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Argus Wesleyan | “Sporror”: an abomination of a cinematic genre that shouldn’t exist

You horror movie fans terrify me. I’ll never understand how you can sit in front of your TV and willfully watch over an hour of footage designed to make you feel unsafe in your own home. Why do you like it when things jump out at you? Is it like the adrenaline of a roller coaster? Before writing this article, I thought horror was probably the worst genre of movie that ever existed. Probably the only one I wouldn’t watch under any circumstances.

However, I was not prepared for the atrocity of “sporror” or sports horror. These two things shouldn’t exist in the same sentence. But no, it’s apparently a very small subset of cinematic horror. A very small, very terrible type of horror that really isn’t worth it. Join me on my journey to learn just how horrible two of these sporror movies can be.

Descent (2018)

The reviews for this movie weren’t very encouraging, so I hit play with a heavy heart. It follows the story of a couple of professional bikers. It’s really hard to make cycling exciting. To all four of the bike fans, I’m upset right now, my sincere apologies. Thankfully, the film does its best to make audiences feel as elated as the athletes by including plenty of shaky Go-Pro footage in the first person. Okay, scratch the “best” part. The film tries.

I know I’m not the only one who has a weird feeling when no one wears a mask on a TV show or movie. “Downhill” is also apparently about a creepy alien disease (the cult footage at the start made that a bit hard to tell), so that feeling only increases when people cough up blood all over the place. Wear a mask!

This movie makes no sense. I thought the scary part was the people stalking the main characters in the middle of the wilderness. Then they convinced me that it was the disease, which sort of involved being aliens as well. Now is that cult horror? Or maybe zombies? Zombie-alien-cult? I have no idea.

Evaluation: 6/10 on sportsmanship. They don’t ride enough bicycles for it to be considered a sports movie. They spend most of their time being nervous and running. People jogging at the end remind me that it was supposed to be a bit of a sports movie. 2/10 for the horror. I’m a scared cat and only hesitated at unexpected shots. Please don’t watch this movie.

c / o youtube.com

Monster Brawl (2012)

I decided that I should watch another sporror movie in order to get a better feel for the genre. It literally can’t be worse than the movie I just watched. The bar is upstairs.

“Monster Brawl” actually sounded like fun. It’s a crossover comedy, which will hopefully make me appreciate it a bit more. In this film, various monsters are brought to a haunted graveyard to participate in fight to the death. Sport seems to be more central in the plot of this film.

This movie looks stupid, but the kind of stupid who knows he’s stupid and runs with it. It’s as if they only had one take for all of their lines and the actors learned those lines about twenty minutes before they started filming.

The rules for these matches seem a little odd. A kick to the groin is considered an unclean move, but are competitors allowed to use maces, ancient magic amulets, and other weapons? It feels like they don’t really rely on their athleticism anymore if they need to grab a wooden stake. The film solves this problem by having the referee kill a monster. I guess if no one is there to enforce the already limited rules, those rules can no longer be broken.

At first I didn’t think this movie actually used real wrestling techniques, but over time more and more boxing, martial arts and other related sports techniques were demonstrated. It actually lived up to Sporror’s idea, which is very impressive. It’s still a terrible movie, but at least it’s sporty.

Evaluation: 8/10 for sportiness. Although some moves are absolutely illegal, all characters use at least one actual move accepted by some form of martial arts or wrestling. It seems the creators remembered what genre it belonged to when it was created. 1/10 for horror. It’s really more of a comedy. The most horrible thing that happens is someone melts their face, but the special effects aren’t exactly high class. Looks a bit more like the monster had a disaster with a strawberry mask.

I have found a new, less favorite genre of film. In horror movies, you’ve managed to get worse by trying to put sport in the mix. It’s a worse combination than peanut butter and ketchup. I think I’ll stick to romantic comedies, thank you.

Caroline Bonnevie can be contacted at cbonnevie@wesleyan.edu.


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