The Cabin In The Woods (2012)
Having been recruited to the ‘Joss is God’ club way back in the late 90s when ‘Witch’ from Season 1 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer aired on TV for the first time, it would be a chilly day in Hell the day that I felt disappointed by Joss Whedon. I feel similarly about Drew Goddard, who has previously collaborated with Whedon on Buffy and Angel. So it’s no surprise to hear that when I sat down to watch The Cabin in the Woods Hell was as hot and fiery as ever.
Directed by Drew Goddard and co-written by both him and Joss Whedon, this clever new horror focuses on a group of friends who travel to a remote cabin for a holiday only to find themselves fall victim to the usual horror movie clichés whilst being observed by a network of hidden cameras operated by a host of mysterious techies and office workers.
Joss once again turns to the well-weathered horror archetypal characters and, instead of skewing them like in Buffy, he runs with them. Chris Hemsworth plays Curt, the typical jock whilst Anna Hutchinson takes on the role of Jules, his girlfriend. Frank Kranz, who you may recognise from Dollhouse, plays Marty, the ‘intellectual’ who also happens to be somewhat of a stoner. Grey’s Anatomy’s Jesse Williams is all-round nice guy, Holden and last but not least, Kristen Connolly portrays Dana, the quintessentially studious virgin-type character.
Goddard and Whedon described the film as an attempt to spice up the slasher genre, whilst bringing up a critical satire on torture porn. The concept naturally put me in mind of the release of the first Scream, a film that allowed us to laugh over the traditional plot motives of the slasher genre. Cabin, however, takes a much more analytical look at the genre and in a way explains why it is that slashers are constructed the way they are. It’s kind of like a very gripping documentary about slashers and, unlike Scream that almost mocked the genre, it feels like a real celebration of all that is great them.
The movie unfurls in three parts: ‘The Setup’, ‘The Twist’ and ‘The Reveal’. The beginning of the movie sets out like many other above average horror films; we’re introduced to the characters and let in on their plan whilst trying to figure out what their downfall will be and the pecking order of the kills. Next we begin to realise that all is not normal and that there is something different about the film, then finally, we are let in on the secret. In the final 20 or so minutes all the wheels click in to place and our minds are well and truly blown. Simply epic! After watching the movie you would never believed that the screenplay with written in just three days.
The movie is clever, genuinely scary, completely gripping and without a doubt one of the best new horrors that the Horror Hothouse has seen in years. By George Joss, I believe you’ve done it again!