Written by Phil Robinson Sunday, 22 April 2012 15:44
Features - Reviews
Expect the unexpected with this utterly original take on a genre that has been almost done to death in countless horror films of the same ‘basic’ premise; five friends decide to take a road trip to a dilapidated creepy old cabin in a remote woodland area unaware of the horrors that await them. If you are already familiar with the works of director Drew Goddard and writer Joss Whedon then you will know to expect something that goes beyond the basic ‘what you see is what you get’ feeling in many slasher/horror flicks of the same concept.
It is difficult to say much about this film without giving away any of the clever plot twists and developments, but it is clear from the opening sequence where we see two men going to work in a seemingly mundane office, then cut to the main five characters, that there is more to this film than meets the eye. Apart from the odd cameo appearance, the majority of the cast are not the most well-known (apart from the likes of Chris Hemsworth) but they all act accordingly to what you would ‘initially’ expect from a horror film, but what makes the characters so enjoyable to watch is how Whedon and Goddard give us a perfect mix of seriousness (with surprisingly good acting) undercut with laugh out loud humour in the most inappropriate situations (if you have ever seen shows like Angel or Firefly/Serenity then you will know what I mean).
Not surprisingly, a few people stood up and walked out of the cinema in the first twenty minutes, which is a shame as what follows up until the end is an extremely clever and increasingly evolving series of events which almost gives us film within a film feeling wherein the horror/creature feature ‘setup’ is just smoke and mirrors for the real horror that sits comfortably behind the computer screens of the office workers Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) Hadley (Bradley Whitford) and Lin (Amy Acker). Even up until the films climax you are never given a result that meets your ‘expectations’ which is the films biggest strength; taking what you think you know about slasher films and turning it on its head (much the same way the ‘Scream’ films are slasher films about the psychology of slasher films with bundles of pop culture references).
This film isn’t to everyone’s taste and may seem too tongue in cheek for some people, and if you are hoping for a film that tries to take itself too seriously in the horror department then you will probably be disappointed. However if you can look past the first layer you will see the films true identity as a concept driven social commentary jam packed with so many quirks you will want to watch it again just to pick up on the subtle nods the director makes to the films bigger picture, other horror films, and the audience itself.
Love it or hate it, the Cabin in the Woods is a bold perceptive thrill ride and the fact it is attracting both positive and negative attention only adds to the films credibility as not just your average horror flick.
Now showing at Cineworld Nottingham.