The Cabin in the Woods, 2012.
Directed by Drew Goddard.
Starring Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford.
A group of five teens head to a secluded cabin for a weekend getaway and inadvertently revive a “zombie redneck torture family.” But more than fate is conspiring against them, as they try to survive the cabin in the woods.
It’s difficult to discuss this film without giving too much away, but you should know this isn’t your typical horror rehash. From the offset, Goddard strives to establish a wry, tongue-in-cheek tone as his adolescent quintet (affably fulfilling stock horror archetypes of jock, licentious blonde, nerd, goodie-two-shoes and stoner) are placed in increasingly predictable and conventional scenarios akin to the genre. But just when you think Goddard and co-writer Joss Whedon are dangling the carrot of comfortable and foreseeable plotlines before you, they beat you with a stick of uncertainty, as layers of the film are peeled back and you realise that the creepy, bible-quoting, harbinger of doom gas station attendant was heavily laden with irony after all. Phew. Curiosity aroused, you now begin to take notice of the two office drones whose story is running alongside the teenagers. Answers to your questions begin to trickle in and, before you know it, Goddard’s metahorror is in full swing, and you’re left pleasantly perplexed by a film belonging to a genre that you have become all too familiar with.
Though The Cabin in the Woods is a refreshing deviation from the norm in this respect, it is slightly let down by an almost simplistic ending that is devoid of the craft and ingenuity exhibited elsewhere in Whedon and Goddard’s script. À la Scream, Cabin turns the genre on its head, but ultimately lacks the gratification that Craven provides as Ghostface is unmasked, replacing it instead with a surprisingly nihilistic turn that seems all a bit too heavy considering some of the earlier levity.
But regardless of a disappointing finale there is still plenty of pleasurable viewing to be harvested from The Cabin in the Woods. Horror fans will revel in this postmodern amalgamation of slasher, splatter, and zombie references, while viewers that are perhaps averse to suffering persisting feelings of trepidation and terror for an hour and a half will find Cabin a surprisingly pleasant watch.
Favouring stimulation to suspense, The Cabin in the Woods is an interesting prospect for any viewer. Goddard’s satirical homage to The Evil Dead and the rest of the horror genre provides food for thought and a wealth of charming allusions. A good watch indeed.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★