepy house in front of you and you hear a scream in the middle of the night – are you going to go investigate? Well, no, you’re not. That’s stupid and you’re definitely going to end up dead if you do. At least Eliza fetches her flats before embarking on a journey, so that’s a win.
In one scene, they take out a character’s eyes (there’s a reason for that) and it is so surprisingly tame. You see nothing of the blood and gore that might’ve been indicated in the trailer. A Classic Horror Story is also heavily inspired by Midsommar. Unfortunately for it though, it never really inspires the same horror that Ari Aster’s cult movie featured. It’s a shame.
The stringy background score adds literally nothing to the scare factor of the movie. Rather, after a while, it gets annoying because of how deafeningly loud it is. Some scenes are bathed in red which looks neat as all heck but don’t add much to the creepiness. The other scenes are bathed in sepia – to be fair, the film looks beautiful; the production quality is excellent.
However, there’s nothing creepy or even remotely terrifying about A Classic Horror Story. It’s a mishmash of different tropes and tries to bring something new out of them but struggles to put its point across. After a while though, it doesn’t really matter either.
Summing up: A Classic Horror Story
At one point in the latter half of A Classic Horror Story, Elisa says, “Your movie totally sucks.” It’s hard to come by such a self-aware film. Major props to the movie for that.
A Classic Horror Story is streaming on Netflix.