Cert: 15 Runtime: 95 mins Director: Drew Goddard Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchinson and Richard Jenkins
Good work, zombie arm
When I saw the trailer for The Cabin in the Woods, I thought yet another movie with stupid teens in the woods being killed by some higher power/maniacs. Not until I discovered the great Joss Whedon wrote the screenplay I wasn’t interested. Now then with my full attention the basic plot is five teenagers head off for a weekend at a secluded cabin in the woods. They arrive to find they are quite isolated with no means of communicating with the outside world. When the cellar door flings itself open, they of course go down to investigate. They find an odd assortment of relics and curios but when one of the women, Dana, reads from a book she awakens a family of deadly zombie killers. There’s far more going on however than meets the eye as the five campers are all under observation.To be honest, the less you know about this film, the more awesome it will be. I felt that the trailer gave away a bit too much of the twists and turns one can expect from the film, but at the same time the image of a bird flying into a giant forcefield is what will set this film apart from the generic horror films that hit the theatres today. The Cabin In The Woods tells you upfront “You think you know the story…” but of course you don’t. This is Joss Whedon after all. Fans of Buffy and Angel will get a kick out of this, as actors from that universe make their way into this film.
The acting is all extremely strong. Connolly is fantastic and believable as Dana, the likable lead character in the story. Hemsworth is a lot of fun as the jockish Curt, and proves post-“Thor” that he is a very capable actor and not at all a one-trick pony. Franz is hilarious as paranoid stoner Marty. And all other roles are played fabulously.The visual direction by Goddard is unusually strong, and the film has a fantastic energy to it. Goddard is able to sell not only the scares, but the abundant laughs. And his script is a great piece of work, both satirizing and glorifying the horror genre at the same time. It’s very tight, composed and thought-out, and is an absolute blast.Everything about the production is strong and competently made. The score is incredible. Production and costume design is top notch. The few CG effects are generally well-realized. The gore effects are awesome, and for the most part old school, which I loved. (I generally don’t like CGI gore, as it just doesn’t look right) I really can’t think of a single negative thing to say about this film.
Another thing I feel I should address is the dichotomy of the film, in that it is both a loving homage, and a declaration of hate of the horror genre as it stands. It obviously has a lot of affection for horror, in how it playfully references many of the clichés and conventions of it. Yet at the same time, it’s also clearly damning the lows that studio horror have sunk to. (Such as brutally making fun of stupid characters, the over-abundance of torture, etc) It’s a very interesting film in that it makes light of horror in a way that both glorifies and damns it at the same time, and I hope the message comes across and people start to re-evaluate horror and its potential as genre, rather than continuing the dumbing-down that studios have encouraged.All-in-all, “The Cabin in the Woods” in an incredible entry into the horror-comedy subgenre. I’d argue it’s possibly the best entry since Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead II” (although for me “Shaun of the Dead” is also a high contender), and is an absolute joy to watch. I give it a 9 out of 10! If you are a horror fan, you owe it to yourself to see this, especially if you too are becoming weary of the genre and how its been ravaged.