Cabin in the Woods written by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon couldn’t wholly be classified as a horror film, which is what I thought it was initially, instead, in true Whedon style, it blends elements of horror, comedy and the supernatural into a completely unique and imaginative solid script which unfortunately cant be discussed in too much detail without giving away the main premise of the movie, all I can say its that it’s pretty meta. Think comedy television show Community mixed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer seamlessly blended with Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead or Drag Me to Hell.
The film was shot in 2010 but due to the financial difficulties by then distributors MGM the film wasn’t released until Lions Gate bought the rights. If anything the delay in releasing this film could only help it as it stars now mega-star Chris Hemsworth and with the soon to be released Avengers, Joss Whedon is also a hot topic.
As I said previously I can’t give a synopsis of this movie, as it would destroy the twists and turns throughout. What I can say is that the film blends two narratives together one featuring the obvious storyline, 5 kids head off to spend the weekend at a cousins cabin in the woods Kristen Connolly, the naive smart attractive but fragile girl who just needs a break, Chris Hemsworth the token jock, Anna Hutchinson the dumb blonde, Jesse Williams as the sensitive caring guy and Fran Kranz as the stoner with a heart of gold. The other storyline is where it gets a bit deep and features technical supervisors overseeing plans in an underground bunker featuring Richard Jenkins and Bradley Jenkins. What transpires over the course of 1:45 minutes is wonderfully entertaining and engaging story, a film that knows its genre core to a T and plays it out with hilarity, this film knows all the clichés and happily nods at them as it takes us on our journey through the film, it references and adapts throughout.
I don’t really do horror movies, I often talk about them and how they are one of the only real film genres that can evoke such a response from its viewers, the heart races, we look away, we close our eyes, we shriek and often times it stays with the viewer, causing long sleepless nights huddled in terror and questioning everything that betrays our senses and goes bump in the night. The main problem is, however, that most horror movies are rubbish, its rehashed, and uninteresting, where you know what’s going to happen before it occurs taking all the fright out of it. More than likely this is due to modern culture, we’ve been desensitised over the years, 24 hour news coverage of the horrors of real life take precedence, most of the mysteries of our world have been discovered in some senses, we’ve split the atom, mapped the world and all the knowledge of this has been put on display in the open forum that is the internet. What is there to be scared of, our sense of mystery and whimsy is slowly fading and the genre had to change. Instead of the spooky unknown force, be it Monster, Vampire, Witch or general spook, the industry had to look at the worlds real monsters, violent killers and as such the Torture Porn Horror industry evolved something which follows the same conventional rules as the general horror genre but puts a modern take on it, attempting to make it all seem real as the bad guys are just essentially real, albeit f@*ked up, people. This form of horror I could never appreciate, it just goes for the big kill and attempts to throw blood everywhere to win over its audience.
This film however, is one in a million; while recreating the same rehashed scenes we have all seen before it manages to be completely original by adding a subplot, which in turn becomes to main focus of the movie. Subtle hints are given throughout as to what is going on but as the film progresses, the audience is brought up to speed and nothing seems rushed or out of context. The dialogue is razor sharp too, from the onset, living up to the jovial friends getaway at the start and the impassioned speeches dotted throughout.
There were parts where I questioned was I enjoying this film as I watched it but it was brought together with such grace at the end that at the end I honestly thought what I was watching was a work of genius. This isn’t a film that is going to win any awards but it does get the audience thinking and if you have been following any of the reviews I’ve done you’ll know, for me, that’s what film is all about. People who are expecting an out and out horror film, this may not be one for you but, as I said previously, if you are a Whedon or Raimi fan you will not be disappointed.