What is more disappointing? A horror movie that doesn’t create scares or a comedy that fails at creating laughs? The bar is much higher for horror. No one gets really expected to get actually scared at a horror film. You may jump, feel unease, grossed out, or captivated by what you see on-screen. Horror has a wide spectrum of audience reaction to explore. Comedy on the other hand, must produce laughter in order to pass that litmus test of success. Of course comedy can amuse, but by definition isn’t all entertainment meant to amuse on some level.
On this level, TCMNG is successful. It does entertain and amuse. I found myself watching the whole thing all the way through without pause. Was I scared? No. I never felt unease or grossed out. Most of the killings take place off-screen and there is very little gore. The comedy is there and real, but it doesn’t push the film into the realm of parody or farce.
It is hard to classify TCMNG and explain it’s appeal. I think what makes it so interesting is the acting which is usually the last aspect of horror to captivate. Matthew McConaughey and Rene Zellweger are far from my favorite actors or even actors whose work I seek out. Here, with this weak material, they are very compelling. Watching them in this film is similar to watching Lebron playing in a neighborhood pick-up game. When these two finally go head to head in the last third of the film, it is something to behold. McConaughey is really intense and over the top, as the leader of the family. Zellweger is amazing as the last girl. I have a new respect for the craft after watching these two bring their skills to these superficial characters.