10 April 2012
THE CABIN IN THE WOODS- Review
So, in essence, all that you really want to know is that there is a cabin, in some woods, and five right-headed teenagers go out to this cabin for a weekend of partying. However, the film is written by Drew Goddard and Joss Whedon, so you know that's not all there is to it. Bizarrely, seeing as how the film is a satire of the lowest-common-denominator slasher flick, some have told me that they might not go and see this, because it looks like the same all over again, and yet something is keeping Platinum Dunes in business. The main bullet point, then? This ain't what you think it is.
Double features and marathon viewings seem to be popular with horror fans and cult movie fans, so it's appropriate that The Cabin in the Woods might easily serve as a companion piece to virtually any mainstream horror movie made in the last 20 to 30 years. However, you can also draw lines between this film and Scream, or the first two Evil Dead movies. It owes its setup to the latter, and a more intelligent and imaginative self-awareness than Wes Craven's movies, but it matches any of those films mentioned for humour or balls-to-the-wall craziness.
I'm not the only person saying that you want to see this movie cold, so I made a concerted effort to avoid information about it beforehand. This, along with the parallel staging of the film, has you on tenterhooks for the moment where something crazy happens. Trust me, The Cabin in the Woods gets real crazy as it goes on, but this would pretty much be a perfect movie if they could have pulled off something along the lines of From Dusk till Dawn, by changing the tone without flagging up that the shift was coming ahead of time.
At the same time, I almost liked watching it unfold, and wrangling my understanding of it throughout, as much as I would if it had been able to come completely out of the leftfield. The only other major criticism I have is that I didn't really find it scary. It's a great horror comedy, a genre hybrid that is notoriously difficult to pull off, but if you don't find its brand of slasher horror scary when it's played straight, I'm not sure that the film really becomes scary until later on, at which point even bat shit looks sane next to it.
On balance though, I really loved this movie. Whatever my qualms with the pacing and the structure, it's impossible to predict exactly what is coming, and when it arrives, it will blow you away. The script feels more like a Whedon effort, perhaps only because his idiosyncrasies are more recognisable than Goddard's, but Goddard nevertheless does a great job with his debut feature. It's an unabashed genre-bender, which cuts through tropes and cliches like a knife and yet avoids being mean-spirited or snarky. It's really just a hell of a lot of fun.
The Cabin in the Woods is now showing in cinemas nationwide.
If you've seen The Cabin in the Woods, why not share your comments below? Did you know that one of the things that held this release back was a possible 3D conversion? It would have ruined the movie, but damn, if it wouldn't have enhanced the satire of everything that is shit about modern horror...
I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.