The Cabin in the Woods ****½
You should see Cabin in the Woods before you read this review; see it before seeing the trailer, which gives away far too much. The main problem of course is that it has been difficult for most people to see the movie at all. Bankrupt studios, lawyers, delayed release dates and a seemingly difficult movie to market; the Cabin in the Woods has had a troubled time over the last couple of years.
It beggars belief that this film hasn’t been championed by the studio or distributors, it was only due to an online campaign that we finally got to see it in the cinemas here in Australia, over a year late!
The premise is a seemingly simple one, five college students jump in a camper van and head out to distant cousins Cabin in the Woods, not an entirely unfamiliar scenario in the horror film genre. The students are Dana (Kristen Connelly), her best friend Jules (Anna Hutchison), Jules’ boyfriend Curt (Chris Hemsworth), his friend Holden (Jesse Williams) and stoner dropout Marty (Fran Kranz).
They are not your typical stereotypes, initially at least; however, their personalities change soon after they arrive at the cabin. A few beers and a game of ‘truth or dare’ lead them into the basement where they encounter a plethora of odd artifacts. What could possibly go wrong?
Sitterson (Richard Jenkins) and Hadley (Bradley Whitford), the two guys watching them on closed-circuit TV, and apparently manipulating their surroundings seem more than willing to ensure that a lot will go wrong for these kids…
To say anything more would only ruin the surprise and lessen the impact of what is so far the best movie of the year.
Written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, the script is exceptional; it’s smart, fun and filled with tension. An obvious love and deep knowledge of the genre has been poured into almost every scene and it pays off for horror fans of all sub-genres. Filled with references to horror films of all eras, with a particular focus on the classic 80’s period, most notably The Evil Dead, this movie is destined to be a drinking game staple for years to come.
The script is filled with fantastic dialogue and some excellent jokes, all of which are delivered by a solid cast, with a special mention of Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford who are particularly good.
I was never a massive fan of Buffy or Firefly, however Whedon has surpassed those efforts this year with this film and some other super hero flick that has done quite well recently. Drew Goddard has done a great job bringing all the elements together, paying homage to many the films referenced.
As a horror film it’s not really very frightening and it loses it’s way slightly towards the end, however, as a horror-comedy, it’s up there with the very best. No spoilers here, if you like horror, see it at any cost, if you love horror you’ll want to own it as soon as possible.
Quality: 5 out of 5 stars
Any Good: 4 out of 5 stars (It would have been 5 with a few more scares)