One of the names that is almost guaranteed to make me want to see a movie (or read a comic book) is Joss Whedon. Despite the less-than-impressive trailers, this was why I’ve decided to take a chance with “The Cabin in the Woods” and honestly, I really did not know what to expect. Once you see the opening title reel, you would know exactly what you are in for. It would be easy to dismiss it as a horror B-movie romp with some twisted touches and macabre humor around it. Yeah, the film is all of the above and it is also something different; but whatever it is, while it does have more grim humor around it than actual scares, “The Cabin in the Woods” does what it is intended to do….very well.
The film has your basic set up, you have 5 of your usual college kids going on a weekend getaway. There’s the jock Curt (Chris Hemsworth, Thor) with this hot girlfriend Jules (Anna Hutchison, Power Rangers: Jungle Fury-the yellow ranger gets naked here, I know right?) the group stoner and clown, Marty (Fran Kranz), a brainy athlete named Holden (Jesse Williams) and of course, there is the genuinely “innocent” girl, Dana (Kristen Connolly) who is just getting over a bad break up. All in all, these are the staples for sex, blood and gore and as soon as they reach our isolated destination things will get going as it seems like they are being watched by two guys, Sitterson and Hadley (Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford) affiliated with a ’secret’ organization. Trust me, these are not spoilers, this is all about a major set up for a grisly horror film that movies such as “Scream” and “Hatchet” wish they could be….
Being responsible for the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”, the screenplay of the film carries that Joss Whedon touch and then some. Drew Goddard was the guy who wrote “Cloverfield” and this is his directorial debut. There are clichés aplenty both in its plot and characters; I mean the film is so simple and yet, the way the screenplay and direction flowed was able to engage me with what was going on in the screen. It was sincerely trying to make fun of itself or what we would call horror clichés. The film’s dialogue and humor has a lot to do with the film’s enjoyment. The film goes about this ‘charm’ that embody what we usually look for in a classic slasher film/supernatural flick. I mean, much of the film’s fun comes from trying to resist a stupid horror cliché and yet, it gives the viewer enough fun because of the reasons why the teens still stoop to such stupidity.
There are tributes to “Rear Window”, “HellRaiser”, “Paranormal Activity”, the Japanese horror flicks “Ju-On” and “Silk” and even “Dead Silence” and “Saw”. But Goddard was able to keep the references to a minimum since I am pretty sure the filmmakers did not want the film to wallow in such cheap commentary. There is a point to all of this, Goddard and Whedon is trying to say things that bad people may indeed be behind such things, and indeed such things can be real. Yet, we as the audience are attracted to the lure of certain elements and so while the killing may be serving a purpose, it does not make them right but having fun while doing it may indeed lessen the effect. I am not sure if what I wrote down made any sense.
Be that as it may, the direction manages to capitalize on every bit of its screenplay to blend its wild blend of macabre horror, grim humor and gruesome images of dismemberment. The film is pretty bloody and gory; the creature designs are reminiscent of the creatures that we’ve come to be used to with some unexpected twists to their characters. The one complaint I may have would be that the kills weren’t specially that inventive, but as I’ve said, it may have been its intention. What drove the film was not exactly its kill scenes but rather how it meshes its ideas into one inventive framework that felt very solid in its execution. Even with the stupidity of its characters, they felt real sincere and they all managed to connect. Chris Hemsworth did feel a little out of place as he particularly stood out, but it was a minor thing that I chose to ignore.
“The Cabin in the Woods” is one film that may not command as much attention as “Tremors” or “Slither” when it comes to this kind of films, but there is so much to like about the film that one would be hard-pressed to nit-pick its flaws. Those who are very familiar with horror will have a good time with the final act as it had a lot of easter eggs that added to its novelty, but those who aren’t are set to enjoy the scares, the humor and the banter as the script unravels itself. It is one good, fun horror romp that everyone should not pass up, and worth seeing at least once.
The "plot" of THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is a classic cliché of horror films: a group of five friends travels to a cabin in the woods out in the middle of nowhere that is supposedly owned by a cousin of one of the friends. There's a jock, a slutty girl, a scholar, a stoner, and an innocent. The trip to the cabin is really spooky complete with a run-down gas station where the group stops for a fill-up and to make sure their directions to the cabin are correct. Once they get to the … more
Star Rating: “I love being scared.” So said Joss Whedon in an interview with Total Film regarding The Cabin in the Woods, which he produced and co-wrote with director Drew Goddard. “The things that I don’t like are kids acting like idiots, the devolution of the horror movie into torture porn and into a long series of sadistic comeuppances. Drew and I both felt that the pendulum had sung a little too far in that direction.” When … more
By Joan Alperin Schwartz 'The Cabin In The Woods', written by Josh Whedon (Buffy The Vampire Slayer & Avengers) and Drew Goddard (Cloverfield) who also directed, is one of the most clever horror films I've seen in a really long time. Okay, without giving too much away, here's the scenerio...Five friends go to a remote cabin in the woods and really horrible things start … more
Hey! This movie is awesome and anyone looking for a little more insight into the film should check out my geek-tastic interview with director, Drew Goddard. http://www.blacksheepreviews.blogspot.ca/201...views-drew-goddard.html Enjoy!