The Cabin In The Woods * * * 1/2
Director: Drew Goddard.
Screenplay: Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard.
Starring: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford, Brian White, Amy Acker, Tim De Zarn.
Decent horror movies are hard to come by these days. So much so, that the genre itself has become pray to parody. Wes Craven successfully managed it with “Scream” and recently the cult indie film “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil” took it even further. If your a fan of these types of films then this should be right up your dark and creaky stairwell but pure horror snobs may find it a bit too satirical for their liking.
A weekend break away for five college kids doesn’t quite turn out to be the fun-filled party they were expecting when they arrive at a remote cabin and discover an old diary that speaks of past foul play that took place on their very weekend premises. As expected, the foul play rears it’s ugly head again but in more ways than one.
Right from the beginning of this film the usual horror conventions are all on display; a motley crew consisting of the stoner, the jock, the bookworm and the sweet & sultry females all heading for… well… you know where. Perfect fodder for mayhem I hear you say? Indeed! After a short build-up though, the usual conventions are all but discarded and the film veers off in all sorts of directions. The details of which, I can’t divulge or you’ll be seriously pissed with me. This is most definitely a film that’s worth entering without prior knowledge as the surprises that it has in store are the very strengths which help it overcome it’s faults. One of these major faults is it’s inability to decide what it wants to be or what audience it’s targeting. Is it a parody? Is it science fiction? Is it horror? In fact, it’s all of these things and possesses a welcome mix of scares and humour. The crossover between both is not always a smooth one though, which lessens the impact it could have had. Added to which, it’s very far-fetched to say the least. However, it surprisingly still manages to hold it together to come out a success which is, thanks in large, to a very strong and exhilarating ending, making it hard to resist the film’s chutzpah.
A smart and satirical riff on the horror genre that manages to use the conventions but also cleverly play around with them. Not entirely successful but highly ambitious and appealing on many levels.