Friday, 18 May 2012

Film Review: Cabin In The Woods (2011)



Director: Drew Goddard
Writer: Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard
Stars: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth and Anna Hutchison

THIS IS A SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

There are some film trailers which give too much away, and there are some which do not entice you to find out more. The trailer for The Cabin In The Woods trailer should not be seen by anyone wanting to see the film, and moreover the less you know the better your enjoyment of the film will be. The film itself, however, should be seen by everyone interested in horror.

The beauty of the film, co-written by Buffy The Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon, is in its successful attempts to deconstruct, parody and critique the genre whilst remaining scary and creepy in its own right. The very fact that I’m advising you to stay away from any spoilers suggests there will be a major twist or three along the way and that this is not an average slice ‘n’ dice horror picture. There is plenty of killing, but not from the usual horror film sources – let me at least tell you that much. Throughout the course of the 95 minutes, Whedon treats us to a checklist of horror clich├ęs and winks and nods at the audience along the way. The characters, once they reach the cabin of the title, turn into the stereotypes we always see; jock, slut, virgin, slacker but they are clearly not this way when the film starts, but horror conventions tell us that characters in the genre have to be this way, without any good reason.

The second and third acts are hard to write about without mentioning any of the plot for the risk of spoilers, but I can tell you that the whole story is based on modern audiences’ desire to watch young people getting massacred, and why is that? Why do we spend millions of pounds at the cinema and on DVD watching these films? What would happen if watching them die were essential to… life itself?

Stop thinking for yourself verdict: Like the first two Scream films, The Cabin In The Woods is clever in both its dialogue and its action and knows the genre well enough to have the confidence to go all the way and never look back. If you’re not aware of the horror genre, you may think the film goes way beyond your expectations of what a horror film should be; but this isn’t a horror film, it’s a one-off experimentation that works. I just hope it isn’t copied like the Scream films were, because then we'll be in for a decade of Whedon-less attempts, and no one wants to see that.

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