The Cabin In The Woods – Early Review10.03.12 # Review # 7 Comments
Our The Cabin In The Woods Review.
Director: Drew Goddard
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams
Release Date: UK & US – 13th April
With Buffy mastermind and cult figure Joss Whedon, teaming once again with Buffy alumni Drew Goddard (making his directorial debut), you’ll probably be expecting The Cabin In The Woods to be a fun horror movie. You’d be right. But not quite the way you’d think.
It’s a pretty standard teen horror scenario: a group of friends are planning a weekend away at a secluded cabin (in the woods!). You’ve got the jock, the slut, the stoner, the intellectual, the virgin – a creepy redneck gas attendant tells them to stay away from the cabin, and they ignore him. Standard. But what’s different is that these guys are not a group of horny, mindless teens. The jock (pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth) is on a full academic scholarship! The slut never put out in high school! Something strange is going on…
Just as the clichés are lined up, they are systematically manipulated as the characters and the movie itself becomes self-aware, and it soon becomes apparent that the group are contained to the whims of a much larger evil. The cabin itself has been carefully arranged for them to act out the horror clichés or choose to subvert them. What does Holden ‘The Intellectual’ do when he discovers a see-through mirror into Dana ‘The Virgin’s’ room..? The cabin and the surrounding woods are rigged with cameras, remote controlled doors, even venting pheromones when the opportunity presents itself for the jock and the slut to go out into the woods ‘alone’. A typical ‘high schoolers in a cabin’ romp evolves into an inventive post-modern horror as the story marks out its twists and turns very methodically and with great humour. When ‘the virgin’ reciting Latin from an old diary awakens evil, then the fun begins!
Self-aware and irreverent, it’s as much a critique of modern horror as it is a love letter to it. There are enough thrills and spills to satisfy horror fans, and enough self-mocking and originality to please the Friday night entertainment crowd. It reaches over those boundaries, and that usually leaves a trail of box office gold dust.
Considering the film has been in distribution limbo since it wrapped in 2009, it emerges now right on the zeitgeist. Following reasonably soon after Scream 4 – the franchise for which Cabin in the Woods owes its roots – it feels like a kind of twisted spiritual sequel to The Evil Dead in terms of tone. It’s fun, gory and while it may not have the same standard of shocks associated with the more fashionable and modern ‘torture porn’ genre, it provides a story and a world packed with entertainment. The final scenes are an absolute visual treat for horror fans especially…
The Cabin In The Woods feels like you’ve been sucked in behind the scenes of the creative process. Sets up clichés then systematically knocks them down with a hell of a curveball. It’s a story laced with genuinely laugh out loud moments even as the heroes look into the face of true terror on, literally, all levels. Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford are scene-stealers watching the action unfold before their omnipotence; the acting is very complimentary to the script. It could’ve upped the intensity leading up to the final act, but I think it’s safe to say the stakes don’t come much higher at the end as it finishes with a genre bending act of selfishness infinitum, with an enjoyable cameo turn (I’ll say no more!). If there was ever a movie to go into cold, then wrap up and enjoy the ride.
Our Grade: A-